Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Anne Farrow, 19 January 1759

From Anne Farrow

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Castle Thorp, Jan the 19. 1759

Dear Sir

The Joy I had in receiving your Letter2 was beyond Measure. To think as you granted my Desire and return you thanks for Paying the Post and very glad to hear you and your Son is well hoping your Spouse and Daughter is the Same and I am very glad to hear of them not doubting But the[y] are Endowed with all the Qualifications to render your Lifes happy and to see you will be the greatest of Joy.3 That was our Granfather in Banbury Church yard.4 As to my Fathers been Born at Ecton I always thought he was till 2 years ago I was at Wellingbourgh and our Cousin Fisher said som’thing of his coming from some other Town to Live at Ecton and Named the Place but I quit forgot5 for my Memory has failed me some years but my Eye Sight is good. I bless God for it so I make a Shift to keep a Little School for my Living. I cant Remember my Uncle Josiah because my Father kept a Batchelors house when he was first Prentince [Apprentice] and my aunt Morris kept his house and I was the 3 child but my Mother and Uncle Franklins talking of him.6 As to my own age I cant tell it no other ways than I was in my 5 years old when my Father died and my aunt Franklin told me I was 01 [10?] years old if I lived till the Michealmas after my Mother died and so I count I was seventy 3 last Mich[ealmas].7 It was a great loss for 6 children to Lose Father and Mother so soon but I hope it was their gain for I can Remember some of my Fathers Heavenly ways though I was so little. He died of a Mortification or else if he had Lived he Designed going into New England. My Daughter Hannah8 was Born July the 21 1724 and she is maried and has 2 Sons one of my Fathers Name and one of my Husbands. John Walker was Born March the 4 1755. Hennery Walker was Born November the 29 1756. My Daughter was at Lutterworth Last Summer and She belives he9 Lives very well for he goes on with the Dying Bussinese and has only one Child Living. He was well a little while ago. My Daughter Lives at a Place called Westbury within tow Miles of Braekly in Northampton Shire. But She came to see me this Christmas and is not gone yet for our Cousin Fisher is dead and their is a Small matter to come amongst us First cousins so the[y] fetch me over to Administer being I Lived the nearest but Mr. Fisher.1 Mr. Fishers Executor Pays all charges for when I come the[y] would have her buried as grand as her Husband. So my Daughter was force to Stay to Look after my School the while. The Sum was a hundred Pound But the Funeral Charges before I came away came to between thirty and forty Pound2 for Mr. Fisher Paid the Bills for it was not in my Power to do it and I Should be glad to know how many first Cousins thier is.3 I would have buried her in a Neat Manner but the[y] complled me to Buirey her as her Husband was. My Daughter Joynes in affectionate Regards to you and your Son So we remain till Death Dear Sir

Hannah Walker and Anne Farrow

Addressed: To Mr / Franklin at Mrs / Stevensons in Craven / Street Strand / London

Endorsed: Mrs Farrow

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Not found, but evidently in reply to Mrs. Farrow’s letter of Jan. 8, 1759, as she had asked (see above, p. 223), and containing information about his branch of the family and inquiries about hers.

3Apparently BF had promised to visit Mrs. Farrow when possible.

4BF had probably told her about the gravestone of their mutual grandfather Thomas Franklin (A.5.2) in Banbury Churchyard, the inscription on which WF had copied the previous July; see above, p. 119.

5Benjamin Franklin the Elder (A.5.2.7) specifically stated that his brother John was “born and brought up” in Ecton. “A short account of the Family of Thomas Franklin of Ecton in Northamptonshire. 21 June 1717.” Yale Univ. Lib. The same stone marked his grave at Banbury as his father’s.

6That is, Mrs. Farrow cannot remember BF’s father Josiah (A.5.2.9), because her father John was still a bachelor when Josiah served as his apprentice and his only sister Hannah (later Mrs. John Morris; A.5.2.8) kept house for him. Anne Farrow was John Franklin’s third child and she remembers her mother and either her Uncle Thomas (A.5.2.1) or Uncle Benjamin the Elder (A.5.2.7) talking about Josiah.

7This sentence appears to mean that her birthday was on or about Michaelmas (September 29). If she was five when her father died, June 7, 1691, she became six at the end of the following September and seventy-three in September 1758. Since the date of her mother’s death is unknown, it is impossible to do more than guess at what she meant by the figure (which appears to be “01”) she gave as her age at her mother’s death. Her “aunt Franklin” must have been the wife of either her Uncle Thomas or Uncle Benjamin.

8Hannah Farrow Walker (A., whose name appears below as a joint author of this letter.

9Probably Thomas Franklin (A., Mrs. Farrow’s nephew and BF’s first cousin once removed. BF may have inquired about him in his now-missing letter to her. The “one Child” mentioned here was Sarah Franklin (A., who resided with BF in London at various times in 1766–72. In letters of 1766 and 1767 BF noted that Thomas and “Sally” were the only descendants of Grandfather Thomas in England then bearing the Franklin name.

1For the estates of Richard and Mary Fisher and their administration by William Fisher and Anne Farrow, see above, pp. 221–2, 224–5.

2The exact sum was £31 2s. 2d.; see below, p. 288.

3Thomas Holme had asked BF the same question ten days earlier; see the preceding document.

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