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Jennings, Rev. Samuel Carnahan
Collection of incoming Correspondence to Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Samuel Carnahan Jennings and his wife, Emma Passavant Jennings, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1828-1850

33 letters, 95 manuscript pages, letters dated 24 April 1828 to 24 April 1850.

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Description of Correspondence:

13 letters, 34 pp., written to the Rev. Samuel C. Jennings, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dated 24 April 1828 to 4 February 1847. The letters were written by Thos. Dill (1); Uncle Jennings, Nashville (1); Elizabeth Wickes, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1); [A.J. McDoude], Steubenville, Ohio (1); John Howe, Greensburg, Kentucky (1); [J.G. Hining], Steubenville, Ohio (1); uncle Samuel Chidester, Chippewa, Wayne Co., Ohio (2); W.L. [Breckinnager], Louisville, Kentucky (1); a cousin John H. Chidester, Cleveland, Ohio (1);  sister Maria Jennings Mercer, Mansfield, Ohio (2); and cousin Ephraim Chidester, Chippewa, Ohio (1). The letters are written by family, friends, and associates. They are informative on events and news in their respective communities, with much matter devoted to family news, religion, social life, etc.

16 letters, 48 pp., written to Mrs. Emma P. Jennings, c/o Rev. Jennings, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and also later at Moon Post Office, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, dated 1 December 1831 to 24 April 1850. Four of the letters are not dated, but are from the same time period as the rest of the letters in the collection. The correspondents of Mrs. Jennings include: her mother Zelie (Basse) Passavant, Zelienople, Pennsylvania (5);  Mina Tickwolff, Economy, Pennsylvania (1); a friend Catharine Harman, Springfield, Delaware County, Pennsylvania and Germantown (3); a friend Susan [Gilliat], Newport, Rhode Island (1); brother William A. Passavant, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania (2); friend Isabel, Steubenville, Ohio (1); one other; there are also 2 letters written in German by Sophia Ehrman, Pittsburgh. The letters are written by family, friends, and associates. The letters contain much information on family news, religion, social life, etc. The letters from her mother are especially about their lives back home in Ohio.

4 miscellaneous letters, 13 pages., including 2 letters written to Mrs. Zelie  Passavant, Zelienople near Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania, one by her son-in-law the Rev. Jennings of Pittsburgh with the other written by a friend, Elizabeth Campbell of Detroit, Michigan. Mr. P.L. Passavant, of Zelienople, received a letter from his son-in-law the Rev. Sam'l C. Jennings, and Maria (Jennings) Mercer, Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio, received a letter from her sister-in-law Emma (Passavant) Jennings, of Pittsburgh. These four letters are dated 15 July 1830 to 10 August 1844.

        Rev. Samuel C. Jennings (1803-1885) and his wife Emma Passavant Jennings (1811-1888)

The Rev. Samuel C. Jennings was born near Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, on 19 February 1803 and he died in Sharon, Pennsylvania on 15 October 1885. He was buried at the Sharon Church Cemetery at Carnot, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Ebenezer Jennings (-1808), a physician, on one of the first practitioners of medicine in his area of Washington County, Pennsylvania. Ebenezer was a member of the General Assembly in 1806-1807. He settled in Smith Township, purchased a small farm two miles east of Burgettstown and married Mercy Chidester.

The Rev. Samuel C. Jennings was left an orphan at an early age and grew up in the family of his grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Jennings, of Dunlap's Creek, Pennsylvania, where he spent his boyhood. In 1818 Samuel went to Washington (PA) to enter the preparatory department of the college there. In 1819 he entered the academy at Steubenville, Ohio, where his uncle Rev Obadiah Jennings, D.D. was pastor, and with whose church he united in April 1820. In May 1820 he became a student at Jefferson College at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, graduating in the spring of 1823. Then he visited his sister Marie (Jennings) Mercer in Cleveland, Ohio, at that time a village of 800 inhabitants. While there he received an offer to become principal of the academy and taught all the youth of the town with the exception of the smaller schools. In 1824 he entered Princeton Theological Seminary and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1827, and graduated that year.  He served as a colporteur for the American Bible Society for a few months, and then succeeded a Mr. Andrews in the editorship of the Spectator (formerly Pittsburgh Recorder) in 1828; with a few years he assumed also editorship of the Presbyterian Preacher.

