Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rachel P. Johnston, Sihouette of a Sister 1816 - ?

Rachel P. Johnston, the sixth daughter of John and Rachel Johnston, was born on November 24, 1816 at Upper Piqua, OH. She is often paired in family letters and information with her sister, Rebecca, who was the next child born.

Little is known of Rachel in either life or death. From the few extant family letters that mention her, she seems from a young life to have preferred the city to the country life, once telling her brother Robinson that she wished 'between whiles that some stray person like yourself would drop in on us to gladden our hearts, and enliven our solitude.' Often in the Johnstons' time period, a grown and married daughter would return to the family home to act as a housekeeper if the need arose. It seems this is what Rachel did on at least this one occasion, as she had married William A. Reynolds May 25, 1836 at her childhood home and they residedat the time, in Cincinnati. Though it is to be assumed Rachel had children, we have no sure record of the family's descent. An online search did reveal an 1850 entry in Hamilton Co., OH for a Rachel and William A. Reynolds. If this is the Johnstons' daughter, her children at the time were: Mary 13, Elizabeth 11, Rebecca 9, James 7 and Kate, age 5. As these are the names of Rachel's siblings, the connection is likely.

Often in a family there is a lost child. For the Johnstons, it seems this was destined to be Rachel's role.

Rachel Johnston Reynolds died in Springfield, OH, date unknown.
John Johnston’s Memorandum Book 1832, starting May 14th
Rachel commenced board at Sage’s and going to school to Miss Bercaw’s.

John Johnston to Abraham Robinson Johnston, Upper Piqua, Ohio, Saturday March 28th, 1835
Your sister Rachel is still in Cincinnati. We look for her daily.

Stephen Johnston to John Johnston, Louisville KY, June 7th, 1843
Sister Rachel came to see us on Sunday last on her way to St. Louis, she having arrived thus far on her journey in safety. We were gratified to learn from her that your health has been for the last winter and spring more than usually good. The coffee pot and tumblers which you have sent us by her will be valued more highly than a present of greater intrinsic value and particularly to myself will they be dear as objects to awaken another time of boyhood’s home, and early days of happiness to bring to my remembrance...

Rachel Reynolds to AR Johnston Piqua, June 2nd, 1844
As far as here on the homestead we have been spending our spring season in the quietest way you could possibly imagine. John has been ploughing and planting, Rosanna milking and making butter, and raising chicks, turkeys and etc., and wishing between whiles that some stray person like yourself would drop in on us to gladden our hearts, and enliven our solitude.

Stephen Johnston to John Johnston, Louisville KY Dec. 4th 1842
I wish to be remembered in the most affectionately manner to Sister (sic) Rachel.