John M. Hutchinson Family

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Hutchinson, Hansell, Snedeker

John M. Hutchinson and Rebecca Hansell

Proposed Hutchinson Lineage

Compiled by Judy Griffin, 2007 - email address

Hutchinson - New Jersey to Illinois

The first documentation for our Hutchinson family is from Trenton, New Jersey. The early boundaries of Trenton (then Hunterdon County) and Burlington County were both in “Trenton” with Hunterdon County on the north bank of the Assanpink and Burlington on the south side. This creek is only 10 feet wide. There were large families of Hutchinsons living opposite of Trenton across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. They moved back and forth continuously by the ferries. (1)

On February 22, 1838 Mercer County was formed from portions of Hunterdon, Burlington and Middlesex Counties. At this time Hopewell Township was divided in half. The Township existed in this divided form for nearly a year, with reunification occurring on February 19, 1839. From that date on the whole of the reconstituted Hopewell Township was placed in Mercer County. However, on March 13, 1844, Hopewell Township was removed from Mercer County and placed within Hunterdon County. This too lasted nearly a year until Hopewell was returned to its present place within Mercer County on February 5, 1845.

“The county of Mercer was created by Act of the Legislature upon the 22nd day of February 1838. Within its limits are to be found portions of the West Jersey counties of Burlington and Hunterdon and the East Jersey counties of Monmouth, Middlesex, and Somerset. . . . On April 14, 1846, Mercer County was declared to have the following townships: Nottingham, Hamilton, Princeton, East Windsor, West Windsor, Hopewell, Lawrence, Ewing, and Trenton . . .” (2)

Our John Hutchinson and his wife Rebecca Hansell came to Jersey County early, possibly before 1837 when Rebecca’s father is said to have joined them. Isaac Snedeker came in 1844 before his marriage to Rebecca’s Aunt, Caroline Sunderland. In 1876 Isaac gave an account of his trip and reasons for settling in Illinois that sheds some light on how and why the Hansell, Hutchinson and Sunderland families came to Illinois from New Jersey. (3) He refers to the Panic of 1837, an economic depression, one of the most severe financial crises in the history of the United States. The Panic was built on a speculative fever. The bubble burst on May 10, 1837 in New York City, when every bank stopped payment in specie (gold and silver coinage). The Panic was followed by a five-year depression.

“In the year of 1844, living in the State of New York, near the city of Rochester, Monroe County, I determined to go west. The great break down of 1837 in New York had extended westward and in 1840 had reached the Mississippi, and the great valley felt the terrible financial shock throughout the length and breath of the then great prospective country. The credit system had been almost unbounded; it had long arms and threw out its winding vines in every direction, until almost everyone had become infatuated with the wonderful prosperity of the country. Everyone had to ask for credit that wanted it; and almost as many having confidence well established were willing to give credit. All the business of the country appeared to change hands, and in fact, did so to a large extent. Those reckless and unskilled in the transactions of business would dash in, and by some turn of luck might make a fortune, that induced others to follow, until such a class of men had full control, and every article of produce and commerce went ‘away up a kiting. Flour per barrel, twenty-four dollars, in the City of New York and relatively so all over the country.

“But it was short. The true business men saw they had trusted too far and must stop. They knew that heavy loss was inevitable, and they must take matters into their own hands again. Then came the crash, terrible, and sad. And now with the odds and ends that an abused credit had left them, down upon the bed rock they must start again, and get ready to go slowly, and surely. In about this condition I left New York; came by the way of the city and to Philadelphia. Having better means of transportation at Albany, the Hudson, which I intended to descend, was frozen solid, so I pushed by railroad to Bridgeport, Conn. I there took a steamboat to the City of New York and from there, by missing and catching connections, in three days, I arrived in Philadelphia all safe, one hundred miles now.

“In connection with my brother, Samuel [Rebecca’s Uncle], we had put up in boxes about four or five hundred pounds of freight at Trenton, New Jersey, as our outfit to the West. I was to take the freight and go on alone. By inquiring, we thought best to go over the mountains to Pittsburgh, and down the Ohio River to Cairo, and up the Mississippi to St. Louis, rather than go out to sea via New Orleans. I finally made a bargain to have my freight taken to Pittsburgh at one dollar per thousand, with myself and dog, passage and board six dollars. We loaded our goods in the warehouse. The canal boat being built in sections and mounted on tracks was run into the warehouse for loading so that [missing text] run on the railroad a part of the way, or [missing text] there was a canal.

