From Frances Taylor Rose and Robert H. Rose
Near Fincastle March 19th 1822
When we arrived within two miles of Keazle town we learnt with certainty that the Waggon with our Family had proceeded on five days before; in this dilema we were compelled to keep Harry untill we could overtake the waggon, to effect which we sent Ambrose on in the stage from Stanton on friday morning to overtake and stop the waggon until we could get up with it, and send our gig back to assist us on. Hugh met us this morning with it and we now dispactch Harry back by way of Lynchburg as a nearer and better way that [sic] the one we have come. I regret extremely the imperious circumstances which have compelled us to detain so long your servant and horse, but hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken as I assure nothing but absolute necessity would have induced me to have done so. We are all well and have gotten this far in perfect safety, & without fatigue on my part. We are now at Mr Wm. Preston’s,1 and shall remain here until tomorrow morning. The waggon is about thirty five miles in advance of us. I trust this Letter will find our dear Mother and all of you in good health, and assure her I shall write as often as possible to her, during my journey. The family all join in affectionate regards to all with you and ever beleive me you[r] truly affectionate Sister
F. T. Rose2
P. S. I have consulted with Mr Cabell and he will act under the Power of Attorney if it should be necessary and he will attend to the paying the Taxes and the Advertiseing the Land immediately in the Enquirer and Lynchburg Press to be sold on the first day of August next at Public Auction in Lynchburg;3 at which time I shall certainly attend, and when your Brothers Bond shall be paid and the other Bond to Ambrose Madison I will pay as soon as I can get to Huntsville, by remitting the amount to you by the Mail.
Robert H. Rose
RC (NN: Arents Tobacco Collection).
1. This was probably Smithfield, built by William Preston (1729–1783), and home to his widow, Susanna Smith Preston (1740–1823) in Montgomery County, Virginia (Dorman, Prestons of Smithfield and Greenfield in Virginia, 12–13).
2. JM’s sister, Frances (Fanny) Taylor Madison Rose (1774–1823), married physician Robert H. Rose (d. 1833) in 1801. They had eleven children, among them Hugh Francis Rose and Ambrose James Rose, mentioned in this letter. Another son, James Madison Rose, died in the fighting at the Alamo in 1836. The Rose family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1822 (Chapman, “Descendants of Ambrose Madison,” 38–39; Frances Rose to Dolley Madison, 19 Mar. 1822, DMDE description begins The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, ed. Holly C. Shulman (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2004), http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/dmde/default.xqy. description ends ).
3. The land referred to, 563 acres “in Amherst, on Harris’s creek, a considerable branch of James river, and within four miles from Lynchburg,” was advertised by Landon Cabell and William Madison in the Richmond Enquirer, 16 July 1822. This land sale was almost certainly part of the settlement of James Madison Sr.’s will, with which the Roses were unhappy. For the estate and its settlement, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 2:125 n. 1, 197 n. 2, 268 n. 3, 4:72–73 and n. 4, 387, 5:332–33; PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 6:137–38 and nn. 1–2. For the Roses’ antipathy toward William Madison, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 2:268 n. 3.