Letter to wife about brother’s tragic death


Date Written

Aug. 28, 1824

Blakely Sharpless was 37 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Mary Offley, was 31 when it was received.

Blakely Sharpless died 27 years, 4 months, 4 days after writing this.
It was written 199 years, 1 month, 7 days ago.
It was a Saturday.

4th day evening Father’s

My Dear Wife,

I have retired to my chamber and feel as if I must write a little before lying down. I got to the stage office in time, and had two companions, a social old gentlemen, & his son, a lad. We had a great deal of talk, and made many interjections at the varied scenes as we passed along. Often did I wish for thee to partake of the fineness of the morning, and beauty of the country, for it is at this time particularly beautiful. I found myself on the steps at father’s door ½ past 12 o’clock, found all well, and received a hearty welcome and many kind inquiries for thee and our sweet boys, and why thou dids’t not come along, all of which were answered according to their tenor.

My infirm and aged father met me weeping; he told me I brought fresh to his mind his dear departed son, and we mingled our tears, indeed my love, my feelings are continually almost effected by the recollection of my dear brother. I have been so little here since his death, that I can hardly realized the event, but the sad reality is forced upon me when some object presents which I formerly knew in connection with him, and I am directly hurried on to the true state of the case, which makes he serious and sigh. The day of my arrival, I walked over to Joshua’s and passed the awful spot where he fell. Some unknown hand has engraven on the fatal stake against which his head fell. Exit I. S., Sep 12, 1822! The recollection was awful; father was with me and pointed it out. Poor old man he feels his privations too poignantly! & allows sometimes a little murmuring to possess his mind, but he knows a little of the comfort derived from resigning all to our heavenly, and that it is best to try to be able to assent to the exclamation ‘not my will, but thine be done Oh Lord’.

I shall finish in the morning in time for the stage, please my dear kiss our dear little boys and partake thyself.

Fifth Day morning—My dear after a hearty breakfast, I continue my scribble. After dinner on 2nd day, I walked with father to Joshua’s and was introduced to the said Nathan C.! Shall I attempt to describe him? Well then, in the first place, the Doctor Jacob who attended says he is a boy, and I saw for myself he was a large one, and fat, with a mouth like his sister’s, and the upper part of his face resembling Hannah Davis, his aunt; chin with a dimple, as his father’s, a pretty good boy. We took tea with them and returned to father’s. 3d day, I remained at home till about sunset, and walked over to Joshua’s to lodge; back 4th day morning for meeting. The hour of meeting changed from 11 to 10 o’clock. After meeting, which was silent, Joshua Hoope’s wife and Jesse Kersey not attending. I spoke to several of my friends, who enquired for thee and our boys. It really seems only like enjoying a visit not to have thee along, and father and mother, who I do think are disappointed in not having thee, told me at breakfast it seemed lop sided not to have my Mary and our little boys with me.

After dinner 4th day, Sister M. a d I rode to Coatesville to see cousin F. Maule, and back in the evening. Tomorrow, 6th day, Mother and I intended visiting Sister Anne, back in the evening, and then I will hasten, my love, to thee and our sons; dear little fellows how I want to kiss them and observe their joy at meeting me.

But about our wine. Father’s folks had not topped it, so thee may be sure I did not delay long before I had a small decanter filled with wine glass and waiter, I treated the family with wine ‘made by my wife and self’. Oh how--but, I will let thee taste it when I return, as I intend taking a bottle of it with me. I can then enjoy thy disappointment, or laugh at thy significant manner of expressing lusciousness.

I have collected a little news. Jesse Meredith and Phebe Downing are to be married and cousin Jane Milhouse and Greekberry Plumer of Ohio are also engaged to be united in like manner!! What thinks thee my dear of all this? If I am much more minute of myself I shall not leave room of inquiries of thy daily progress nor have anything left to tell then when I return.

How have you got along? Does Rachel bother thee? Does Sarah behave well and has she commenced school, has R. returned, has Mother returned? Does Ann behave kindly and is Offley troublesome with his “ge whoe H H” but of the most consequence how has thee done at night? I hope pretty well!

Answers to all of the above I hope to receive in an hour or two, or wait till I return.

Stage time is at hand and I do not want to disappoint thee. I hope this letter will be left with thee this evening. I shall request T. K. to send it.

Please kiss our boys fifty times, tell them their Baba loves them and be assumed my dear I shall return soon and with delight salute thee. [?] dearest friend of my heart—Love to Ann and remembrance to the rest of the family. Thy husband affectionately,

Blakely Sharpless

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