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Transcription of December 1825 Letter From Thompson Ware To His Niece, Sally Ware Stribling (Sister of Josiah Ware)

Background research & transcription done by Judy C. Ware 
Judy C. Ware April 2009

Original letter owned by Cornelia Ware Anker 1945


From:          Bourbon County, Kentucky                    December 25, 1825

         Dear Sally,

     Your brother Josiah starts from my house to Virginia in a few days.  I feel a kindred spirit towards you as the daughter of my brother (James III).  We were raised and educated together until our father took us to Kentucky and there left us.  We got separated; he located at Louisville and I in the neighborhood of Lexington when my age was 20 and his about 18 months younger.  We would sometimes accidentally see one another in the course of a year or two for several years until he entered into marriage to your mother in Virginia and it took him from Kentucky – where he settled not far from where he was raised and while living, we used to correspond and hear from each other’s family.  But we have been neglectful and absent from each other for a number of years and Josiah William Ware is the first and only one of the family that I ever saw.  And, in seeing him, I see your father more so than any painter could represent.  It has given me great pleasure to see Josiah at my house and if all my family could only see Sigismunda at my house – what rejoicing!  But I fear that is not to be; the distance is too great and to come in to Virginia is not impossible but very improbable as I am getting to be an old man. 

     Sally, we have had twelve children – eleven living and eight of them daughters.  Our youngest is a son; one year old.  Josiah can tell you the particulars of my family.  Our families are all in Kentucky (except yours) where we can at least see one another once or twice a year.   Your Aunt Polly Webb lives within a mile, where we can see each other every week. 

     Your cousin, Betsy Sharp, lost her husband the 1st Sunday in November last by a midnight assassin.  He was stabbed in the abdomen in his own house at 1 or 2 o’clock and expired without speaking a word in a few minutes in the midst of his family.  The night before the Legislature was to meet (he was a member,) a man was taken up on suspicion and sent for further trial.  Poor Betsy was quite deranged for several days.  She has since recovered and has come to her right mind.  She has three children – a daughter and two sons.  Mr. Sharp has left her a sufficient competency for her support.   He had a very severe spell of sickness last summer which caused him to make a will, and he left Betsy everything except two farms, as I am informed. 

     Your Aunt Polly Webb and Aunt Kitty Scott are both widows and I suppose will never marry again.  I must conclude by giving my wife and family’s best love to you and little Sigismunda.  I shall be glad to hear from you at all times.

                                                          I am yours respectfully                                                           T. (Thompson) Ware

There is such a wealth of family information “under the surface” of the above letter, that I feel the best way to do justice to all the details is to recopy the entire letter below and add the clarifying facts along the way.  It is my hope in doing it this way that my original transcription can be read fluidly without being disjointed, and yet all the background data can now be flushed in for further research and edification.  All researched details will be typed in blue.      Judy

 

From:           Bourbon County, Kentucky                    December 25, 1825

KentuckyMap.gif (31922 bytes)

The area in red represents the Lexington/Fayette counties

The area in green represents Frankfort County

     Bourbon County is part of the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan area today.  The county seat is in Paris, Kentucky and all of this is just fifteen miles from Lexington.  This is the area where all the Virginia Wares (with the exception of James Ware III) relocated to in 1791. Versailles is a city in Woodford County, Kentucky, but it is a suburb of Lexington & also part of the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan area. 

       In a letter from Josiah Ware in 1876, he wrote to Rutherford B. Hayes that “Thompson had already settled near Paris, Kentucky.   James II and Caty homesteaded in Fayette County around Lexington on land “that James II subsequently lived and died on.”  It was written later that “Charles lived near Versailles, George in the homestead, Lucy Webb the adjoining farm, Polly Webb near Paris, and Catherine Scott in Frankfort.”    

