Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Deborah Franklin, 14 October 1770

From Deborah Franklin

ALS: Pennsylvania Historical Society

Ocktober the 14 1770

[My Dea]r Child

I have bin so much taken up of Laite I Cold write only a line or two which I desired Billey to in close in his letter to you, to tell you that when he and mrs. Franklin is in town I am much taken up; the laste I got Mr. Beach to excues me to you for we had Several friends in the house and this day I am told Folkner Sailes on Satter day.4 So I muste write when I Can as to aney thing of publick Affairs I leve to your friends to give you an acounte. This is to tell you Mr. Beach and Salley is gon to Burlinton to See Mrs. Franklin as Shee did not go to Amboy and I thinke Shee will cume down to the Roses.5 Yisterday came the a Counte of the Death of our verey kind Friend Mr. White Feld it hurte me indeaid you will See all a bought him in the Papers and in the Same paper Came the a Counte of the Deth of John Mecum.6 Hough is our Sister Mecum but Shee is much Suported and Shee has a dubel Shair of Sperrites I am a fraid Shee is angarey with me but I Cante tell for what Shee thinkes I donte thinke quite as Shee dus but I love her and will as long as I live. I did reseve a letter by two Ladeys by the way of Scotland it was a wrong time I fair as everey bodey has laid all finery is laid on sid I did all in my power but that is but Small.7 I have Seen our friend Rhodes he is much plesed with your writing to him his wife and Dafter much plesed as did our old friend mrs. Paskel Shee cumes to See as Shee is verey fond of your Grand Son the day he was Crisond he was taken in to her house as did his unkill and ante and Pason Petters and mrs. paskel rememberd that Salley was carreyed to her house the firste time [s]he wente oute.8

