1847: James P. Wilson to John Smith Nicholas

This letter was transcribed directly from the internet where it was offered for sale on e-bay in September 2011.

I believe this letter was written by James P. Wilson, an officer in the U.S. Navy who knew Commodore John Smith Nicholas (1800-1865), the recipient of this letter. Commodore Nicholas was a son of Virginia Governor Wilson C. Nicholas. The author of this letter also knew Nicholas’ cousin, John Spear Nicholas, a resident of Baltimore and he is mentioned in this letter as is Esther Goodwin Stevenson (1813-1863), Commodore Nicholas’ wife.


[Postmarked Baltimore MD 29 Apr 1847]

Commander John S. Nicholas
Bound Brook, New Jersey

Baltimore [Maryland]
April 29th 1847

My Dear John,

I have received [your wife] Esther’s kind letter of the 23d. I trust you did not think me neglectful as I did not reply to your last letter for [John] Spear Nicholas promised to take that task off my hands and as he was so much more conversant with your affairs than myself. I thought that would be the best arrangement. I have seen him & McElderry both this morning. Spear will write you again tomorrow.

McElderry thinks you had better take the $5000 for the warehouse. If you & Miss Augusta agree to it you had better authorize him to act at once in the matter. I would infer from what I hear that the Legacy business will be settled to your satisfaction. The china is deposited with Shoeing & Sawer No. 17 German street. [Commodore David] Geisinger is living at the Exchange with me. We frequently talk of you.

In this Mexican [War] business we have been treated with great contempt. Do you know that our visit to the President with that blackguard Maj. Turner was an injury to us? I have heard so from a very good source. I applied for the [Sloop] Decatur and received the usual reply, but I thought my chance rather better than that of Dick Pinckney. I was mistaken, you see.

I have been on the cold water system for some time past and feel all the better for it. Everyone says, why Wilson, how thin you are getting. But it is only flesh lost which I could well spare.

If I hear anything more of your affairs, I will write again.

With the kindest regards to your wife and her sisters. I am, dear John, sincerely, —  Wilson

P.S. Laura Magruder has been unwell for some time past. You wants change of scene.



2 responses to “1847: James P. Wilson to John Smith Nicholas

  • Mimi Green Long

    Thanks for posting this. John Smith Nicholas is my 3rd great grandfather. Might you have more?

    • Griff

      Sorry, I do not. As I said, I transcribed the letter directly from the internet where I saw it posted for sale on e-bay. If you can add any additional information regarding John Smith Nicholas, please do so in the comments section on the page. Glad you were able to find the letter. — Griff

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