“We finally started, the first day by railroad, running to Columbus, eighty miles. That was doing well. At this place our trucks were run down into the water, the different sections of the boat floated, and were gathered together and fastened firmly, and made one good canal boat. Now to the feet of the Alleghany Mountains, and then to be hauled up on an inclined plane, our boat being parted in different sections again. On we went, seven days, and we were at Pittsburgh. Here was a number of boats, good steamboats, wanting freight and passengers for St. Louis. I struck a bargain, twenty-five cents a hundred for freight, and seven dollars for passage and board of self and dog. We set out for St. Louis. We got there. It was very small to what it is now. Fourth Street being as far as the city went in close buildings. I stayed there, looked around, inquired about [missing text]. Prices were low and very tempting; but being an [missing text] I firmly declared I would not live in a slave state [missing text] to Alton and Jerseyville. All business prostr [missing text] as could be. No price for anything. It was the [missing text] May, grass was growing. It was seven weeks since I left Rochester. Almost constant traveling, and trying to travel had brought me to the land of promise. We got onto the rise of land about four miles south of Jerseyville, where we could see the little town. It was not much to look at four miles off, but the fine prairie, so rich, so beautiful, grand and enchanting. I broke out with feelings of great emotion and gratitude to God for what my eyes beheld, for I had never looked upon so grand a sight before. There was considerable farming done near the town, and still great, beautiful prairies lay out with hundreds of cattle feeding them, and they were worth about five to ten dollars per acre, and no sale, no money, no confidence. The prices of produce were as you might have a chance to trade something for something else.

“I bought what I considered as good a team of horses as there was in the country for one hundred and ten dollars, and four yoke of oxen, with yoke and chain, at $25 per yoke. Times were hard then, but we could live, and the prospect was so good it gave courage, and we have more than realized all that we anticipated. I can, with joy and satisfaction, say I am glad I live in Illinois.”

Another pioneer, Morris R. Locke, gave information on the early land purchases in Jersey County. (4) “. . . no one thought of purchasing, only entering [land] from the Government . . . go to the land office in Edwardsville and enter it. All of this was fully explained. A land warrant for 80 acres issued by the Government to John Doe for services or for a ‘killed in the war of 1812’ would have to be bought, and located at the land office upon the 80 he selected or wanted, provided no one else had located before him. The warrant could be bought of a bank or dealer in land warrants at either Alton or Edwardsville. The cheapest and quickest and best way to go would be by horseback direct to Edwardsville . . . and you ought to have some one to go with you and show you public lands subject to entry. You do not want to get on the prairie, for that is mostly swamp lands, but rather make for the timber and water. . . .”

Rachel Hutchinson

Rachel Hutchinson, maiden name unknown, was born about 1784 in New Jersey (1850 census). (5) She married a Hutchinson and may have had at least two children, John and Elizabeth. The parents of Rachel are unknown, nor is there documentation that this Rachel is the mother of John and Elizabeth. (6) However, there was a Rachel Hutchinson, who was apparently a widow, living with Elizabeth (Hutchinson) and Samuel Sunderland in Jersey County, Illinois in 1850. The census did not indicate a relationship, and she could have been a relative of Samuel’s wife, Elizabeth. Also living in this household was a William Bartholomew, who was a Hatter, possibly from Pennsylvania.

The information given by Sarah Hansell in 1922 illustrates the relationships between the Sunderlands and Hutchinsons. It stated, “Her father, Wm. Hansel, came west in 1837. His eldest daughter, Mrs. John Hutchinson, and his brother-in-law, Samuel Sunderland, were already here.” (7) Samuel Sunderland was William Hansell’s brother-in-law via his wife, Ann Sunderland, whose brother married Elizabeth Hutchinson, sister of our John M. Hutchinson. The brother of Samuel Sunderland, James L. Sunderland, purchased land in Greene County early in 1837 and must have come to Illinois with Samuel.

A Rachel Hutchinson, and a John M. Hutchinson and his wife Rebecca Hansell, were listed among the thirty charter members of the Jerseyville Baptist Church, along with Elizabeth Sunderland (Rebecca’s sister), Mary Sunderland (relationship unknown) and Harriette Hansell (Rebecca’s sister). (8) Sarah Hansell, sister of Rebecca, stated that the plans for this church were first discussed in her home. According to her obituary (below), Rebecca, the wife of John M., was the first member baptized. The church was first organized in an old school house on September 5, 1841, later meeting in the old court house. In 1850 they built a church building.

Rachel may have come to Jersey County with John M. Hutchinson and/or Samuel Sunderland between 1833-1837 or in about 1840 when Rebecca Hansell’s father had returned to Trenton, New Jersey to bring the rest of the Hansell family west. (9) No record of Rachel’s death or burial place has been found.

There were two warrant deeds (10) listing a Rachel Hutchison as the purchaser of land in Burke’s Addition to Jerseyville on May 4, 1844 and additional land in the same area on July 16, 1846. (11) It is possible that Rachel owned the property where she lived with her possible daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Samuel Sunderland. In 1848, John M. Hutchinson purchased from Rachel the land that she had purchased in 1846. (12)

The only known proposed children of Rachel Hutchinson were Elizabeth and John M.:

John M. Hutchinson

John M. Hutchinson was born circa 1810 in New Jersey or New York. He married Rebecca Hansell on October 19, 1834 in Hunterdon County, probably in Trenton, New Jersey. (17) Rebecca was the daughter of William Hansell and Ann Sunderland (see Hansell and Sunderland histories). She was born September 26, 1816 in Tarrytown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania or New Jersey or New York, (18) and died on May 2, 1912 in Jerseyville, Jersey County. Their known children were William Henry, Virginia A., James Llewellyn, Emma and Anna May. Anna May died as an infant, and possibly Emma also (see Rebecca’s obituary below).

