Lois Twichell and George BLackwell   Photo in 1908
Lois Clarinda Blackwell - Twichell  1841 - 1925   and her husband   George Blackwell  1834 - 1916
Photo 199


Communications between our Family over the years
This is the collection of items that have been reprinted here for viewing

Letter No 1

Written - Oct 1st, 1921 at Kirkella, Manitoba
By Lois Clarinda Blackwell (Twichell)
To her Niece -                          

(page 1)
You have no doubt looked for a letter from me for some time bit I was very ill in the spring in May while in Brandon before I came home and was not able to come home until the 18th of June.  My Children, all but Laura, came home to see me.  She could not come. 
Oct 5th.  And my letter not finished but ...... home had the thrashers here and they only got away last night and there was not much chance for writing while they were here.  Lena, Charles's wife, had no help and was pretty busy and I was glad to mind the baby for her. 
(page 2)
As I wrote in the first part, I was very ill.  My daughter, Mary, after she came form B.C. nursed me very faithfully.  .......... had done so before she came and by God's mercy I recovered sufficiently to come home on the 18th of June.  Mary coming with me but she was very ill after we got home and in bed 3 or 4 days and not able to go on to her home till near the end of June and not very well.  Then she stopped 24 hours to rest in Calgary and got home to Armstrong, B.C. July 1st. but developed Tonsillitis the next day.  She seemed to recover from that but was not well and was weak and ....and finally had to go to bed and keep quiet and have a nurse.   An artery in the brain burst and caused a clot on the brain and this has to be absorbed by the system and her recovery will be very slow. 
(page 3)
Her oldest son is a Dr. and he called in another Dr. of more experience and she is doing as well as can be expected, but as she has not been well for 6 years since the shock of her husbands sudden death, she can not recover rapidly.  Then I was ill.  It was acute indigestion and cataracts of the stomach that was the trouble and have had trouble with my heart some since and have been anxious about my dear Mary since her illness, also, I was anxious about Charlie's wife that after her confinement
Aug. 15th. She had a little boy then and got along well.  I went away after the baby came and stayed for 8 days for I had been so anxious that I needed a quiet place and rest from everything disturbing and it did me good and since Mary seems likely to get better, I do not seem to be troubled as much with my heart.
(page 4)
My daughter Seraph who broke down last Christmas teaching is some better and gone to her brothers who live at or near Kamloops, B.C.  She is some better but will not be able to teach this year, perhaps not before Easter.  Dr calls it rheumatism of the nerves and that it is slow to recovery from it affects her limbs and if she gets tired it is not easy to walk much, and she has to be careful and stays in the open air as much as possible but she can enjoy being with her friends and auto riding, writing letters has much to enjoy and has not suffer pain.
Our baby boy is doing fine.  We call him Maitland George, the first name for his father's.  2 - name and the last I gave him for his grandfather.  Charlie's little girl ........... was 2 in July, is very fond of the baby brother.  Your cousin George is keeping well and busy with his school and .........mentioned our visit in Minn. we both enjoyed so much.  Then I was ill last spring and did not think I would ever be able to write to you again.
(page 5)
I'm sorry you had such hot dry weather so hard on crops.  It will be so hard for money.  The crops are not good here but dry weather in July spoiled the prospects of June.  Rust developed and the yield is only about half what it should have been and the sample is poor feed for stock however is plentiful in this part but scarce in the Southern part of Man.
I heard from your cousin Addeline awhile ago that Hilma has another "boy".  I hope all is well with you and with all the dear friends and that I will hear from you before very long.  I should have written soon but have not been very well and with so much anxiety I would not ...settle down to writing.
(page 6)
 I had a letter from Laura not long since and she and her husband and family are well and Ben's Mother has so far recovered that she and Millicent went up there in an Auto in the Holidays and returned home again safely to Ellensburg, Wash.  The Mother can see but says everything seems like twilight. I hope you and your family are all well and the children doing well at school.  I trust you will write soon.  One of my greatest pleasures is in receiving letters.  Your Grandmother is gone and my days may not be many but I look for a home beyond this vale of change and often sorrow.

