Robert’s death

Background:  Robert McCulloh was the oldest son of John McCulloh b. 1721 and brother to John Mcculloh b. 1747 and the only brother to remain in England.  He died May 29, 1789.  Eleanor, Frances and Francis (Frank) were his three children.

13 October 1789 from Baltimore – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

I have yours covering K M James certificates.  Thank you.  The account of A Williamson should be handed to him.

I am sorry to inform you that no possible mistake can be respecting my poor brother’s death, as I have a letter from his executor, one from his daughter Eleanor and one from Mrs. Browne all of which mention it in the most pathetic style.  He has left his daughters all his property, say 2000 pounds each and Frank 10 pounds only.  This dissolution of our partnership has put such a load of business upon me that I am with my badly infirmities almost weighed down.                                                                          My dear John believe me your affectionate J McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 244

Brotherly wrangling – 4

24 May 1791 from Philadelphia – John McCulloh to James McCulloh

Dear Jamey,

I am favored with yours of the 18th inst from Mr. Isaac Bringhurst.  with respect to the money I have charged you with as paid for N Pearse, I am not clear as I ought to be but as I could find nothing either on my books or in her or your letters to exta ___ it, I thought that if it had been paid she could account for it to satisfaction.  She has not wrote me on the subject.

But that part of your letter puzzles me to understanding where you say “I find you still charge me with Robinson on Feruson & several on Burston after I have so often told you that I won’t allow them.”  How am I to understand this.  I have stated to you clearly that you  had in your present a/c a credit on my book previous to our settlement of 88 and again in Knox U & McCulloh assessment of April 15, 1790.  I am charged with the same sums if you mean that I should not allow these sums in Knox U and McCulloh a/c.  I have no objection only point out with whome I am to account for them.  But surely it cannot be your meaning that I should be accountable to both James McCulloh & Knox U & McCulloh for the same moneys.  Were you here I could converse with you in a moment that this is the case.

And as to the rent of the Germantown place you can find if you’ll examine that the paper stated up to the 9th of March last and it has been rented all a long at L30 and has made only L40-13-3.  Where did you expect necessary repairs, lower feet expense of Whitnessess & taxes would come from?  Is it possible that you think I am attempting to impose upon you?  If you do for peace sake do impatronize another agent for I assure you I omit the business confidence is lost.  When ever you give me the frequent explanation to double charge, I will make out the account as you may direct.  Bella Williamson sets out for Bath tomorrow by whom I send you this.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 327

Brotherly wrangling – 3

20 September 1789 from Baltimore – James McCulloh to John Mcculloh

Dear John,

When last I wrote, no doubt my language was rather tran___ with the worm wood.  Such were my feelings nor do I repent one even now, but I lament the cause exceedingly.

Your letter states several things all directed to my feelings.  There indeed I am vulnerable.  Why then not make application to my bounty.  This I suppose you would conceive descending too far, but with a generous mind you would be nearer your purpose than this line you have pursued.

I send you back you’re a/c current.  Give no credit for the L30.  Your  2 1/2 excess on the late sale of tobacco to which add if your conscience tells you it is right and I will present your acct.  Indeed was I to give my opinion on the matter the L30 is sufficient for every thing you have done for us since.  But I may be partial.  Therefore act as best appears to you and let the return be as speedy as possible.

As the affair of Knox, U & McCulloh are now to be settled and I am to take charge of the winding up.  If I have life, I hope to do it in the course of 12 months and if not those who live after me must take the trouble.  In the mean time whatever be the worst, I shall not forget the practical terms you have offered and of which I accept with the fullest confidence that the treaty shall not be broken.                                                                                  Dear John your most affectionate J McCulloh

By  the first safe hand send the Certificates of K U McC and the a/c current.  Keep my certificates as I have no use for them.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 240

Brotherly wrangling – 2

21 August 1789 from Philadelphia – John McCulloh to James McCulloh

Dear Jamey,

I have yours of the 15th and 18th inst. the first punitive, the last full of indignation.  But I’ll dispatch the business first and then for that part which may be thought proper with respect to a commission.

With respect to paying over the aft to Holmes & Rainey without advice from you, you certainly would have had it in your favor to have blamed me.  What would I have had to shew for such an act?  The money from G Town has this moment come to hand which I shall pay according to your direction.  The money arising from it Johnston Act was paid.  I paid over to H. & Rainey agreeable to your letter of the 15th.  I have also delivered Willm Bells Clark the bill inclosed in yours of the 18th.  I do not know what to advise you with respect to your tobacco.  There has been no market tho a lone one for some days past & at present but how it may be by the time yours may probably arrive, it’s impossible to tell.  However if you send it I’ll do the best I can for your interest.  If its of the best quality, James River, It will fetch from 4 1/2 to 5 dollars and I would advise none other to be sent here.

I’m sorry to hear of my Brother Robert’s death, but I have expected it for some time past.  “How fine the years have lost, the days of mans too.”  Rapped all or you and I, my dear Jamey, must ere long bid an adieu to all things here below as well as those dear friends.  That has just as well as those that have long since gone before us.  This thought long I order but with it in full view I praised to the most.

