Monday, March 20, 2017

Susanna Smith Preston to Sarah Buchanan Campbell Preston, June 17, 1827

[Susanna (Susan) Smith Preston at Greenfield to Sarah Buchanan Campbell Preston at Abingdon, Virginia, June 17, 1827. Box 25, Folder 6 (I think), Robert Morton Hughes Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529. This is my rough transcription. Instances of the "long s" in the original have been modernized and paragraph breaks added for easier reading.]

This day four weeks I parted with my beloved Aunt; and I have never written a single line to her, whom I love so deeply and think of so constantly.

I deem'd it unnecessary to write whilst we were on the road, as I knew you would hear frequently from us by the Mr. Johnston's who were returning to Abingdon.

Since my arrival at home I have been unable to write oweing [sic] to the agitated and distressed state of my feelings.

Oh! [M]y dear Aunt you know not what I have suffered. I thought I had felt, all that I could feel before I parted with you. Oh! [H]ow I was mistaken. It seemed to me as if for the first time the reality of my bereavement burst upon me the moment I entered the room where I last saw my beloved parent [John Preston (1764-March 27, 1827)], I forebear to dwell longer on a subject so fraught with all that is melancholy and distressing.

Brother and sister left us Wednesday for the Springs, we heard from them yesterday they were pretty well, that is to say much better than when you saw them. They had not been at the Spring long enough to say how they were pleased, or to have received much benefit from the water. Sue [Susan Louise Johnston (1826-September 23, 1827)] has been quite sick teething [and] sister is fearfull [sic] will be a troublesome companion. 

I am delighted to tell you that I found brother William [William Radford Preston (1798-1846)] almost restored, he is able to walk quite well without a crutch, & rides about the plantation with as much ease as formerly.

I have been unable as yet to make any arrangements as it regards my future home. Sarah and I wish mama to remain with us & make our house her home which she has consented to do. She wishes to visit Charles & Eliza this Fall and take Edward to school we have all advised her to do so. Thinking that a little trip would be of service to her spirits, she is kind affectionate & indeed she is all that I could wish. Heaven grant we may continue to live in such love and harmony. 

Our friends on the road were generally well. Henrietta & Mrs. Pope are still at Mr. Hancock's: they speak of returning home, but I think they have no idea of going this summer.

Mr. Woodville & family set off tomorrow for Culpepper [Culpeper, Virginia]. Sarah Lewis will accompany them as far as Staunton, she is very much improved in mind & manners this winter.

I take it for granted the girls have arrived before this & I sincerely hope it will not be long before my dear Uncle will join your happy circle. 

I heard from Ballard how very much the girls were admired in the South & wh[at] execution they did last winter in Charleston. [T]ell Sally not to take her old bean from me, I am willing to compromise with her I will give her the Major for E. O & [sentenced scratched over -- one name may be "Syd"].

Tell Eliza to take good care of Bev, no doubt she will do that without my advice.

Sarah & Mama join in affectionate love to yourself & family. 
                     [A]ccept for yourself the sincere love of 
                                          your affectionate niece Susan

[Susanna (Susan) Smith Preston (1805-1857)
Sarah Buchanan Campbell Preston (1778-1846)
Brother and sister/Charles and Eliza = Charles Clement Johnston (1795-1832) and Eliza Madison Preston Johnston (1803-1828)
Sarah = Sarah Radford Preston (1806-1848)
Mama = (stepmother) Elizabeth Ann Carrington Preston (1768-1839)
Edward = Edward Carrington Preston (1812-1837)
Dear Uncle = Francis Smith Preston (1765-1836)
Ballard = William Ballard Preston (1805-1862)
Sally = Sarah "Sally" Buchanan Preston (1802-1879)
Old bean = an English expression that was popularized by the time of the First World War. This seems to be early usage in the grand scheme of things.
The Major - Peter Carr Johnston (1793-1877)
E. O. = [not sure who this is yet].
Syd = Algernon Sidney Johnston (1801-1852). One of the reasons he moved to South Carolina was his rejection by one or more of the Preston cousins. 
Bev = Beverly Randolph Johnston (1803-1876)
Eliza = probably Elizabeth "Eliza" Henry Preston Carrington (1796-1877)]

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

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