Go to Document List
[Letter from Young John Allen to his (adoptive) mother, Nancy Hutchins, October 7, 1867]
This letter should reach you the 1st or 2d week in Jan. 1868 at
farthest--perhaps before Christmas.
I hope you will get some one to read this for you. I fear
you can't read it.
Oct. 7th 1867
My own dear mother,
My own dear Mollie is far away in Japan with our little darlings, and I am left here alone; During the day I am busy but at night I feel solitary and sometimes not a litte homesick. I miss my Mary very much and little Mollie, Charlie and Edgar, and as I often think of you too I have thought to write you a few lines by this mail. I often wonder how you are looking. We have been separated a long time and I know time and trouble have not left you without traces of their cares. Your face I know must reflect the shadows of the past [unclear] , and your gray hairs tell the tale of age and sorrow. I always think of you as last I saw you when we parted. Your ambrotype stills keeps good, and as I gaze on it my heart is with you then again. Through Wright and Uncle Carter I have heard from you since the war, but have not had a word from any of you yet.
I do so much wish to know how you all are and how you are getting along in your old age, and as I suppose you would like to have a few details of my family I will tell you in this letter. We have had some trials and embarrassments here, but chiefly on account of the war in which you suffered so much -- far more than we have.
We have a pleasant home here in Shanghai
View image of page
and my health and Mary's too has been exceedingly good all the time. I have not been sick scarcely a day since I saw you eight years ago. Our little family has been steadily increasing. Oh what a happy thing it is to have children around us, in our own house in this far off heathen land. We have had six, three are now in heaven and three are with their darling mother in Japan, where they have gone for a short trip. Our first you have seen. Mellie is now a large girl and can spell and read and sing, and makes us very happy. Our second was a fine large boy, weighing (12) twelve pounds when born; he was the very image of his mother, with heavy black hair curling all over his head. We named him Young John after his papa. He only lived to be 11 months and 14 days old. We think of him now as our Angel boy in that bright abode with Jesus, who said suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Our third little one still lives and is now nearly five years old. His name is Charles Arthur, and a cheerful little fellow he is. He loves for his papa to tell him little stories about about [deleted] the children in America. He has some nice little books, but has not learned to read yet. Our fifth [deleted] 4th fourth [added] was named Herbert Maury. He lived to be 19 months old, and he too was taken away. We felt it
View image of page
hard to give him up. He was such a precious little pet- was just beginning to talk and run about the house. He had just cut his last tooth when inflamation of the bowels set in and soon he was taken from us, but we mourn not now our little lamb-- we know he is safely in the fold and Jesus is his Shepherd. Oh! how [added] strong the ties that bind us to heaven. Here are two little verses I wrote soon after he died.
1st Here storms will still obscure
Tempests still be driven
Earth's ties ne'er endure
All will soon be riven
2d But beyond this dark scene
This sad vale of tears
Herbert shall be ours again
Through eternal years.
Yes that is our great consolation that if we are faithful we shall meet these
dear little ones again in heaven and never, never leave them, nor they us again forever. Is not that
consolation enough? Our fifth is another bright boy just like his Ma Ma, with long black curly hair. He is one of
nature's finest mold and a dear little one he is. He is not quite two years old
yet, but such a sprightly little romper jolly and full of fun. He is just
learning to talk. His name is Edgar Pierce. Our sixth,
the little Nameless one was born at seven months and
only lived ten hours. She was a girl with jet black hair. My dear Mollie was
suffering intense agony from neuralgia or face ache which brought on a premature
confinement last July (1867). Mollie never suffers during confinement
View image of page
more than two or three hours. The Doctor hardly has time to reach her, and she soon recovers. If you were to see her now you would not believe she is the mother of six children. She looks almost as young and beautiful as when you saw her last. She has made me one of the best of wives. If I had sought the whole world over, I could not have found a more devoted and better one. Everybody loves her in Shanghai that knows her and she has many kind friends. I have loved Mollie ever since 1854, thirteen years and more, and every year I love her better. I sometimes fear I love her too much. We are along ways separated from you and from all our dear relatives and friends, but we love each other so much and have such a cheerful little family of children that we are quite happy here. As for myself I am Young yet, both in name and in age. Mollie is 28 and I am 31 years old. I don't think I have changed much. I will enclose you our photographs (pictures) and you can judge for yourself. You will see that I wear a heavy beard. I have not shaved since the war began in America and don't know when I shall. The Chinese look at my beard and wonder at my age. They say I am about 80 eighty years old. The Chinese do not begin to have whiskers till they are about 40 forty and never large then.