Your Aff Aunt
Clara Blackwell

The original letter is in my possession and it was written over a period of almost a month.  Her hand writing deteriorates as she writes as she obviously grows tired.  She also misses some spelling.  An example of this is in the way she signs the letter.....   Your Aff Aunt....    She obviously was writing the word "Affectionate" when she left it to be abbreviated.  We must remember that she has been ill and as reported in her memoirs, she suffered a stroke that left her body with little use but her mind was always sharp.   You will note that she uses the name Clara.  This was the name that she went by from childhood.  I refer to her as Lois, but I believe I am the only one that ever has.  Lois Clarinda Twichell was born in 1841 and was one of the very earliest pioneers into Minnesota with her father, Rev. Royal Twichell. This letter was written in October of 1921.  She died in 1925.   This letter was provided by Marilee Larkey (Cohoes) 



Letter No. 2

Written - Nov 25, 1906
By - Mrs. J. W. Anderson of Farewell, Minn.  R#2
To - Ruth Cohoes

Letter is being transcribed and will be posted here when done.



Letter No. 3

Written -  1935
Lucy Keller - Librarian, Grand Marais   (1935)

John Blackwell Jr. was born in Bristol, England in 1833.  With his father John, Senior, he came to Canada with his two brothers, George and Henry.   They completed their education in Montreal and worked on the Cathedral during its construction in that city.  The French tongue predominated at that time and John Junior could read and write it as well as speak it.
John Jr. and George were the first to migrate to the United States.  In 1857 they went to Meeker County, Minnesota.  They reached La Corss by train and went from there to St. Paul by steamboat.  There they heard of rich agricultural lands in Meeker County and walked from the capital city to Forest City, then the county seat.    They carried a letter of introduction to a land agent, which was sealed.  The trip was a long and lonesome one, and curiosity caused them to break the seal of the letter to the headman of the real estate agent, which conveyed the happy intelligence that they were a couple of "suckers" and to sell them something and "soak them".    The letter was not delivered.  The distance .......... with the road straightened and shortened is 85 miles.  Then the road went by way of Kingston and was over a hundred miles.  Indians were lurking in the weeds.   John Jr. and George located land in the Norwegian settlement in the town of Acton, 12 miles from the county seat. 
In 1860 McGannons migrated from Indiana to Minnesota and took government land in the town of Acton.  John Jr. met wooed and married Mary Jane Taylor Finley Henry Carney McGannon.    John Blackwell Jr. was respected as a man of intelligence and education in the county, and was the first county superintendent of schools.  He also taught school in the winter and improved his farm.  He was a surveyor as well.  In his youth he had learned the trade of stone and brick mason.   
In 1862 the Jones and Baker families were murdered by the Indians in the Blackwell neighborhood, and on the fateful Sunday, John and his young bride were invited to dinner with them.  Instead, they went to the home of the McGannons and thus escaped the savages bullets.  That night the whites of the neighborhood fled to Forest City with oxen, after first caring for the bodies of their neighbors.  The Blackwells went to Anoka for a year or so and opened a music store.   John Blackwell played the violin, flute, piccolo and Eb cornet, and was leader of the brass band.  They returned to Meeker county in 1864, gave up farming and John was selected County Auditor, Registrar of Deeds and Clerk of Court all at the same time.   To the Blackwells were born 7 children.
The railroad was built to Winnipeg and the county seat moved to Litchfield.  John Jr. and John Senior died in Litchfield at the same time, about 1888.  John Alexander Blackwell, the third John and sixth child of John Junior was born in 1873 and was educated in the Litchfield schools and Minneapolis Academy.  He served an apprenticeship in the Saturday Review office at Litchfield.  In 1893 he founded the "Watchman" at Appleton, Wisconsin.   He was employed at different times on the Minneapolis paper. 
In 1895 he went to Duluth and there married Ruth Keller, a teacher in the Duluth schools.   As banker and printer, John the third spent 20 years in Grand Marais, Cook Co., and also serving in the legislature.

From Miss Lucy E. Keller
Librarian, Grand Marais   (1935)

The letter is actually quite accurate with only minor exceptions. Had Lucy Keller had the internet, she could have found the following details.  Firstly, John (Jr) and George came to Canada in 1849.  They landed in Montreal.  In 1851, The father of the two boys, George Sr (called John Sr. in the letter) actually came to New York with his young son Henry.  George Sr. left almost immediately to go to Canada to be with his two eldest sons while young Henry remained in New York until 1854.  When they all got together again in Canada, they then headed off to the timber country of Ontario. (Huron County)  In 1857 they came to Minnesota.  At this point, we must believe the letter to be accurate as we are not aware of how they got to Minnesota.  What we do know what is wrong in the letter is that George Sr (John Sr in the letter) did not die at the same time as John Jr.  In fact, it has been confirmed that John 10.2.3 (Jr) died in 1875 while his father died in 1877 in Holmes City.  Actually, George Sr died at the home of Henry Blackwell, his other son who he lived with.  John Jr. died in Litchfield, Meeker County two years earlier.  John Jr. was born in 1832, not 1833.  Lois Twichell (John Jr's sister-in-law), commented in her memoirs that he was an excellent walker and horseman.  She also confirmed his position in the community and his teaching and bilingualism.   It is true that John Blackwell 10.2.3 was very intelligent and quite musical.  He did hold many Government positions and was a highly regarded man in his community.  See John's tombstone Tombstone of his father, George Sr.

