From Bernard Ogden7
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Sunderland in the County of Durham
Jany. 9. 1765
Though not personally acquainted yet I presume upon thy goodness to trouble thee with these few lines, to desire what Information thou may have in thy power to give relative to an Affair in Philidelphia or its Environs, the distance of which from hence, and not knowing whom to apply to, I hope will plead my excuse with thee the case as follows,
One Thos Cookson of Lancaster town or County died in 1751 or 2. leaving an only Daughter married to one Gallaway, this Daughter without Issue.8 Their is now living in this place two daughters of Cooksons only sister (he having no Brother,) who seem to be his Heirs, and as such have been applied to and Offer’d a sum of money for their right to their Uncles Effects now if thou could either from thy own knowledge or by recommending to a proper person, advise what steps the Heirs must take to come at the true value, of the Effects, thou wilt do an act of great kindness, for tho’ not in want, yet an addition will not be unseasonable but their circumstances are not such as tempt them to sell what may be their due to a disadvantage thy answer to this will be very agreable, and if in return I can be servisable to thee in this part of the World, thou wilt oblige mee by signifying thy request and by my ready compliance thou wilt be convinced how much I am thine
By the Neices account Cookson seems to have been a surveyor of Land, some time Deputy Governor a Drawer of Conveyanc’s, one secretary Paters was Executor to his Will.9
Addressed: For / Benjn Franklin Esqr / Pensylvania Agent / to be left at Peter Collinson / in Grace Church Street / London
7. Not otherwise identified than by this letter, which indicates his residence and the fact that he was a Quaker.
8. Thomas Cookson (c. 1710–1753) was admitted to the bar in Lancaster Co., Pa., in 1737, served in local offices, and was a proprietary deputy surveyor. Of two daughters one died young; the other, named Hannah, inherited her father’s large land holdings and married, Sept. 30, 1760, Joseph Galloway of Anne Arundel Co., Md., an uncle of BF’s friend and associate of the same name. Hannah Galloway died without issue; her husband held her estate in life tenancy and in 1768 bought it from the heirs, Cookson’s nieces in England. Lancaster Co. Hist. Soc. Papers, XIV (1910), 128–30; XVIII (1914), 258–9; XX (1916), 5–11.
9. On April 18, 1753, Richard Peters, provincial secretary, reported to Thomas Penn that Cookson had died and that he, Peters, acting as executor, had put Cookson’s official papers in order. PMHB, XXIX (1905), 460. In a letter of May 28, 1763, Peters told William Smith that he had recently been called away, at the instance of Galloway, to settle the administrative account of the estate of Mrs. Galloway’s father, Cookson. Ibid., X (1886), 350. Cookson had been deputy surveyor, never deputy governor as this postscript suggests.