The Rev. Samuel C. Jennings was the first minister of Mt. Pisgah Presbyterian Church of Greentree and led the church from 1830 to 1848. In 1830 he divided his time between preaching at the Sharon Church and editing The Christian Herald. He soon after helped found Greentree Church. He also preached at Long Island (Neville Island), Sewickley, Mansfield, and Temperanceville. In 1848 he had four churches under his care.  He was the Pastor at Sharon Church (Sharon, Pennsylvania -Moon Township) from 1829 until he retired in 1879. He died 10 October 1885.

The Rev. Samuel C. Jennings married on 7 June 1831, Emma Marie Wilhelmina Passavant (1811-1888). She was born 2 March 1839, the daughter of Philip L. and Zelie (Basse) Passavant. Emma died on died 12 May 1888 and was also buried at the Sharon Church Cemetery at Carnot, Pennsylvania. Emma's family was descended from Huguenots who left France in 1594, settled in Switzerland, and afterwards a branch of the same family went to Germany. Emma's parents came to America from Frankfort-on-the Main to Zelienople, Pennsylvania in 1807. They were Lutherans, but Emma became a Presbyterian in 1831. Together Emma and the Rev. Jennings had at least six children:  Zelie (1834-)l Emma (1836-); Rev. Phillip S. (1839-1903), pastor of Mt. Pisgah Presbyterian Church of Greentree from 1878-1903, he married Alice Proctor; Virginia (1842-) who married Dettmar L. Ehrmann; Dr. S. Detmar (1844-) who married Juliette McAboy; and Mary (1847-).

One of the correspondents is the Rev. Samuel C. Jennings' sister, Maria Jennings (1801-1881). She was seven years old when her parents died and was raised by her Aunt Ann Jennings Mitchell, wife of Dr. Mitchell, of Washington, Pennsylvania. In 1818 she married Boyd Mercer, founder of the Boyd Mercer Scholarship at Wooster University, Wooster, Ohio. Mary died at Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and was buried at Cross Creek Church Cemetery in Washington Co, Pennsylvania.

       Sample Quotations:

"Philadelphia Mar. 27th 1831

 Very Dear Friend,

We still every week are favored with a token of your remembrance of us, for which we thank you very kindly. The interesting accounts, which we have in your paper of the temperance reform west of the mountains, have warmly enlisted our feelings in the cause. Oh! That it was more extensively felt. What a mighty engine would it prove against one of Satan's most deadly weapons that he levels so effectually at the souls of men! How many millions does he lure to destruction by the intoxicating draught for it is the forerunner of ten thousand evils. You have doubtless seen in some of the periodicals, the announcement of the decease of my much loved partner, on the 17th of October last. On Sabbath morning about 5 o'clock, he fell sweetly asleep on the bosom of our dear Savior, whom he loved; and yet mourned that he did not love him more, and serve him better. He was entirely confined to his bed for 12 weeks and 3 days. The excessive heat of last July overcame his feeble frame, and he gradually sunk under it without any cooperating disease. During his confinement, he passed through various exercises of mind, the great enemy made many attacks on him, but through Divine aid he was enable with much striving to resist. On one occasion he uttered the following words with great vehemence, "No, no, no, I never shall be banished from the presence of the Lord, for I do delight in the law of God after the inner man!" When I see you, I shall say many things to you on the subject, which I cannot write. The dear man always said that the publicans prayer suited him to the last. O! That we may follow him, as he followed hard after his Divine Master, and took delight in honoring him. And now, dear Sir, the time for the meeting of the General Assembly is drawing nigh. You said in your last letter, you expected to be delegate to that body this spring. We should be much gratified to see you...I still remain ...Elizabeth Wickes"

