1850: Denton Geoghegan to John Perrin

Thomas Lincoln, father of President Abraham Lincoln, once worked for Denton Geoghegan

This letter was written by Denton Geoghegan (1779-1850) of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, some three months before his death on 5 April 1850. He was the son of Ambrose Denton Geoghegan (1753-1815) and Margaret Selmon (1757-1783). Denton married Elizabeth Shipley (1782-1833).

When Thomas Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s father, came to Elizabethtown in 1803, he found employment as a carpenter and was hired by Denton Geoghegan to build a sawmill. Geoghegan even brought suit against Thomas Lincoln in 1809 alleging that Lincoln had provided timbers hewn in an “unworkman like manner.”

Denton wrote the letter to John Perrin (b. 1815) of Springfield Township, Clark County, Ohio, the son of John Perrin (b. 1778-1848) and Amelia Ingram (17xx-1847). John and Amelia had six children, the eldest being Edward Perrin who is mentioned in this letter as having recently died.

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Addressed to John Perrin, Springfield, Clarke County, Ohio

Elizabeth Town [Kentucky]
January 1850

My good friend. Your letter of the 17th Ult. was handed me on the 24th & I was truly sorry to find Edward’s death announced. Cut off in the bloom of life, it was – as I believe – the will of God – in mercy to him taking him hence to a place of rest where I hope his parents are. Believe me, dear friend, that my bodily infirmities are such that it is with difficulty I write this. If you get it, do write me about all you know that belong to the Perrin Family for they are one and all dear to me. Notwithstanding my extreme debility, my lungs being good, I may yet last some time a trouble to my family. I should like much to hear from your Aunt Nelly as we used to call her & your Aunt Doney for if she be living, she is quite old & has seen her full share of trouble. I allude to her spoiled son Ben as the cause of it. I hear from my children often. My third daughter 5 miles off is now with me. My wife & servants have a troublesome time of it & I truly fear it will be moreso. I never thought to live to be so debilitated as I am. Your letter states the bad fix you will be in when your married brother leaves you. Friend John, as you are to look out for housekeeper, I think it vastly preferable to find a fortune in such an one than with them. I am not a slighter of the goods of this world, but it is very rare they both come together & I vastly prefer the former to the latter. One of my sons will advise you of my death when it happens.

Fare you well & may God Bless you. – D. Geoghegan


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