Family Stories

1817 Letter From Nicholas L. Lewis to William L. Lewis

Note by Phyllis Brown:  William Linton Lewis was the son of William Joseph Lewis and Catherine Jennings Linton.  Catherine was the sister of Captain John Linton.  I’m not sure who Nicholas L. Lewis is.  I’m sure he is a relative, but more than that I cannot say.  The middle initial “L” leads me to believe his middle name would be “Linton” – which would make me think he is a brother to William.  But I do not have him in my database.  Another mystery – one more thing to look up!

The E. B. (Edward Barber) Edwards and William Moran in the letter are sons-in-law of Captain John Linton and came with him from Loudoun County, Virginia, to Washington County, Kentucky, in 1818.

The prices that are quoted for flour and fodder sound very high – now is not the only time our country has experienced hard times!

Mr. William L. Lewis, Near Middlesburg, Nelson County, Kentucky

Nashville, 3rd of February 1817


These lines leave us well.  If you and yours together with others are in like health all’s well.  Wm, I am told there is a great change in you, for the better, I hope, don’t want the mantle of hypocrisy as in the way many others do.  Our family is very uncertain as to religion.  The earthquakes have frightened the people of that country very much.  I fear they will come out little like the five Masons of Centreville.  M. Linton, I am told, has joined the Presbyterians and your sister Mary, likewise.  It is strange brother and sister should differ so widely and both aiming at the same thing.  Wm, you are governed by Nancy – the former is bad enough, the latter much worse.  But I hope there is some good among both sects.  What has become of E. B. Edwards and William Moran?  I have heard nothing from none of you since my arrival in this country.  I expect you have heard of my setting out for this place through Rebecca Lewis, if not by any other person (if you are living) as I came so contrary to her father’s will.   He wished me to go to Kentucky.  His conduct was such that I would not have gone then to have saved all the lives in the State, even if I had felt an inclination, and scarcely to have saved my own.

I wrote to V. Lewis after my arrival but have heard nothing from him, but I expect to hear from you after the reception of this, give me everything.

We are living here in a bustle from morning until night.  Hard times here.  Flour $10 and hay $4 and fodder $174 percent, money 4 percent per month.  Vegetables of every description higher than in Virginia.

Give my best respects to all inquiring friends and those that don’t inquire after me let them pass at any progress you will.  The girls send their love to everybody.

Yours Sincerely,

Nicholas L. Lewis

N.B.  Inform Vincent Lewis I wish him to write to me immediately.  Thomas is running a cow all over Nashville.

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