How the confusion in the personage of John Blackwell vs. George Blackwell possibly occurred.
The Alexandria Citizen News put out an issue on Thursday, December 29th of 1927.  In that issue, they had a column that was headed - "Looking Backward Fifty-one Years".  In this issue is a copy of the one obituary that had a misprint.  It refers to George Blackwell as John W, Blackwell.  It shows his death as March 2nd at the home of his son.  The actual death date was March 1.  Lucy probably read this prior to writhing her letter eight years after the Reprinted Newspaper came out?   As she was a Librarian, she would have the knowledge to access such information in those days.  I would have made the same error. 

I submit that Lucy Keller, in a wonderful attempt to honour her ancestors, received bogus information that was printed only 8 years before she wrote her letter.  Most all of the other facts are correct.  I suspect that this is how the family was so confused up to this very day on who the founding father of our Blackwell Family was in North America.  It was only until many members of the Blackwell Family submitted information to the website that we learned the truth.  It was an important step for our family.  Our thanks to Lucy Keller for her wonderful contribution. 



Letter No. 4

Letter written by Lois Blackwell
Written:  Sept. 1918 in Ashcroft, BC.
To her Daughter
Laura McNeil
Original Letter is on Ashcroft Hotel Stationary.

My Dear Laura and little boys
Here we are, arrived safe and sound about noon today.  Had a good trip only rather windy and dusty last night and today but fine and no rain at 105 Mile House.  I waited while Ben went on, there was no one at home but the Chinese Cook.  I saw the sitting room and the waiting room, the hall and the parlor but I can understand from what you have told me something of what the rest might be like but the place seemed empty and deserted now.  We left there a little after 5 PM and it got very dark and windy before we reached 70 Mile House and I was glad Ben decided to stay there over night.  We had supper, a good rest, and breakfast and there about or a little before 8 AM and came on to Clinton arriving at 9:30 and left there at 10 and reached here not too tired.  After washing off some of the dust of travel, had a good dinner (I ate the 2nd tomato you gave me this morning) then I fixed up my letters and wrote 2 or 3 more short ones and went over to the P.O. and mailed them and bought a dozen P.Cds (Postcards) and rested awhile and then Ben came in.  He had been in several times before and either I was out or in my room.  He has brought my ticket to Kamloops and got 3 parcels checked and now it is after 4 and he will soon be here and we will go to the train which is on time he says.  Ben has been so very very kind.  I'll never forget him and how my darling Laura cast your cares on Him who is ever willing.  See how he has cared for me all my long journey and all my life leave all to him He will somehow make a way for a holiday for you my love and now with fond thoughts of you and yours and to Mrs. Lester (McNeil) I'll mail this from Milton's as it is no use mailing here today. 
You are ever in my mind darling.
I have sent a line to Mary telling her that Ben is on a hurried trip but may have a chance to call between trains before he returns.

This letter from Lois appears to be written upon completing her visit to the McNeil Family. She also appears to be telling Laura of her trip back to catch the train to Kamloops.  Ben McNeil has driven her as far as Clinton as this must have been as far North as the train ran.  The last line appears to be a Post Script.
Obviously, inspite of the day and age, the mail appeared to travel faster then it does to today.
Letter provided by Joan Uhrig  (Granddaughter to Laura McNeil)



Letter No. 5

Letter written by Ruth Cohoes
To Amanda Blackwell (Wife of Henry Blackwell 10.2.5)
Content is limited as part of letter is missing.
Aug 12th 1918
Zimmerman Minn

