[Margaret "Peggy" Bradfute [at or near New London, Virginia], to Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie at Pharsalia, [Nelson County,] Virginia, May 5, 1822. 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.]
May 5, 1822
Nothing but the high regard I have for you induces me to answer your insulting note; for if I was in reach blows should not compensate for your insolence; however I take it from whence it came.
I am sorry you wear [were] under a mistake about the Promise; don’t you recollect I said if you could get me to promise you mite [might] depend on me; I made a promise if Grace would go with me which she would not consent to for at that time her mind was better employed seeking her Soul’s Salvation; in this I have acquit[t]ed my life as well as her.
I think to serve her Maker was her first duty & then her fellow creatures; she would be highly pleased with myself but seems to have but little disposition to go from home; but is devoted to the Glorious cause she has embarked in.
Oh my beloved Friend you may imagine the pleasure it has given your unworthy friend, better than I can describe to have my Sister engaged hand & heart pressing toward the Haven of eternal rest.
When shall I enjoy the happiness of seeing you & yours experience that happy change; without which there is know [no] happiness beyond the grave. Grace says she never knew what happiness was until [until] she enjoyed it in the pardon of her sins.
Dear Sarah your repeated & warm solicitations for us to visit you, induces me to say is my wish & Graces; you know I am like a bird of Passage ever on the wind; whear [where] I fare best generally stay longest; the terms on which you get our company is paying dear for it . . .
You ought to know good company can’t be gotten every day, however I don’t choose any body to enjoy mine without a full reward; as it is in such great demand; I fear I shall have to be divided for some of the N Londoners [New London, Virginia] can hardly exist without me; I took a flying trip up to the Sacraments I could hardly get back so anxious for my good company I saw all our Friends wear [were] well & your Father & Lucy was to see us on Monday last, he said he had not been so happy for seven years; in the greatest glee I ever saw; we all wear [were] delighted to see him for it was almost [almost] like seeing my own Father; while I am writing the tears are inflaming my eyes; I hardly know how I am writing excuse all & every defect.
Tom is now in town I hear he intends to visit you shortly.
Poor Fanny is gown [going] over the River to live; much against her will I have never been to see her since my return home after a trip of 7 months.
[E]very Body that knows me wants to know wherean [where] my home is. Mrs. Read asked is Lynchburg was not my home & I said I was so seldom their [there] I was not so sure wheather [whether] it was my abode or not.
Give my respects to Mr. Massie tell him I am satisfyed [satisfied] he don’t wish to see me in his House; as he did not think it worth while to call & see weather [whether] [or] not we wear [were] dead or alive; but sent me a message & nothing but con[s]cious innocence made me think of it with indif[f]erence. I can assure him I think as much of my word; as of most people’s Oaths; in future you must touch lightly & have Christian charity think there was some good reason; tell him not to curse me for he says what he pleases & so shall I without offence.
I know you will hail me welcome [welcome] & he is submissive & I shall be satisfied; Grace sends her love & says you must have preaching for her every sabath [Sabbath] & she will stay several weeks; you must let me hear from you again before July & Lucy talks of going to see you but the horses is so busy you may calculate in my; going if nothing happens to prevent yours affectionately in hast[e]
[Sarah = Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie (1796-1828), who married William Massie (1795-1862) in 1814.
Peggy Bradfute = Margaret "Peggy" Bradfute (circa 1788-1833), a daughter of Robert Bradfute (1749-1816), a Scottish emigrant, and Sarah Irvine Bradfute (died about 1807). Grace Bradfute (circa 1792-1855) was one of her sisters. Some of her writing seems like phonetic Scottish English (such as “wear” for “were”).
Davidson Bradfute (1781-1831), one of Peggy's brothers, married Maria Byrd (1786-1854) in 1809, and 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).
Your Father & Lucy = James Steptoe (1750-1826) and Lucinda “Lucy” Steptoe Penn (1795-1878), who married Robert Cowan Penn (1789-1854) in 1814. Their Bedford County, Virginia, estate was named "St. Helena." (James lived at Federal Hill).
Tom = Thomas Eskridge Steptoe (1799-1880).
Fanny = Not sure to which Fanny she is referring.
Mrs. Read = probably one of the Reads/Reids living around New Bedford, Virginia.
[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]