From Deborah Franklin
ALS: American Philosophical Society
July the 3 17674
Sir John5 the bairer of this will tell you shold you be in London that I am as well as yousal. Salley who is att Burlinton ever senes wensday was verey well when shee set ought and I hearde ones from her mabey shee writes from thair to you. Billey and Mrs. Franklin was verey well I heard on thusday. This is Satterday the 4 of July our friend forster6 Came to aske me to go home with him as he sed he expeckted that my Son and Dafter wold spend a day at his house in thair way on a Jorney they air to take down towards the Capes. I wold gladly a gon (for I tooke it kind of him) but Salleys not being att home I did not thinke it prudent to leve our House to the Cair of Servantes indead I never due.
I was in hopes that this poste wold a brought the Packit letters but it has not. Varis [Various] air the Conjeckters [Conjectures] of our nabors sum say you will Cume home this somer others say not. I Cante say aney thing as I am in the darke and my life of old age is one Continewd State of suspens. I muste indever to be Contente. I hope the next week will bring the packit. Our Worthey Naber Benj Shumaker is gon as is good Mr. Beverridg.7 I ofen visited him which he took verey kind. The Moravin church is sadly hurte by the Loudeste Clap of thunder I ever heard on laste tuesday night.8 I wente on thusday to see the ruines o Horrabel to be hold. We had severel sever clapes for a long spase of time and it semed to a bin all moste over when it began a gen and rained a second time. A black Cloud Came along. I was in the roon nexte the street when such lightning and such a cracklin or whising in our road and such a Loud clap thanke God for his mersey to us all but Salley and my Selef scremed and Cryed[?] at such times I hardly Breeth I was shuer it had strucke. Next morning Salley set oute at 5 a Clocke for Burlinton shee had not bin gon but a few minites befor I heard the news. We have had the wettist Spring and the dreyest Sumer I ever knew and Senes the worme wather Come to verey wormest I ever knew but our Charming entrey is the plesentes plase in the town thang god for his goodnes to us. My good friend Mrs. Kemer [?] is dead David Edwars sister.9 I send the Bill inclosed to Mrs. Stephenson as I hope you air set ought1 and I have sente for severel thinges. My love to everey one that Salley was well on Satterday my love to Salley Franklin2 and our other relashons. All our Relashons desier to be rememberd to you as dus our good nabors but it is imposabel for me to name them. Poor Mr. Sumain still Continues verey ill and poor Mrs. Sumain as all moste as littel a gen as shee yous to be.3 It greves me much to see her. I due all in my power for her. Salley ses I Cold Pall Jackson David but it is Pall.4 He is quite Destrackted and I have heard that Poor Mr. Sturgin5 is in the Hospitall as is Mr. Singes only Son a verey Sober young man but quite Loste as to this world.6 One of Cusin Northes Dafters Husband Capt. Boon was Drounde a munth after her Dafter a verey sober good young woman drounde her selef.7 It is verey malancoley so maney such things has hapened verey laitely.
Be plesed to remember me to Ephram Brown tell him that Marey8 is Cume back and Came to our House and staid severel week but is now gon a Nursing at this time. Ann Rakeshall is gon to live att Burlinton and Lefte his Trunk at our House.9 As Sir John is Cume I seel my letter and am your Afeckshonet wife
Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esqr / in / Craven Street / London
4. DF began this letter on Friday, July 3; continued it, after a few lines, on Saturday, the 4th; and completed it on Monday, the 6th. She entered the last date at the end, but gave no hint as to the point at which she began the final installment, hence that date is left just where she put it at the end.
5. On Aug. 28, 1767, BF acknowledged to DF the receipt of this letter delivered by Sir John Peyton; below, p. 241. This was probably the Sir John Peyton (c.1720–1790) of “Isleham,” Gloucester Co., Va., who claimed a baronetcy derived from a Kentish family. The Virginia Peytons gave up the claim to the title at the time of the American Revolution.
7. Benjamin Shoemaker (1704–1767), merchant, member of the Common Council, mayor, provincial councilor, 1746–64, whose sons rallied to the defense of the Franklin home at the time of the Stamp Act disturbances; above, II, 274 n; XII, 273–4 n; and John Beveridge, professor of Latin at the College of Philadelphia; above, XIII, 33 n. Shoemaker died June 25, 1767, and Beveridge the next day. Pa. Chron., June 22–29, 1767; Pa. Gaz. and Pa. Jour., July 2, 1767.
8. June 30, 1767. The principal damage was to the house adjoining the Moravian Meeting House, which stood on Race Street, between Second and Third Streets, very close to the house in which the Franklins had lived, 1748–50. All three Philadelphia papers reported the stroke, and Pa. Jour., contained an extended account of its effects in the issue of July 9. The papers also soon reported that the same storm had killed a man at Trenton and two horses at Crosswicks, N.J.
9. These persons have not been certainly identified.
1. In his note of August 28, BF acknowledged receiving this letter just before he was to set out for Paris with Sir John Pringle.
2. The English Sally Franklin.
3. During the last year or so DF had often mentioned the illnesses of the Soumains.
4. Paul Jackson (c. 1730–1767), the first recipient of an M.A. degree from the College of Philadelphia, served briefly as professor of Languages there, but resigned because of ill health. He held a military commission in Forbes’s expedition against Fort Duquesne, studied medicine in the army hospital, and settled in Chester, where he became chief burgess. Pa. Chron., Sept. 21–28, 1767; Pa. Gaz., Oct. 1, 1767; Montgomery, Hist. Univ. Pa., pp. 286, 292–3.
5. William Sturgeon, who had resigned as assistant minister at Christ Church and St. Peter’s, Philadelphia, because of ill health, and had asked BF to get him an appointment at Trenton; above, XIII, 406, 483. He died in 1770.
6. Of the very large family of BF’s old friend, Philip Syng, the only son apparently still living in 1767 was Joseph; PMHB, LIV (1930), 38.
7. The clarity of this sentence leaves something to be desired. Apparently a daughter (first name not given) of DF’s cousin, John North (E.2.2), and his wife, Sarah Merryweather North, had married William Boon, or Boone, a sea captain in the West India trade. He fell overboard from his brig Mansfield, off Cape Hatteras, June 15, 1767, and was drowned. Pa. Chron., June 15–22, 1767; Pa. Gaz. and Pa. Jour., June 25, 1767. It would appear further that the Boons were the parents of the girl, granddaughter of the Norths, who had drowned herself in the River Christiana on the previous May 14; above, p. 161 n.
8. Probably the maid of Peter and Mary Franklin (both of whom had died in the summer of 1766), who had gone to Boston with Peter and Mary’s adopted son, Ephraim Brown, and whom Jane Mecom had accused of walking off with some of their clothing; above, XIII, 340 and note.
9. A letter from DF to BF, Oct. 19, 1767, makes clear that the trunk was Ephraim Brown’s, and that it had been brought to the Franklin house by a “mrs. Rakeshaw,” or as here, “Ann Rakeshall,” but who she was does not appear.