Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, 8 January 1765

From Deborah Franklin

ALS:3 American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia Jan the 8 1765

My Dear Child

I donte think the Packit will sail at the time but I write lest it shold and I shold be found wantting in my Duty and you be displesd.

In the firste plase Salley is Come home4 Shee traveled the coldest day I ever felte or that I ever remember and staid at the ferry [?] house till the next day then walked over one halef of the river and then in the bote the other halef but Shee is att home Safe now and we air all blocked up Could. I donte think we have had so much Snow this thirtey years one Can hardly see the Topes of the postes now it is two deep to go a Slaying I am told the river is inhabeyted with Taverens but I have not seen it.5 Jamey Allin6 fell in but as mony pepel was on he had presente helpe. I did not hear that he got Cold. Poor Naney7 is quite fritened. She ses they hante such snowing wather in London and what makes it the more terrabel we hante Cole to burne which shee is sorrey for but their was an opertunity and Shee desired to go and keep Chrismas att Burlinton. So I wraped her in a dubel gound after Shee was drest and gave her sum good advise to keep her selef warme and she wente a way while it snowed faste. I hope shee got thair safe but I have not heard. The marbel fireplaces is come safe but be Kind eneuef to tell our worthey friend Mr. Collinson that thair was not one Case in ither of the Boxes. I sente for our Cusin Wilkison8 to take the marbel ought and Stueby to take Care of the bundel of Levess but it was not thair. The Mantel is quite Curis indeed, but I donte remember wather you sed in what room the beste [?] shold be put. Yisterday I Spook to Nabor Headock9 but he ses thair is no such Thing as painting till next March with ought the wather shold olter verey much so I muste indever to make my slef as esey as I Can but I did raly think I shold a bin allmoste ready to a mouefed as soon as this wather has brook up.

I send you a Bill inclosed Robinson1 is returned but did not see Mr. Foxcrofte. He staid thair as Long as his money lasted and longer. Foxcroft had a graite Cold and Co[u]ld not venter over as it was contrarey to the advise of his Doctor but Mr. Rolfe2 ses he writes him he shall be in town the end of this munth but I donte think he Can for shold it be ever so good wather the rhodes wold not be pasobel but I leve it as I know things will be as thay will.3

I forgot wether I told you I had maid inquirey and anserd Mr. Chew and inquired a bought Thomas Millers Houses. Amos Struttel has Bought them at one third more than they air worth indeed I wold not a given a bove halef he has for them.4 I have had one letter from Sister mecom her youngest grand child is dead mabe I wrote that before.5 Cusin Devenporte is Cume home6 laste evening Col. Boqet [Bouquet] was to see us and Mr. Orrey.7 Salley will write I beleve this poste. All our friends and nabers is well, our good naber Soumains is well.8 We have receved our mrs Stephens letter by a friend by N. Yorke. We air glad to hear Ante Rook9xs is better my Love to them and all our good friends our mr Bartram was to see us and asked us to celebrate his Birthday and his Dafters marag. Shee is sed [illegible] toke a young Marchant in town.1 We did not go. The wather was so sharpe. God bless you my dear Child. I am your afeckshenit wife

D Franklin

I long to know hough your Arm is and wather John2 was of aney Sarvis to you I hope you did not meet with any hurt in the passag.

Endorsed: Mrs Franklin Jan. 11. 1765 Answd3

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3DF’s writing, difficult at best, is made especially uncertain in this letter by the fading of the ink in several places.

4Sally had been visiting her brother William at Burlington, N.J.

5The winter of 1764–65 was one of the most severe during the colonial history of the middle Atlantic states, surpassing, according to James Parker, the notoriously hard winter of 1740. Temperatures were well below normal throughout the period and unusual amounts of snow fell; between Dec. 25, 1764, and Jan. 14, 1765, the Pa.-N.J. area received more than three feet of snow, while a blizzard of March 23–4, 1765, dropped another two and one half feet on the area. The freezing of the Delaware River closed the port of Philadelphia and land travel, especially the delivery of the mails, was disrupted for substantial periods. See Pa. Gaz., Jan. 3, 10, 17, Feb. 7, March 28, 1765, and below, p. 21.

6Probably William Allen’s son, James (1742–1778), who had returned to Philadelphia recently after studying at the Inner Temple in London. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in September of this year. Allen represented Northampton County in the Assembly briefly in 1776, but retired to his farm as a noncombatant later in the year. Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania (Phila., 1883), p. 151.

7Ann Hardy, a servant of Mrs. Margaret Stevenson, who had come to Philadelphia in 1763; see above, X, 334 n. As in some of Mrs. Stevenson’s letters, it is impossible to say certainly whether DF referred to her here as “Naney” or “Nancy.”

8DF’s cousin Anthony Wilkinson (E.2.3), a stone and marble cutter, who died suddenly between Feb. 10 and 17, 1765. See above, VII, 367 n, and below, p. 45; Pa. Gaz., Feb. 28, 1765.

9Eden Haydock, glazier, plumber, and painter, whose daughter Rebecca raised silk which she sent to BF in 1772 to be woven in London. See above, IV, 283 n.

1Not identified.

2Relfe was perhaps the minor post-office functionary, who is mentioned in letters from James Parker to BF which will appear in later volumes.

3Foxcroft arrived in Philadelphia at the beginning of April. See below, p. 101.

4Strettell’s purchase of the Miller houses may in some way be related to lands owned by George McCleave on which Strettell held a first mortgage, which lands came into BF’s possession as postmaster general to satisfy debts owed by William Dunlap. See above, XI, 469 n. More probably, however, the reference is to some unidentified properties in Philadelphia.

5Jane Mecom’s youngest grandchild, Sarah Flagg, aged seventeen months, died, Nov. 9, 1764; her mother, Sarah Mecom Flagg, had died the previous June. Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 82, 83, 101.

6Probably Josiah Franklin Davenport, who had been working as agent and storekeeper for the Indian trade at Pittsburgh.

7Col. Henry Bouquet returned to Philadelphia from his campaign against the western Indians on Jan. 3, 1765. Pa. Gaz., Jan. 10, 1765. For Lewis Ourry, Bouquet’s quartermaster and commissary officer, see above, VII, 62–3 n.

8Samuel Soumain, see above, X, 135 n.

9Mrs. Rooke, one of Polly Stevenson’s aunts, has been mentioned frequently in former volumes. She suffered from gout.

1John Bartram (above, II, 378 n), the famous botanist, was born on either March 23 or May 23, 1699, according to whether the old or new style calendar is used to identify the “third month.” His daughter, Ann, married a distant cousin, George Bartram (1734–1777), a dry goods merchant, on Dec. 6, 1764, at Old Swedes’ Church in Philadelphia. PMHB, L (1926), 86.

2A servant who, according to BF on Feb. 9, 1765, was behaving “very well.” See below, p. 42.

3In BF’s hand.

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