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

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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