1850: Elizabeth Ann (Eccleston) Kerr to Sarah Ennalls (Hooper) Eccleston

Baltimore in 1850

This letter was written by Elizabeth Ann (Eccleston) Kerr (1815-1860), who became the wife of John Leeds Nesbit Kerr (1810-1856) in 1840. Elizabeth — or “Lizzy” — was the daughter of Thomas John Hugh Eccleston (1785-1868) and Sarah Ennalls Hooper (1780-1850). John L. N. Kerr was the son of David Kerr (1784-1822) and Maria Perry (1788-1861).

Lizzy mentions her sister Sarah in this letter. Sarah Hooper Eccleston (1822-1894) was married in 1843 to Edward John Stevens, the son of Ex-Governor Samuel Stevens, Jr. (1178-1860).

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Thomas J. H. Eccleston, Bridge Farm, near Cambridge, Maryland

Baltimore [Maryland]
January 27th 1850

My Dearest Mother,

As it is too late for me to go to church this afternoon and I am all alone, I will write a few lines to you. I am sorry to tell you that our poor old friend Mr. Pottinger ¹ is dead. He died very suddenly Friday evening. He was in the parlour at his boarding house at five o’clock. Not feeling very well, he went up with his tea. After ___, she found him in his bed dead. I never was as much surprised in my life at hearing the death of anyone. Mr. Kerr went round that evening to see him and when he asked at the door if Mr. Pottinger was in, he was told that he had just been found dead. It was a shock indeed to us all. He was buried this afternoon. I have just returned from attending the funeral. Mr. Kerr is one of his [Pall] Bearers and has gone out to Green Mount [Cemetery] with his corpse. He will be very much missed by us all. He had many _____ friends.

I was delighted to see Mr. Stevens and wished very much that I could have seen him again. I suppose you have had that pleasure, as he told me, he intended to visit very soon after he got home. How does poor Sarah come on? I do feel so anxious to hear from her. I received her letter but having written to sister a few days before that I thought I would put it off a little while. I shall write to Sarah very soon. I have made some little things which I hope she will like. We shall send them down by the DuPont this week to the care of Aunt Hooper.

Did Pa get his letter and how does he like the things? I feel anxious to hear. I hope they pleased [him]. Kate Coale and little Mary were to see me yesterday and Kate invited me to take tea with her that evening but I declined going. I have been invited there several times.

I was at Mrs. Dorsey’s last week. They are all well and doing well just now. She has been to see me twice since I returned.

Though it is Sunday afternoon, there is a splendid band of music now playing in the street, and I never saw such a procession of Odd Fellows and Red Men in my life. They extended from Market Street below Lombard Street. The companies formed in front of our house. It was a splendid sight.

Tell Sarah that I have been to hear the Germanics ² perform and was delighted. The music was splendid. They have been here for months and still have a crowded house. You have to go early to get a seat. I have not been to Italy yet, but intend going soon. It is said to be a very splendid painting.

Mrs. Stewart called to see me a few days since. Tell sister Mrs. __ Demy has been to see me. How  comes my dear little pets. I hope well. Tell them that they must love Aunt Lizzy and not forget her. I should love to see you all so much. I often think of you all. I am truly sorry to hear that poor Duke has given out but I hope you have another horse in his place. Have you filled your Gee house. If you have not, it has not been for the want of Gee for we have had any quantity of it here. Mr. Kerr is not very well. His spirits does not seem good at times. I am very well and hope you are all well. Mr. Kerr joins me in a great deal of love to you, Pa, sisters, kin and all. Kiss the dear children for me. Tell Puss Aunty loves her dearly. Do write dear mother often and always believe me your affectionate and devoted daughter, — E. A. Kerr


¹ This may have been John B. Pottinger whose obituary appears in the Herald of Freedom newspaper of 6 February 1850. I have not been able to obtain a copy of that obituary to confirm the connection, however.

² I can’t find any reference to the “Germanics” in the local Baltimore papers but assume they were a German singing association. Such groups were very popular in major cities in the early 1850s.


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