Friday, September 29, 2017

Frances "Fanny" Callaway Steptoe Langhorne to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie, June 13, 1823

[Frances "Fanny" Callaway Steptoe Langhorne at Oakly [at or near Lynchburg, Virginia] to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie at [Pharsalia,] Nelson County, Virginia, June 13, 1823. 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.]

                                        Oakly June 13 1823
Dear Sally

I dined at Mr. Bradfute's yesterday and Miss Peggy told me Sarah was going home [M]onday and unless I have an opportunity of sending to Papa's tomorrow I shall not comply with your wishes respecting your books.

I was at the funeral of poor old Mrs. Hoyle yesterday, her death is exceedingly lamented by her acquaintances, poor Mrs. Brown is truly to be pitied she says she has not a single female relation in the world.

Mrs. Bradfute has been staying with me several days Robert is very low, I think every night he will not see the next morning we ride him out every day and the day before yesterday I proposed riding to Sandusky.

It [Sandusky] is going or has gone I may with truth say to ruin; there is not one pane of glass in the Kitchen windows the ice house fallen in the house going rapidly to decay, the yard quite grown up in weeds, scarcely any gravel to be seen and in fact the whole even the trees bear a gloomy aspect when we drove up to the front door it was some time before any one made their appearance at last Mrs. Randolph came out unlocked the front door and asked us in, the only piece on [of] furniture I saw until I arrived in the nursery where she stays; were two rakes in the dining room, you can scarcely tell my feelings after witnessing such a total change.

Mr. Nat Dick stayed with us last night  from New Orleans he told us James Penn is not dead but the report of his being dead originated from his having murdered his servant he treated him in the most inhuman manner tied his hands until they mortified. 

Mr. Dick says the cause of his cruelty is not known, James was certainly shot at in his own yard, he has been forced to make his escape from Orleans and is now in St. Louis, his character has many stains.

I have not heard from Mary since we went down. Ben did not come by and let me know how she got down.

I hope in a very few weeks to be with you, I cannot say exactly when as Mr. Langhorne has not finished planting his tobacco. 

[M]y raspberries are now in perfection ad I wish most sincerely you and Mr. Masie were here to enjoy some of them.

Give my love to Mrs. Massie when you see her, and for yourself and good man accept the same.

                                                     I am your affectionate
                                                      Frances Langhorne

[Frances "Fanny" Callaway Steptoe Langhorne (1798-1832) married Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790-1854) on March 13, 1816. Their son John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1817-1896) was born on June 1, 1817 (in later years, sometimes changed to 1818 or 1819). Their son William Maurice “Wee” Langhorne (1818-1900) was born on June 30, 1818.

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

Miss Peggy = Margaret "Peggy" Bradfute (circa 1788-1833), daughter of Robert Bradfute (1749-1816), as was her sister Grace Bradfute (circa 1792-1855). Their brother Davidson Bradfute (1781-1831) married Maria Byrd (1786-1854) in 1809, and he served as Cashier for Farmer's Bank of Lynchburg. Alexander Tompkins (1784-1864) acquired Davidson Bradfute's house, in the vicinity of New London, Virginia, after the latter's death, and was Head Cashier at the same bank. Among these folks would have been possible candidates for portraits by Harvey Mitchell (1799-1866).

Mrs. Hoyle = Christian Hoyle (1758-June 12, 1823); spouse of Charles Hoyle (1753-1825), an innkeeper. Buried in Section 101 V, Lynchburg Old City Cemetery, 401 Taylor Street. 

Robert = probably Robert Callaway Steptoe (1791-1870), who had married Elizabeth "Betsy" Leftwich (1800-1840) in 1820. 

Sandusky = former estate of Charles Johnston (1769-1833) in Lynchburg.

Mrs. Randolph = not sure which Randolph this is. 

Mr. Nat Dick - Nathaniel Dick (1781-1839), wealthy merchant with offices in New Orleans; with his brother James, ran the N. & J. Dick & Co., was a founding member of the area Hibernian Society, and had built the "No Mistake Plantation," still standing. 

James Penn = presumably connected by marriage to Lucinda “Lucy” Steptoe Penn (1795-1878), who had married Robert Cowan Penn (1789-1854) in 1814. In the William Cowan Penn family bible, these notes are included under "DEATHS:" 

"James Penn, Senior, died in New Orleans in the month of Feb. 1823, aged 58 years.

James Penn, Junior, killed on the Missouri river  by the Ricogee Indians in the spring of 1823, in the 25th year of his age.

William Penn died of yellow fever at St. Stevens in the State of Alabama in the month of [?] in 1822 in the 22nd year of his age."

Source: The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Volume 39, Number 1 (January 1931), under "NOTES AND QUERIES," page 60.  

Mary = not sure who this is.

Ben = not sure who this is. 

Mrs. Massie = Sarah Cocke Massie (1760-1838), Sally's mother-in-law. See also: Papers of the Dr. Thomas Massie family of "Three Springs," Nelson County, Virginia, Virginia Historical Society.]

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

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