1848: Francis N. Wilson to Rev. Samuel B. Willis

Chaplain Samuel B. Willis, ca. 1864

This letter was written by Francis N. Wilson (1797-1868), a banker in Catskill, Greene County, New York. He was the son of Edward Samuel Wilson (1734-1816) and Lucy Frances (1738-1835). In 1821, he married Eliza Burghard (1803-1859) and had five daughters born between 1822 and 1831 — one of whom, Eliza M. Wilson (1831-1885) is mentioned in this letter.

Francis wrote the letter to Rev. Samuel B. Willis (1811-1898) who served as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Catskill, New York from 1838 to 1845. It was during his pastorate there that the second church building was erected. He married Sarah Jane Cole (1826-1899) in 1843.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Rev’d Samuel B. Willis, Providence, Rhode Island

Catskill, [New York]
December 4, 1848

Dear Brother Willis,

As usual, I am delinquent. One of the most difficult things I have to do is to write a letter. Knowing that you had several correspondents here, I had no doubt but that you heard frequently how your friends were doing.

We have been favored with hearing from you often which is always gratifying. We intended to have given you a call last summer but were detained by company. We had visitors from June until sometime in September when it was too cold for Mrs. Wilson in her state of health to travel. It is the first summer for several years that we have not taken a jaunt. Mrs. Wilson has suffered in consequence. A jaunt for a few weeks has been a good medicine — perhaps the best for Mrs. Wilson.

We have expected a visit from you this fall. There are many here that would have greeted you with pleasure. Mrs. Wilson was pleased to receive a letter from you recently which she will answer when she can use her eyes. She is quite unwell at present and for some weeks her eyes have been so nervously affected that she cannot read nor write.

My daughters are in usual health. Eliza is in Hudson taking musical lessons. All your friends here, I believe, in usual health. Mr. John Powers is dangerously sick after a surgical operation conducted this week when a cancerous tumor was removed by the knife.

My brother Charley has been confined to his house most of the time from early in September until within a week or two by the inflammatory rheumatism. He is now out and doing a little business.

Nothing new in our church. It may be rather colder than usual. No additions lately. None enquiring. Two ex______s last week — Miss Maria Mosier and Miss Rachel Pierce. On thanksgiving day the different denominations went (except the Episcopalians) in our house & heard the Rev’d Mr. [David] Murdock.

My love to you all, Yours truly, — F. N. Wilson


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