Messrs. Rollin and Aldrich were ordained at Cincinnati last fall, as missionaries to the Creeks and Cherokees west of the Mississippi, and set out for their places of destination, Nov. 6, 1834. The two following letters, announced their safe arrival, and their prospects.
MR. ROLLIN TO DR. BOLLES.
Western Creek Mission, December 26, 1834.
My dear Sir,
Through the kind providence of God, we arrived in safety at the mission house, the 22d inst. All in the enjoyment of good health with the exception of our little Susan, who is sick with a cold. We fell in with bro. L. Davis, at the Creek Agency, (five miles from here,) who conducted us to the mission premises. We found the houses empty; not an article of furniture for our comfort or convenience, nor of food for our support. But through the exertions of bro. Davis and an African bro. who came to welcome us, we were supplied with meal and meat, upon which we supped with gratitude. After enjoying a season of social prayer, we rolled ourselves in our blankets, and sought refreshment in sleep.
Yesterday I attended a meeting four miles from here, at what is called the old Baptist meeting house, and preached to an assembly of Indians and Africans. After the service, upon the request of bro. Davis, all the members of the church present, came forward, one after another, and gave me their hand. It was difficult to supress the emotions of my mind on this interesting occasion. It is rather a low time in the church, as I learned from bro. Davis. But I am not able to write particulars for want of information.
Bro. Lewis has left the mission, and moved to Crawford county, as doubtless you will have heard ere this. I feel much responsibility at this critical time resting on me. After consulting bro. Davis, we have concluded it is our duty to labor together, i.e. including sister Rice and Colburn, with myself and family. Sister Colburn will go into the school, and I hold myself in readiness to render that assistance which circumstances will justify. I have notified the Indians, that school will commence on Monday next. On our arrival at Fort Smith, we were shocked with the intelligence of bro. O'Briant's death. Bro. Aldrich left us forty miles above Fort Smith, and thirty from his station.
My freight I left at Cincinnati, to be forwarded on to Fort Gibson. We feel the need of it greatly. We are much in want of funds to purchase necessaries. You may expect to hear from us again soon.
D. B. Rollin.
MR. ALDRICH TO DR. BOLLES.
Baptist Mission, Cherokee Nation, January 17, 1835.
Rev. and dear Sir,
Having ascertained, as near as possible, the state of things at the mission, I feel it of importance to lay it immediately before the Board. I arrived here on the 24th ult. was kindly received by the brethren; yet I am sorry to say, that, there is with the church generally, a want of life and spirituality. The number in the church is twenty-one; two or three of whom, are now under church discipline, which will probably result in the exclusion of one or more. Nothing has been done in reference to them, since my arrival.
The people appear very desirous to have their children instructed. The prospect is, that I shall be able to commence a school of fifteen or twenty in about one week, from this. There is a more favorable location for a school, about six miles north of this place. I have visited several of the families, and find them exceedingly anxious to have a school. They have pledged themselves to build, (at their own expense) a suitable house, could they be furnished with a teacher. There are twenty-five or thirty children, who live so compact, that they may board at home and attend school with convenience. A similar neighborhood cannot be found in the whole nation this side of the Mississippi. I cannot rest contented, and see so many children growing up in ignorance, under such circumstances. Will not the Board send more laborers. I hope they will not leave me to toil all alone, where there is so much to be done. I feel exceedingly weak in so large a field.
I have already three preaching places, and calls to labor in others. The country is so thinly settled, that but a few can be collected in any one place. Formerly meetings have been held at the mission house but once a month. No Sabbath school has been attempted. Since I came here, several slaves have expressed much anxiety for a Sabbath school, that they may learn to read. It will hardly be practicable to do any thing in this way, unless I give up appointments at a distance.
One of the chief barriers to the success of a missionary in this place, is the intemperance of the people: being so near the line, whisky is easily procured in Arkansaw. I have one great source of encouragement, and that is, the work is the Lord's. Your obedient servant,
S. S. ALDRICH
[From The Baptist Missionary Magazine, Volume XVI, 1836 pp. 163-164.
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