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Catalog Number 2015.02.0026
Object Name Letter
Date 1818
Title 1818 June 10 John Brown to Samuel Brown
Scope & Content Letter from John Brown (Frankfort, KY) to his brother, Samuel Brown (Philadelphia, PA). John discusses his decision to send Orlando to Danville to be tutored by Kean O'Hara. He also discusses his brother Preston's plans and his numerous slaves. He discusses the crops, banks, and Transylvania University's new president, Holley.


Frankfort 10th June 1818

Dear Brother

I this morning by accident discovered your letter of the 1st June sticking up in Odens Tavern where it had been left for two or three days ago by some person whose name was unknown. Upon opening it I was greatly please to find that you had completed those necessary, the often perplexing arrangements, preparatory to a long Journey but had actually progressed on your Eastern tour, to Mears [?] Station in safety & good Health. About 1st of May I had Orlando in reading to set out for Farmington but after detaining him near four weeks waiting for company & none offering I changed his destination & sent him to Danville to study Geography & Algebra & six books of Euclid with Mr O'Hara. As he has no acquaintance in that place I expect his application to his studies will be uninterrupted & that his progress will be great as Mr. O'Hara has but a small school & will devote a great portion of his time to instruct him in the above branches, also to aid him reviewing the Greek, & Latin languages. My intention is to continue him with Mr OH untill [sic] about the 1st of Oct & then either take or send him to Princeton, or N. Haven as circumstances may permit. By that time he will be prepared to enter the Junior Class at the former, or the Sopomore [sic] at the latter place; & as yet I am not fully determined to which I shall send him.

Preston & myself have made an arrangement to take effect next fall which we hope will prove mutually advantageous. He wished to remove to this town where we have an excellent female school to superintend the education of his four Daughters, three of whom have lived with us since February. He is offered about $50 per acre for his Woodford farm, & will either sell & invest the proceeds in Alabama lands or rent out for the present. He will take possession of my whole establishment here in a reasonable rent from about Sept. next & hold it until we return from our contemplated Eastern tour. He is to practice in the meantime in partnership with Dr Joseph Scott from Chillicothe who is doing a good business here, & in this way with proceeds of Hay ferry, he expects at least to defray all expense of his family, & have his Children under their Mothers eye. I think it most probable that he will sell his land in Woodford & purchase a cotton plantation South of Tennessee & remove his slaves to it next Winter under a good Manager as his Bagging factory does not promise to be long productive, & his Blacks are numerous & out to make him something very considerable. But it certainly would not be advisable to remove his Wife & Children to that country at present.

The letter you stated to have written to me from Sparta has not yet come to hand, but I should do injustice to my feelings did I not tender you my warmest thanks for the pecuniary aid you have so kindly offered me through the agency of Col.o Percy. I have at present a prospect of raising what will be sufficient for my purposes, but should my contemplated arrangements fail, I will with pleasure avail myself of your generous offer, not doubting but it will be in my power to return it in a short time, so as to prevent you from experiencing any inconvenience in meeting your engagements.

About 30 of our independent Banks are, or shortly will be, in operation & (paper) money it is expected will be plenty. One good effect has already been experienced from the system, which is that considerable sums in specie have been imported for the express purpose of putting those Banks in operation & most probably this is the only good effect we shall experience from it, for I have no doubt but it ultimately increase the embarrassments of the country which are sufficiently great at present. The people here owe to an immense amount to the Merchants & to Banks, & there is at present very little prospect of their being able shortly to discharge those debts unless they sell their lands & Negroes. They have no produce on hand for Market, & the prospect of crops is at present more discouraging than I ever witnessed before. The Winter was long & severe-the Spring wet and cold with frequent frosts which injured the fruits. Much of the early planted corn rotted in the ground & that since planted has hardly come up as we have had no rain for many weeks. The Winter crops short & cannot fill without rain. Hemp, Oats, & Grass, unpromising, & but little Tobacco will be made as most of the plants were killed by frost, & no season to set out those that escaped. Our water courses are as dry as heretofore in the month of September.

Mr Holley of Boston elected President of the Translva. University Sept 1st reached this Country ten days ago & has received flattering attentions from all, the Clergy excepted, who think him unsound in Doctrine, especially on the subject of the Trinity. He has not yet positively accepted the appointment but I fully expect he will. He is a man of ellegant [sic] manners-intelligent, eloquent, & of insinuating address, & would please all were he sound in the Faith. The Trustess have raised his salary to $3000.

Your Relations in this Country are all well except Mr Trigg & wife & Wm. Preston who have been dangerously ill, but are now convalescent. Prestons complaint is denominated by Dr. Marshall a Cholic of the Legs. Write to me very frequently & inform of your progress, your plans & ultimate destination-what disposition you intend to make of Susan & James and how the[y] stand traveling Etc. When you have made the required inquiries, let me know whether you think it more advisable to send Orlando to Princeton than to N. Haven. Let me know how Mason succeeds. Accept for yourself & the Children our afft.[affectionate] regards.


J Brown

[Address Block]
Frankfort, Ky
June 12rh

Doctor Samuel Brown
now in
People John Brown
Samuel Brown
Orlando Brown
Joseph Scott
Horace Holley
Kean O'Hara
Search Terms Danville, KY
Odems Tavern
Transylvania University
Philadelphia, PA