This letter was written by 20 year-old Greenleaf Clark George (1808-1875) — a shoemaker and the son of Benjamin George (1782-1864) and Abiah Simonds (1782-1863) of Plaistow, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Besides his parents, Greenleaf addressed his younger sisters, Mary Ann George (1810-1888) and Eliza George (1811-1888), and his older brother, Charles George (b. 1806).
Greenleaf teases his sister Many Ann for devoting all her attention to “Mr. Flanders.” She married Benjamin Flanders (1799-1874) in April, 1829.
Reference is also made to “Mr. Ensworth.” This was probably Nathaniel Ensworth (1801-Aft1880) who took over a tannery from Joshua Fish in McDonough, New York, about the time this letter was written.
Addressed to Mr. Benjamin George, Plaistow, County of Rockingham, New Hampshire
McDonough [Chenango County, New York]
July 30, 1828
Most Affectionate Parents,
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and I hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. Yours of the 13th came to hand the 27th and I thank you for your kind and affectionate advise, which I peruse over and over doubting whether it could come from my injured parents. But weep not for me. It is me alone that has cause to weep. You show me more respect than I deserve. Put your trust in God, for He alone is able to save for all things work together for good. I have a bible to read and a meeting to go to and different denominations. We have Free Will Baptist, Calvanist Baptist, Presbyterians, and Methodists, and I attend regular, being wonderfully favored with health.
I think that I shall not go any farther West but return home next fall, if nothing prevents. I have made thirty-five pairs of men’s shoes since I came here and one third belongs to me, which are worth one dollar and fifty cents per, and helped Mr. Ensworth five days at haying, and I have not lost but one day since I have been here. That was on Independence [Day]. I am with a steady and industrious man — one that minds his own affairs and lets others alone. I long to be at home and I have repented more than once of ever coming away as I did. But the deed is done and cannot be recalled. But I can repent and you forgive, which I pray that you may. The people want me to stay and set up my trade as there is no shoemaker in the village but I shall first return and settle my affairs and then if I think proper to settle down here, I shall as there is fine water privileges and a flourishing place.
Give my respects to all enquiring friends if any I have. write every opportunity for I want to hear from old New Hampshire and so I remain your affectionate son, — Greenleaf C. George
To Mary Ann
I take this opportunity of informing [you] that I am well. I embrace it and I hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same. I sent my love to you in my last letter but you never so much as sent your love to me. Perhaps Mr. Flanders takes up your attention. If so, I hope you will treat him with respect for he deserves. And give my love to him and all the rest of the young folks. And tell them that I often think of them. Write the first opportunity and so I remain your affectionate brother, — Greenleaf C. George
I received your affectionate letter with tears of gratitude for you have not forgot me yet and I gave you my sincere thanks for it. And you asked me long I was coming. I was ten days on the road from the time I started and I am two hundred and fifty miles from the city. Take care of my cloak till I come home. Give love to all the girls and so I remain your affectionate brother, — Greenleaf C. George
I received your kind letter with tears of thankfulness and may God recompense you for your love to me and may you be as good as I have been wicked and you have nothing to fear. And give love [to] Sarah and Harriet. Write every opportunity, and so I remain your affectionate brother, — Greenleaf C. George
N. B. [Note well]: I am within one hundred of Holland Purchase and if you will find out in what country and town Uncle James lives in, I will try to get a letter to him. G. C. George