Elizabeth Trist to Mary House Gilmer

My Dear Mary

It is time that I shou’d receive a letter from Bedford your last was dated the 9th of Feby and I always look for one every month. I presume that Peachey is engaged in the Quarterly Counts about this time and has to encounter bad weather if he gets paid equivalent to the Risk of bad health and disagreeable travilling it may compensate a little for the undertaking, I want to know if your Rooms are finish’d but my chief inducement for writing at present is to enquire how your well is fix’d, I think I heard you say they were not done in the common way and Uncle Divers is getting a new well dug and wishes to know how your buckets are suspended there are two Englishmen who have work’d in the mines of cornwall that has undertaken it for 200$ and to find all the matters necessary for its accomplishment one of these work’d with two others in cleaning out the old well they cleard it of all the Stone and logs that had been thrown into it but coming to great chasm in the side of the well that Men cou’d stand up in Several at a time a sandy foundation with great Rocks suspended over them, and as they had to blow up the rock in the bottom of the well they gave up the Jobb as being too dangerous poor fellows I felt sorry for them as they undertook a well for Garland Garth for which they were to have 45$ not being acquainted with the soil they were 3 months at hard work before they compleated it and their wages did not exceed 25 cents a day and what is worse they cant get their pay at present they are at work at the College they work very different from the workmen of this Country Peter Minor says that they will do as much in one day, Masons and Carpenters as the Same Class of people will perform in three in this Country they cou’d not get their Money for the work they did at the College were obliged to take due bills which they sold at forty per Cent discount and set off for Savanah in Georgia the times bear hard upon them, They times seem to bear hard upon every one, but I hope the Ficticious wealth the Banks created will come to a proper standard and that people will come to their reason at last, and laws made to punish delinquents in Publick Offices for there has been so much imprudence and roguery in those that ought to have had more honor, that a more strict Goverment must prevail to make people honest than has been, or we shall become a despicable1 people It is about a week since I heard from Ridgeway Susan Fry and Patsy both wrote me a few lines Lucy sent me word that some one had left Francis 600 ds but cou’d not learn who it was, he wrote me a few lines by Mr Shackelford date 25th of Feby but said nothing about the Legacy—It gives me pleasure to see that the clouds that began to darken our political horizon seems to be dispersing the Missouri business is at last come to a conclusion and the revolt in Spain will induce the Dons to do us justice and give up the Floradias without going to War. my last letter from Mary Tornilon was dated was dated 11th Jany she mentioed having Sent some weeks before 150 Dollars to Orleans to try and purchase a bill to send to me it was the Rent of the Plantation at the Highlands she observed that it was difficult to get a good bill but she was in hopes of getting it soon I presume by its not coming to hand they did not succeed in getting a bill of exchange the Boys recieved theirs and were accepted but drawn at Sixty days after sight Browses has become due but he had not heard on Sunday Leitch negociated it for him and I make no doubt will absorb the greatest part if not the whole, unless mine arrives that I may pay for what has been got for me occasionally I shall be glad on some accounts when Browse leaves this Neighbourhood on others I shall be sorry, he has never been very comfortabbly accomodated and has spent a good diel, losing and destroying their cloaths, &cc for want some place to put them, tho he is more comfortably lodged at present than he has been, he supports a good character which is pleasing to me, The Boys at Mr Stacks school became so unruly that the people of Charlottesville complaind very much of them Stack wou’d assume no authority over them [. . .] of school and La Porte had no controul even to make [. . .] behave orderly in the House Wine or Toddy I am told was introduced of an evening and they became bon vivants Mr Cocke and some other Gentlemen who had sons there, last Court day set about a reform drew up articles for the Boys to sign and give their word of honour they wou’d adhere to the Rules one was not to introduce any more Liquor another was that not more than two Boys were to be seen together in the Streets, some of them demur’d at the terms but finally subscribed their names tho Browse says they that some of them say they are very sorry they did. the fact is that all Boys will take advantage of the liberty they have, Stack does not Board in the same House and thinks that he has no right to controul them except when in school and I am told he does not use any authority even there, it is wonderful that people will Send children to such a school. I heard that Walker Gilmer was taken home and I was surprised to hear that he was among the Number of wild ones, but I cou’d not get Browse to tell me any thing respecting the conduct of the Boys Eppes Baker and himself generally spend Saturday and sunday at the mountain and carry their Books with them They are at an age when they must know that it is for their own advantage not to dissipate their time I hope William gives his mind to Study and that George and Harmer love their Books I am sorry that Emma shou’d lose the opportunity of learning musick, I hear that the young ladies at the Mountain are become knitters in stead of working muslins &cc They were equip’d last sunday to come and see me but the day was cloudy cold and Windy Browse was to have been their escort but he told them they had better postpone their visit I shall look for them next sunday if the weather is fair I hope William Burwell contin[ues] to be the good Boy you described him to be my best Wishes will always attend him Aunt Divers joins me in love to Peachey your self an[d] children my Remembrance to the servants may God bless you all with healt[h] and happiness and believe me your affectionat[ely]

Aunt Trist
RC (History Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke: Breckinridge Family Papers); three or four words obscured by seal; addressed: “Mrs Mary Gilmer Liberty Bedford Cty Va”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 19 Mar.
1Manuscript: “descapable.”
Mary House Gilmer
Date Range
March 15, 1820
History Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke