David Offley writes of growing old and Smyrna



Date Written

Aug. 9, 1829

David Offley was 49 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Mary Offley, was 36 when it was received.

David Offley died 9 years, 1 month, 25 days after writing this.
It was written 194 years, 1 month, 26 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Smyrna [Turkey]
Aug. 9 1829

My Dear Sister,

It is a very long time since I had the pleasure to receive a letter from you and the state of your health. When last you wrote has made me very anxious to hear from you. I am aware that you can seldom hear of opportunities as the commerce between this place and the U. States is nearly all carried out from Boston, and which I am persuaded is the reason I so seldom hear from you. The duties of a Mother occupy much time, but for one who has so great a facility for writing as you have, that cannot occasion your silence, and I am less willing than all to believe our long separation has occasioned any dimunition in the brotherly affection I know you have for me. I think much and often of you, and dear Mother’s image is as perfect in my imagination as if it was only yesterday I saw her. I shall be very happy to hear in long of your health of your health and happiness.

Here we go as usual. To begin the account of myself, I must tell you I feel most sensibly the approaches of old age, and have many tokens to warn me that I am likely, as respects health, to be a tolerably miserable old man. I suffer this moment much with the rheumatism in my knees. I am nearly bald, my teeth ore fast decaying, and without spectacles I cannot even read a newspaper. Yet I am only 48 years old. Perhaps my travels, change of climate, etc. may have occasioned a premature old age.

The past winter I spent in Constantinople when frequently the snow was knee deep for over a day. In the engagement of good health, I am well convinced that a winter in Philadelphia would make a finish of me—contrary to your idea. Everything is different in this country. We are in town to pass the summer heats, when they are over I shall retire with my family to a neighboring village distant about 7 miles to pass the remainder of the year. When what with gardening and little carpenter jobs, I pass my time pleasantly enough.

Richard and David are with me and doing little or nothing, waiting for such changes as we hope peace may bring about, to engage in business. Holmes [another son] I believe is doing something in Trieste. My little ones are all in enjoyment of fine health, and make in my house and under my eye, good progress in their education. I have another entry I beg you to make in the family Bible. “Catharine, daughter of David and Helen Offley, was born at Smyrna, in the Asia Minor, on the 28th July”. My dear Helen is quite well and desires her love to you all. She is yet confined to her room, but hope in a few days she will be able to join us again at the table.

Give my respects to your Blakely. Tell him I hope by the latter end of next month to hear from him as it is of importance. Let me to know as early as possible within the draft on the [?] of our cousin Patty’s estate has or not been paid. I also at the same time hope to hear that my small draft on the Secretary of State has been paid. They certainly use me very ill in the delaying of the payment of my drafts for money advanced by me for the use of Government, without fee or reward for doing so. It is now a long time since I have been rendering services to our Government without any renumeration. I trust eventually from their Justice, that I shall receive some, and which will be most acceptable. Without business, and a very large family to support, it requires no little management to make both ends meet. Most this, but nothing more I have been able to do for some years past. The Greek revolution and S. Williams’ failure made a real inroad in my finances.

Give my love to Mother, brothers, sisters and to my dear little cousins. I have rather by chance been favored to see a letter from her to one of her brothers. I should have been very happy to have rec’d one from her if her feelings had prompted her to write it. With sincere affection my dear sister. Your Brother,


Scans of Letter