1849: William Gelston Bates to Jane Pelletreau (Ashley) Bates

This letter was written by William Gelston Bates (1803-1880), the son of Elijah Bates (1770-1850) and Mary Ashley (1778-1845) of Westfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. William was married to Jane Pelletreau Ashley (1808-1885), the daughter of William Ashley (1773-1849) and Jane Hillyer (1779-1856) of Sheffield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. It was William Bates’ father-in-law, William Ashley who was dying of heart disease at the time he penned this letter on 21 April 1849; he died five days later.

In his letter, William mentions his children: Jane (“Jeannie”) Ashley Bates (1835-1921), Frances (“Fannie”) Beulah Bates (1845-1888) and Elizabeth “Bessie” Gelston Bates (b. 1848). He also mentions Gillett, who was probably Edward B. Gillett (b. 1818) of Westfield, Massachusetts – possibly a law partner of Bates.

The letter is addressed to William’s brother, Henry Webster Bates (1811-18xx) who was married (1836) to Elizabeth R. Everugham, lived in Brooklyn, and worked as a merchant in Manhattan.

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[Addressed to Mr. Henry W. Bates, care of Charles Damburen (Van Buren?) Merchant & Co., Beaver St., New York City]

Sheffield [Massachusetts]

April 21, 1849
Sunday 5 o’clock P.M.

My own wife,

I have just reached this & learn that you have been telegraphed, but lest the wires may fail, I write.

The carriage came down for you on Thursday; Gillett wrote to me & unfortunately omitted to write you, he trusting to your folks to send on. But be that as it may, I only write to have you come on the earliest boat or rail-road conveyance. Your father may drop away at any moment, or he may continue a week, & probably a month. His disease is now since to be an affection of the heart. I have not seen the Doctors, but shall examine them when I do see them. I know nothing of such diseases; but, after all, it seems to me that the symptoms of what they call heart disease may be a sympathetic effect of a disordered stomach. We shall know by the result. I do not think it safe for you to delay, so come on the first car on R.R.

I left the children all well. The baby is glorious; Fanny “the flower”; & Jeanie taller than ever.  Malone [the Irish nanny] said to me on my return, the baby is more really well, but when Mrs. Bates goes away.

Love to Henry & Elizabeth, and the children.  — W. G. Bates


For a family link, click here.


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