Following is a letter written by Hannah Strawbridge (1758 – 1812) to her daughter Jane (1793 – 1855) on May 25, 1809. Some of the words are unclear; I have made my best guesses. The “king’s evil” was a term for a disease called scrofula, or tuberculosis of the lymph glands, especially the neck. The John who had this disease was John Ralston Strawbridge, Hannah’s grandson and the son of John Strawbridge. John Ralston was to die, presumably of this illness, in June 1809 at the age of two. John Strawbridge, whose first wife, Elizabeth Stockton, died in 1807, married Frances Taylor in 1810.
[address:] Miss Jane Strawbridge
at Mr Ward’s
My Dear child
I was very much gratified at receiving a few lines from you and your friend and in next week I shall expect a double pleasure by seeing you untill that time comes I wish you to make yourself as contented as possible by doing all you can to promote happiness in your friend, and remember through life after haveing keep [?] as close to the line of your duty as possible to leave all to providence and take all enjoyment you can as troubles will come soon enough without going to meet them – the family all are well as you left them Stockton wishing for Papa and Aunt Jane he has done very well at night but the first word in the morning is auntty – John [Hannah’s grandson, John Ralston Strawbridge] has been very poorly but is better. Dr Tilton came the day after you left us and has been to see him every day since. He agrees with Dr Smith that his complaint is the king’s evil but says little respecting a cure but from his constant attendance I flatter myself he has hopes – James was to see us on Sunday and I look for John [Hannah’s son] and George to be here next Sunday and one of them I expect will go for you – Tell Maria I will say nothing of what I expect of her till I see her as that will be soon. Offer love and compliments to Mr and Mrs Ward, and a double portion to my dear child believe me as ever your aff. Mother H Strawbridge
May 25 1809
[note, evidently on outside of letter:]
Your little box has got a tennant and a very busy one this minute [?] going in with its furniture.