New mother writes to husband announcing the birth of their son


Date Written

Jan. 29, 1837

Sally B. Norris was 27 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Benjamin Norris, was 33 when it was received.

It was written 186 years, 7 months, 25 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Pittsburgh January 29, 1837
Sun Eve

My dear husband,

I wrote you the 18th Jan., informing you of the arrival of a son who was born Monday morn at 7 o’clock, the 16th of Jan. —I have been very well since, and so has the little stranger–really hope my last–has reached you, but the mails are so uncertain, that I repeat what I there wrote–I was sick but three or four hours & never suffered so little before–I wrote to sister Rebecca when he was a week old, told her that we had named him William Evans–In my last I told you the dear little babe had his right foot turned in–Dr. Hays told Mrs. Peters, ( my nurse) not to tell me that day , because I was so nervous–but I discovered it first–when I had him in bed. I was so frightened that I nearly fainted–thinking it was like some I had seen–but the Dr. told me not to be alarmed–the leg is the same size with the other, and so is the foot–not withered–after a few days he told us to commence bathing it with white oak bark, which we did for several days, then he put a sticking plaster around the foot & says when he is two months old he can give me a pattern for a boot for it–he says he has seen many worse than this–which were remedied–told me to hold it in a certain position all the leisure I had–you must know I feel anxious indeed & wish sincerely you were with him–I received a letter from you last week–of Jan. 13--& was delighted to find you had done as well at–O-h, & I had a prospect of going to Greenville. My dear husband, I sincerely hope you will come on for me before going to Ill–when the river opens I am very anxious that you should come for me–In the first place I feel very unpleasantly situated here–if uncle and aunt had gone to S.C.–it would have been different–Mary Anna has been quite sick–she was drooping for a week or two–before I was sick–Dr. Hays came to see her–said her stomach was diseased–gave her a slight emetick of ____oil and turpentine after it–she is now much better, but for a week after I was sick–kept me awake almost the whole night–To tell the truth I wish I was through with my visit–I sincerely hope I never shall make another while I live–had I known the family were to be here this winter, I am sure I would not have come–but so it is–I can not help myself–but am far from healing at ease. All the comfort I have is thinking that you will certainly come for me before leaving Hen for Ill.–Ma I find intends on returning in the spring to Taunton--& it will be impossible for me to go on to Ill. With two children alone–you would be obliged to come on for me--& if you knew how I felt, I am sure you would wish me to be away as much as I myself wish it–Surely the expense will be less for you to come from Henderson here in the first place & take me on with you–another thing I want you to have the charge of the dear little babe’s foot–I feel very anxious about it–I assure you — I received a letter from Mr. Center since writing you last–I think acknowledging the receipt of the 55 dollars, or rather the draft–he wrote a long letter saying they were well, Mr P.’s family also sent his respects to you & wished you to write him–thinks of visiting the western country in the spring, & says that he may yet be a farmer in Ill.–George has gone to Phil. & New York to be absent a month–his wife was here last week–Mary Ana is very fond of her little brother Willie–holds him very carefully, & declares Dr. Hays is his father–she begins to pick up a good deal–I do think it is for the best that you did not go on to Ill.–the first of the winter–you have done well since your return, & I do hope will not have left Hen. When this letter gets there–I am thankful the winter is so near over–hope the river will break up soon, & that we can go–Ma feels no happier than I do–I know it is on account of Mary Anna’s sickness, & anxiety about the baby’s foot. Do write immediately my dear husband–my love to Mrs. Aloe’s, Mrs. McBride & their families & all our friends in Henderson–I shall write them soon & to Miss Cooke–Ma sends love to you–Mary Anna sends a kiss to you & wants to see her dear Pa very much–says you want to see her little brother she knows–Adieu my dear husband–

Your Affectionate wife
Sally B. Norris

Scans of Letter