My Dear Grandmother and all.  Recíd both your letters some time ago but just seems I never get around to write letters any more but to-morrow is your birthday so thot I must write you a letter for your birthday wish I had more to send would like to send you a can of raspberries but am afraid they would get broke.  I had a lot this year they lasted a month  I canned 34 qts besides we ate a pile.  Kept me busy picking & Chas helped & I had so many beans & peas had a lovely garden but its awfully dry now the cucumbers are so wilted  I canned 20 qts of string beans & made 6 qts of pickles & we had bushels of peas  The grain is quite good but rusty is so hard to handle we havenít stacked yet.  We had an awful hail storm we were in the edge of it our corn looked pretty sick but came on pretty good but across the road from Babcocks to town & south for miles it was fierce some people were completely hailed out.  Its pretty tuff this year ever thing so high & every thing looked so good.  Its been so hot latey a person could hardly stand it  I felt kind of sick all day washed this fornoon a two weeks wash the pump was broke last week so only washed a little so had a lot today.  Chas & the kids dug a load of potatoes & took over to day got $1.50 a hundred we havenít many potatoes planted only about 3 or 4 acres but they are pretty good.  I guess there is a good crop all over this year its surly needed.  This Dutch outfit across the road has sold out & are going back to Neb.  They bought 160 at 135.00 an acre so think they will be some time paying for it am so glad to get rid of them but another German bought it so wonít be much difference.  Mrs. Babcockís father died about 3 weeks ago they went to the funeral.  Yesterday us & Ringbloms were invited to Brodeens for dinner & supper had a nice time they have moved so they have a nice place now.  My birthday we went over to Annandale its about 40 miles the childrens teacher live there & asked us & Emmons

This letter was provided by Marilee Larkey (Cohoes)
It was sent exactly as written, including the numerous spelling errors.
This is done to keep authenticity. 
Letter provided by Marilee Larkey (Cohoes)



Letter No. 6

Letter from Ruth Cohoes to Amanda Blackwell
Written: Sept 8th 1920
Zimmerman Minn

Dear Grandmother,

I wanted to answer your letter to night but find I am all out of writing paper but this  This is Normanís tablet for school which will start next Monday.  Floydís teacher at Zimmerman hasnít come yet.  Its just as dry as ever here yet only had a little sprinkle or two and I hear you have had lots of rain up there.  Lizzie & family & Mr & Mrs Stevenson stoped over night on their way to the fair The night they came we were invited over town to an Odd Fellows doings so we thot if they didnít come weíd go.  So it got to be eight oíclock and they didnít come so we went and I guess they came in a half hour after we went  They had gotten their own supper & washed the dishes & had some of the kids to bed when we got home.  Then they went the next morning after breakfast  They went so didnít see much of them.  They thot maybe theyíd stop on their way back but they went thru Zim today on their way home & called up.  They was afraid it would rain so they didnít stop.  I didnít care so much there was so many of them.  Aunt Clara & George stoped over night we had a splendid visit They were both just as nice as they could be I had a card from Aunt Clara the day I got yours.

We got our threshing done yesterday.  Had nearly 300 of oats & 230 of wheat.  The wheat went about 11 bus to the acre & it is No 1.  It didnít look No. 1 but tests that.  I had them for breakfast & dinner.  The cows are the same  the kids have to watch them when they are out every minute but we mostly keep them in the yard & feed them fodder. We have the corn all cut & part of the fodder.  He hasnít started to dig potatoes yet they are so poor we hate to start.  Merton has been with the James threshing machine this is the 3rd week but will be thru tomorrow  He has made quite a little money.  Gets $4 00 a day.  That thing you sent with Chas to cut fried cakes with was just exactly the same size as the thing I had you see the cutter is so small but I found a top off a bottle that is just right.

I washed & scrubbed to day & canned tomatoes this afternoon  Mrs Schumacher gave me two big pails of lovely tomatoes yesterday & got 15 qts & had 15 qts of my own.  Lizzie said she was going to send me some cucumbers by express.  I hope she does for I havenít a pickle & my canning isnít complete with out pickles.

I havenít gotten Norman any waists made yet  the days come & go & I donít get a speck of sewing done.  Earl went back to Mples Saturday.  He certainly is usless, but good hearted & kind of good.

Norman has been over to Chas Iliffs a whole week just came home tonight he had the time of his life.
Well guess this is all I can think of tonight so will close.  Hoping to find you all well  write when you can. 

Love to all from Ruth.

