This letter was submitted by Darla Bell. Contact her at

The letter is written in 3 hands, but the primary writer 

is Florence THOMAS of Barry Island (Mother) writing to her

daughter in New York. The daughter is married to Joseph REES

and may have been pregnant in 1839. I believe that Florence

had daughters Betsey and Peggy, plus the one in New York

receiving the letter and an unmarried/widowed daughter

living with Florence. Peggy is married to Philip ? and has a son David. Betsey is married to John ? and had a son

John who died in 1839.If this sounds familiar to any of you, please let me know.

The NY daughter (REES) had descendants, one of whom became

my grandfather's first cousin.

Addressed to:Mr. Joseph Reescare of Mrs. Mary MichaelNo. 3, Allen StreetNew YorkAmericaCardiff Jan. 20/39Dear Children,I received your kind and affectionate letter on the 15th of December, 

believe me it was most gratifying to us, for we were apprehensive in

consequence of the turbulence prevailing there that you had no means

of forwarding one – but however great the joy which your letter infused in

us, it was but on the 11th of December that we had the melancholy task

to perform of committing little John’s body to the silent tomb – as fine and

as noble a boy as any in the surrounding country – his father and mother,

and indeed myself grief beyond measure after him, "but the way of the Lord

is not our way, nor our thoughts his thoughts – his complaint was the

Scarlet Fever, and one of such a sweeping nature has not been known here

for many years – and I grieve to be thus necessitated to inform you, that in

consequence of a severe cold which John, that is, Betsy’s husband,

contracted when he came to Barry Island to fetch me, with the sad

intelligence of the little boy’s not likely to survive until we reached home,

and indeed such was the case, for John had not been gone an hour before

life was extinct – you cannot pourtray the grief which overwhelmed me

when I reached home, and found my dear boy a lump of clay – but to return

to the cold which John caught when he came for me – the effects of it has

since been, I am sorry to say, next to death itself – for he has been this

month part confined to his bed with a violent attack of the Scarlet Fever

himself, and been quite delirious, he is still confined to his bed, but very weak,

and very little symptoms of recovery – the trials of this life are numerous, and

Betsy and John have had their crosses to bear heavily upon them – God has

different ways to try us, to prepare us for another state – it is to be hoped that

we will not despise and over-grief at the dispensations of the Most High, but that

we will humble ourselves and acknowledge him Lord of all = Mary and Philip

came up to the funeral, and it was an occasion on which the whole town felt it,

for he was a comely, quiet, and a lad in whom every body felt an interest = before

I close I hope that you will be enabled to go through the trial which is before you,

it is a trying time = and that you will please to forward this or write to your brother,

and let us hear from you as soon as you are confined, my kind love to all, and

believe me Dear Children, your affectionate Mother = Florence ThomasNew handwriting –Send us an occasional Newspaper – I will send in return. Best respects to all –

yours Peggy Philip DavidNew handwriting –Dear Brothers and sisters

It is with joy unspeakable that I join with my dear mother to write a few lines to

you trusting with the help of God that you are all well and recovered from your

late journeys (?). I was deeply grieved to know of your poor dear husband’s

sickness but as you observed in your last letter that the Lord (unreadable word)

affliction so that we should know ourselves (even [unreadable] from his

Sovereign hand are blessings in disguise) and what happiness it would be for us

if we could bear with these. Dear sister I am rather surprised that we have not

heard from my brother it is some time since we have had a letter from him tender

my kindest love to him wife and children now that the great (unreadable word) is

(unreadable line) was nothing said about little peggy in your last letter I suppose

you have forgotten all about her (unreadable lines) her youngest daughter is called

peggy after her grandmother and aunt. (back of page) I cannot help remarking to

you again about my dear sister Betsey’s little boy (unreadable words) not a

(unreadable word) child will (unreadable word). Mother called him the pride of

Llantrisant for he was a perfect gem. I am sorry to tell you that my brother john is

not likely to be very prosperous in his last undertaking that is by taking Bary Island

= very strange I never hear anything from the children at Bridgend and you even write to

them you ought to for you know that they are very friendly (?) = dear sister I

have very (unreadable word) to communicate to you only that Cardiff is getting an

immense size I supose you not heard that they have built a fine new market

place at Bridgend and getting a very improving place = dear sister (unreadable

words)kind love to you all and the children of thine relations in Wales may God

bless you all my dear sister from your affectionate sister

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