Friday, May 26, 2017

Frances Callaway Steptoe Langhorne to Sarah Tate Steptoe Massie, May, 1819

[Frances Callaway Steptoe Langhorne at Amherst, Virginia, to Sarah Tate Steptoe Massie [at Pharsalia], Nelson County, Virginia, May, 1819. Massie Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough, annotated transcription from a copy graciously provided by William Myers. Extra paragraph breaks inserted for easier reading.]

Dear Sally

I have never gotten your articles until today the old man has been waiting on me several days but Miss Peggy has been with me and they could not have been gotten sooner he complains very much of being detained and that his old master has not finished the books seeing him so anxious to be about his tobacco.

I went to see Esther today the whole town seems to be alive with portly women she has had the old Lady with her for some time the old soul is as pleased as punch and so is John.

I heard today from Lucy Ambler she has gotten home safe and sound. I thought she went off with very little reluctance, I suppose you have heard of the fight Charles has had it is reported all over town that he ran like fun but Mr. Langhorne says he acted very courageously and that a dirk was twice taken from Rives; Charles came of[f] best of the two.

Mrs. Boyd talks of going to see you but I don’t think she will. Miss Peggy is going to Mr. Yancey’s next week and I expect will be gone a long time. Mrs. Bradfute in in great distress about poor little Sally, and Mr. Tompkins sets of next week for Ohio so I don’t think the old Lady will go.

I enquired of Kyle about your checks he says it was packed up in a box if their [there] was any bought, I have you will be pleased with the things I am not so pleased with the stuff but you may like it as for my paying for the shoes it made no difference about the money as you seemed to be hard  run and at any time it would have answered for me.

We shall look for you about August to stay much longer than you did before remember me to Mr. Massie and tell Tommo Jack talks of him incessantly, he is always going to town to see Tommo and everything he has Tommo has sent it to him. I send you an account of the articles I purchased for you.
                                                I am your affectionate Sister

                                                          F. Langhorne

4 yards of checks at 3/      $2
2 do bombayed 2/6                83
1 box of Cotton ¾                 62
1 do coloured Cotton 1/6      25
2 yds of ribband 1/6              25
¾ yd of persian 2/3               37
1 pair of shoes                   2.50
                                           6.82
       
[Amherst, Virginia, is only about eleven miles from Roses Mill, Virginia, and about twenty-seven miles from New London, Virginia.

Frances Callaway Steptoe Langhorne (1798-1832) married Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790-1854) on March 13, 1816. Their son William Maurice “Wee” Langhorne (1818-1900) was born on June 30, 1818. She was twenty years old at the time of this letter.

Sarah Tate Steptoe Massie (1796-1828) was married to William Massie (1795-1862) and was the daughter of James Steptoe (1750-1826). She was about twenty-three at the time of this letter. There is a massive Massie collection at the University of Texas here.

The old man = not sure who this is.
Miss Peggy = not sure who this is.
Esther = not sure who this is.
The old Lady = not sure who this is.

Lucy Ambler = Lucy Hopkins Johnston (1800-1888) married Thomas Marshall Ambler (1791-1825) on April 14, 1819.

Charles = possibly Charles Pickett Johnston (1802-1852), died in Mississippi -- details sketchy. 
Rives = probably related in some way to William Cabell Rives (1793-1868); note also that Dr. James Turner Saunders (1791-1864) married Ann Marie Rives (1805-1887); they are buried together in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Mrs. Boyd = not sure who this is.
Mr. Yancey = not sure who this is.

Mrs. Bradfute and Sally = probably related to these Bradfutes in some way: Robert Bradfute (1781-1831) married Lucy Ann Vasser (1794-1826) on December 20, 1817. Davidson Bradfute (1781-1831). The Bradfute homestead was located near New London, Virginia, which was very close to Federal Hill, the estate of James Steptoe. 
Kyle = not sure who this is.

$2.83 in 1819 = about $50 in early 2017.]