This letter was provided by Marilee Larkey (Cohoes)
It was sent exactly as written, including the numerous spelling errors.
This is done to keep authenticity. 
Letter provided by Marilee Larkey (Cohoes)



Letter No. 7

Letter from Ruth Morse
to her brother, Frank Benjamin Mackenzie
Written in Alexandria, South Dakota on Jan 3, 1901

My Dear Brother

I received your letter today bearing the sad news of the death of sister Nettie.
Dear Brother I am sory for you from the depth of my heart.  Can I help you.  I would like to take the dear little baby girl and be to it a mother  will you let me  tell me how to come & I will go at once.  I feel it needs a mothers care immediately  we must do all we can to save it.  We are all planing for it.
What is the name of the station where you took Lovina & I.  I think it is quite direct to Sioux Falls & would be the best way for me to go  Our brother Guy Mackenzie is with us this winter  Pa has been very sick with erysipelas in his leg.  But he is some better  Now dear brother if you canít write get Ruth to write

If you could come out here & rent a farm we could all be together  I do wish you would

Louise said do get the dear little thing & I will provide for it.  it came on my birthday so you see we are all planning for the dear little girl.  do not be selfish I do believe it is for her good & we will love it or I will promice to take it back to you it shall never be abused or suffer want 

Let me hear from you at once.

With loving sympathy I remain your Sister

                                                Ruth Morse

This letter is entered here exactly as it was written.
This letter was written to Frank Mackenzie from his sister, Ruth Mackenzie Morse.  It was sent from Alexandria, South Dakota where Ruth lived.  This is the letter imploring Frank to let her take his little baby daughter, Mary Janette Mackenzie ( after the death of her mother and his wife, Mary Janette Blackwell Mackenzie (Nettie) (  She makes reference to Pa and that is John H. Mackenzie.  Lovina is the second wife of John.  Guy is the son of Lovina and John.  Lovina would be the stepmother to Ruth Morse and Frank.  Guy would be their step- brother.  After the baby went to live with Ruth, she changed her name to Marie Morse.  I think Louise must be Ruthís sister, Louise Morse.



From Jessie Blackwell - nee Byford.  Wife of Ernie Blackwell
A hand written document by Jessie Blackwell is entitled "Good News"
It lists problems and where to look in the bible to address these problems.  I have entered it here for all to use.
I found this printing on a note in her bible.  (REB)

                                 GOOD NEWS

1.     If you are tired of sin - read Psalm 51 and Luke 18: 9 - 14
2.     If your need is salvation, read - Acts 4: 10 - 12 and Acts 16: 29 - 31
3.     If you are in trouble, read - Psalm 34
4.     If your business is poor, read - Psalm 37
5.     If overcome or backsliding, read - James 1  Hosea 14: 4 - 9
6.     If you desire something new, read - John 3  Rev 2: 22 (hard to read - may be error in No or Rev.)
7.     If you are sick or afflicted, read - Psalm 42 and 91
8.     If you desire peace, power and plenty, read - John 14
9.     If you are lonesome and restless, read - Psalm 23
10.   If you are loosing confidence in men, read - Corinthians 13
11.   If you desire peaceful slumber, read - Psalm 31

                                WHERE TO FIND

1.     The Ten Commandments - Exodus 20: 3 - 17
2.     Three Great Masterpieces of Oration - Deut. 31    Isaiah 40
3.     Prophecies of Messiahs Suffering and Death - Psalm 22    Isaiah 53
4.     The account of the Birth of the Lord - James     Mathew 2     Luke 2
5.     The Lords Prayer - Mathew 6: 9 - 13    John 17
6.     The Sermon on the Mount - Mathew 5,6,7.
7.     The Parable of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10: 27 - 37
8.     The Parable of the Prodigal Son - Luke 15: 11 - 32
9.     The account of Death and Resurrection of Lord Jesus - Luke 23 - 24    John 19 - 20
10.   The Promise of the Future Resurrection - Corinthians 15: 35 - 58
11.   The account of the Final Judgment - Revelations 20: 11 - 15

Thanksgiving - Psalm 138
Gods Personal Care - Psalm 139

                                     A PRAYER

Lord Jesus, take this heart of mine
Make it pure and wholly Thine   
Thou hast bled and died for me
I will henceforth live for Thee
God Helping me, for Thy Name's sake


Read 3 Chapters each week day
Read 5 Chapters on Sunday.
It is a blessed experience - Try it once.

My Mother was a woman who meant what she said, and said what she meant.  In doing so, she never said a harsh word, linger with gossip, nor spoke ill of any person.  She lived her faith and was a very kind and gentle person.
..........Provided by Ron Blackwell



If any family members have old letters or memos to submit - please Contact Us
We do not need the actual letter.  Simply type onto a word document or in an Email
exactly (repeat) exactly as it is written. This includes spelling errors and other mistakes.
I will recopy it into these pages.     Thank you.



You all have two important decisions in your life.
You can go through life believing there is a God
and when you die, you find out there isn't.
Or, you can go through life believing there is no God
and when you die, you find out there is.
The choice is yours.