[In] part of my letter I mean the commission charged in my agreement and to cut the matter short as possible.  If I am wrong I will retract in a moment but if I am right, I ought to be paid.   Indeed it is what you have repeatedly requested me to do to change and you would present it to the house.  I am sure you do not wish to wrong me but such is the strong constitution of the human mind that it cannot often reason with impartiality when its own interest is at stake.  I would therefore propose to leave it to some gentlemen merchants to determine which may be done without betraying our situation by inquiring what is customary in such & such cases.  But I do not think that Wm Bell or yourself does for men that you have an oppos__ of merchant money.  I shall hear any reply.  What you insinuate respecting our settlement when you were last in town as I concive you all together wrong here.  The paper will speak.  But I wish not to offend you especially as there are but two of us left now.  I hope and pray we will live in amity.  Nay I will sacrifice almost every p___, any consideration on the alter of peace.

But how came you to forget that which at present concerns me & most of our family most.  I mean Bella Williamson’s return.  In the first letter you say she will deliver it to me and she does not come & in your second you do not mention her.

Alas my dear brother, our feelings are different affected but notwithstanding what I have said above if upon cool reflection you think I ought to do all that I have done for Mr. Wm Knox & Mr. Tha Usher without the least reward whatever and act consistent with the duty I owe my family, leave circumstances out of the question.  I can almost promise to abandon my claim indeed.  I have it in my power to them that Mr. Knox thinks that I deserve a commission.  He promised the first time in or done after you paid the company that if I charge no commission you would make me a present of a Pipe of Maderia Wine for what I done that year but it never came and you must remember that I often told you that I thought hard to spend my time and attention for nothing for a person that would not thank me for it at a future day but I shall for the present leave you to your own reflection.  In the mean time I am your affectionate                                                             John McCulloh

P Since writing the above Bella Williamson has arrived safe in the evening.  I have paid Eden Shatwell L624.6.10 which nears the sum I’ve from Yorktown.  You here inclosed Jos Harpers note.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 235


Brotherly wrangling

Background:  John McCulloh’s main occupation involved a business with his four brothers importing mahogany, rum, silk, china, tea and more.  John, Joseph (deceased by this letter) and Edward Pannell were based in Philadelphia.  William (also deceased) captained the family ship Prosperity.  James settled in Baltimore where he was a member of Knox, Usher and McCulloh.  It is unclear if brother Robert in England acted as a supplier to those in America.

15 Aug 1789 from Baltimore – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

This will be handed to you by Bell Williamson.  I am sorry that you did not deliver Holmes Rainey the bill agreeably to the paragraph in my letter.  Surely you could not mistake the hand writing.  Send it to them immediately.  I gave A McSeford an order on little York for 1.26 odd.  Mail it from him and pay it over Mssr Edin Shott & Co. for our account.

I observe what you say about commission.  I am sorry you have changed any upon this last a/c as you have not done it upon those rendered heretofore.  Indeed I could get Betty Bell to do anything.  Oppinion would be proper inanced lose the whole item myself, however as I [am] in the account I shall write you more fully and I am D John your affectionate                                                                       J Mcculloh

I have got a parcel of Tobacco upon hand that I cannot do anything with.  Do you think that it will sell in Philadelphia?

It will be no news to you I suppose to hear that our Brother Robert is dead.  This is a desperate stroke to his fancy.  I fear I shall not be long after him.  I feel a gradual decline – that must soon waste of me if I don’t mend.  At all events I am yrs much truly.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 229, 230

2nd Marriage – 2

16 February 1790 from Baltimore – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

My Dear John,

I received your very affectionate & confidential letter and have paid the subject of your change of situation that attention that the subject requires.  It is indeed a very momentous one to you and all your family.  But for my own part, I can not pretend to form an opinion of its propriety. Whatever may take place you may rest assured of my friendship.

I would at once have promised you the money you require, had I it in my power but I am sorry this is by no means so at present at all probability.  It will be so in the course of the summer if my collections are not worse in the Spring than I expect.  I am just setting off for the eastern shore.

I have spoke to Nancy Pierce about the 26-1-3. She sais it was the first money she had.  Should you find no further trace of it inform me and am D John                                                        Yours most affy J McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 267

2nd Marriage

Background:  There is nothing in the next two letters that directly states John is contemplating marriage, but with eight children at home, the youngest being 4 months it is a logical conclusion.  John b. 1747 did remarry on April 8, 1790 to Anna Bringhurst, 14 months after his wife’s death.  John and his second wife had eight more children.  The reference to Nancy Williamson below is for Ann Williamson who married Humphrey Pierce.  Her sister Isabella is the one who is keeping house for John.

7 June 1789 from Baltimore – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

I am to acknowledge yours of the 5 inst and I thank you for your acceptance favor of NYC.

I trust that you are acquainted with Nancy Williamson’s prospect of getting married to Mr. Pierce which I hope may take place.  But until the thing is completed I shall still have my doubts.  You see how incredulas I am in cases of this kind.  Indeed, I have seen and experience so much of the uncertainty of such matters that I seldom believe until the Parson has said Grace.  However if it should agree, to our present expectations, [to] take place it would be very hard to prevent her sister from being present on the occasion.  Sincerely so short a time as you thought for her to stay here.  Your family [unreadable] sustain any great loss from her absence.

In answer to the remr of your letter, I am really at a loss what to say.  Indeed my dear Brother all cases of this kind people ought to judge for themselves.  Infact there is no person that can judge so properly at your time of life as yourself.  A man whose passions are intirely under command and possessing a rational understanding can always best determine for himself.  Excuse me therefore D John from saying more on a subject.  I am so unqualified to advise.  At all events I know you will act so as to preserve the best wishes and affection of your most sincere                                                                                        J McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 213