1838: John Hollingsworth to Mary Anne (Keene) Hollingsworth

This brief letter was penned by John Hollingsworth (1802-1841), a son of Judge Zebulon (“Zeb”) Hollingsworth (1762-1824) and Eliza Ireland (1774-1840). John married Mary Anne Keene (b. 1808) on 29 May 1826 in Baltimore County, Maryland. She was the daughter of Samuel Young Keene (1755-1808) and Sally Goldsborough.

John and Mary Anne had at least seven children before his death in 1841; the oldest — Robert C. Hollingsworth — was born in 1828 and is mentioned in this letter.

John’s letter to his wife gives no indication why he would have been traveling to Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1838 or if that was even his final destination. The 1840 U.S. Census lists him as residing in Finksburg, Maryland, which is just a few miles from the Reisterstown Post Office where John directed this letter.

Stampless Cover



[Addressed to Mrs. John Hollingsworth, Reesterstown, Baltimore County, MD]

Portsmouth, Ohio
Sunday evening, May 6th 1838

My Dear Wife,

I take the first opportunity that I have of writing to you. I arrived safe at Wheeling on Friday the fourth instant, perfectly well but a good deal fatigued with the jurney. I travelled night and day – the last night sleeped very well in the stage. I took the steam boat at Wheeling for Maysville, Kentucky, but owing to delays on the river, I have got no farther then where I am. I left the boat last evening and shall stay here until tomorrow and then shall start in the first boat that come down the river. I have just returned from preaching and class meeting. Pray for me, my dear wife. Give my love to the children for me and kiss them. When I see any children, they put me in mind of my own. Tell Robert I shall have a great deal to tell him about what I have seen. Tell him to be a good boy. I shall write to you from Frankfort [Kentucky].

Farewell my dear wife, your husband, — John Hollingsworth


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