Travel letter to Tallahassee

Date Written

Jan. 20, 1842

David Robinson Preston was 38 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Robert Robinson Preston, was 48 when it was received.

David Robinson Preston died 8 years, 1 month, 13 days after writing this.
It was written 181 years, 8 months, 15 days ago.
It was a Thursday.

Jany. 20th 1842

Brother Robert,

According to promise, when I saw you in Richmond, I now sit down to inform you of my arrival at this place and of my health.

I reached Charleston, S. C. on the morning of the 25th ult. there I remained eight days. The weather was very unpleasant and I did not improve in any respect, while some of my symptoms were worse. Therefore on the second inst, having abandoned the land route thro’ Carolina & Georgia, I embarked in the U. S. mail packet bound to Cuba, but to touch at Key West, an island about 70 miles north of Havana. There I remained only a few hours until I got on a Brig. from New York for St Marks. We were eight days from Charleston to Key West and nine from there to St. Marks—in all 17 days—pretty much of a voyage for a mountaineer. The weather was generally moderate, frequently dead calm, but one or two pretty heavy blows. I was not at all sea sick, always able to take full rations and thought the sea air very beneficial, tho’ both on leaving and & returning to land I contracted a bad cold, or cough, whichever it may be.

We went nearly to the 240 of north latitude, and one day the thermometer was at 820 at 2 pm. Pretty war ray you for the 9th of Jany & also Key West. I saw the cocoa nut & other tropical fruits, trees & plants.

I cannot say my health is much improved. I have had unpleasant cough for the last few days, this I hope is just a cold, tho’ it is different from most that I have had.

A physician here encourages me to hope everything from the climate, many have been restored who were apparently much worse than myself. This town has greatly changed since I was here in 1830, it is more than quadruple in size, and there has been an entire change in the population. I have met with but two persons that I knew here, and am told of three or four more. Between two and three hundred died here of yellow fever last summer and fall.

I feel very lonely and depressed, this is now an expensive place to live and I must try to economize all I can.

Give my love to all my relations, particularly to sister E. and my other sisters and brothers. I will write soon to some of you. Forgive this hasty scrawl as the mail closes soon.

May a gracious [?] bless you and yours is the earnest wish & prayer of yr. aft.

D. R. Preston

Scans of Letter