Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Powell, 25 January 1756

From Joseph Powell6

ALS: Yale University Library

B[ethlehe]m Jany. 25. 1756


The Barer Harts[el]l Greear,7 is the Man whos Wife is so afflicted by a Sore on hir Arm, of which I spoke to Mr. Franklin in Bethlehem the riting also from our Surgant is hear inclos’d.8 Have nothing furder to say in behalf of thees People. I belive and hear from thare Neighbours that thay are verry poor having 3 or 4 Children—our Surgant having at pressant two much in hand neither is any place for hir hear as necessary in hir Condition —but if Mr. Franklin pleses to recomend hir in the Ospital; it would be the best.9

Sir indeed my best Wishes, and prayrs attend you, and your sone, and all those under your Command that the Lord may Own and give Suxces to all you so earnestly have undertaken on that spott I and fammilly so long liv’d and at last from Whence so narrowly Escaped &c. Am Dear Sir your loving Humble Servant

J. Powell

Addressed: For / The Honbl Benjn. Franklin / at the Camp / in / Gnaden Hütten

The enclos’d is recommended to the Directors or Managers of the Hospital by Their humble Servant

B Franklin1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Quite probably Joseph Powell (1710–1774), Moravian clergyman, who emigrated from Shropshire, England, to Bethlehem, 1742, and served various churches and missions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and the West Indies. His church near the Delaware Water Gap was burned in 1755, after which he went to Bethlehem to assist in relief work there. PMHB, XXIX (1905), 161 ff; XXXIX (1915), 350; Frederick L. Weis, “Colonial Clergy of the Middle States,” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Proc., LXVI (1956) 292.

7Not identified.

8Two brothers, John Frederic and John Matthew Otto, apparently were the only “surgants” practicing medicine in Bethlehem at this time. Robert Rau, “The Physicians of Early Bethlehem,” Moravian Hist. Soc., Trans., XI (Nazareth, 1936), 57. The enclosure has not been found.

9Anthony Benezet may have inspired this request: on January 24 he had urged Powell to seek “a few Lines from Benjn. Franklin” to buttress his appeal for supplies for the Bethlehem refugees. George S. Brookes, Friend Anthony Benezet (Phila., 1937), p. 216.

1Hartsell Greear probably accompanied the wagons from Bethlehem which arrived at Gnadenhütten on January 28. BF apparently then wrote this endorsement and returned the letter to Greear. On March 10, 1756, an “Agnus Grier” was admitted to the Pa. Hospital with “a cancerous Tumor, &c. in her Wrist; her Arm amputated March 11, cured and discharged April 17.” Votes, 1756–57, p. 21.

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