[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]  
 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

James Steptoe to Sarah Tate Steptoe Massie, 1819 and 1820

James Steptoe by Harvey Mitchell in Memorials of Old Virginia Clerks (1888)
[James Steptoe at Federal Hill, New London, Virginia, to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie, at Pharsalia near Rose Mills, Nelson County, Virginia, December 7, 1819, and July 10, 1820.  Massie Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough, annotated transcription from a copy graciously provided by William Myers. Extra paragraph breaks inserted for easier reading.] 

Dear Sally,

I have received your Letter of the 5th, by Robin, with the carpet. Enclosed I send to Mr. Massie $20. The balance I will send him by one of your Brothers Robert, or Tom, at Christmas, as I presume one, or the other, of both of them will be over to see you at that time.

As your sister Betsy passed on up to Botetourt I touched the subject of her Wintering with me as gently as possible, but found such insuperable difficulties and objections to prevail on the part of Mr. Johnston, that I was obliged to desist. I heard yesterday that Betsy was getting better.
                                               Yrs aff'y
                                                 J. Steptoe
                                                  Dec. 7, 1819
James Steptoe by Harvey Mitchell, color version (1820s)
Dear Sally,

I received a letter from Mr. Johnston yesterday, enclosing one from Mr. Ravenscroft. He informs Mr. Johnston that he will be in New London on Saturday the 29th day of this month & will on that day be ready to preach at the Academy a Funeral Sermon on the death of your Sister Betsy, and on the next day he will preach at Mrs. Clay's a Funeral Sermon of the death of Mr. Clay, and altho' your Brother Tom says that you cannot conveniently be in Bedford before next Fall, I have thought it might not be amiss to drop you these few lines.

I shall set off, the last of this week, or the beginning of the next, for the Sweet Springs, and shall stay with Mr. Johnston a few days as I go on. Mr. Johnston and his little children  will be at my House on the 26 or 27. 

Mr. Penn, and your Sister Lucy, will attend to, and accommodate, at their own House and at mine, such of my children and grand children as may think proper to attend.                   
                 My best Respects to William.
                                           Yr affect. Father
                                                   Ja. Steptoe
                                                     July 10, 1820 


[Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie (1796-1828) was married to William Massie (1795-1862) and was the daughter of James Steptoe, Jr. (1750-1826). There is a massive Massie collection at the University of Texas here.
Robin = Not sure who this is. 
Brothers Robert and Tom = Robert Callaway Steptoe (1791-circa 1856) and Thomas Eskridge Steptoe (1799-1880).
Betsy (also Betsey) = Elizabeth Prentiss “Betsey” Steptoe Johnston (1783-March 28, 1820). 
Mr. Johnston = Charles Johnston (1769-1833) 
Botetourt = Botetourt Springs.
Mr. Ravenscroft = Mr. Ravenscroft = John Stark “Mad Jack” Ravenscroft (1772-1830), Episcopalian, who is buried in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mr. and Mrs. Clay = Rev. Mr. Charles Green Clay (1745-February 8, 1820) and Editha Landon Davies Clay (1777-1838). 
Mr. Penn, and Your Sister Lucy = Robert Cowan Penn (1789-1856) had married Lucinda "Lucy" Steptoe (1795-1878) in 1814.]

[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Frances Steptoe Johnston Royall to Sarah Tate Steptoe Massie, August 20, 1827

[Frances Steptoe Johnston Royall at Botetourt, Virginia, to Sarah Tate Steptoe Massie at Rose-Mills, Nelson County, Virginia, August 20, 1827. Massie Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough, annotated transcription from a copy graciously provided by William Myers. Extra paragraph breaks inserted for easier reading.]

                                                             Botetourt August 20th 1827

My dear Aunt

I have no doubt but you will be surprised and disappointed at our not coming by your house on our way home as we intended and partly promised but various circumstances which I will relate to you convened to determine us on a contrary plan.

In the first place Julius whose feelings are extremely mortified, was desirous to reach home without seeing any of his friends which perhaps might have produced unpleasant recollections and papa wished his sentiments in that case to be consulted.

