Suggesting future wife should return to town as epidemic is abating


Date Written

Sept. 20, 1820

Blakely Sharpless was 33 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Mary Offley, was 27 when it was received.

Blakely Sharpless died 31 years, 3 months, 12 days after writing this.
It was written 203 years, 2 months, 18 days ago.
It was a Wednesday.

My chamber, 9 mo. 20th 1820 (9 P.M.)

My Dear Mary,

I shall devote the evening hour to thee as to the best beloved of my heart and the future participator of my fortunes.

I arrived at Camden in 2 ½ hours after parting with thee, and nothing new in the fever line except the case down 2nd Street spoken of when we were in town appeared from the Board of Health. And only one has been reported since, in Christian Street traced to the infected district.

Hope and confidence that the dreaded enemy will hide his head and soon disappear altogether gain strength. Several more have opened their stores east of 2d Street and a little more animation appears in business, out town is better this week. Rebecca Allen and Catherine Pugh have returned and opened house again. J. T. Hopper says you may return with perfect safety by the last of the week and that is my mind. I need not say how very pleasing it will be for me to hail you welcome home again. I could not urge you if I though there was any risk. We may fairly ask where is our sickness and mortality! Deaths for the last week—sixty three! Only 2 of these malignant!

Third day morning. I took your key and visited 148 found all safe from the garrett to the parlour, and no inhabitant to be seen except for a cat which descended into the collar from the yard when I opened the piazza door, and a little dog that had entered under the gate from the street and was playing with fuss. What interest a dwelling loses when its inhabitants are absent! I had to draw upon my resolution to go through your dark entry to the 3rd story. I seated myself on the sofa and tried to recall some of the happy moments we have spent on that pleasant spot, my mind was an d my attention also was diverted from that dear subject, by the darkness of the room, the absence of the carpet and the appearance of desertion around me, and I soon returned to the street sighing, a wish for your speedy entrance to adorn your pleasant home!

Time, my best friend drags, and I long for thy presence, to cheer & beguile it, I feel it like one bereft of a good, of a something invaluable, which nothing can substitute; I left company below, I was not interested & cannot become so. I have so long been out of general conversation I cannot partake as I used to do. I regret that so many weeks should thus pass by without the necessary preparations, this I cannot more regret or dislike than myself, my love, but until we join hands before a public assembly, calling, Heaven and it to witness our solemn promises of love and faithfulness. I feel purpose and want of settlement, I feel as if an important something was yet to accomplish before we can repose quietly at our home a “little World” to each other!

By a reference to our almanacs it appears there are four weeks till another Preparative meeting day, when we can if ready marry, otherwise we must wait 2 weeks longer, which would bring it so near brother Joshua’s engagement or “circumstance” as to cause busy times in our family and a little inconvenience.

We were speaking on our ride first day, of a list of our friends. Shall I refer thee to the enclosed? Which sister R. and thee may con together and make such variations as you may be please.

As so many of the number will be absent, I have ventured to enter 2 names not much spoken of before, for reasons for reasons I will give when I see thee. The whole makes 24 including parents. Will that be too many? I may add a few lines tomorrow. Adieu my dear, Dear friend and do not think any part of [?] looks like craze. May thy sleep be sound and thy dreams propitious.


5th day morn. What a cold one! Had you frost in the country & Fine weather for our devoted city. How sanative is the morning.

No word from Thomas since he left on 7th day, should be glad if he would return on 6th day in time for me to go to Woodbury with Murphy same evening. If you do not return this week, please let me know 7th day by Benjamin. Love Affectionately thy,


M. L. Dawson and his “intended” will complete their intention yesterday, 3 weeks so says Mr. Morrison, thy

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