John was a shoemaker, continuing this occupation in Illinois, at least for a while. John Hutchinson had a shoe shop in the Red Corner at Jerseyville. The Red Corner was built in 1841 and a Josh Corbett had a shoe shop there, followed by John Hutchinson. (19) By 1854, L. B. Jarboe was selling boots and shoes in the Red Corner (probably Lewis B., Harriet Hansell Jarboe’s brother-in-law).

Little is known about John, including no information on his birthplace and date or when and where he died. Information from warrant deeds stated that he purchased lot 10 in the town of Jerseyville on December 26, 1838 from a James Whitehead. (20) On February 23, 1839 he purchased lot 10, block 26 in Jerseyville from Wm. Harrsell [sic Hansell]. By 1850, John, Rebecca and their children William, Virginia and James Lewellyn were living in neighboring Macoupin County, enumerated in the household of a David Gore. (21) However, John purchased a lot in Burke’s Addition to Jerseyville in 1854. (22)

There were several land purchases made by a John Hutchinson from 1846 to 1859 (not all of which may be our John M.): (23)

The 1860 census for Mason County, Illinois, showed our William (son of John and Rebecca), his wife Elizabeth and son Charles living in one household. Rebecca, with no husband listed, with her children Virginia, James L. and a Samuel Ford living in another household.

While Rebecca reported in the censuses that she was a widow, her son James stated that his father died when he was young, and no record of John’s death or their divorce has been found; there is strong circumstantial evidence that John M. Hutchinson may not have died before 1860. It begins with the marriage of a John M. Hutchinson and Mrs. Eliza J. Moore on December 12, 1855 in St. Louis, both from Illinois. This is about the time that no record of John M. has been found. Eliza, much younger than John, was probably too young to have been previously married, despite her listing as a Mrs. Perhaps she claimed she was married to avoid the permission of her father, since she was under legal age. On the other hand, it may have just been an error in the record. In 1860, town of Jerseyville, there was a John Hutchinson, age 53, with his wife Eliza, age 28, and daughter Mary, age 2. John, a carpenter and shoemaker, was born in New York, Eliza in New Jersey. This John Hutchinson would have been born circa 1807. In addition, there was a John Hutchinson on the 1866 delinquent tax list, living in the Davis’ Addition to Jerseyville, lot number one, block E, value $150, tax $4.13. The 1855 land purchase for a John Hutchinson in Jersey County was from William Davis and may be the land that John was delinquent on in 1866. John and Eliza were found in the 1870 census, still in Jerseyville. John was age 63, a day laborer, born in New York circa 1807. Eliza was 38, Mary was 12 and Ella was 3. Two items indicate that this may be our John M., his birth in New York in the right time period and his occupation as a shoemaker. Living next door to them in 1870 was an Amos Moore, the father of Eliza.

Amos Moore was found in Greene County in 1850, with a daughter Eliza J., age 17, born circa 1833, quite close to the approximate birth date of the Eliza who was the wife of John Hutchinson in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. This puts Eliza in the same area where John M. Hutchinson was living.

By 1880 Eliza was now the wife of a Fredrick Bates and living with them was Ella Hutchinson, age 13, certainly the Ella who was the daughter of John Hutchinson found in the 1870 census. Also listed was the son of Fredrick and Eliza, George Bates, age 6. From this it can be deduced that Eliza married Fredrick circa 1873, though no marriage record has been found. Eliza’s first husband John M. Hutchinson must have died or they divorced circa early 1870s.

Mary Hutchinson, daughter of John and Eliza, who was not listed with the family in 1880, married John Sabo on February 8, 1876 in Jersey County. She was 17 and he was 21, both residing in Jerseyville. (28) According to the Jersey County Burial Index, John Sabo was born in 1854 and died on May 26, 1905. Mrs. John Sabo, which must be Mary, was born in 1858 and died on June 9, 1904, both buried in Oak Grove Cemetery. In the Sabo plot at Oak Grove Cemetery were the burials of Eliza J. Griffin, Ella Hutchinson, and John Sabo. Elizabeth Griffin died on December 28, 1919, age 86 years, two months, one day, which gives an approximate calculated birth date of October 27, 1833. Ella Hutchinson died on January 26, 1946, age 78 years, nine months, one day. John Sabo died on May 20, 1905, age 50 years.

Eliza J. married, probably for a third time, to a William Griffin on September 2, 1890 in St. Clair County. (29) No record of Frederick Bates’ death was found, he also was not found before 1880. William Griffin must have died or they divorced before the 1900 census. Eliza Griffin and Ella M. Hutchinson were living with Eliza’s son, George Edward Bates, in East St. Louis, St. Clair County. George was born in August 1874 and Ella, a dress maker, was born in April 1868. Eliza stated that she was the mother of four children, but only three living. Ella, listed as George’s sister, stated that she was a widow, mother of one child, none living. No marriage for Ella was been found and she continued to use the Hutchinson surname for the remainder of her life. Eliza was found for the last time in the 1910 census. She was still living with her son George in East St. Louis, but Ella was not living with them. She now stated she was a widow. On all the censuses her approximate birth date was 1833 in New Jersey. In 1920, George was living in St. Louis and his sister Ella M. Hutchinson, single, was living with him. Finally, George and Ella were found in the 1930 census, back in St. Clair County. There is a death record for Ella Hutchinson who died on January 26, 1946 in East St. Louis. (30) This confirms the burial in the Sabo plot in Oak Grove Cemetery. There is a possible death record for George Bates who died on November 22, 1937 in Alton, Illinois. (31) Eliza J. Moore is said to be the daughter of Amos Moore and his first wife Charity Compton, born March 27, 1832 in Somerset County, New Jersey.