"June 7th 1832

Dr. Sir,

I have obtained a subscription to the number of 18 for the book of Dr. Jennings against A. Campbell, and now I am at a loss to know what to do with the money. I am unwilling to risk it by mail to Pittsburgh, some years ago I attempted transmitting 13 or 15$ to Mr. Skillman in Lexington of this State, at his risk, which never reached him, as I learned from himself afterwards and as none of our merchants are going ton immediately to the East, I feel unwilling to hazard transmission to you in Pittsburgh, nor do I ask you to run the hazard, as you expect no pecuniary profit. If you could put up the 18 books in a small box and send them to Louisville, directed to P. B. [Throod], Greensburg, KY, with care of Chambers & Garvin, Louisville, I can obtain them from thence by some of our merchants, and if it would meet your wishes, I could with ease and safety transmit  the money to sister Jennings in Nashville. You will please write and direct me, and the money shall be subject your order. I have some gratifying acquaintance with Dr. Jennings, his piety and talent, and have no doubt his book will be a blessing to the Church and world; and therefore have taken some interest in its circulation.

Yours affectionately, John Howe"


"Springfield Aug 24th 1832

My beloved Emma,

So many weeks have elapsed since your last, dated May 4th I can no longer keep in the patience and am determined to lay aside all ceremony to send two letters to your one, for our letters so seldom or never miscarry that my answer I can scarcely doubt could not have reached you, if you have written since the receipt of it. I shall be obliged to wait until I go to the city before I can get it, circumstances are such now that the Cholera has visited Philadelphia that I have little or no intercourse with it, some of my dearest friends having left there, but so late as two weeks ago. I understood no letters had arrived in P for me, it is the wish of my heart my dearest Emma that sickness may not have been the cause of your not writing.

But I believe I might as well at once begin to be reconciled to receive letters from you just when your "numerous engagements" will permit you to remember you friend, and however disagreeable it may be to think of, that every year may see a decrease of your valued epistles, yet I know that this must be the case for your cares will increase, as married ladies' generally do, I will therefore endeavor to relinquish the habit I have of feeling uneasy whenever my length of time, passes without hearing from you, yet I cannot but indulge the hope that you will not neglect me even should you ever be in the possession of half a dozen little treasures.

Every word mentioned in your last letter was exceeding interesting to me, and yet it would have been more so had you related nothing but what concerns yourself, do always remember this when you write.

When you last heard of my proceedings I was at Plymouth my stay there was continued to six weeks. I took my departure from there about the 26th of June with heavy heart, and with a determination that nothing but necessity should force me to behold a place perhaps ever unless it is vacated by a person; that has occasioned me willfully many a pang, he has my utter contempt and absence will soon erase his memory from my thoughts. I have no wish that Dr. C's fate should have ever been connected with mine, I have acted extremely foolish and deserve what I have suffered. I returned to the city and remained a short time, thence in company with Mrs. Sansom I made a delightful little journey to the sea-shore, the name of the place we visited was Squan, the boarding house we were entertained at was John German's, who can accommodate about twenty persons, but there was little company the two weeks we stayed, so that we found ourselves very agreeably suited. for we did pretty much as we pleases. I never saw the sea before, and it was my delight daily to walk or ride to gaze at it for it was the distance of half a mile or three quarters o from the house yet in sight, this was the only inconvenience we felt whilst there, yet we had  a conveyance and a person to take us in to bathe always at command, terror almost overcame me the first time I was equipped in my bathing dress to go in amongst the breakers, but I made no resistance nor was the sound of my voice heard, the feeling was so delightful after the first bath, that I was induced to struggle against fear to try the experiment over several times. I always felt rejoiced when my feet were once more on safe ground. I employed myself one day a few minutes whilst walking on the beach in having the initials of all my friends names in the sand, yours among the rest; I tell you this to show you that in the midst of my enjoyments my friends are always remembered with a wish that they could participate them with me, feeling that they would increase my pleasure.

