John’s Illness

Background:  John McCulloh (b. 1747) died in 1800.  From this letter and another one to come, it appears he had some sort of health condition, and died possibly of a stroke.

19 November 1797 from Philadelphia – John McCulloh to Andrew McCulloh

Dear Andrew,

I rec’d yours of the 2 inst on post today.  Immediately wrote an answer and sent it to the post office but on the messengers return Anna wrote that the post does not leave this till Thursday next and wish if possible to forward you a letter by Hughes.  The aim of mine of yesterday was to disaprove of your staying in that quarter & of the partnership you posted by Mr. Taggert.  Indeed I conceive this is the most unstable place for you at present.

Your sister Ann is ill & I have been to all appearances on the verge of the grave.  When my first attack I wrote you & [dark spot on letter] the 6th letter by myself & friends that has been wrote you.  Indeed there never was a time in which you could have been equally serviceable to the family as for five weeks past.  I am however thanks to my great deliverer, getting better but have not yet been out of the house for upwards of a month except to come to town which was on Thursday last.  From what I have said you may judge of the propriety of returning immediately.                                                                  I am dear Andrew your affect John McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frame 296


Business Dealings – 2

Background:  Knox, Usher and McCulloh was a business firm in Baltimore and the southern link of the McCulloh family merchant system.  With the death of James McCulloh, a partner in Knox, Usher and McCulloh the partnership seemed to be ending.

9 February 1800 from Philadelphia – John McCulloh to Andrew McCulloh

My Dear Andrew,

Yours of the 2 & 6th has both come to hand & I am sorry to hear that the failure of W. Duncan has affected your Uncle Pannell & Mr. Pierce.  I observe what you say respecting the British debt due by K, U, McC.  I am sorry that Mr. P has forgot the conversation that took place in the state for in it he agreed that I should pay it as it was plain to us both that there is a sum due that Firm from your Uncle James & altho I said in my last to yu that I had paid  a part of it.  It was in this way when Mr. K was pressed by Mr. Bond on behalf of the creditors.  I told him that I could not pay any part of it, but I would lend him 300L which I did & paid it over to Mr. B & on my letters from Maryland I told him that Mr. Pannell had agreed that I should pay it which he certainly did the last day we have together.  But I make no doubt Mr. K will do what is right in the business.  As to his going down at present it is absurd  to ask him if Mr. Usher is so very sure that a considerable sum is coming to him why is he so unwilling to come here and settle the business.  Be assured that I would not do a thing that appeared improper.  It’s impossible for me to say how the ashes of the late house stands but I wish most sincerely that Mr. Usher would come up and attempt a settlement with Mr. Knox.

I am happy to hear that my sister is better.  Pray God may share her blessing to  her dear children.  It is him alone that can make us truly happy and to his guidance & care I commit you & all that is dear to me.                                                                         John McCulloh

PS. We have a number of failures in this city.  Peter Blight is the most prominent – Walter is not yet returned from Maryland so that I can say nothing about Mr. P’s gig.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frame 542, 543

Western Lands – 3

9 June 1799 from Paris [Kentucky] – Andrew Todd to John McCulloh

Dear Brother,

Your last dated Germantown Oct. 16th came safe to hand which I should have answered long before this time had I not been waiting to hear your final determination about leaving Philadelphia.  In this letter you say should you remove to the neighborhood of Pitt you would not be adverse to purchase Brother Robts & my Westmoreland land & request me to inform you the lowest penny I will take for them.  Having never seen any person who had seen the Crocked Creek tracts & only one person who had seen the Alegany tract never having been in that country myself & never having received any information as to the probable value of the crocked creek lands, it is very difficult for me to say what I would be willing to take for them…

From the information which you probably had when in that country & from information which you may collect from Col. Porter who has lands in the same neighborhood & who has probably either seen or has had such information as may be relied on you can form a pretty near estimate of their value.  I would wish you if you have determined to move to that country to make me an offer.