An additional note: the descendants of James L. Hutchinson were told that James L.’s father, incorrectly identified as William, had married twice. The information came from two different descendants and may have been common family knowledge. However, the descendants of William H. Hutchinson did not relate two marriages for John M.

Rebecca Hansell

Rebecca Hansell was born on September 26, 1816 and died on May 2, 1912 in Jerseyville, Jersey County, Illinois. Rebecca’s birthplace is variously given as Tarrytown (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York) and Rockville, Pennsylvania. Her birthplace was also given as Tarrytown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. All except Rockville, Pennsylvania were given in obituary information, Rockville was given in a newspaper interview when she was 93. She was married in Trenton, so Bucks County may be the most likely place. New Hope in Bucks County, where her sister was born, is not too far from Tullytown, Pennsylvania. Tullytown is very close to Trenton, and was a town in this time period. Both are right on the Delaware across from Trenton, New Jersey.

Rebecca married John M. Hutchinson on October 19, 1834 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. (32) John was born circa 1810 in New Jersey or New York, and possibly died before 1860. According to her sister, Rebecca and John arrived in what was to become Jersey County before 1837. Their son William claimed he was born in New Jersey in 1836, so they may have traveled to Illinois soon after his birth. John and Rebecca had five children, two daughters died in childhood. Their children who lived to adulthood were William Henry, Virginia and James Llewellyn. These three children died before her, all within a period of three years (1909-1911).

In a 1909 interview, Rebecca Hansell Hutchinson stated that she came to Jersey County in 1833. (33) This somewhat agrees with her sister Sarah’s account that stated that Mrs. John Hutchinson was already in Jersey County when their father, William Hansell, arrived in 1837. However, her obituaries state that she arrived in 1837 (34) and she was married in New Jersey in 1834. No early Jersey County or Jerseyville records list a Hutchinson this early.

While she lived in Jerseyville for ten to fifteen years, by 1850 Rebecca lived in Macoupin County and ten years later in Mason County. When she returned to Jersey County is not known, possibly in the 1860s or by about 1870 when her son William Henry returned to Jersey County. The Hansells were Puritans (Quakers), but since there was no church for that religion, she was “converted and baptised by Elijah Dodson at Otter Creek, being the first member baptised after the organization of the Jerseyville Baptist Church.”

While the family was found in nearby Macoupin County in 1850, their stay there may have been of short duration. John M. purchased or was given property just outside of Jerseyville by Rachel Hutchinson in Jersey County in 1848. This was the property in Burke’s Addition that Rachel Hutchinson purchased in 1844, a lot and all the land in the rear of two other lots.

In 1850 John M. and his family were enumerated in the household of a David Gore. No relation to this person has been found. John was age 40, born in New Jersey (circa 1810 birth), a farmer with real estate valued at $1,000. Rebecca was 31, born in New Jersey. Their children William, Virginia A., and Llewellan were listed, as well as a Jacksonville Peak in the household. William and Virginia were attending school. Living quite near was Rebecca’s sister, Harriett Jarboe. Why these families briefly moved to Macoupin County is a mystery. The Jarboe’s were back in Jersey County in 1855.

Rebecca may have returned to Jerseyville in the 1850s. In 1854 John M. purchased a lot in Burke’s Addition to Jerseyville. A biographical article on her son James indicated that the family was back in Jerseyville circa 1858. Rebecca’s daughter Virginia did attend Mrs. Corbett’s Young Ladies Seminary in the 1850s, so the family probably moved back to Jerseyville after 1850.

By 1860 Rebecca, without John, was living in Mason County, Illinois. Her son William and his family were in the same area. William was in Mason County by 1858, when he was married there. Perhaps she moved there with William or afterward to be near William, since she no longer had a husband to support her. Why she did not return to or remain in Jerseyville where she did have family to assist her is unknown. From the census it appears that she lived in the town of Bath, with no real estate and a personal estate valued at $100. She now reported she was born in Pennsylvania. Virginia was 17 and James L. was 14. Living with them was a Samuel Ford, age 25, a blacksmith born in New Jersey with a personal estate valued at $100. There is a possibility that this Samuel Ford was related to the Hutchinsons and may have gone to Mason County to assist Rebecca.

In a group of letters recently found, we have the only letter in existence written by James L. in this time period. He was about fifteen at the time. He was evidently working as a clerk, since the letter was written on the letterhead of the Beesley Brothers, who owned a general store at Bath. (35) In the letter he wrote his grandfather, asking for his ice skates and sending boxes to his grandmother, with his typical attention to financial matters.