Again we found that by going through Lynchburg that it would retard our arrival at home at least three or four days and the Dr. was anxious to be at home as soon as possible as the season was very inconvenient at any rate for him to be about so you are fully convinced that it was not from want of inclination to see you for nothing would afford me more satisfaction than to spend a few weeks with you and it is my determination to do so if possible this fall or winter.

We had a most intolerable time of it for three or four days after leaving your home travelling constantly through the rain and mud and arrived safely at Mr. Ambler’s on Thursday. I staid [stayed] there eleven days and passed my time delightfully. The trip altogether was quite a treat to me and I felt quite melancholy at leaving my dear sister who I may perhaps never visit again.

Mary and Martha were not willing to come as their mode of life at Fauquier was far more consonant with their feelings than being at home in the midst of noise and tumult. However I hope they will try to content themselves with their lot as it is perhaps ordered for the best.

Papa has had very poor success so far with the springs this summer which makes him very low spirited. I am informed that the white sulphur springs are thronged with the rich and the fashionable.

I expect the Dr. [Dr.’s] Sister & her family in a day or two to spend several weeks with me and anticipate much happiness in their society for she is certainly one of the best women in the world and I feel as much attached to all his relations as if they were my own dear brothers and sisters.

It is growing late now and as I have already written to sister Lucy tonight I think it high time to finish my letter, though it would give me pleasure to write now if I had sufficient material but I have been in the neighborhood too short a time to gather any news.

The Dr. desires to be remembered to you and Mr. Massie. I hope our correspondence will be now continued for I am sure I never had the disposition to leave off and I cannot tell why it happened that I did. Farewell my dear aunt and believe me your truly affectionate niece.

                                                    Frances S. Royall

P.S. This is miserable writing to be sure but I can do no better with the pen I have and it is not a very easy matter for me to have a good one as I never could make one myself and I don’t like to be always troubling other people. Write soon if you please as you cannot conceive how much I like to hear from you. Direct to Salem Botetourt.              Kiss Thomas if he will let you.

[Papa = Charles Johnston (1769-1833); "his springs" = Botetourt Springs. 
Dr. James Townes Royall (circa 1797-1860) had married Charles Johnston's daughter Frances Steptoe Johnston (circa 1807-after 1850), in Botetourt County on December 27, 1825. Dr. Royall graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1818. Charles' nephew John Warfield Johnston (1790-1818) graduated from there in 1814. (Hence, references to “Dr.”). Frances' mother was Charles' second wife, Elizabeth Prentiss Steptoe (1783-1820). 

Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie (1796-1828) was married to William Massie (1795-1862) and was the daughter of James Steptoe (1750-1826). There is a massive Massie collection at the University of Texas here.
Thomas = Thomas James Massie (1817-1877), born on March 23, 1817.

Julius = Julius Dandridge Johnston (1811-1851), another mystery. He apparently took off for Missouri, where he married Neville Constance Christy (1810-?) on December 10, 1834, in St. Charles. But they were back in Virginia when their children were born: Virginia Neville Johnston (1835-1869) and Martha Louise Johnston (1837). The older daughter married Beverly Holcomb Robertson (1827-1910), a US Army officer, in St. Louis in 1856. Robertson joined the Confederacy and became a brigadier general in the cavalry. As for Julius Dandridge Johnston, after the death of his wife, he became a Jesuit and died at the age of forty in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is buried.

Lucy Hopkins Johnston Ambler (1800-1888) had married Thomas Marshall Ambler (1791-1875) on April 14, 1819.

Mary = Mary Morris Johnston would marry Dr. John Gillam Dillon (1806-1835) on October 9, 1832.
Martha = Martha Butler Johnston (1814-1836) later died on the Mrs. E.R. Tucker plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, aged twenty-one. 

The Dr.’s family = Siblings included Mary Allen Royall Holcombe (1785-1868), who had married Thomas Anderson Holcombe (1785-1843) in 1810; Judith Archer Royall (1788-1867), who had married William Royall (1780-1817), a cousin, in 1805; and Joseph Edwin Royall (1792-1829), who had married Mary Elizabeth Gwatkin (1805-1893) in 1821.]

[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]