Our Dear mrs. Grasce is in town Shee and mrs. Suel and her Dafter mrs. Hunte. Shee loves you as well as ever. Shee is a fine woman in dead and has a fine Son9 her mother and Shee Lay in att the Same time I wente to See them all thow I donte visit more. I Send you a barrel of Cranbarey I Cold not get aney thing eles it is two airley in the Seson but I Shall have an opertunety Soon I hope. I hear mr. Bambridg is Cume to his Fathers house near Frankford.1 I give you Joy in the marraige of all your friends marraigis be So kind as to tell our Dear Polley if I Cold Write I wold Say much and to our good mrs. Stephenson I give her as much Joy as Shee wish or deseyer and our Kinswoman I wishe her all hapeynes mrs. Franklin knows the Captin2 but I Cante Say aney thing more only I hope them all hapeynes. I Cante Say aney thing more of our [Gran]dson then he is sound [torn] teeth and has maney readey to a peer he walkes Strong [torn] not with oute [torn] for he is verey prudent and will hold by everey bodey. He has charmin fine eyes and a fine littel mouth in [torn] Lovelay. Laste evening Mr. Bache and Salley retarnd from B[urling]ton. Mrs. Franklin is well thay thoute Shee wold a Cume down to the rosses but shee did not as shee desires to Cume down and Stay Sume time as Soon as the Assemby rises att amboy. I had Miss Parker att our House for 6 weeks her mother is to Cume and live att Woodbridg Jenkey3 as you onse told me is hansumer then my Dafter and as I Sed then Shee was hansumer the [than] two dafters Such as mine. Shee is a fine Gorle in dead. Senes I wrote the a bove I Saw Mr. Banbridg he did not Stay as he had Severel letter to deliver he looks verey well he lefte a letter for Billey and mr. Suell was in the room4 I gave it to him to take Cair of it to Send it to him. Capt. Folkiner ofred to due aney kind ofis but I told him I did not desier to give him aney trubel. Franklin had bin to See him and mrs. Folkener and we talked of a hobbey Horse but it is as you plees. It wantes but a verey few day of 6 years Senes you lefte home and then you thought it wold be but Seven munthes. Be plesd to tell Mr. Whorton I did Send the in closed I Sente to his House5 I have Seen Mrs. Moungomorey Senes Shee arived her edest Son deyed her Husbands Corpes is brot and bureyed in this plase6 I told you Shee had Sente me a worke bag from Lisbon Billey did fawl in Love with it and I presented it to his wife I hope it was well. I had Sum thing eles but it is Sliped my mind and I am to write to Sister Macum as I have dun a Small Caske of Poke melos and muste Send them a way today7 and write to her. I did not write a boute mr. Foxcrofte as I remember Senes he went and as he is to be hear Soon I say aney thing a boute him only that he has a verey a greabel Ladey and he may be verey happey.8 Salley will write So I donte say aney thing of her or Mr. Beach only that thay air well and our Dear King bird. Mr. Hall has bin un well I wente to See him yisterday he Ses he is better agen. Cusin Molley is in a bad Staite of helth and look verey poorly as yousal. Capt. Sparkes loste his wife laste week9 our frand Rhodes is gon to N york to be thair a while with her1 as her mother is not a bell to go so he and his dafter hannah is gon all my old friend air well I cante menshon them by name [torn] Person is a going with this vesill2 Shee desired a line to you but I fair [torn] write Shee has bin in London ones you was thair my beste Compley m[ents to] all our friends as those menshoned [torn] I muste [torn] this has bin writ in Severel day and now I Can tell your Son has a temted to walke a lone but he is verey Caushou[s] and is verey Cairfull he has be gon to tolke he has a Swet voyse he Ses babey and Coles his maid mamah and his mother he Coles mamah the boy Bob and is quit fond of his father thay whip top and play marbels and Sing and maney other Such things. Salley has desired me to Send to you for a Doz. pair of the beste of fine white threed Stocking and large mens3 for her to present to a portickler friend of hers. I told her to write her Selef but Shee insiste on me to due it for her now I muste due her the Caireckter as to Say Shee has bin one of the best mother I ever Saw Shee wonte Spile her Son Shee ones has whiped his ones and twise he has bin behind the dore and is Sadley afraid and dus what he is bid. I thing you wold be much plesd Billey is verey much plesd with them boath and mrs. Franklin verey hapey with them all So and Ses Sister is the best mother. Thay [are] to Cume and Stay with us a time and then thay muste go and Stay att Burlinton but you will Cume and See hough thay all So hapey with this one Child.

I observe what you Say a boute the 6 tees you tell me of. Mr. Beach is in my mes he drinke Sage and Balms laste evening I reseved a letter from Sister Jeney I was a littel Jeles which proseded from two much love4 Shee tells me that our Cusin Polley Ingersole was deliverd of a Ded Son after be in Ill for days. Polley marreyed a Weste Indey man his name is Jarvis an elderly man.5 Sister did not like him but he was thought rich.

I shall write to her next week this is Sonday afternoon and I a lone this evening I Send it of [off] my love to good Mrs. Stephenson and as I have Sed be fore everey bodey. I hope your Dear arme is well. As to the hurte I had with Sliping down Dr. Shippins Stairs is worse and dus everey falls and I Sufer pain.6 My Dear child I hope you will not Stay longer then this fall I muste Conclud your Afeckshonet wife

D Franklin

My beste Compleymente to Sir John Pringal for his regard to my kingbird and my Selef.7

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Falconer actually left on Monday, Oct. 15 (Pa. Gaz., Oct. 18); DF doubtless started her letter several days before the date on it.

5Probably BF’s friends John Ross (above, XI, 531 n) and his wife, Elizabeth Morgan Ross (1714?–76), for whom see Geneal. Soc. of Pa. Publications, XI (1900–03), 305.

6The Pa. Gaz., Oct. 11, carried the news of George Whitefield’s death at Newburyport, Mass., on Sept. 30. John Mecom, Jane’s son and BF’s nephew, had died in New Brunswick, N.J., on the same day: Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, p. 113.

