This letter was written by Sarah Ann (Strupen) Gordon (1823-18xx), the wife of John J. Gordon (1818-Bef1880), a dentist originally from New Jersey. Sarah mentions their 4 year-old son William (“Willy”) C. Gordon (1843-1911) in this letter. By 1880, Sarah Ann was a widow and still residing in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with her daughter, Sarah Jane Gordon (1847-Aft1880).
Sarah Ann wrote the letter to her husband’s sister, Jane Gordon (1812-18xx), a resident of Marboro, New Jersey.
Addressed to Jane C. Gordon, Marlbrough, Monmouth County, New Jersey
December 12th 1848
My Dear Sister,
Your kind letter was thankfully received on the 23rd of November. It would have been pleasing to me to have answered it immediately, but Mr. Gordon came home the same day your letter reached me, and as I told you often, his being absent for some time. Upon returning, we have a general washing, ironing, mending, and packing to do. He may be in readiness to leave any day that he wishes to, and since that time until the present, one thing after the other has been in the way.
I only got done cleaning house on Saturday. You will know it is not that our house is so large but it seemed if I could not get time to do it sooner, in one ____. Jane, I have been very busy since you saw me. I have done a good deal of sewing since. The person that promised to come and sew three or four weeks disappointed me If you recollect, I said some person had no honor about them at all, and she is one of them. Mrs. Fry — she intends to help me now with it.
Jane, you cannot imagine how much your Brother regretted in hearing you had left. He thought it could not be possible you did not remain until he came home. He did not get either of my letters until the evening before you left. That was a Thursday evening. He said if the night had not been so dark, he would certainly have come home. So he left it until morning.
In my letter I stated you had purposed leaving on that morning. He thought you would change your mind and stay longer. He reached home the same evening of the day you left. He came home a week or ten days sooner than he intended, but when he received my letter, he left all to see his dear sister and Cousin. We left home on the following Sunday for the same place. Had he realized what he had anticipated, he would have remained until after you had left us, and at the same time, he would have taken you to Philadelphia or any other place you desired. I often have censured myself in not pressing more on you to stay. I am not as good at this as some persons are, so you must excuse me. I thought you knew what was best for you to do. Nothing could of been more gratifying to me if you would have stayed longer.
Now Jane, we expected a visit from Lewis after he returned from the West. We want you to come along with him. Make up your mind and say, ‘yes, I will accompany him to see Brother John.’ Tell Lewis he must write ten days or two weeks before he comes so J. J. may be at home.
Willy often asks when his Aunt Jane and cousin Gorge will come to see us, how many days and nights it will be before they come, and many more such child-like questions. He goes to school to the young lady I was telling you of. He can spell in to syllables. He calls me Mother and his father Pappy. Before going to bed, he gave me more than a dozen kisses to send to you.
It took Liza a great while to forget her troubles. She has been very fretful until those two last weeks. She has taken a change. Now she is almost as good as she was cross. When you were here, she was so ill-natured and chapped up that she did not look like the same child that she does now. But nothing to compare with the little Olive Branch, I presume.
I have not the least doubt but Lewis must enjoy himself extremely well — that is, if he is fond of fashion. I have an idea that William and his family pays great homage to fashion. Perhaps they are but a little more happy then I am in our little house a going about my domestic affairs or looking after my cow figs and chickens &c. I often think how particularly blessed Charlotte is above me in having a mother to advise and give advise when at a loss to know, and again in having a sister for a companion like Elizabeth. Oh, how I would like to see her. I have the hope of seeing her one of these days if our lives are spared. Remember me kindly to cousin Gorge and tell him to send me a few peach grafts with Lewis, if this is not asking too much.
Jane, write soon, yes very soon. Don’t put it off as I did time from time for I find procrastination is the theft of time. On Saturday I thought of writing but just as I was ready, company came. And so on Sunday and likewise yesterday. Today I washed until I this afternoon, my fingers are rather unfit for writing this evening, but I wished to have it ready for the mail tomorrow. You please let no one see this badly written letter. I would copy it but it is rather late.
Mr. John Gordon has been away for more than a week. I expect him every day. He will be home between this and Saturday for certain. We are all anxious to see him come.
As it is so near Christmas, I will embrace the opportunity of wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New year. Miss Miller goes to the City tomorrow to spend some weeks in it. She sends her respects to you. I will feel lonely whilst she is gone. We have heard nothing of William Gordon’s family yet. It is snowing with us. I will stop this scrawling. It is eleven o’clock. Good night my dear sister. May pleasant dreams attend thy sleep.
Yours most affectionately, — S. A. Gordon