The letter was probably to William Hansell, Rebecca’s father. The Ginnie referred to may have been his sister, who could have been in Jerseyville at the time. Rebecca must have been contemplating a visit to her family in Jerseyville.

Where Rebecca was between 1860 and 1870 has been difficult to determine. For the first part of this decade, the Civil War disrupted the lives of many families. We know that her son William was serving in the war and her son James was in Mason County, St. Louis and then the circus before he enlisted in the Army in 1865. James and his brother William were with a unit that was assigned guard duty at the Alton Prison during the last year of the Civil War. An Alton, Illinois City Directory for 1866 listed as ‘boarding’ a Mrs. Rebecca Hutchinson and a Llewellen Hutchinson. (39) This may indicate that Rebecca was taking in boarders, as one of the letters below indicates. In an earlier census, James L. was recorded as Llewellyn and he was referred to as Llewellyn by his Great Aunt Harriett. It is likely that this is our Rebecca. Just where Virginia was is not known.

The Caroline Snedeker Hill papers include letters from Caroline’s mother, Harriett (Sunderland) Snedeker that mention Rebecca and Virginia. Harriett was Rebecca’s aunt, though there was only ten years difference in their ages. There are also letters from her cousin, Anna McGannon. Together these letters indicate that Rebecca was back in Jerseyville by 1863 and then in Alton circa 1865. James L. was in St. Louis circa 1865.

In a letter from Anna McGannon, dated November 9, 1859, written from Jerseyville, Anna had received a letter from Virginia that stated she was happy where she was living, possibly Mason County (note the spelling Ginnie): “ . . . I received a letter from Ginnie Hutchinson on Friday and her whole talk was about a young man by the [name] of Barry. He invited her to go to a Ball. He went to the Singing School. (40) He was going to marry her, and much more nonsense, but for all that it was a good letter. She likes it very much where she is. . . .”

A January 1863 letter from Harriett Snedeker indicated that Rebecca and Virginia were in Jerseyville. Harriet wrote about her Christmas dinner for thirty people, and Rebecca was present. It indicated that Rebecca was living in Jerseyville, since she took in some of the guests when the weather prevented their return home. Virginia was invited to a party, which she did not attend, though at the time she was being squired to local events by a Henry and did not come home until 3 am! “. . . Rebecca Hutchinson said it reminded her of Balshazzer feast, the table she thought growned (sic groaned) with its burden(?). Everything passed off well, just as they were getting ready to go home between 4(?) and 5 it clouded _?_ & looked as if it would be wind. They all started Uncle Isaac ??lled his 2 horse farm wagon, the rest went a foot. One woman had her baby in a little carriage which David & John Monk drew along for her, but _?_ before they got to town it poured in torrents & as black as night. They all got soaking wet. I have not heard of one that got sick. However, B.(R.?) Hutchinson took Davies & wife & little girl in & staid all night. She said the [unreadable sentence]. She said she was going to charge it to me for it was my company. I was very sorry they had started. I would rather have kept them all night & if they had not got of[f] just as they did, they would all leave to have staid, for it stormed all night. It was a very pleasant day, came up very suddenly. Aunt Mary Combs had to keep her company until morning. Aunt Mary(?) Snedeker went _?_. Jennie Hutchinson, Maggie Mo???, Samuel, Henry, Lloyd, young people were invited but did not go. Jin(?) had been at a ball the night before & slept all day. The children had the measles & they had just been killing & were in the grease & Harriet thought she would not go. Minerva, _?_ Henry staid until last Monday. He has gone back to McC??(Mcoupin?) to go to school there. He is quite pleased with Jin Hutchinson. Minerva tells me [he] went home with her from meeting last Sunday night. _?_ _?_ did not come in until 3 in the morning. . . .”

On February 22, 1863, Harriett wrote about Virginia and probably Caroline’s Uncle Henry, possibly the Henry mentioned above. “. . . Uncle Henry & Jennie Hutchinson had just come in, she with her mother’s old black silk to get me to show her how to fit it up for her. . . .” Harriet continued the letter the next day, relating that Rebecca was at their home to use what was probably a sewing machine. Rebecca was working on a dress for Virginia, who was to attend a party with a Will McAdams. “. . . I fully intended finishing this yesterday morning. Just at this point Uncle H. & Rebecca Hutchinson came to spend the day with her work to use the machine. She had been here on Saturday also with her work. I did not expect her either day. I was very busy with the greese (sic) & would rather she had come any other day, so this [lettre] had to be laid aside. . . . Rebecca had me to buy some cheap silk for Jennie’s flounce as she had promised to attend a practicing dancing party held every Friday eve with Will McAdams . . . Jennie came & worked on the machine & sponged her dress. . . .”

In circa 1864 Harriett wrote about the sisters going to visit Uncle Lloyd, probably Lloyd W. Sunderland, Harriett’s brother, who was Rebecca’s Uncle. Rebecca’s sister was Elizabeth McGannon. Rebecca did not go with them, she and an Uncle William were in St. Louis where James L. (Llewellyn) was living. This was probably Rebecca’s son William, brother of James L., who was home from the Civil War from June to October 1864.

