Elderly parents – 5

Background:  Elizabeth Rankin was the mother of John McCulloh b. 1747, and seven other children including James, author of the letter below.  Her first husband, John McCulloh b. 1721, came to America in 1759.  From the 1778 will of Henry Rankin it appeared that he was Elizabeth’s 3rd husband.  The ledger below shows that instead of living with the family Elizabeth was first boarded with a doctor and then with someone else.  From descriptions in other letters she may have been suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Funeral expenses are also listed.

19 May 1792  – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

I recieved your two letters respecting the supposed fate of the Germantown place and thank you for your attention to that business.

The present is to request that you will have a tomb stone executed in a plain neat manner & agreeably to the enclosed inscription [ inscription lost].  There is a man in Third St. opposite Mr. Bingham’s [who] offered to find the marble slab for L9 and charge 2? a letter for cutting it.  However, I leave this matter to you who must know the best artist.  Please to engage it and inform me what it will cost.


1 Nov 1800 – Elizabeth Rankin ledger a/p with John McCulloh dec.                           Accounts from 1781 to June 20, 1792

1787 – Mar 9 to cash          Mar 29 – pd to Capt. Murray          Apl 23 – pd to postage          June 23 – sent her to Saml McClintock [doctor]          June 23 – pd for 1 lb tea          July 27 – cash at sundry times          Dec 4 – pd Saml McClintock for boarding          Dec 4 – sent her ditto 11/5.  Paid for Louff 3/

1788 – Feb 27 – cash          Mar 10 – Cash           Mar 29 – Sundry ditto          June 14 – ditto          Aug 11 – ditto          Sept 19 – pd John Nicholson on account of certificate          Nov 1 – Cash

1789 – Mar 23 – cash          April 18 – pd Samuel Owens          April 18 – pd freight to L. Bush

1790 – April 3 – Cash          April 3 – Boarding 12 1/2  months

1791 – April 9 – pd John Griess acct for 1 year boarding

1792 – Feb 22 – cash pd for Wine & sundry clothing          May 19 – John Griess acct for boarding and nursing for one year          June 20 – John Griess acct for boarding and funeral expenses          June 20 – cash for muslin for a shroud and coffin furniture

Samuel McCulloh, exec.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 360, 366

Elderly parents – 4

Letter in response to 3 April 1791

18 May 1791 from Prince Ann, Maryland – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

I recieved your last letter just as I was leaving Baltimore upon which I called upon N. Peirce who informs me that the money you charge me for her is wrong.  But as she wrote, no doubt, on the occasion I shall not touch upon it further.

I observe that you charge me with the balance of my mother’s a/c and credit me for 4/5 of the rent of the Germantown estate for one year – has it not been rented since 88?  If it has not you may be right as to the credit.

I find you still charge me with Roberson on Ferguson & several on Benton – after I have so often told you that I won’t allow.  Then for godsake put the thing out of your head – as it never will advantage you a farthing.  If you will state the account & omit those charges that I have nothing to do with you will find it more to your interest than the mode you at present persue – which will give much pleasure to you.

Affectionate, James McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 321, 322

Elderly parents – 3

3 April 1791 from Philadelphia – John McCulloh to James McCulloh

Dear Jamey,

I have yours of the 6th of last and should have answered it long since but I have been much hurried and expected that you were gone to Prince Ann to which place no opportunity offered.  I am happy to find that you are now willing to reason on the matter that has unhappily prevented that cordiality of affection that ought ever to subsist between us and which by the spirit of your last I hope may now be restored.  For I am confident that at any time if I am wrong I will be set right by your pointing out the error; as to the certificate we will have it until I shall have the pleasure of seeing you here only observing that I have ample testimony of its not belonging to you alone.  I do not, I assure you, wish to wound your feelings, but I thought it odd that you never engaged about our poor old mother who is now becoming exceedingly troublesome and childish much more so than my infant partly thro the infirmity of old age & partly thro an ungovernable temper which is worse in old age.  This childishness [is] the cause of the Germantown placement off again as heretofore I wish most sincerely that it now put an end to for I am heartily tired of it indeed.  My part of the rect mo does not half pay me for my trouble in attending court  I am induced to believe that it would be better for me to make over my part of it to you than to be any longer plagued with it.  I herewith send your assesment and should an error appear I will correct it with cheerfulness.  You say you have been kind to the children of our sister.  So say I but you will certainly allow that I have not been an idle spectator taking circumstances in to vein.  I am, I think, not kind most but I will not contend for the preference.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 319

More on this subject at a later date…

Elderly parents – 2

Background:  The settlement spoken of in the first paragraph below, might refer to their father’s estate.  The Williamsons mentioned in the second paragraph are the children of their sister, Anne McCulloh Williamson.

