Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Israel Gilpin, 29 December 1775

From Israel Gilpin9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Wilmington Decmr the 29d 1775


My kinsman Doct. George Gilpin1 informs me that Severil of the manufactorys is like to Suffer for want of Stone or ground Coal Such as the glass work and blacksmith who is imployd in making Iron work for the Coloneys Ships &c. I think it is very provible if Strict Sarch and inquiry was made Coal mout bee had but am not sirtin but prohaps it wold Not bee a mis for the Congres or Committy to give som Direccions to som pirsons who the may think proper. I know of Severil plasis whar I have Saw Coal but for the quontity I Cant Say I Saw Coal Dug out of tusseys hill not three miles from heer and one mill [mile] from Delawa river. I have offen found Coal in Chester county neer whair I was born ten miles from the river. Inqure of Thomas Gilpin mirchant in Phila if he has no Coal by him that was sent him from Elk by his brother2 or if occasion I wil goe down and See. I am apt to think their is plenty 12 miles from Christiana crick. Inquire of Robart Lewis mirchant of phila if he knows of aney Coal [in?] his Land in Newlin township Chester County.3 I was informd by a gentilman who livs neer his Land that there was Coal their. As the Congres is now a promoting Every yousful art and sians as well as prosirving our Libarteys and properteys I have thaught it mout bee of youse to imploy Som honist Scilful men to make Sarch for Sulfer Coal &c. as it mout bee of immediate youse and sirvis and if a raconsileacion Shold take plase thees things wold bee of infinate youse to our posterity. From your most obediand Sirvant

Israel Gilpin

Addressed: To / Doct: / Bengemin Franklin / Philadelphia

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Information about Gilpin (1740–1834) is fragmentary. He moved with his family in the early 1760’s from Birmingham, Pa., to Christiana Hundred, Del., and by this time was living in Wilmington and was an officer in the Delaware militia. After the war he went to Kentucky, where he died. Gilbert Cope and Henry G. Ashmead, Historic Homes and Institutions . . . of Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania. . .(2 vols., New York and Chicago, 1904), I, 177; J. Thomas Scharf, History of Delaware. . . (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1888), II, 686; George P. Perkins, The Kentucky Gilmans (Washington, D.C., 1927), pp. 34–38; National Soc. of the Daughters of the Amer. Revolution, Lineage Book, CLVII (1937), 191.

1Perhaps the George Gilpin of Birmingham who was read out of the Chester meeting in 1775: Geneal. Soc. of Pa., Pubs., XIII (1941), 131.

2Thomas Gilpin has appeared a number of times in these volumes; see in particular above, XVI, 31–2. For his brother Joseph see Thomas Gilpin, Jr., “Memoir of Thomas Gilpin,” PMHB, XLIX (1925), 290.

3For the little that is known about Lewis (1714–90) and his land see Thomas A. Glenn, Merion in the Welsh Tract. . . (Baltimore, 1970), p. 237; Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, XVI (1948), 62; J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, History of Chester County, Pennsylvania. . .(Philadelphia, 1881), pp. 189–90, 635.

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