7BF had recommended the Misses Farquarson and Smith, identified only as a milliner and a dressmaker, in a note of introduction to DF above, April 20.

8For Samuel Rhoads and his family see above, II, 406 n; XII, 205 n. Mrs. “Paskel” was Ann Chandler Paschall, Rhoads’ sister-in-law and the widow of Thomas Paschall; for the Rev. Richard Peters, rector of Christ Church, see above, III, 187 n.

9Rebecca Nutt Grace was twice widowed; her second husband, Robert Grace, had died in 1766. Above, I, 209 n; II, 286; XIV, 281 n. Elizabeth Fordham Shewell (1731–94) was the wife of Stephen Shewell (1747–1809), Benjamin West’s brother-in-law. The Shewells’ second daughter, Mary, had married Isaac Hunt in 1767. Her “fine Son” was probably Isaac, the eldest of three brothers; the youngest, born in 1784, became the famous Victorian critic and poet, Leigh Hunt. Theodore F. Rodenbough, Autumn Leaves from Family Trees … (New York, 1892), p. 196.

1The painter, Henry Benbridge, was returning from a sojourn in Europe; his stepfather was Thomas Gordon. See above, XVI, 38, and BF to DF, July 19.

2Anne Johnson had married Capt. Peter Clarke, R.N.; see BF to Folger above, Aug. 21. The Clarkes, like WF’s wife, came originally from the West Indies.

3James and Mary Parker’s daughter Jane, whose usual nickname was Jenny.

4Presumably Stephen Shewell, for whom see Sabine, Loyalists, II, 374.

5In the absence of the enclosure DF’s meaning is undecipherable, but her message was clearly for Samuel Wharton.

6For Robert Montgomery’s widow see BF to DF above, June 10. Their elder son Thomas (1768–70) had died on Aug. 9: Thomas H. Montgomery A Genealogical History of the Family of Montgomery (Philadelphia, 1863), p. 152

7Presumably some concoction of pokeweed, which we cannot identify. The berries and roots, although emetic and purgative, are also mildly narcotic; and Jane was still in pain from her fall the winter before.

8John Foxcroft had married Judith Osgood in London on Aug. 2; see above, p. xxviii. The newlyweds returned to America almost at once, and arrived in Philadelphia in late October: Pa. Gaz., Nov. 1.

9Mary or Molly (F.2.2.3) was David Hall’s wife and DF’s second cousin, and lived until 1781. Capt. James Sparks and his second wife, Sarah Ozier, had been married less than five years: J. Granville Leach, “The Record of Some Residents in the Vicinity of Middle Ferry, Philadelphia, during the Latter Half of the Eighteenth Century,” Geneal. Soc. of Pa. Publications, IX (1924–26), 68.

1DF omitted the antecedent, but in all likelihood she meant to refer to the Rhoads’ elder daughter, Mary Rhoads Franklin, for whom see above, XII, 205 n. She apparently lived in New York: PMHB, XIV (1890), 424 n.

2Perhaps Miss Ann Pearson, who sailed with Capt. Falconer (Pa. Gaz., Oct. 18), and who later became James Sparks’s third wife: Leach, loc. cit. n. 9.

3BF did not refer to this commission in any letter that is extant, and if he carried it out he must have been a mind-reader. DF either meant large men’s stockings, or intended to ask for stockings and large men’s handkerchiefs or something of the sort.

4DF was presumably “jealous” (i.e., solicitous) because of John Mecom’s death.

5Elizabeth Ingersoll Jarvis (C. 12.1.1.) was BF’s grandniece; almost nothing is known about her or her husband, but before her marriage she had lived with Jane: above, XII, 418 n.

6Dr. William Shippen, Sr., was an old family acquaintance. DF had doubtless mentioned the fall in an earlier and missing letter, but part of the sentence remains gibberish to us.

7Sir John Pringle had advised a second inoculation of the baby (BF to DF above, June 10), but what his advice to DF had been we do not know.

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