One letter, undated but probably near the end of the Civil War, Harriett was in Alton where her son was ill, and subsequently died. She was staying with Rebecca and Virginia (“Jennie”), and apparently Rebecca was not financially well off at the time, taking in boarders to support herself. It is assumed that Harriett was talking about a prevalent illness in Alton when she mentioned “her children have not had it & Jennie is afraid of it.” “. . . Rebecca is so kind. I shall never forget her, although her children have not had it & Jennie is afraid of it. She makes me come there & makes me take things to John, poor thing. I wish she was better of[f]. She has such a good heart. She will make me sleep with her & Jennie lays on anything she can muster up on the floor. That is the way that they have had to lay all winter, almost froze, not enough to cover them & we have not a bolster or pillow to put under ones heads. If I live(?) to get home I will gather an old bolster & pillow, as I have more than I have beds & try to fix up an old straw bed on purpose for my own accommodation when I come here. I feel sorry for her. She has very genteel boarders & I wonder she makes things appear as well as she does. Everything is so high(?).” The letter continued, dealing with feminine attire, mentioning Virginia (“Jennie”) and James L. (“Shorty”). James L. gave Virginia the funds to purchase a dress.

Harriett’s letter dated December 2, 1867 again mentioned Rebecca. Harriett was raising birds to sell and the one that she was to give Rebecca got loose and did not survive.

By 1870 Rebecca was living in Jerseyville with James L. and Virginia. She did not list an occupation, but she again stated she was born in Pennsylvania and had real estate valued at $1,000, personal estate at $500. Virginia was a music teacher and James L. an agent for P. A. Older’s Circus. James L. had a personal estate valued at $750, an unusual census entry for a son. Rebecca listed herself as a widow and a milliner in the 1880 census. This, and the letters above indicate that she was supplementing her income, though she was probably primarily supported by James L. She may have used the term to describe lace making, though she may have also been a dress maker. She was now living alone, enumerated just before Theodore Dodson. Her adopted grand daughter, Vivienne, married Theodore Dodson’s son.

In May 1881 Rebecca made a trip East, probably to visit James L. in New York City. Her married daughter, Virginia Smith, accompanied her on the trip. (41) The next year she again visited James L. during Christmas, accompanied by her daughter Virginia and her sister Harriett. (42) She made two trips to New York to see James L. in 1884. The first was in March with Virginia, then again at Christmas, accompanied her grand daughter, Ettie/Ella Johnson, and her daughter Virginia. (43) Rebecca probably visited yearly, but the next visit mentioned in the local newspaper was in December 1888. (44)

Rebecca was a regular letter writer to her son James. She also wrote her grand daughter, Edith circa 1890s. She recommended either a Baptist or Quaker church affiliation. The Vi_?_ in the letter is probably her daughter, Virginia, who taught music, or her grand daughter Vivienne.

Edith my dear little girl. I was very glad to get your letter it was kind in you to write when I know you have so many things to interest you. I love to hear of all you do but I don’t love the skating very much. It is fine fun but I prefer the pavement or floor. There is _?_ no chance to swim if you get in a hole but be very very cautious now. Going to Sunday School is nice. I hope its a Baptist or Friends. They are the best. Don’t put on any fashionable airs to please the people and now I think that mouth full of Gold would feel funny too. I never had a mouthfull. I think I would strech [sic?] awfully to see how much I could get in. Now I will tell you something that may not seem funny to you but to me it was a great pleasure. When I came one year ago with your picture someone here said who is it for it looks just like you. Now wasn’t that nice for me. Now I know you are a very loveable girl so kind to everybody. I do hope pride won’t spoil you and I hear you are getting along so nice with your music. I love music dearly. I always listen to boys whistling in the street. Vi_?_ is doing splendid too. Next week the Alton conservatory has a recital here. She plays one piece & sings two will graduate next year. She has 4 scholars here and teaches 7 at Alton. I wish you would write to her. She sends her love & we wish you a very hapy [sic] new year. Give my love to your brothers and sister. I _?_ _?_ too. He gave me two good kisses when I left. I should like to give them back & some to all the family _?_. Now my dear little girl write to me as often as you can. With lots of love to you & all from Grandma.

In 1895 the local newspaper wrote about the Baptist Church that Rebecca joined soon after coming to Jerseyville:(45) “ . . . the strong church element existing in Jerseyville. There are in all nine flourishing churches as reported below . . . . . With the founding of the town, came the organization of her churches, and more than fifty years ago thirteen friends of the Baptist order, met and established the First Baptist church of Jerseyville. It is interesting to hear how these good people had a Sabbath morning service of two long sermons, with thirty minutes intermission; while the time set for evening worship was ‘at early candlelight. . . . The present large church edifice is lighted by electricity, and has a Sunday School room, parlors, and kitchen which are models of convenience. . . . Deacon Cooper and Mrs. Johnson, constituent members, and Mrs. Rebecca Hutchinson, the first lady baptized, are still among us. . . .”