View image of page
Mollie and the children will be back I hope this month-- have been gone one monthWell now I suppose you would like to know what I am doing. I came here as a Missionary to preach to the heathen, who are idolaters; they worship all kinds of gods made out of wood and stone, mud &c and know nothing about God that created heaven and earth. They are very wretched and miserable and our work is a work of charity and love. Jesus said "Go into all the world and preach my gospel to every creature, all nations, and we have obeyed his call and command. We feel that God hath called us to this work and we have no fears but that he will care for us and bless us. When I was leaving home I sold out all my negroes &c and put the money in the Atlanta & Westpoint and Central R.Roads which has proved to be a safe investment so far, myself and my dearest wife & child I committed to the guidance of my heavenly Father and thus far he hath kept us. When the war began the Missionary Society of our Church could not send us any money and for nearly five years we did not get a cent from home. Yet we never suffered want. The oil in the [added] cruze, nor [deleted] and [added] the flour in the barrel never failed; like Elijah in the wilderness, we were fed as it were by the ravens, which found us even this far off wilderness of China. At present we have not received sufficient funds from the Society to enable us to do much missionary work, but
View image of page
I manage to support myself and work [deleted] preach [added] besides. I have a large Chinese School in the city of Shanghai and teach in it 40 young men three hours a day. The School belongs to the Chinese Government and the young men are preparing to be officers. The highest officer in Shanghai is the Superintendent of the School. He pays me about 200 two hundred green backs (dollars) pa [deleted] a [added] month to teach it (3) three hours a day. I teach from 9 to 12 o'clock each day except Sunday.
In the afternoons and on the Sabbath I preach to the people in our chapels here
in the city and also in the
some large towns out
in the country. How large do you suppose Shanghai is? Well suppose you put
Savannah, Augusta, Atlanta, Macon, Columbus, Rome & Charleston and
together and then add on New Orleans besides,
then you would not have a city as large as Shanghai. Savannah in China would be
a little town. One third of all the people in the world live here in China. You
never saw such crowds. There are Chinamen everywhere. You cant
of sight. There are no trees in the country here like there are at home-- every
is a field or graveyard. There are millions of graves in this
old country. And just think of it. All these people worship the devil instead of God. They know what is right but they
will not do it. They are all going to hell. There is no Savior in China. Some of
them believe after they die they will
View image of page
turn into a bird or some beast, if they are bad but if they are good will come back, that is be born again into the world, and be richer men or officers of Government. They know nothing about heaven. The Bible, God, Jesus, Heaven and Salvation they never heard of before, it is all news to them, and you know the Gospel means, good news or glad tidings. Oh! if you were shut up among these poor heathen and could never see your Bible again, never hear any more preaching, how indescribably miserable you would feel. You would long to see the Bible and to hear preaching again, yet how many poor [deleted] people in our country have that Book of Books and will not love it; how many go to church just because it is the fashion, and will not join it, nor love the God of the Bible and prepare to live in Heaven. Oh! it is a sad thought. These who have the opportunity to be Christians and wont [sic] be good and prepare to go to heaven now, must go where these wicked heathen go-- but alas! it will be too late to repent then. Oh! what gnashing of teeth wailing and lamentation there will be among these who go to hell from America where the Bible is known and the Gospel preached. My constant prayer is that Mother and Pa may make haste and delay not to believe in Jesus and turn unto the Lord. It would be a joy to me greater than the conversion of a hundred heathen to hear that you had joined the Church and were striving to meet me in Heaven. I
View image of page
never expect to see you again in this world, we have parted forever, unless you are preparing to meet me again in Heaven. Let no consideration keep you from making that preparation. If heaven be lost all is is [sic] lost. You have lived as it were in vain and Eternity will be too short to repent-- indeed after death is the judgement and there is no more room for repentance. I am at the least, in a straight line, not less than (12,000) twelve thousand miles from you now, and it would take me sixty days and nights on the fastest steamer to reach you, but if we be separated in Eternity-- the distance will be so great that Eternity would be too short a time to cross the gulf that separates between us. It is as near to [added] heaven from China as from America and all I do here I do in view of living there when done with this life of sorrow, for if in this world only we have sorrow and affliction we shall be blessed indeed and happy forever when these light afflictions have wrought out for us that exceeding and eternal wright [sic] of glory which is reserved for the faithful in Christ. May you my own Dear Mother and Pa and all of you lay up henceforth your treasures in heaven. Shall I meet you there? "'Twould be an assurance most dear to know" that you are expecting to see your absent Young again in heaven where partings are unknown forever.
Affectionately Your Son-Young J Allen