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Transcription Of 1842 Letter From Mrs. Margaret Bryan
To Josiah Ware

Transcribed by Judith C. Ware, July 2008

Judy C. Ware


Original letter owned by Scott & Jane Dudgeon

                            Matthews County East River     February 15, 1842


Colonel Josiah William Ware.


Respected sir,

The disinterested kindness and polite attention which you have extended towards my daughter Miss Bryan has placed me under a weight of obligations I feel confident it will never be in my power to reciprocate.  In consequence of not receiving her letters in due time, I was not aware how very unpleasantly she was situated until about ten days since, when I received a letter from the lady with whom she was boarding, which I did not think advisable to answer in any other way than by immediately sending my son-in-law, Lieut. Walker, to bring my daughter home, for I saw at once from the style of the writer it was not a suitable place for her, but before he could have arrived there, Catherine had left the city.  They must have passed each other at Norfolk.  Thus by a variety of events over which I had no control I find myself indebted to a stranger whom I have never seen, but whom my heart whispers must be possessed of all those virtues which adorn and embellish the character of a gentleman.   The delicacy of my feelings are such as any sensitive mind may imagine, but which cannot be described as regards the pecuniary assistance extended to my daughter, as it is not in my power at present to return it.  (Though in relation to the landlady, it is my opinion that her charges were an imposition as Catherine was not at all comfortable.)  A kind “Providence” may at some future day place it in my power to return the sum advanced, but the motive which prompted such kindness will ever be remembered by her mother with the liveliest emotions of gratitude and amidst the many sorrows which have darkened my pathway, it will be a “bright spot” upon which memory will delight to dwell.  Accept the kinds regards of my daughter, and allow me to subscribe myself with sentiments of the highest respect.


Your Very Obedient Servant,

Margaret Bryan


*** The definition of “pecuniary” is: Monetary, or pertaining to money

I believe this letter explains the content of the letter from Senator William R. King in 1842.  Mrs. Bryan wrote her correspondence in mid-February and the King letter was written just 1 months later.

Obviously Josiah had loaned some money to a young woman named Catherine Bryan who was caught in a difficult situation at a “less than agreeable” boarding house.  It is of interest to note that Josiah’s first wife (Frances Toy Glassell Ware) wrote a letter to her father in 1822 (twenty years earlier and before she was married) describing a very similar situation.  She was attending school in Berryville and she wrote her father that she had recently left the place she was boarding at because it was “increasingly considered a very improper place for a number of girls there.”  She ended up staying with her aunt instead while she finished school.

Frances met and later married Josiah in 1827.    


***I would like to thank Scott Dudgeon and his wife for allowing me to copy & transcribe this letter for my historical research.  I am deeply grateful.

Placement of family photographs and visual graphics accompanying this piece are the fine work of John Reagan who has been an invaluable help in setting up a website for me entitled Ware Genealogy at I will forever be grateful for his expertise and kindness.

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