A photo in her granddaughter’s album, dated 1898, shows Rebecca visiting her son James L. in Washington, DC. This may be when she received the rose from President McKinley, who was our twenty-fifth President, 1897-1901 (see Rebecca’s obituary below).

In 1909 Rebecca was still living in Jerseyville, though spending the winter with her grand daughter, Vivienne. She celebrated her 93rd birthday with a dinner: “Helps to Cook Dinner in Honor of Her 93 Years. Mrs. Hutchinson Also Announces She Will Celebrate the Centennial. She Is A Philosopher. For Sixty Years Now She Has Not Tasted Any Medicine. Mrs. Rebecca Hutchison [sic] of Jerseyville, Ill., looked after the preparation of the dinner which was served at her home to near relatives on her ninety-third birthday. She was the merriest one at the dinner and joined with vivacity in the discussion of recent events, including the discovery of the North Pole, and declared herself a partisan of Dr. Cook. She announced her purpose of coming to St. Louis next week to see the Veiled Prophet and take part in the celebration of the city’s centennial. To her guests who marveled at her health and strength she gave her rules for longevity. They are:

“Go to bed early, Get up early, Eat plenty of fruit, Don’t eat when you are sick.

“By following these rules she has contrived to get along the past 60 years without taking any medicine. With her rules of living she mixes a wholesome philosophy. ‘It is a very funny world, after all,’ she says. ‘If you look for sunshine you’ll find it, and if you look for clouds you will find them.’ . . . Only one thing in the world troubles her. That is the fact that she has not as much to give to the poor as she would like to give. Mrs. Hutchison was born in Rocksbury, Pa., in 1816, and was married to John Hutchison when she was 16. She has lived in Jerseyville since 1837, 72 years. She has five children. Two died in infancy. One son, William, died last August, at the age of 73. Another son is James L. Hutchison of Englewood, N. J., who has been a partner in Barnum & Bailey’s circus for 25 years. A daughter, Mrs. Virginia Smith, lives with her own daughter, Mrs. Clarence Dodson, at 5381 Wells avenue, St. Louis. She has 13 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She spends the summers with her son, James, at Shelter Island, L. I., and is fond of boating and motoring. . . . Her only impaired faculty is her hearing. She says she is glad she does not hear well, because she is unable to hear unkind things that might be said about her. ‘I have lived many years,’ she said Tuesday, ‘and there is only one thing that I ask. That is kindness. It costs nothing to give it and everyone feels better for having done so.’ She wrote a letter the other day to her son, James, and closed with this original verse:

“Step lightly over trouble,
Don’t let your courage flee,
But view it as a bubble,
Dancing o’er the lea.”

“Mrs. Hutchinson will spend the winter at the home of her granddaughter, Mrs. Dodson, 5381 Wells avenue.”

The Veiled Prophet that Rebecca planed to attend was a huge celebration in St. Louis. It was developed by the businessmen of St. Louis and said to be the equivalent of the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In 1883 it included a parade in which the “Prophet will make his triumphal progress on Tuesday evening next. He and his high priests, heralds, standard bearers, and other attendants will head a procession which, it is predicted will be sixteen miles long. Following the Veiled Prophet’s chariot there will be a moving panorama of floats representing almost every conceivable thing, until far back toward the tail of the procession, the carriages will be mere advertising wagons. The float following that in which the Prophet will be seated will represent Fairyland, with Queen Mab seated in a coach formed of a nut and drawn by mice. . . . The brewers will furnish a complete set of floats illustrating beer in all its stages, from its birth as simple John Barleycorn to the time when it disappears from the foaming beakers. . . . Some tobacco firms will have floats preparing tobacco, and will throw out papers of the Indian weed to the multitudes on the line of march. . . . Veiled Prophet night will be a night of glory.” (46) In 1909 the event coincided with the St. Louis Centennial, opening with the bells of 444 churches in the city. (47) In addition to the parade headed by the Veiled Prophet, there were aeroplane flights, balloon races and speed contests between dirigible air craft. There was a reception for Dr. Frederic A. Cook, arctic explorer, who also made a number of public appearances.

Newspapers were filled with articles on the controversy over who was the first man to have reached the North Pole in 1909. Frederic A. Cook claimed in September 1909 that he had reached it in April 1908, but could not return until the next year due to the break-up of ice. Five days after Cook announced his success, Robert E. Peary announced that he had reached the North Pole in April 1909 and labeled Cook a fake. “Dr. Cook has handed the public a ‘gold brick,’” Peary wired in a message on his return from the Arctic. Credit for first reaching the North Pole was eventually given to Robert Peary. There is no proof that either man ever reached the North Pole, and the controversy continues to this day.