If you have determined not to remove there I know you have or can have better information of their value than I can possibly obtain & would therefore wish you to sell them at first opportunity.  There is a  half tract land given by my Father in hs last will to Brother Robert & myself for which I do not recollect that I have any writing to establish our claim to, other than my Father’s will.  As Col. Porter’s life is uncertain I would wish you to enquire into this matter & have done what ever may be necessary to secure to us our share of said tract.  I would also wish him to purchase our share of said tract.  I knew nothing about this tract except what I can gather from my Father’s will. In whos name the Patent [was] issued I knew not.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frame 482, 483

Western Lands – 2

1 June 1799 – Andrew McCulloh to Cousin

… Oh how I envy you these delights.  We are not so well provided with a retreat as you imagine – for as soon as C. Warner kicked the bucket his estate was sold by Order of Orphans Court.  Mr. Moyes of Pine Street purchased our place and had persuaded father to give up the lease.  Father has been absent from home better than a month in the Western part of Virginia.  We had a letter a few days ago advising us of his welfare & that he expected to be with us in about two weeks more.  Sammy sailed the 16th inst. being very desirous of writing him by every opportunity and there is none  offer either from this place or Baltimore…

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frame 435

Family Happenings – 3

Background – Andrew McCulloh was the second son of John McCulloh (b. 1747) and a born story teller.  It appeared he copied all of the letters he sent into a journal.  He was 25 years old when this was written.

15 August 1799 – from Andrew McCulloh to his Cousin Isabella

Dear Cousin,

Just as I was resolving in my mind to dismount and remove the saddle on the one I led, he as if by more than instinct knew my thoughts & wishes to save me the trouble, went ahead and ran around on my left side like a whirligig… They were good enough to stand still till I righted – shook myself and place the saddle on the other devil – after which we proceeded very well except a severe pain in my shoulder which I began to apprehend was sprained & dislocated.

I went home about 8 o’clock and was told Mama had gone visiting to Mrs. Durant & had taken some of the small fry with her – that Isaac had set off by himself to a walk, he was missed, the alarm was given, and all hands sent upon the scout.  After some time he was found in a cake shop by a young woman who knew the child to be one of the Macks & who brought him home just as I lighted at Lewhall.  I immediately remounted & galloped off to give the good people the good tidings…

Soon found the pain in my shoulder to increase.  I got Mary to rub it with vinegar and went to bed.  I slept little.  On the next day I walked up town & was caught in a shower of rain… I went to bed… taking care to shut down the sash which I had hitherto kept hoisted.  It being a damp evening, about 12 o’clock I woke with a violent fever… When father came up to know why I could not come down to Breakfast he found me as above and proposed sending for Doctor Caldwell.  I refused… when father came from meeting, he found my fever increased & me delirious which induced him to send for the Doctor who came immediately and bled me… Third and forth days bleeding of he nose, vomiting, burning at the stomach, a difficulty in breathing occasioned by a weight or an impression at my breast and stomach were considered dangerous symptoms…  Doctor who requested another Physician might be called in.  The humane Whister was sent for… they recommended father to remove his family to an empty house in the neighborhood.  This gave me a great deal of relief as they were then about to move me to a more airy chamber & the children… troubled me no more with their noise… It was generally reported I had yellow fever…

That the family and all my friends had forsaken me & left me dying in the care only of a strange negro.  This by the way was a huge one for never was a poor fellow more kindly attended & more tenderly nursed for though my dear father  fortunately suceeded in providing a negro whench  to nurse me he could not stay away from me…

You see Isabella I have wrote agreeably to your request, a very long letter – an entertaining one you had no reason to expect of me.  I will give you two weeks to read it & only one to write me a reply.

