Philander Chase



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Philander Chase tells his brother Dudley about a recent and prolific watermelon harvest.




Philander Chase, Dudley Chase, garden, harvest, farming


Robinsnest, Peoria Co. Ill: Sept.

Dear Brother Dudley,

As you are a farmer from choice and I from necessity; and as we both are the immediate witnesses of God’s goodness in rewarding the labour of our hands by the blessings of his providence in the fruits of the Earth, it affords me pleasure and you I know will take [?] pleasure in hearing from me the following instance of the fruitfulness of our soil in Illinois. Take it as it stands on record all my family being witnesses to the exactness as well as truths of the fac. Viz

The vines of one Watermelon seed which fell accidentally into the Earth by the side of a cornfield planted in June 1837 and which had no other manure than the natural soil never before this year ploughed or cultivated, provided thirteen Watermelons weighing as follows-- viz:

The lb. oz. 32 6

2. 28 ----

3. 28 ----

4. 25 “ 6

5. 25 ----

6-- 23. -

7. 21. 6

8-- 21 -

9. 20

10-- 14-6

11-- 19 -

12 10 -- 6

13. 8 -- 6


282 “ 0 } 13 times the bag in which they were bought

---6 - 6


275 6 nett[sic] weight

Sept. 22 1837

These melons were all ripe and sweet but not so [?] so as my melons in general which were planted in may. They were growing at the time the frost on the evening of the 20th came & injured the vine.

Our corn planted as above stated is not injured: being the first crop on the turf it is not so generally good as when the sod becomes mellowed by culture, but we think hence sufficient to feed us and our animals thro’ the approaching winter. Our crop of Turnips both Russian and Eng’h look uncommonly fine; On 2 or 3 acres there will probably be more than we can use. Our wheat sown in Aug’t & Sep’t looks very fine. There is more than 12 acres of this.

So much for the natural, and what shall I say of our spiritual Culture?

Alas the fields are white indeed unto harvest but where are the Labourers? Pray, O let me ask you to join me in praying that the Lord would send forth labourers unto his harvest!

In about a week from this I set our my third visitation tour. This time I must go to the southern part of the Diocese: but my cares at home to keep my dear family from the inclemencies of the approaching winter will force me back again sooner than it were to be wished.

[Do] not forget me Dear Brother! Let me hear from you once more in this world.

Give my love to those whom you know I love so dearly-- all by brothers and sisters nephews & nieces and all their little onces and believe be

Your ever affectionate



I send you by this mail a copy of my Illinois Pastoral letter.

Letter to Dudley Chase



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