Family Stories

Letter from Barbara Barrington to William Linton Lewis

Note by Phyllis Brown:  William Linton Lewis is a nephew to my Captain John Linton.  His mother was Catherine Jennings Linton, older sister to Captain John.  Catherine married Joseph Lewis, son of Vincent and Ann Longworth Lewis, all of Loudoun County, Virginia.  William Linton Lewis moved to Nelson County, Kentucky, around 1815, and eventually to Hancock County.

Letters were highly prized, kept carefully and brought out time after time to read again.  They were generally read, not only by the recipient, but other family members and friends.  It must have been a day of great joy to receive mail in a time when communication took many days or weeks – especially from the new lands of Kentucky back home to Virginia – or in the other direction.  It is sad that today in our modern society of instant gratification seldom do we receive a handwritten letter.  Texting is a constant back and forth during the day, as is talking on the cell phone – that which is within arms reach at all times.  I have all the letters that have been written to me during my life – plus notes written by my children and husband that were dropped in my lunch sack or purse – or left on the counter to find at the end of the day.  Perhaps one day someone will read one of my letters – and be very glad it was saved for posterity!

At the end of the letter are scans of the original – just click on the links.

Loudoun County, Virginia    8th August, 1818

Dear Sir:

On the 24th July I received your favor of the 16th June which found us all enjoying good health, thanks be to God for his goodness and hope these lines may find you and all friends in that country enjoying the same.  I have been in a very bad state of health some few weeks past, but have recovered my health again.  Your Father is as healthy as he ever was in his life – your brother John talks of moving out this fall with your uncle John Linton and family and expects to start to Kentucky some time next month.  Mary Duncan is living at the same place by reason of the man disappointing her that bargained with her for her land.  Charles Duncan is living on the place where William Moran moved from and is acting as constable.  Stephen is well pleased with his master(?), but Joe do not like his.  We had a very cool spring, but the hottest summer that I ever experienced.  There has been a great deal of damage in small grain by the hail this summer, but has been as good crops made as commonly is.  Your father had a rye shock burnt by the lightning close to the house; we have heard of several people being killed by lightning in this county, but none that you know.  Crops of corn is thought to be remarkably good generally through this country.  We understood from your letters you did not like as well as you expected which tends to make your father very uneasy on your account.

People has been very healthy in these parts this year, but we heard of a great many dying with the heat.

Polly Smith is highly pleased with your letter and is happy to think you are traveling on the road that leads to happiness.  Also joins your father and myself in love to you and your family.

All those you named in your letter was happy to hear of your welfare and desires to be remembered to you and your family.

To conclude, your friend and will whither til death.

Barbara Barrington

NB  Elisha Timms is living near your cousins in Wood County, he likes his removal tolerably well.  He now is here.  V. [Vincent Lewis] desires to be remembered to you and wife.

Page 1 of Original Letter

Page 2 of Original Letter

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