M.M. Palmer Letters

Transcription of four letters from Margaret Meredith Palmer (1822/3-1889) living at Clifton, near Kilmarnock, Virginia to her uncle, Thomas Meredith, a merchant in Baltimore. The letters are part of the Thomas Meredith Papers, 1772-1872 (MS1795, Box 2, Folder 3) owned by the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland and are posted here with its permission.  Spelling and formatting were retained from the original letters.

The letters were written in 1848 & 1849 after the death of her husband, James Palmer.  They deal with her concerns regarding the guardianship of her children, allude to the complications of being Catholic in Virginia and estate business.

Clifton November 10th 1848
My dear Uncle
                        I received the Balance of the money
$8 and Mr Murphy’s receipt by the last Boat.  I had just received a
notice from him requesting the payment of the
subscription due on the magazine shortly after
sending the money to you and am very much obli-
ged to you for attending to it for me.  Mr Gres-
ham goes to Baltimore this evening and he will
hand you my letters.  I wish your advice dear
Uncle relative to my becoming Guardian for the
Children, in the event of my doing so.  I shall
have to go to the C H and qualify as Guardian
Give a Bond for $8000 with good security and
take an oath.  Must I do it and on a Protestant
Bible?  I am totally ignorant of such things
and therefore request you to advise me.  I thought
at first I would ask Brother Thomas to be
their Guardian, but there is no certainty of his
remaining in Virginia long, and I should object
to any one, not entering into my views regarding
their attendance at Catholic schools, when they
arrive at a proper age to be sent to school.  Mr
Gresham will explain all to you I suppose.  If I am
their Guardian I shall have to rent their part of
the farm which is 2/3 and hire their servants, and
they will be charged board as much as the Court
[page two]
will allow.  Will you be kind to write by the re
-turn Boat and tell me what you think is Best
for me to do.  Dear Uncle accept my sincere wishes
for your good health and prosperity.
                        I remain your affectionate Niece
                            M M Palmer

Clifton Nov 30th 1848
My dear Uncle
                        I intended writing to you by the last
Boat but thought I would still take more time to reflect
on the important business which has of late much inter
ested and absorbed my thoughts.  I wrote you that I
would become Guardian for my children because I
thought from your letter that you rather recommend
ed it to me than otherwise.  But on the Friday follow
ing the receipt of your kind letter Brother Thomas came
down to see us and I gave him your letter to read
and it was his opinion that you did not advise my
acceptance of the Guardianship.  He also mentioned
the great responsibility and trouble that attended
the management of the business and it made me
very sorry that I had been so hasty in writing to
you.  He advised with Mr Kelly for me and he
thought that it would be best for Mr Gresham
to take it now and that he could resign it to me
when the estate was settled up.  Col Hall is a
very good man at business and I had some idea
of asking him to take the Guardianship.  He or
Mr Gresham I should prefer to any one in the
County.  The Administrator ought to be better ac
quainted with the affairs of the estate than anyone
else and I should suppose would be the proper per
son to become Guardian for the Children.  My dear
[page two]
Uncle please write by the next boat if Possible
and tell me what is best for me to do.  If you
think I can manage the business and advise me
thereto please send your bond as the Monday follow
ing will be the Northumberland Court and the matter
must be arranged on that day for the amount
mentioned in your letter, brother James also told
me that he would be security for $2000 and that
I must get some one to join in the bond for the other
$2000.  But I dread it very much and would much
rather some one else would take it who is capa-
ble of managing it better than myself.  When I
wrote to you dear Uncle I had seen no one to
advise with and consequently knew nothing scarcely
of the mighty responsibility resting on a Guar-
dian.  Please write and let me know whether you
approve of Mr Gresham or Col Hall.  I know not
what to do I have recommended it in my prayers
and wish the will of God to be done.  Most glad
ly will I take any advice that your kindness
will impart.  Do dear Uncle pray for me and my
dear children.  Tell my dear Aunty that I have
not time to write to her now  Give her my dearest
love as also the childrens.
                        Your most sincerely grateful
                            Niece   M M Palmer

