To future wife about Yellow Fever epidemic


Date Written

Sept. 6, 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, 26 days after writing this.
It was written 202 years, 6 months, 17 days ago.
It was a Wednesday.

Phila 9th mo. 6th 1820

It is with pleasure I seat myself to address thee in this way, for it seems more like reality than the passing and repassing of thy image in the mind.

I shall give thee a report of myself in the first place. After tea on the 2d day, I waited on Walton. He says he don’t care about the money for his bureaus; he only wished to have them deposited at “178” if he should be under the sad necessity of shutting up shop and leaving town. They would be safer; at least his risk would be lessened with their deposit with you. I referred him to our store; if he should have to leave town I will assist him. I think the article very handsome but will not put on the knobs till just before they are removed as they keep better in the package.

On my way home, I stopped and conversed a little with ‘neighbor Adelias’. She thought all was safe. I walked up the alley to the gates. How solitary! All still as night and, and agreed with the old vulgarism, ‘how strange is the place where nobody lives!’ I sighed an ardent, though vain wish for thy presence in your front parlour, but I could not penetrate the shutters and door; bars and bolts excluded me, and thy absence would have poorly paid me for my entrance. I should soon have fled the house. I called at friend Hopper’s and heard all the news they had in store. All well, Sarah Jo has adjourned her school but does not intend again to leave town before they commence.

I called also at “Cousin Betty’s” and there heard more news, nearly all of which I have forgotten, but I recollect (not news tho’) that I was to tell you they were well, and not much alarmed; that you were to be content, and if you could not be content, to be as content as you could be, to stay some weeks longer and to forward their love. I called again last evening Anne and James were out, and all things about them looked usual. There was something said as usual about origination and transportation of Fever. The former theory I think is gaining ground.

I spent part of last evening With I Gibbons’ family and called twice to see the Doctor. He has written to Cousin Ann to stay another month at Oley. He intended the day before Mrs. Evans was taken ill, to set out to bring her home but the alarm about that time changed his determination.

There were no cases reported for yesterday at 4 o’clock and only one for day before at the same hour. Alarm seems much to have subsided and the inhabitants go about with less caution, the markets are well supplied.

G. W. Conrad just stepped in and informed two decided cases and 3 suspicious have occurred since 4 yesterday in Latitia count. They have been visited by the Board of Health, and are in Chestnut, between Front & 2d Streets, since removed to the Hospital, so that I am induced to forbear to state my favorable impressions, as alarm has again been aroused. I feel cheerful on that subject, not at all fearful, but hope to feel resigned to necessity, and stay in as much as possible, tho’ to keep in and keep shop is very dull, I can shut up at any time as our Bank and money engagements are such as to leave without disadvantage.

I have received a letter from Father, dated 2d instant, he says Mother is about the same, that I Kersey’s son, Joseph, has lost his only child with the Scarlet fever—4 dead in three weeks in his family and its branches!

If you send to Woodbury on 6th day evening there will be a letter from me again if the fever should allow Bell to cross at Market St., if not I will forward it by mail and it will arrive at W. at 8 o’clock next morning. I have been twice at the office for letters for you. I send the enclosed endorsed by the “Penny Post” out of Town.

My Dear M., I shall be glad when 7th day evening arrives that I can join thee. I feel lonely, I do not as I have for a long time, anticipated the approach of evening with pleasurable feelings, it is long, and feels blank, so much had my existence become connected with thine, I intend if thou should inform me you are at W. either go down with Murphy or take a backstage from South Street and cross at Gloucester and walk from there.

Seventh day evening—Love to all, particularly name me kindly to thy sprightly sister.

Most Affectionately, thy best friend,

2 o’clock 2 P.M.

Scans of Letter