         Dear Sally, (Sarah Elizabeth Taliaferro Ware Stribling)-  sister of Josiah

** At the time of this letter, Sally was 28 years old and her Uncle Thompson was 56.  Sally had married Sigismund Stribling about five years prior to the letter and had given birth to a daughter named Sigismunda.  James Ware III (Sally’s father and also Thompson’s brother) had already passed away in 1821.

     Your brother Josiah starts from my house to Virginia in a few days.  I feel a kindred spirit towards you as the daughter of my brother (James III).  We were raised and educated together until our father took us to Kentucky and there left us.  We got separated; he located at Louisville and I in the neighborhood of Lexington when my age was 20 and his about 18 months younger.

In the Fall of 1784, James II (father of both James and Thompson) decided to visit Kentucky and remained there all that winter.  Facts from The Biography of James Ware II state that “James returned to Virginia after the winter, but in 1789 he traveled back to Kentucky; this time bringing his two oldest sons, Thompson and James III, with him.  It was decided that the sons would stay in the area and establish roots so that the entire family could later make the move.”  In a different letter from Josiah Ware (many years later) he wrote thJames Ware IIIat “Thompson Ware went to Kentucky as an Indian fighter when Cincinnati was just two or three cabins and some stumps.” 

We would sometimes accidentally see one another in the course of a year or two for several years until he entered into marriage to your mother in Virginia and it took him from Kentucky – where he settled not far from where he was raised and while living, we used to correspond and hear from each other’s family. 

     While James was in Kentucky, he “wrote in Mr. Johnson’s office until he became fully familiar with the business.  He later commenced merchandizing in Louisville and continued in this business until 1795; laying the groundwork for the beginning of his fortune.”    James did, indeed, become quite successful; his son Josiah later writing that he “owned a great part of the town.” His health, however, was not good. 

     In the same letter from Josiah, he wrote that “suffering from chills and fever undermined his health, so my father sold out his business and returned to Virginia where he farmed.”   On November 10, 1796, James III married Elizabeth Alexander, the daughter of Col. Morgan Alexander, an officer in the Revolutionary War.  Her mother was Sarah Snickers Alexander and she was the daughter of Elizabeth Taliaferro and Edward Snickers; a very wealthy planter and landowner in Frederick County.  In 1803, William Snickers (Elizabeth’s uncle) sold 401 acres of his inheritance (beautiful riverfront land by the Shenandoah)) to his niece and her husband James. It was here that they built their home – appropriately named Riverside. Elizabeth was the mother of both Josiah and Sally.  There was another son named Charles, but he died at the age of 23.   Elizabeth, herself, died in 1806, and James remarried in 1808. 

But we have been neglectful and absent from each other for a number of years (by the time of this letter, James was dead) and Josiah William Ware is the first and only one of the family that I ever saw.  And, in seeing him, I see your father more so than any painter could represent.  It has given me great pleasure to see Josiah at my house and if all my family could only see Sigismunda at my house – what rejoicing!   (Sally had married Dr. Sigismund Stribling and Sigismunda was their only daughter.) But I fear that is not to be; the distance is too great and to come in to Virginia is not impossible but very improbable as I am getting to be an old man.  (He was 56.) 

     Sally, we have had twelve children – eleven living and eight of them daughters.  Our youngest is a son; one year old.  Josiah can tell you the particulars of my family. 

Thompson had married Sallie Conn, and the children he is referring to are:

(1) Thompson Ware Jr. (2) Hadassa (3) Polly (4) Kitty (5) Cassandra (6) Lucy C. (7) Sarah (8) Davidella (9) James Thompson (10) Eliza (11) Frances (12) Charles William.  The child he mentioned that had died was Hadassa – leaving his 8 daughters as Polly, Kitty, Cassandra, Lucy, Sally, Davidella, Eliza, and Frances.

Polly would die unexpectedly 3 years after this letter from childbirth complications.  In a letter Lucy Webb wrote to Sally around 1829, she wrote: 

“I suppose you heard his (Thompson’s) daughter Polly Allen died very suddenly.  Her child (baby Thompson ) was about 3 or 4 weeks old.  She had been quite sick for two weeks, but Mary (her aunt) thought had gotten well.  She (Polly)  got up in the morning, put on her clothes, walked to the fire, fell sick, was carried to the bed, and died in a few minutes.  She left a son – Kitty (her sister) takes care of it as if it was her own.” 

