Saturday, February 16, 2008

Smith-Wilson Correspondence 1833

(click on letter for larger image)

This is an 1833 letter from Richard Ivy Smith (1800-1871) to his partner, John Wilson (1796-1875), possibly while John Wilson was in New York on a buying trip for the store the two owned in Milton, North Carolina. Anne Smith Wilson (1802-1838) was the sister of Richard Ivy Smith and the wife of John Wilson. Above is the actual letter, below is a transcript of the text.

Note that Smith family researchers are a bit surprised by the reference to a Margaret Wilson, sister of John Wilson. Before these letters were found only one sibling was known for John Wilson. This was brother George Wilson, which according to family tradition "was lost at sea." Is this Margaret Wilson the sister of John Wilson or the widow of George Wilson?

Sept. 27th 1833

Dear Sir

Yours of 29th ult. came by today’s mail. Ann desired me to write and leave her a postscript. Nothing has occurred of any importance since you left home. I have not succeeded in getting a clerk yet. Maj. Lea say they can’t do without young Vanhook. I expect however we shall be able to get some one in due time, although I have no one particularly in view at present. I am rather afraid that John Richmond whom we have been speaking of would hardly suit us if we can do better. I learn he is quite slow. Uncle Jack H. has been recommending young Richerson, if he can be got, who is teaching school in his neighborhood and boarding at his house all the year. He gives him a fine character for steadiness of habits and qualifications of the first order except as to the practical acquaintance with the business behind the counter, which he will acquire in half the time that ordinary persons would. He does not know that he could be had upon reasonable terms as his school which is worth $200 per year is probably more than we can afford to give him. He may, however, be induced to take up at first under prospects of doing better in future. I shall see him at the Camp Meeting on tomorrow as he is expected down at that time.

Bring with you a dozen of the Temperance Almanacks published by the NY Temperance Society. I believe they will be quite a saleable article here. Should you make any stop in Baltimore on your return - get me 1 Doz. of the Comic Almanack - or more - you will find out, on inquiry, through whom they are for sale. They will also sell readily. Get a piece of cotton velvet as well as a piece of silk do.

You speak of being at a loss for a conveyance to bring up your sister with you from Petersburg. There need be no embarrassment in the matter, as Jim and the barouche are at command on any occasion and more especially in this present, as they can be spared with the most perfect convenience. You have only to set the time and place and he will meet you accordingly. By no means omit to command them.

As Ann wishes to edge in a word or two I must cut short.

I remain your ob. Servant

Richd. I. Smith [Richard Ivy Smith]

Jn. Wilson Esq.

My Dear Husband

I am truly sorry to hear that Sister Margaret’s health is so bad, and can only say to you to do all in your power to bring her up with you. You will see that Richard very kindly offered you any assistance in the matter. Write to her and let her know what you intend to do, and assure her of my tenderest sympathy for her. It would be a pleasure for me to have her with us. Let me know whether I had better write to her or not. I feel anxious to hear more, particularly from you. As Richard has written and it is now late I will conclude and write in a few days. The children are all asleep. Some of the family moved over to the Camp ground today. The balance will go in the morning. Believe me your affectionate

ASW [Ann Smith Wilson]

For more on these families visit the Caswell County Family Tree.


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