Sowden Elizabeth to Mary Eliza B. Sowden, Dumphries, Prince William Co., Letter 1815

Name Index (includes maiden and married names):
[?] Alexander[?] Jenny[?] Polly[?] SallyAdams SamuelAldrige LidiaAshmon MajorBrawner Mrs.[Daughter Brawner?] FannyBundy Mrs.Cannon Miss S.Cave[?] MaryCol [qu?]heun WalterDulany KittyDuval Mr.Evans Mr.Harrison Mary AnnHarrison Mr. R.Hayes Mrs. JamesHenderson Mr.Hull[?] Mrs.Keys JohnLansdownMcIntire Mr.Merchant JacobMoney NancyMoore BishopSowden JohnSowden Brother [James]Sowden Miss Mary E[liza].B.Sowden Elizabeth, Tebbs Miss NancyWaggoner Miss ElizaWilliams MaryWood Mr.

A series of letters to Mary Eliza B. “Eliza” (Sowden) Hawkins of Long Island from various members of her Sowden family in Virginia in the early 1800s was passed down to me by my grandmother’s first cousin Adelaide (Mershon) Purcell Cook in the late 1970s.

The following letter was written by Eliza’s mother Elizabeth [–?–] Sowden, shortly after Eliza left Virginia with her brother James Sowden and went to Long Island where James was the Methodist minister in the Southampton and Moriches circuits. Eliza road on horseback with her brother from Virginia to Long Island, according to family tradition. James can be documented at Southampton as early as 1808 when his son Allen died there on 30 December. [Source: Rufus King, “Long Island (N.Y.) Marriages and Deaths, from ‘Suffolk Gazette,’ NYG&B Record, Vol. 25, No. 4, October 1894, p. 164.]

Family tradition also states that following in the footsteps of his miller father John Sowden, James Sowden began a paper mill on the Twin Ponds at Moriches, which is likely where Eliza met her future husband Jonathan Hawkins.

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  • St. Albion Dear Eliza)
    Dumf. Nov. 28th 1815 I was extremely glad to hear from y[ou]r Brothers letter of 17th July of the safe arrival of you both on Long Island as also to hear that you were pleased with your situation & that you were all pleased with each other & you were in good health and spirits &c, I hope you will all continue to enjoy health happiness and harmo -ny among you — I have had several attacks of illness since your departure and one lately from which I am so far recovered as to be able to go about with but little inconvenience – Mr. Evans has been very ill but is much recovered; In his illness he talked much of you and wished you had not gone – Jenny was well when I saw hir last which was lately – Mr. E. is now keeping store in Maryland; he had given up the place at Lansdown, but a misunderstanding taking place between Lansdown ^& him respecting his leaving the place he was obliged agreeable to there contract to keep it; so Mr. Evans bought the goods of Mr. McIntire (who had moved to Lansdown’s place) with the addition of others from Baltimore and moved with them to the Hill Top in Maryland, which place he had rented; But Jenny remains at Lansdown’s place still, the Children were well when I saw them – Sally is a fine Girl, Alexander has grown much and I expect by this time can walk – Jno Sowden still continues at Major Ashmon’s, has become a fine boy and minds his Books --- There have a great many

  • changes taken place since you left us also Marriages deaths &c – Mr. Wood has gone to the Thoroughfare Mills Mrs Brawner Still remains at the same place & her Daughter Fanny has got a deminutive bit of a soul, Miss Eliza Wag- goner is married a [ink mark] month or two ago to Mr. R Harrison the Captain, her Cousin who it was thought was about to court her about the time you left this place—Miss Nancy Tebb’s wedding day was fixed on some time ago, but the wedding was procrastinated to a future period in conse- quence of the ill health of Mr. Duval her intended husband who is still very ill, Miss S.[?] Cannon still hangs on the hinges but I expect she will be off some of the time quite unexpectedly to her acquaintance — Among the deaths which have taken place — are Jno Keys, Mrs. Hull[?] Walter Col [qu?]heun, Mrs. Brundy & Mr. Henderson who died on Wednesday last — There has been a great reveval of Religion here lately, which will no doubt be grateful news to your Brother — Jacob Merchant has returned to the Church again, Samuel Adams, Lidia Aldrige, Kitty Dulany & Nancy Money with several others joined the Methodist Church on Sunday last; Mrs. James Hayes Mary Williams & Mary Cave[?] are converted but dare not join the church in consequence of opposition from their connections, some of the above mentioned converts to the Methodists were lately confirmed by the Protestant Bishop Moore — I have heard from Polly lately (but not by letter) she was well & had a fine Daughter — I have some other communication to make but must defer them until I hear from you all at L,I. again; why do not you both write often

  • changes taken place [sic] you must know that I am anxious to hear from you all A[overwrite]s often as possible; I would write oftener myself but you know it is not convenient for me to write at all times when I would — I wish to write to Polly soon but wish to hear from you first, so hope you will write shortly — Mary Ann Harrison has moved to the mill in Wood house & will I hope be a good neighbor --- I have nothing more to commu- nicate at present, so conclude with my love to you your Brother & Sister & little children — Tell them I hope to have the happiness of seeing them all here before I go hence y[ou]r affectionate Mother Elizabeth [tear in paper from seal -- Sowden]

  • Dumfs, 29 Nov Paid 25 ½ Miss Mary E.B. Sowden Moriches Long Island Newyork State [Sow – paper on opposite side torn with seal]

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