This letter was written by Mary M’Clure, a daughter of Robert M’Clure (1772-1829) and Mary Hepburn (1780-18xx) of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
This letter was addressed to Mary Jane Campbell (1817-1849) who, in the year following this letter (26 January 1836), married Robert Faries (1802-1864) – a civil engineer who worked various public works jobs. His last great work was the completion of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad. Much mention is made of “Mr. Faries” in this letter.
Samuel M’Clure, the sick brother mentioned in this letter, died in Williamsport on 17 August 1835.
[Addressed to Miss Mary J. Campbell, Nanticoke, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania]
July 8th, 1835
Your letter was received last week and I will answer it according to promise, without delay.
You can have no idea, dear Mary, how much I miss you. I have been lonely – very lonely indeed – since you left. Not that I have no companions, for the young ladies generally have been very kind and call to see me frequently. But still there is something wanting. I have not enjoyed a walk or a ride as I used to since you left, and my friends often say I am growing melancholy. That, however, is not the case, as it is not in my nature to be sober or solemn.
You wish me to tell you all about the fourth [of July]. It is easy told. The military turned out and paraded as usual. Dr. [Samuel S.] Shedden delivered an oration in the Court House at twelve o’clock, and the gentlemen dined together at Mr. J. Hall’s, which I believe was about the amount of our celebration.
As for myself, I spent the day in my brother’s sick chamber. Samuel has really been quite ill for the last two weeks, but is now slowly recovering. Robert is also just recovering from an attack of fever. He was confined to his room two weeks and is still quite feeble. So you may think I have not been idle since your departure. Samuel’s illness has deferred our visit to Elmira [New York] for some time. Indeed, it is now doubtful whether we will go at all or not. I was very anxious to have been there on the fourth, but of course, could not. I now feel quite indifferent about going.
You wish to know something about Pa. Faries and think we have had some private conversation since your absence. I really believe Faries has not been in town a single evening since you left but he has spent it with me, and you will not hesitate in believing me when I say that sometimes I am heartily tired of him. Be very cautious never to repeat that sentence. One evening, it is true, we did speak of you, and much, my dear Mary, was said. I, of course, took your part and told him I was very partial and it would be useless to attempt convincing me that you had acted wrong. He wished to know what you had told me. Of course I gave him no satisfaction. All that was said, I cannot now tell you as Mr. Faries requested me particularly not to. I wonder, Mary, if you have not still a little partiality for Faries. I sometimes almost think you have. It is now the general report of the town that you are to be married immediately after you return. Hay’s girls believe it firmly, and are forever asking me, “Is it true?”
Wilson spent a day in town lately, then went to Milton and was here a week on his return. He is the same old fellow that he always was. I spent one lively evening with him. Morris was in town last week. I saw him several times. He and Favies spent Monday evening at our house, and started for Dunnstown on Tuesday. Favies will return in a few days, then start for below.
Martha Hepburn returned from Carlisle last Saturday. I called on her Monday and on my way home had the exquisite pleasure of a bow from W. Hall who, by the by, call to see me occasionally. William Hepburn has returned from his tour but has not yet decided where he will settle. He was at L_______. Saw Mag and says she is lively as ever. He t_____ she will be married soon to Brown Norris. I hope Mag may do well for she was really a sincere girl.
I almost forgot to tell you that Martha Hays has lately been spending a couple of weeks in Bellfonte. I have not seen her since her return as she has been ill almost ever since. Jane For___t keeps much the same. She spends a great deal of time in the country and thinks herself better. Jane Coryell calls occasionally and always enquires about you. Rebecca M’Clintock started for Harrisburg last week. It is uncertain how long she will remain.
You will hardly believe, Mary, that Ann Huling called to see me the other day and spent nearly the whole evening. She was very pleasant and never intimated any thing about the moving. I guess she took pity on me thinking I was very lonely. Mrs. Montgomery, formerly L. Vandingbury, was in town a few days since since with her husband. I saw them and she enquired very particularly after you.
I suppose, Molly, you begin to think I am not going to say a word about G. W. Lathy – poor fellow! Far be it from me to commit so great a slight, for even if he is last, I am sure he is not least. He has been drumming away at the same old tune ever since you left. Calls now and then, hums a little, pays a few left-handed compliments, then takes his departure until he hears some news he thinks worth relating.
Catherine Graffies, I think, will be married next month [to Joseph Anthony]. Her Mother is now in the City purchasing furniture for the new house. Write soon as nothing gives me more pleasure than to receive a letter from you. Your friends, many of them, have requested to be remembered to Mary Jane.
Yours affectionately, — M. M. M’Clure
Mr. [Samuel S.] Shedden called the other evening and presented me with a root of the champion rose, which he brought from the City. How very kind!