The next year Rebecca was featured in an article in a St. Louis newspaper: “Woman; 93 Years Old, at Horse Show First Time and Wants to Go Again. Mrs. Rebecca Hutchinson Declares She Had ‘Best Time in Life.’ Sorry for the Losers. Nonogenarian Believes Horses Enjoy Contest as Much as Human Beings. Mrs. Rebecca Hutchinson of 5383A Wells avenue is 93 years old, and saw a horse show for the first time Thursday night. She was the guest of the Post-Dispatch. It also was her first visit to the Coliseum, and it is safe to say that of the thousands at the Horse Show non enjoyed it more than Mrs. Hutchinson. With her granddaughter, the latter’s husband, and a representative of the Post-Dispatch, Mrs. Hutchinson occupied a center box, and not a horse, man or woman entering the arena escaped her eye and comment. Mrs. Hutchinson was born in Rockville, near Philadelphia, and came West in 1833. Her home is in Jerseyville, Ill., but she is spending the winter with her daughter, Mrs. Virginia Smith, of 5383 Wells avenue. She is the mother of J. L. Hutchinson of New York, retired showman, and friend of President Taft. Mr. Hutchinson for many years was associated in the management of the Barnum & Bailey show, and played golf last winter with President Taft at Augusta, Ga. It was 76 years ago that Mrs. Hutchinson first saw St. Louis and her recollections and reminiscences of old St. Louis are vivid and interesting. . . .

Her son, James L. commented on the article: “I really don’t think the dear old soul knows a horse from a mule, but the press agent made her say a lot which must have astonished her when she read it.” (48) James L. planned and probably made a trip to St. Louis to visit Rebecca in February 1910. (49)

By 1910, Rebecca’s health was not good. In April James L. wrote that she was improving but still unable to walk unaided. (50) In June James L. wrote that Rebecca reported she was getting better, but slowly. James L. had hired a trained nurse and a doctor. (51) James L. died in September, Rebecca was to live two more years.

At one time Rebecca spent her summers at the summer home of her son James L. at Shelter Island, New York. Later she spent her winters with her daughter Virginia in St. Louis. It appears that her son, James L., provided financial support for Rebecca, including purchasing her home. Near the time of her death she lived with her grand daughter in St. Louis, Mrs. C. N. Dodson. One of the things she was very proud of was the rose she received from President McKinley when she made a visit to the White House. Rebecca was buried on May 4, 1912, and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery. She outlived all of her children. Rebecca’s obituaries: (52)

Rebecca Hutchinson

The children of John Hutchinson and Rebecca Hansell were:

Virginia A. Hutchinson

Virginia A. Hutchinson died on August 22, 1911 in St. Louis, Missouri and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Jerseyville. Her full name was probably Virginia Alma Hutchinson. (53) Her birth dates range from 1842 to 1845 in census records. In the 1900 census she was listed as born in March 1845. Her tombstone states 1845. Since she was always listed before her brother James in the census records, she was probably born before 1845. She married Charles E. Smith on March 30, 1876 in Jersey County. (54)

Virginia “Jennie” was mentioned in the Caroline Snedeker letters above. Otherwise, we have little information. She was teaching music, as indicated by the 1870 census and a 1874 mention in the local newspaper: “Miss Krumpanitzky and Miss Hutchison [sic], of this city, are teaching music in Kane.” (55) In 1880 Virginia and Charles were living in Jerseyville with no children. Remarkably, Virginia listed her age as 26, which would put her birth circa 1854. Perhaps the census taker made an error, or Virginia listed an age closer to that of her husband who was listed as age 27. Virginia stated that she did not know her father’s birthplace and her mother born in New York. Charles was a carpenter at the time.

In the 1890 St. Louis Directory, (56) a Jennie V. Smith was listed as a teacher, boarding at 117 Benton. A Jennie Smith, widow of Charles, occupation restaurant, was living at 705 S. Broadway, restaurant at 1535 S. Broadway. These are probably Virginia, who married Charles Smith, and Virginia’s adopted daughter, Vivienne.

Virginia, Vivienne, Rebecca

This photo is said to be Vivienne with her doll buggy, Rebecca holding her pollparet [sic], and Virginia (Jennie). (57) The photo was probably taken circa 1886-88, based on Vivienne’s 1882 birth, so the identification may be correct. In the Snedeker letters Rebecca did have a parrot(s).

By 1900 Virginia was a widow, living with her mother on W. Pearl St. in Jerseyville. No record of Charles’ death has been found. Her birth date is reported as March 1845, father born in Pennsylvania, mother in New Jersey. She stated she had no children. Her name was listed as Smith, V., Jennie, which confirms that the Jennie in the Caroline Snedeker letters above was Virginia Hutchinson. In the household was the 18 year old adopted daughter of Virginia and Charles, Vivian, born March 1882 in Missouri. Virginia and Charles may have been in Missouri between 1880 and 1900.

According to descendants of Virginia’s daughter, Vivienne, James L. was generous with gifts for his sister Virginia. He had china made with their initials to use when they had tea, and gave them two music boxes made by a prominent St. Louis jeweler. When Rebecca visited James L. in the East, he gave her trunks full of linens and other items to bring back with her.

By 1910 Virginia was living in St. Louis at the Wells Avenue address. Living with her was Rebecca who this time claimed she was born in Pennsylvania. Virginia’s obituary was brief: “Mrs. Virginia Hutchinson Smith died suddenly of heart failure at her home 5383 Wells Ave., St. Louis, MO Tuesday afternoon, August 22, 1911. Burial at Jerseyville from Baptist church, Friday at 10:30 am.” (58)