Thomas Mozley writes to his fiancee from Milwaukee, 1846

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Van Natta
Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Year range
1846 - 1846

1846 was a big year for 23-year-old Thomas Mozley. On January 3 the Baptist church in Erie, Pennsylvania, licensed him to preach. In the late spring of 1846, he took the ship Clarion from Erie to the south end of Lake Michigan, looking over the country and networking with fellow Baptists. Meanwhile his courtship of Elizabeth Van Natta was moving along. Should they emigrate to this near-frontier? From Milwaukee he wrote back to her.

   On board the Clarion
   Milwaukie June 7 / 46
   Dear Elizabeth
   I landed at this place last evening about 7 oclock &
   was glad I assure you to set my feet on “terra firma” Our
   passage here has been as short & pleasant as I could have
   expected the particulars of which I must reserve for a future
   communication I was somewhat anxious to reach this place
   on Saturday night or early Sabbath Morning but was not
   permitted & felt rather lonesome being deprived of the
   priveliges of the Sanctuary however I spent the day in
   reading &c & as I have before said landed about 7 oclock as
   soon as I could conveniently go ashore I set out for the City
   which is about 1/2 a mile from the place where we landed &
   after some enquiry found the residence of Mr Jacks [?] with
   whom I have some acquaintance I there enquired for the
   Baptist Church being anxious if there was evening meeting
   to attend Mrs. Jacks went with me to the Church Eld
   Tremann preached not their pastor but one who supplies his
   desk yesterday he being absent Mrs Jacks introduced me to
   Brn Sibley & Byron two of the prominent members of the
   Church here I called on Br Byron this morning &
   conversed with him about the Church here & c Met with
   two old acquaintances from Ohio this morning in the City
   who had come
   When I sat down to write the Missouri was just in
   sight She passed us just now I saw Henry & intend to send
   this by him Capt Davis & Lady have just gone up to the
   City & are intending to go out into the country while we are
   gone to Chicago we are expecting to sail if we get a breeze
   in an hour or so I like the appearance of this City very well
   from what I have seen the most pleasant part for residences
   being high & dry & commanding a fine view of the bay river
   &c but I must reserve any further description until a future
   Have been very strongly advised to take a tour into
   the country & have had some serious thoughts myself of
   going out to Mr Thomas region but have concluded not to
   go at present keep aboard until we go to Chicago & see that
   place also am told by all I have conversed with here that the
   Country N & West of Milwaukie is far superior to that
   about Chicago however if I am spared I shall see for myself
   in a day or two providing the wind is fair & shall then be
   able to determine whether to remain in this country or not at
   present I hardly know what to do I try to pray from day to
   day for direction from above & hope that whatever my
   future course may be it may be in accordance with the Will
   of my Heavenly Father I trust dear Sister you will not cease
   to pray daily that this may be the case
   Should I remain any length of time in this region I
   will write you again soon & let you know my prospects &c.
   You will be anxious to know the state of my health
   I feel much better than I did when I left Erie & have no
   doubt the trip will benefit my health much Oh that the
   health of my soul might improve also & my inward man be
   refreshed I hope dear Sister your health is good & it is my
   daily prayer that God would keep you & grant you every
   blessing & prolong your life for usefulness in his vineyard
   so that if we are permitted to be united in yet stronger ties
   we may be a blessing to each other & to the kingdom of our
   Lord. I remain ever yours,
   Thos. Mozley
   Remember me to your Mother & Mable &c.

Thomas returned to Erie — we don’t know what he thought of Chicago! — Rev. Ira Corwin married him and Elizabeth September 3, 1846. On October 10 they left for central Wisconsin, where their seven children were later born.


born 23 July 1822 Collingham, Nottinghamshire, England

married 3 September 1846, Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania Elizabeth Van Natta, daughter of William Van Natta and Sarah Thompson, born 10 Oct 1821, Chautauqua, Chautauqua County, New York, died 8 Jan 1910 Ripon, Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin -- seven children

died 21 September 1877, Marquette, Marquette County, Wisconsin

ANCESTORS: We know all four of his grandparents and his four maternal great-grandparents.

COUSINS: At least three of his seven siblings marreid and had children. His brother Edward married Elizabeth’s sister Mabel, so their descendants (in Kansas and Missouri) are double cousins.