Mary Ashley

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The following letter was written on May 27 1829 from Mary Ashley to her friend, Mrs. Maria Watkins & includes short note from Jane L. Sanghorn & 2nd P.S. from Wm. Woodruff. See note following end of letter.

My Dear Friend,

Your welcome epistle of April 13th came safely to hand and there was quite a squad of those most interested in your welfare present when I received it. Robert Watkins and his family, Jane Woodruff, Eliza Henderson and Aunt Ellen were all with me and all impatient to hear from you that they would not permit me to read to myself. So I read out for the benefit of the company and sincerely did we all feel for you and your awkward distressing situation on first going ahead to the boat and we all felt as if we could love the French (?) you mentioned for their politeness to you.

I was gratified to hear that on your arrival in Louisville your ? ? paid for all unpleasant accurances on the way by meeting with friends and relatives all in good health and all going at meeting with you.

Your sister arrived in town yesterday evening. I just went over to see her a few minutes since, but she and Jane had just gone up to see Mrs. Toncray so I returned to write as I knew I should not have time tomorrow or next day and I wanted to do so before I left and we contemplate starting for Missouri on Wednesday so that shall make a longer visit to my friends there.

I had feared I should be able to do in consequence of there being no court to the South. Mr. Ashley is enabled to leave much earlier then we had calculated on and I trust I may be as fortunate as you were in arriving safe and finding my friends.

We have had considerable exchanges in town since you left us. You have doubtful heard of poor Mrs. McSwiney and affliction. The loss of her lovely interesting daughter Elizabeth. The family appear to feel her loss very sensibly, at present.

Your acquaintances are all well. Mrs. Cunningham's health appears quite restored. Mrs. Toncray is still about and quite smart, this last week. Three weeks ago she had us all attending two or three nights but all appears so far now that I calculate to be cheated out of the frolic, at least I do not think it will be over before I start.

Arabel is not married yet but appears in a far way. Mrs. Clarke was in town and has been the last week and they have had a close eye at courting. Susan says she is to be second bridesmaid now.

Mr. Washburn is now with us on his return from Orleans... He appears gratified to hear from you (?) He says your a pretty good soldier on water. We are one day by expecting on our new (?) but until here have that cousin. Pope was not coming until fall. I think it would be very prudent in her not to come at this season of the year. Should you see her say all you can with much in favor of our town.

You must write me as soon as you receive this and direct to Old (?) Mines, Washington county, Missouri, for I have to be there by the time you receive this. Give my Love to George and on his writing me tell Mary Eliza that Fanny often talks of her and wishes to see her. If I had time I would intrude much longer on your time and patience but for the present you must excuse a short letter Mr. Ashley and all friends desire to be remembered to you. Try and return early in the fall. We miss you more than you can imagine. Adieu dear Madam, believe me to be ever your attached friend. Mary Ashley

To Mrs. Maria Watkins

1st P.S. Dear Madam, I must thank you for your kind remembrance of me and do assure you I think as highly of some Yankey husbands as you can, yet I hope there are some as deserving as they...for instance Kentuckians... I expect Mrs. Ashley has told you all the news stirring so I must say adieu Dear Madam and accept the wishes of a sincere friend. Jane L. Sanghorn (who ?)

2nd P.S. 22 May......You must scold Jane ( I mean my Jane) for delaying this letter over one mail. Accidentally finding it this morning I have broken the seal to tell you that the frolic is over with Mrs. Toncray and yesterday became the mother of another fine son, and were doing well lst evening when I was up there.

I have not heard from her this morning but as Jane & Mrs. Keesacker are both up there I presume that all is going on well or I would probably have heard ere this ( 7 o'clock a.m.) Mrs. Keesacker arrived here nearly two weeks ago & got on quite safe. Mr. Miller sent her way up to the Post to the care of Mr. Hewes Scott who treated her very politely & obtained a good conveyance for her & Fisher this place. I believe she is very well satisfied with our town & its citizens so far as she has become acquainted with them.

For my part I am very well pleased with my mother-in-law, & shall do all in my power to render her situation agreeable and pleasant. Your affairs at home go on very well. Archy appears industrious & his crop looks very well considering the backward season. Old man Collins has your garden in fine order.

Our new Secretary of the Territory, Judge Fulton, arrived with his wife and children last evening. I had an introduction to him. I am much pleased with him on first acquaintance. He is a plain, unassuming man. I hope will be acceptable to the people. There is none of that haughtly pomposity which I, at least, have always remarked in our ex-secretary Crittendin.

My family are all in good health. Alden grows finely, continues healthy & I believe is beginning to cut his teeth. Present me affectionately to George and Mary Eliza...tell George he must write me. You assured that I shall be glad to hear from you whenever you can find time to write.

As the frolic is over at Mrs. Toncray's I presume letters will crowd on you in abundance. Jane & her mother will probably both write today. Robert & his family are all well and Arabella will no doubts become Mrs. Clarke some time this summer. My paper has given out & I must conclude, wishing you a happy meeting with your friends, etc. truly yours, Wm. Woodruff

this was addressed to: Mrs Maria Watkins, Shelbyville, Kentucky

Wm. Woodruff

Note from the submitter: Original letter hard to read as totally no punctuation in Mary Ashley's letter. Wm. Woodruff's was paragraphed & punctuated as might be expected from editor & publisher of a newspaper!! The " frolic" was , of course the birth of my 2nd grtgrdmother's son , Isaac Anthony Toncray who, unfortunately, died in next year ca 9 months old. Mrs. Keesacker was Maria's sister. I, personally, love to read these old letters. The style is so different. Serious to a degree, not flip. Submitted by Meredith Gibson (1924-2002)

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