My happiness at Squan was interrupted by hearing the Cholera had reached New York and Philadelphia, and at the end of two weeks we returned back to the city, and after spending a day there with my dear friend E.B. Loyd, who I left with a sorrowful heart as she was on the eve of her first confinement, Mrs. Sansom and myself proceeded twelve miles over Schuylkill to a farm house where lodgings had been engaged for us to spend the remainder of the summer. There is nothing of an interesting nature happened since my residence there for me to communicate to you, but I am spending my time quite agreeably and this I know you will be pleased to hear. My friend E. B. Loyd has been confined by this date but I have not yet heard from her, my anxiety has been great on her account, these two weeks past, I hope for some news daily. I pray that it may be good. I hope the Cholera has not visited you yet, an if it does, that tit may not desolate you as it has other cities of our dear country. Please write soon to you attached friend, Catharine"


"Canonsburg May the 19th [1838]

My beloved Sister,

I am indeed afraid that you will think I have not been hastening very much in writing to you this session, but I hope you will not think me unkind when you recollect that I have not only to study a Horace and Geometry lesson daily, but also one in German and to prepare compositions every two weeks. Speaking of German, Wantzel teaches a class of ten each of whom is required to pay 500 at the end of the session to which class I also belong in addition to my regular college class. I am now once more settled and have a single room to myself which as it is situated on the top of the hill overlooks the whole town. By opening the window and door a fine current of air sweeps through the room and makes it most delightful in summer time. Before me stretched out like on a map extends clover fields, patches of forest, & farm houses are seen as far as the eye can reach and I can almost see as it were nature universal nature rejoicing in its own being and in the delightful season of spring. The surrounding hills are beginning to assume a delicate green, while the fruit and maple trees scattered here and there3 through the green fields have already received their summer foliage. The house where I board is a short distance from my room and when the appointed hours arrive for meals, I go there. Of our boarders you I suppose know or have heard of none except the 2 Bairds, Valadingham and Pressley from Pittsburgh. The only objection I have to the place is the board which is rather too good for the students, but you may well suppose this is a very trifling objection and very easily may be overruled. I have confined myself  to my old regulations of drinking nothing but Adams ale for breakfast and supper instead of coffee and tea, but I find it very difficult to remain my old habit  of arising at four in the morning and I have but once been able to get up before 5 o'clock....Give my love to Mr. Jennings, kiss the little innocents for me and remember me your dutiful and affectionate brother, William A. Passavant"

"February 12th, 1842

Dear Maria,

We received your letter yesterday and as the babe is taking a good long sleep, I will answer it directly. Do not, my dear Sister, count too certainly upon our visit to Ohio, least you should be disappointed for you know many things may intervene to prevent our going; besides sickness - At soonest we shall not be able to start before the beginning or middle of June, and I will tell you why - Early in the spring the outside of our house is to be plastered and of course we cannot leave till that is done - Then Samuel thinks of going to the General Assembly and should he be elected, he will not be home before the first of June. Even then my dear Maria, I shall be kept busy preparing the most necessary spring clothes, as I do not feel able to give out my sewing and can do but little with a babe continually hanging on the breast. You know how much four children require. Hitherto I have made the fewest, and most simple articles answer - but if we make a journey we must of course provide ourselves more plentifully. The Dearborn is so small that we cannot all be packed within its narrow limits - I will have to leave Harriet and Sidney behind, still my dear Maria I feel most willing to undertake the journey if it can be done, only I do not want you to tell your friends and acquaintances, and raise expectations which may never be realized.

On the 2nd of January I became the possessor of a third daughter --- a dear fat little thing, whom we call Virginia for my sister. As soon as my Mother was informed of the fact, she came to nurse me, but I was so well, that I did not require nursing. I never had a better recovery. Neither headache, fever, or chill and I felt remarkably strong and healthy. Thank s to that kind Providence; who can bring us through the greatest dangers in safety. I have not yet left the house on account of the inclemency of the weather, but I feel well enough to do so -- I regret that your health is too bad. Samuel says you must bathe your feet frequently in hot water, and use Rhubarb in the in the root to remove these [distasting] sick headaches. For my part, I find that cologne water, taken inwardly has a better effect upon me than anything else, but Samuel laughs at my cure, and does not deem it an effectual one....Emma"