1843: Mary Jane (Snowden) Gordon to Dr. John Snowden

This letter was written by both Mary Jane (Snowden) Gordon (1820-18xx) and her husband, George Seward Gordon (1815-1880). They wrote the letter to Mary’s brother, Dr. John Snowden (1816-1848). Mary and John were the children of Thomas Snowden (1780-1827) and Elizabeth McFadden (1786-1862). The letter was written not long after the birth of Mary and George Gordon’s fourth child, Lucy E. Gordon, in New Preston, Connecticut. Dr. Snowden died of Typhus Fever five years after this letter was written while serving as physician at the State Emigrant Refuge — a hospital for sick and destitute emigrants — on Ward Island in the East River.

The 1845 City Directory lists John Snowden, Physician, New York Dispensary, 114 White [Street].

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mr. John Snowden, 114 White  cor. Centre, New York City

Page 1

New Preston [Connecticut]
Tuesday, November 21st 1843

Dear Brother John,

We received your kind letter on Sunday. We appreciate your kindness & consideration in writing immediately after getting home. You had rather a troublesome journey. We felt quite anxious about you. You found all right at home, you say. That was as you could have wished.

I was right glad to hear that you went right to work at your studies.

Page 2

We are all pretty well. The baby gets along nicely only that she begins to be a little cross. I have improved much faster than I had thought I could. I almost feel like making believe sick so as to cheat mother out of a day or two more, if I dare. Mother has fixed upon Friday if the day is not stormy. Mother is quite well. Give my love to brother Thomas. Goodbye.

Affectionately, your sister, — Mary J. Gordon

P.S. Miss B did not get home until Saturday. She has been visiting all about New Milford. Mother saw her at church on Sunday. All that passed was the usual salutations & polite invitation. You know the B’s are all unseachable. Mother will leave for home on Friday if it is not stormy. — M. J. G.

Dear Brother John,

Page 3

I do not know whether we shall have the opportunity of sending this so that you can get before Friday but we shall try. I am very sorry that Mother cannot find it in her heart to stay with us longer or rather that you are situated as to need her present soon. Mary, however, is much better than we had any right to expect that she would be so son after her confinement. Everything has gone on very well. And if we had any reliable dependence in our present help, we perhaps could get along very well. She will, however, leave us this week and what will mother’s leaving us and her _____ I do not very well know what we shall do. One thing is certain, however, we shall have to do the best we can.

I have not yet written to William and am in a ____ way of fulfilling his prediction in one respect at least of not writing to him in two months after the event he mentioned. I think of him but the fact is I am so lazy that I hate to take up any thing which has the appearance of a good quill as this wretched scrawl sufficiently attests. And then I am so wretchedly poor as you and he and mother tells me, in my efforts at Chirography that I do not feel any great ambition to show my remarkable abilities. However, I shall write to him the first time I _____ smart and have nothing to do and am thinking about nothing and intend to do nothing, at which time, however, I think that perhaps I may forget my “good for nothing” resolutions. — Brother George S. Gordon


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