Museum logo

Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2015.02.0046
Object Name Letter
Date 1799
Title 1799 Aug 2 Margaretta Varick to Margaretta Brown
Scope & Content Letter from Margaretta Varick to Margaretta Brown. Varick discusses a disease in New York, presumably she is referring to the Yellow Fever epidemics of 1798 and 1799. She also writes that the citizens of Philadelphia are also suffering (likely she is referring to a Yellow Fever outbreak as there were several in the 1790s in Philadelphia).

Varick also discusses a drought that is affecting farmers and gives updates on family and friends. She also relays the news of Aunt Provoost's death by a stroke. "Aunt Provoost" may be Catharina Provoost Van Wyck (b. 1694) If it was Catharina, she would have been 105 years old.

[Transcription]

Your affectionate & tender Letter my beloved girl should have been immediately acknowledged when first received but we I have had great interruption from writing by constant company for several weeks past from New York - yet my heart earnestly desired so much time for retirement that with composure of mind I might for an hour converse with you - my not seeing you this Summer was a disappointment - yet I cannot but own you have acted prudently - tho' at the time when you wrote I believe there was no case of the awful calamity prevailing in New York, but now I believe there are some, tho' but a few - which people in general speak lighty of, we know not how soon the infection may spread - last year gave an awful proff of its progress that in a few days it made the most rapid depradations amongst the inhabitants of our poor City "and cut down the fairest blooms of sublunary bliss" but this is a subject that unfits my mind for anything but sorrow - deep heart experienced sorrow -- I know not how much the Citizens of Philadelphia are now suffering - I ask but few questions, as reports are so uncertain - we have here been threatened with a drought - so that many of the farmers have been obliged to pull up their corn for fodder for their Cattle - but the compassion of our God is great - this morning we have had a fine rain - so that the parched earth will be revived, & I hope vegetation will again shoot forward --- The enjoyment of your health and the many mercies which you are in possession of give us sweet delight, Prize them Peggy - but not as your chief good - the nearer we are allyed to the Creature, the more bitter keener the separating pang --- May you my dear not only long enjoy your present happiness - but find it every day increasing - the sweet tie which you are in expectation of which will I hope soon add to your happiness & bind your heart nearer to your husband will also raise new feelings, & new affections - the sensations of a Mothers Bosom, are unknown to all but those who have themselves experienced them - delightful emotions - but mixed with a thousand anxious cares - but this all is wisely ordered - those different feeling keep the mind active - & teach us our gratitude as well as our dependence of on Him who alone can preserve us but 'eer that important person circumstance in your life takes place, we hope to have the pleasure of embracing you here, but you will not find our female circle compleat - Our dear Aunt Provoost after a gentle decline left this life on Sabbath - Calmly she passed through a thorny road of affliction-- without a murmur - the descent at last was gently sloped & with serenity she passed the Solemn Gulf -- -- -- This event , tho' painful to us all, is still more felt by Aunt Browne - she calls it the severest stroke she ever felt experienced ---

Your Mamma & Mrs Few visited us together - they were delight=full companions - the former quite cheerful - Peggy was the pleasing theme, which she choose, & we gladly joined in speaking of our dear girl.

Your Aunt Bogart enjoys her health - Mama is much as when I wrote last - they would send much love if they knew I was writing to you -- My Theodore appears in perfect health - my Jane has taken a cold - but is in generally hearty - John is all life - he is now in the little shop (which I appropriate to myself - as a place of retirement to read or write in) he bids me tell you he sends his Love & that he goes to school & learns very well -- & has got as far as where the maid spilt her milk the Children are all thin but grow fast particularly the Boys --- ---

Adieu my lovely Peggy - make my respects to Mr. Browne in your next say something about him, I feel Sorry that I have no personal acquaintance with him - my Mother desires her Love to you

With affectionate Tenderness
Your M Varick

Hackensack Augt 2nd 1799

[Address Block, postmarked August 5]

Mrs Margaretta Brown
Care of
Revd J Mason
Near Philadelphia
People Margaretta Varick
Margaretta Mason Brown
Helena Van Wyck Bogart
Search Terms New York, NY
Hackensack
Drought
Yellow Fever
Philadelphia, PA