1832: Alfred Doolittle to George S. Brown

A 19th Century Cholera Broadside

This letter was written by Alfred Doolittle (1800-1860), the son of Theophilus Doolittle (1765-1804) and Abiah Atwater (1769-1817) of Williston, Vermont. Alfred married Martha Rebecca Scott (1797-1833), daughter of Col. William Scott.

Too little information is provided in the letter to assist in the identification of George S. Brown. We learn from the letter that he and his wife and children were residing in Bridgeport, Connecticut (where the letter was originally directed), and then relocated to Rhode Island. There is a strong probability that the Browns were actually residents of New York City who, like most others, left the city due to the Cholera Epidemic that killed over 3,500 residents. New York Passenger lists show a 36 year-old clergyman by the name of George S. Brown arriving in NYC on the Brig Susan and Elizabeth on 26 March 1838. Perhaps this is the same George Brown.

Stampless Cover


Addressed to Mr. George S. Brown, Bridgeport, Connecticut, ___ford, Rhode Island

St. Mary’s, Georgia
11th August 1832

Dear Sir,

Page 1

Your two favours from Bridgeport, the last of which came to hand a few minutes since, is now before me. I am happy to hear that yourself & family have so far escaped the Cholera & I hope that the Almighty will still continue to protect you & yours & save you from this dread Disease. We have nothing new in town. There [is] very little sickness of any kind, but the accounts received abroad are truly melancholy & alarming & we know not what hour we are to be visited with this scourge.

The Emily went to Black Point last week to load & I presume she is now loaded & will probably sail next week for New York. Christopher has gone round in the boat & will go to Hardee’s Neck. I expect him back today. I think as far as I can learn that the Teamsters on Cumberland get along badly. Jerry & John both drink very hard & the result is there is little work done.

Repent has gone Clerk to S. Clark. William leaves for New York in the Emily.

Page 2

My family are well & desire to be remembered to yourself & Mrs. Brown. I have not much time now & little news.

Your obedient Servant, — Alfred Doolittle

P.S. Since writing the foregoing, your brother has returned from Satilla [Georgia]. He says the boys will get through there in a few days. He stopped at Cumberland as he returned. They have 40 pieces to haul. He thinks they get along better than we anticipated. The Emily is loaded and on her way home. Christopher says he will write you next mail. In haste, — A. Doolittle


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