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Family Letters - Lydia Bailey Ferree Brinton

The following letter dated February 3, 1847, is believed to have been written by Lydia Bailey Ferree Brinton to her granddaughter, Elizabeth Brinton Coale Johnson, shortly after the birth of Elizabeth's daughter. Elizabeth and husband, Benjamin, apparently wanted to name the child after grandmother Lydia. Lydia thanks them for the honor but suggests they pick a name from the scriptures and recommends a few. Her writing skills are superior to that of most men of the that time. She uses the archaic form of "f" instead of "S" when it is placed in the center of the word and uses the Quaker form of "thee" and "thy". It is a picture of a loving, healthy, intelligent woman involved in the goings-on of her family.






Philadelphia 2 Mo3rd 1847

I do greatly appreciate the affectionate feeling that induced my dear children to wish to place their mothers name on the precious babe, in as much as there are already three that may hand down to posterity the many imperfections of Grand Mother (Q) she ask's the privilege of giving one of the two Honorable names from the Scriptures which I am alway's partial too, Dorcas stands recorded for her good works and alm's need for further account read, Act 9 Chap 36&39 verse. Next Anna, a Prophetefs, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers. "Night & Day". The beautiful name of Mary, the mother of Jesus at this moment which holding my pen presents I am a little persuaded it is under some degree of feeling comparable to the pious mother of (Lam? Tam?) when she said, I will give him unto the Lord all the day's of his life; and when he is weaned then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord and there abide forever, & Hannah prayed, and said My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, Mine heart has also, with I trust a degree of gratitude been made thankful for this lamb being immortal to us, ah! My dear I make the little coat and bring her up to our Yearly Solemnity, (faced?) venture I wish her dear parents may be accepted in the offering or dedication of another precious immortal to the keeping of him who has as a lone lent her to us.

Not withstanding my B. (this refers to Elizabeth's husband, Benjamin D. Johnson) pretense at being jealous of my partiality to his Elizabeth's letter I do fully believe he is not a little proud of having a wife so competent, as to releas him from so irksome a task as useing his pen, I want him to bear in mind, that I shall every week, look with as much interest to getting a letter from him, as I use'd to with pleasure from our invaled (?). My injunctions are that she shall be the compleat Lady for a whole month, withal strictly adhearing to her Dr and nurse's directions, I do believe it was by such care my unimpared constitution in being the mother of eleven children has now carried me to my 71 Year under a kind providence how many, many mother's are for a lifetime sufferers by making undue efforts at this delicate period if thee could keep thy nurse for six weeks I believe thee and thy household be a gainer by it, I was rejoiced to here Dr opinion in BD (?) letter of probible good effect of rest in overcoming the distressing weeknesses thee has suffered with, leave nothing undone to promote restoration. _______You have awakened my sympathis very much, in the account given of the dear little orphan Grand Child of Wel (?) Kirkw (?) The day has been too rainy for me to go to M. Copes (Note: The Copes family was another prominent Quaker family in the area. One of their descendants wrote a book of the families in the area), they and I are so much interested in (the orphaned child), & for those dear friends I feel no doubt of their uniting with me in doing what we can for its comfort and their help I am entirely willing you should envite them to send the child to me by any suitable conveyance hoping she would be benefitted by being with us for a few weeks. Mary Smith (Note: Most likely this is Mary P. Smith, a granddaughter. Her mother is Elizabeth, a daughter of Lydia's who married James Smith) most kindly offers to take her part in the care _____ I do wish you to always mention the receipt of every article, some of them are too valuable to loose by the way____the 3 Scripture left (?) on books crackers, (unreadable) Leather Gloves & may all be out of the place's_____how was the Stranger hailed by the children & has it any hair, who does it look like, what the Coular of its Eyes? Is it large or small & Phebe Clapp has come to spend the time of her sick Husband absence with her father & family. A post say's Susan's (Note:This may refer to Lydia's own daughter Susan, born in 1806. It could also refer to a granddaughter Susan born 1835 whose parents were Maria Brinton and Michael Trump.) prospect of marriage with James Cary is pafsed away_____P.C babe looks very delicate it is such a little bald head, she has put capon it, it has a multitude of nurse's among the Many Aunts nd Uncles, Thee did not tell wether to send the boy of 12 years or not_____his mother has brought him again, is very desirous you should have him, he is small but strong built, there was not time to have his coths which I have proccured, made I should like the women that lives in father Coal's (Note:This reference may refer to Lydia's son-in-law William Coale who was Elizabeth's father.) to make him a full large Round's about & Trows'erd have them both lined_____ I so hope he may be a good boy & suit you, keep him from doing errends at Parksburg, I have had a good account of his disposition_____On 2nd I reported to your dear Grand Mother and Aunt Maria (Note:This could be the writer's daughter, Maria, who married Michael Trump. This Maria would have been a great-aunt of Elizabeth's.) of the L.(?) M. my Sadsberry news, it was pleasantly received. Grand M look'd a good deal spent she staid the long five hour'es, then walked two (unreadable) Then took the 6th St omnibus, I count upon her spending a few day's with me when the weather moderates_____Our Cuz Able is out at Leller'es (?) knowing her tender interest in you, I sent my & whole shirt & extract from my B page to make it more compleat I am sure it will be gratifying to him. I have just sent to parks, with my particular request to know when J. Leaves wishing to send the Rat Meal (?) & the boy George Anderson with him, am very much tried being informed he had left, I went yesterday myself in the rain & left a positive request for him to call at my house which he neglected to do. I have now to tax Mary (a servant????) with a long cold walk to P.O. to save your being disappointed by not receiving my weekly Mefsenger in your nest do tell me more about your dear Parents, of their health, what doing, how often their (unreadable) are any of the little ones with them also give them my mefsage of continued affectionate Remembrance, though it has not alway's been conveyed through this medium_____with every feeling of interest for Father Mother & everyone of the little flock and household. I bid you farewell Grand Mother L

Addressed to Benjamin D. Johnson, Parksburg P.A. Sadsberry Ches County




  Daniel Ferree (1646-?) m: Marie Warenbur (1653-1716)
  John Ferree (1685-1769)) m: Ruth Buffington (1718-1769))
  John Ferree (1739-1834) m: Elizabeth Bailey (1741-1823)
  Lydia Bailey Ferree (1766-1857) m: William Varnum Brinton (1759-1842)
Note: Dates are believed to be correct, however, accuracy of all dates cannot be guaranteed.