1858 April May 1st
Burns (Knaggs Bridge), Shiawassee Co. Mich.
Dear Friend, after the lapse of so many years, you have thought proper to write a
few times to me to let us know that some of you are yet on earth. We are all alive as
yet, but it will be a short time that you or I can say so. My family is in usual health.
My wife's health is very poor. She has the asthma and the smoke last fall, very near
took her from me, and I think but it will yet do so. My health is good this winter and Spring so far. I have lived here 5 years and over and I have had the Ague and fever 3 out of that time. You ask how I came to go to Michigan. I answer the Dutch settled all round me and that injured the Society. We could not keep up our prayer meetings and they tried to have their language taught in our Schools. So I thought I would leave. I looked through that State and found that I could not find as healthy a place that I could better my condition and as the girls were both married and had families and wanted to live near us, I heard of this Indian tract for sale. I came to see it and liked it. I attended the sale at Detroit and purchased a half section. So we all settled together on the riverbank of the Shiawassee. A sawmill was put up last summer and a grist mill. That which we have given the privilege I find that too much land in a new place is like self righteousness. The more we have the worse we are off because taxes are so high on new land. You also state that you liked Iowa. If you was to go there in the winter you might say different. You also inform me that your Father's family is very much broken. You say he still is alive which I am very happy to hear. Also bereaved of an earthly Friend yet his loss is her gain. Also that Christ has said, my Grace is Sufficient for thee. It is not long that he will he behind her. If she died as she lived when I knew her. I wish to die with the same exercise of grace. Then when this soul shall leave the body I can land on that Peaceful Shore and join with her and other of my friends and sing the praise of redeeming love. You wished me to write to your Father. I admit he wrote me a good letter in answer to the one I wrote to you. You have not informed me whether that letter was acceptable but I wish you to read this to him as his hair must be white as well as mine. That everyday brings us nearer together where if we live as I know he once lived, we will meet them we once loved Supremely and join them around the throne, it will be but few days. And now Sir, a word to you and my Friend, that are on earth. As it probably that we may not meet on the Shores of time, please write that I may hear from you all. Wm. Mc Farland informs me that I would hardly know any there. Give my love to your wife although I never have seen her and to all inquiring Friends.
I remain yours ?
Mr. James Shields Coon
This is poorly wrote for a person 64 years of age on the 21st of last month. (Born April 21, 1794)
Typed by Sharon Granger (August 2007)
Editor's Note: This letter is preserved in its original integrity, with spelling and grammar untouched.
Samuel Shields Letter (Click to View)