Ps.  I opened my letter to give you the most welcome news.  We have heard from the hospital that James and Henry are getting better & are recovering very fast…

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frames 417-419

Western Lands

5 October 1798 – from Andrew McCulloh

A friend fell victim to the prevailing disease with many other friends.  My father and brother set out for Pittsburg 5 weeks ago.


18 October 1798 from Philadelphia –  Andrew McCulloh to his sister Isabella McCulloh

My dear Isabella,

Your affectionate letter of the 3 Inst. came to hand just as I was setting out with Mama for to visit Col. Porter.  I hope this will in some degree induce you to forgive me for not writing sooner.  From the Col. we went to see R. Porter & his lady who were blessed the day before with a fine son.  We returned in the evening to Uncles and who do you think should find us knapping the next morning but Father and Sammy. This you can easily imagine was a very agreeable surprise.

They have both returned in good health & much pleased with the many beauties of the Western Country.  There is now nothing wanting but Mama’s consent to move out.  How she will decide I know not but am in hopes she will meet his wishes.

I am very happy to congratulate you on your safe arrival after so fatiguing & perilous journey.  Indeed I was very apprehensive that you and Betsy would not be able to stand it out, but I trust you are now enjoying good health & every good pleasure that Boston affords.  I have attended to all you requested excepting the trunk which be assured I will endeavor to send you the first opportunity altho I cannot promise how soon as the fevor still continues its dreadful ravages in our devoted City.  No vessel will attempt to come up or down until sickness ceases to rage.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frame 411, 413

Family Happenings – 2

Background:  Anna (Williamson) Pierce is the niece of John McCulloh (b. 1747), one of three daughters of his sister Ann.  Ann’s other two daughters were Elizabeth and Isabella.  John’s daughter, Mary was 17 years old at the time of this letter.

4 November 1798 from Baltimore – Anna Pierce to John McCulloh

My Dear Uncle,

I hope by this time that you and your family are settled in your city without being under any apprehension from the fever.  The weather even here being such as to remove any contagious disease had it existed.  I feel anxious to know your determination with respect to settling back.  I would wish to flatter myself with the idea that their will be such plans pursued by your citizens, as to remove the disease from raging again with such unbounded violence.  We had a letter two days ago from Sister [Elizabeth] Pierce.  She and Isabella are well.  She  mentions her being much pleased with the people in Boston, has found her little Levi a sweet prattler and anticipates a great degree of happiness in undertaking his care.

And now my Uncle don’t you laugh and say who would have thought it.  Betsy [Elizabeth Williamson Pierce] a mother before Nancy [Anna Williamson Pierce].  Ay and married eight years before her but whatever is right, and as I have not been so happy as to have a child of my own, I wish to be indulged with one of yours, which is Mary flattering myself that you cannot have the very smallest objection of intrusting her under the care and attention of such a man as Mr. Pierce.  I shall hope you will determine in the course of a few days.  With respect to her preparation for coming down, tis of little consequence, our fashion here are different from yours and you will please to let that rest on me when she arrives in our city.  If you do not meet with a friend to take charge of her in coming down, no doubt Mr. P will know of an opportunity.  You will let me know this week and observe, I am but seldom refused what I ask for and altho Mary may refuse coming down from her not having much knowledge of me, yet if she will wish the venture I hope we shall pass many happy days together and I am sure you and my Aunt will find company sufficient in the remainder.

It is at present a very busy time with Mr. P.  He is up till the middle of each night and me poor body entirely alone, not even a cradle to rock.  As to Mary’s Mamma having any objection to her coming to live with me, I am pretty sure their cannot be any and if Pappa objects from any principle tis the last request that Niece A. P. shall make.  You will please write to me by next post and if Mary can be ready by Tuesday week state I will go out a few miles in a stage to meet her.  You will please give my love to Aunt and family.  Kiss her sweet Isabella for me.

Uncle, Aunt Pannell and family are very well and now my Dear Uncle may every blessing attend you and your sweet family                                                                         Your affectionate niece Anna Pierce

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 3, frames 389-391