Clifton  March 9th 1849
My dear Uncle
                        Having learned that the Mary Wash
ington has come from Baltimore to Fredericksburg I
write this evening on her return.  I have not yet received
my groceries though I have been informed the vessle
has arrived.  Brother Thomas will go to Baltimore next
Boat I expect, by that time I shall perhaps have received the
groceries and the Bill of them and shall send the mon
ey by him.  I am anxious to go to Baltimore this spring
to make my Easter but if I go when Brother Thomas
goes I shall not be able to stay so long and must give
up the pleasure of his company and protection.  Please
be so kind as to tell me when would be the best time
for me to come and make my Easter.  I am now
getting out my corn to ship but do  not know
what to do secondly, it is slow.  William will write this af
ternoon to Mc Conkey and Co to get some information
respecting the state of the market I thought that
was the wisest plan, and shall not ship until I
hear from him.  Cousin William Pullin has lost his
wife and Cousin Joseph Shearman has been very ill
with Pleurisy but is better.  There have been a great
many deaths this winter.  The measles are very preva
lent and are all around us,  they are in the school
at Kilmarnock.  Dear Uncle will you be kind enough
to get me a few garden seed, viz 1 quart of Early Peas
1 paper of Early York Cabbage seed and 1 of Drumhead cabbage
[page two]
and 2 of Cucumber early green cluster.  Please send by
Arthur and I will pay him for his trouble.  Please
Write my dear Uncle and Enclose the Bill.  I want
a bushel of Mercer [sp?] potatoes for seed, but perhaps it will be
better to send by a vessle.  We have had a great deal
of rainy weather and there is prospect of snow.  Give
my dearest love to Aunty also Willie and the chil
dren send theirs.  Molly is 5 years old to day.  I hope
to have the pleasure of hearing from you and dear
Aunty next Boat.  Pray for me kind Uncle and for
him to whom you were so kind while living during
this holy season of fasting and prayer.
                        Your most sincere and affect niece
                                    M M Palmer
Clifton March 16th 1849
My dear Uncle
                        I received your letter per M Washington
also the garden seeds bill inclosed for which accept
my grateful thanks.  Yesterday I received your letter
from Capt George together with the Groceries I sent for
and feel very grateful dear Uncle for your kindness in
purchasing for me the groceries and advancing the money
I write now by Capt Miller who has on board of his
vessle 800 bushels of corn for me to be delivered to
McConkey & Co.  I have kept some hoping it may im-
prove in price and have desired them to hand over the money
to you (the nett proceeds of the corn.)  I was exceedingly
sorry to hear dear Aunty had such a bad cold and am
truly glad she is getting over it.  I hope she will take
good care of herself.  I shall be very glad to attend a
retreat if it is the will of Almighty God and shall
be glad  if dear Aunty will write if she hears it
time enough.  Brother Thomas will not go until next
Friday.  Dear Uncle you will pay yourself for the Gro-
ceries and seed and be kind enough to get me a few
necessary articles
            5 gallons molasses (Demijohn sent)
            3 tubs 1 of them a large mashing tub
            1 hair sifter, 1 good corn broom  1 hair broom long handle
            1 bushel Mercer potatoes (bag sent)
            2 gallons Gas tar (Jug sent)
            $1.00 worth of Cranberries  1 lb of hops (white)
[page two]
You will also pay for the articles mentioned out
of the corn money.  Dear Uncle I give you a great
deal of trouble I fear but I assure you I am deeply sen
sible of your kindness and shall ever be grateful for
the lively interest you take in my welfare and that
of my two dear children.  Johnny has been quite sick
for two days but I hope the little fellow will miss
his chills now.  I am quite unwell with a dreadful
cold.  Willie and Molly are well.  Dear Uncle you will
please give brother Thomas the balance of the money
to bring down with him and I shall immediately
pay Mr Kelly as much of it as I can possibly spare
He took in my bond from Mr Gresham for $500.
Dear Uncle I hope you will have patience with me
for I fear I shall not be able to pay you anything
this year.  Give my very best love to dear Aunty and
Willie an the children also join  in love to you both.
                        Dear Uncle I remain your affectionate Niece
                                    Margaret M Palmer