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The letter to John Williams signed by Cotton Mather is actually a copy of the letter written by Mather, a practice that was not uncommon in the days before typewriters, computers, and photocopy machines. Reverend Williams was carried to Canada, along with 108 others from Deerfield on February 29, 1704 and held captive there until he was redeemed in November 1706. Reverend Mather writes to give him courage to withstand the separation, assures him that an answer is coming, and informs him that his oldest son, Eleazer (b.1688), is being educated by money provided by Mather, himself and others.