6 March 1791 from Baltimore  –  James McCulloh to John McCulloh

I have read yours of the 25th with that attention that the nature of it deserves and have, I think, only to observe that at the settlement of 88 your were charged with all the Certificates and money that you had already made use of and that those remaining belonged either to the estate of to me.  But surely I cannot without manifest injustice to myself yield to you what every sense I possess tells me is wrong upon the score of it.  Being your right certainly, you might as well claim those certificates you have sold for me as this in deed nothing but the intricacy of the negotiations permitted my selling it long ago.  The certificates you were charged with at the settlement you had made use of for the payment of some lands you and Mr. Peterson purchased in the back country.  This perhaps may explain the nature and cost of them, but I am your debt, do bless your soul, drawn off my account.  And let it so appear to me and indeed I’ll pay you if I have as much in the world, but take notice that I will not allow those charges which you allude to of which you seem to insist upon with some indelicacy.  Taking the whole of our cash settlement into consideration, however, perhaps I am wrong in this inference.  Indeed you have said so once before.

I am now come to the part of your letter which would appear as if I was deaf to the ties of filial and dutiful affection, but John if you will examine into your own heart which I charge you to do you will find the hurt ground lest have I even refused to cherish and support  my mother.  Have I not done it.  I say nay am I not charged with it on your own books.  Have I not supported the Williamsons beyond my abilities.  Is there not two of them now living upon me.  Do I not clothe and educate and have I ever called upon you for assistance.  No.  If I could afford it I would rather assist than take from you.  And I think my conduct through life may justify this assertion, the truth of which I appeal to your return of your own heart.  If you chance to take the case impartially, however, for God’s sake let me have my acct and perhaps upon settlement we may be better friends than we are lately without it.

I ask obt the Germantown place.  Surely it need not affect you so, a suit that has lasted these 7 years in which I am interested, is it not natural for me to wish to know its fate.  But when we are at variance with the man we commit and sabatize all that he says and does.  However, I am sorry that anything of this appearance should take place between persons who ought to act and think differently.  Which I hope will ever be the case with you.                                                                         Affect. J. McCulloh                                                                                   You say altho the certificate is in my name it was returned as the property of the Company.  If you can’t show this I agree that you should have your share of it provided that I have not settled with you for it – let this decide this affair.


Background:  Elizabeth Rankin is the mother of John McCulloh b. 1747

8 March 1787 – Judgement of Elizabeth Rankin

Know all men by these present that I Elizabeth Rankin for divers good consideration me hereinto moving and also for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings to me in hand paid by John McCulloh do assign transfer and set over to the said John McCulloh a certain judgement by me obtained against John Doyle in the term of June in Philadelphi County Court of common Pleas in the year 1784 for 251 pounds, five shillings and four pence debt, besides cost of suing as by this recourse of the said court may appear.  And the said Elizabeth Rankin for the consideration afore said hath made ordained constituted and appointed … the said John McCulloh his executors and administrators this true and lawful attorney and all monies inevocable giving unto him full power and authority.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm roll 2, frame 313 and 21

Elderly parents

This is the post excerpt.

Dealing with  aging parents is not just an issue for today.  It has been going on for 200 years as these letters will attest to.  The following letters hint at the costs John McCulloh has incurred in taking care of his mother, Elizabeth Rankin.  His siblings try to help with support, but obviously there are other issues at hand.  I am not sure what the reference to the “Germantown place” means, but think it might be property John’s mother owned.

Background:  James a the younger brother of John McCulloh b. 1747, who lives in Philadelphia.  They are both involved in the family mercantile business.  James is partner with the Baltimore firm of Knox, Usher and McCulloh.

6 April 1788 from Baltimore   –    James McCulloh to John McCulloh

My Dear John,

I am around with your and am convinced that your reproof was just and ask your forgiveness.  If you have not already sent the __?_ pray don’t as it will be too late for A market.  Advise me of this immediately that I may send you the money if you have sent it –       I see and feel sensibly the trouble with my mother.  And my sisters family give you and have little doubts of your expenditure and assure you that as soon as I have it in my power I will appeal you this.  I’m in hopes will be very soon indeed.  They have cost myself a great deal but I have no account of the [black spot on text] however it cannot be anything like the sum you have expended on things.  Therefore consider myself delinquent to you on that score as I shall endeavor to make it up.  I will attempt to visit you, but fear it won’t be before July as Mr. Knox won’t be up before that time but surely there is no inconvenience or danger in communicating what you have to say by letter as I shall not be from home.              I am sorry you have so much trouble with Germantown place along with your other troubles.  It is too much however I hope you will have A Armand superious to what I can mention for your good offices.                                                                                                                                                                                        Your most affectionate,                                                                                                                                                             James McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 111

To be continued…