Letter from John Strawbridge to His Mother, 1801

This letter is from John Strawbridge to his mother in Wilmington, Delaware, dated March 19, 1801, sent from Philadelphia. This John Strawbridge lived from 1780 to 1858; a brief biography appears elsewhere on this site. His mother was born Hannah Evans. She married another John Strawbridge and lived from 1758 to 1812.

The younger John had a brother, Joseph, some of whose letters appear elsewhere on this site. Joseph lived only from about 1785 to about 1803; he died at home after becoming ill at sea. John also had a sister, Jane Strawbridge Ledyard, who lived from 1793 to 1855. John’s brother George lived from 1784 to 1859; he became a judge in New Orleans. Uncle James Strawbridge, also mentioned in this letter, was born in Ireland in 1755 and died in America in 1805. I suppose that the “children” mentioned in the letter were Jane (about 8 years old in 1801) and, possibly, James, who I believe died in 1814, but whose birth date I don’t know. Here is the text of John’s letter:

Dearest Mother

Tho disappointed in not hearing from you by Uncle James, I feel much pleasure in learning of your good health, & that the last information from Balto was much [more?] pleasing, than when you wrote. Having always observed Aunt Polly to be possessed of a good Constitution & flow of spirits, I am the more encouraged to hope she may retrieve her former good Health & thus increase our happiness.

The Change from Aunt B’s absence must certainly be disagreeable, but as you must yield to the sick, you will have more satisfaction in her Services to Aunt Polly than her Conversation.

I should feel much pleasure in visiting you at this Inst. but the weather is very unsettled & disagreeable & beside should rather go down when George is at home, which will be in about three weeks hence.

At all events Joe may be assured of my compliance with his request at that time, but I am sorry to say he must give a dft [draft, or check] on his Uncle for Pero’s board for the last six months which is yet unpaid & I doubt whether unless he should come up himself & provide ways & means, whether it can be settled at all, but of this circumstance I will write more fully.

I hope the Children continue their great attention to their Studies. I hope for leasure to examine when I go down & am certain I shall not be disappointed in observing great Improvements.

I have just time to conclude with my love.

I am

Your aff Son

John Strawbridge