Daughter Kitty would later marry the husband of her late sister and go on to have several children of her own.

Daughter Lucy would marry Henry Bedford in Oct. 1829.  He was the 2nd cousin, once removed, of Henry Clay, the Statesman.  

Daughter Sarah (Sally) would marry (at age 16) Robert Spotswood Russell just 2 years after this letter on May 29, 1827.

Daughter Davidella would marry Asa Kentucky Lewis Bedford on May 8, 1834.  He, also, was a 2nd cousin, once removed, of Henry Clay, the Statesman.  At the time of this letter, however, she was only 13 years old.

Thompson’s son, James Thompson was only eleven years old in 1825, but he would grow up and later go on to serve as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1855-1857.

Eliza was 10 years old and Frances was 8 years old at the time of this letter.  We know that Frances would later marry John Hill in 1847.

The youngest son that Thompson mentions was Charles William who was born in 1824.  We know he was a sickly child.  In the same letter Lucy wrote Sally around 1829, she mentioned:

“Charles William I suppose never will walk a smart child.  He was taken sick and continued so for a year.  His head enlarged (opened) when he was sick at about two years old.  He never walked since; his head very large now.  Whether he took too much calomel or what, I don’t know.”  

Our families are all in Kentucky (except yours) where we can at least see one another once or twice a year.  Your Aunt Polly Webb lives within a mile, where we can see each other every week.

Thompson’s sister, Polly Ware Webb, had married Charles Webb - the brother of Isaac Webb who was married to their sister Lucy.

     Your cousin, Betsy Sharp, (daughter of Thompson’s other sister Kitty Scott and her husband Dr. John Mitchell Scott) lost her husband the 1st Sunday in November last by a midnight assassin. 

Betsy (also called Eliza) was married to Soloman Sharp.  In the book entitled Virginia Genealogies, by Hayden, he wrote:   “. . . one of the children was Elizabeth who married Col. Soloman P. Sharp who was a member of the U.S. Congress from 1813-1817.   John C. Calhoun said ‘He (Soloman Sharp) was the ablest man of his age that had ever crossed the mountains.’”

He was stabbed in the abdomen in his own house at 1 or 2 o’clock and expired without speaking a word in a few minutes in the midst of his family.  The night before the Legislature was to meet (he was a member,) a man was taken up on suspicion and sent for further trial.  Poor Betsy was quite deranged for several days.  She has since recovered and has come to her right mind.

Colonol Solomon SharpColonel Solomon Sharp was 38 years old when he was assassinated.   The man who killed him was Jereboam Beauchamp of Glasgow, Kentucky.  During an 1824 mud-slinging political campaign, someone had distributed handbills falsely accusing Sharp of seducing Beauchamp’s wife.  Beauchamp swore revenge. Upon his arrest, Beauchamp not only confessed to the crime but even gave graphic descriptions of his actions.   He was put on trial and found guilty; with a punishment of hanging.  Mrs. Beauchamp was also arrested as an accessory to the murder.  She snuck in a vial of laudanum which was “divided between them, however, it failed to have the desired effect.”  On the day of the execution she gave her husband a knife that she had secreted in.  He stabbed himself in the chest and then she grabbed the knife from him and stabbed herself too.  Mrs. Beauchamp died of her knife wounds but Jereboam was still taken to the gallows.  He was, however, “too weak to stand while the rope was being adjusted around his neck” but he did eventually die by hanging.

She has three children – a daughter and two sons.  Mr. Sharp has left her a sufficient competency for her support.  He had a very severe spell of sickness last summer which caused him to make a will, and he left Betsy everything except two farms, as I am informed.

In a letter from another relative to Sally, it was written that “Betsy Sharp is well and in good spirits.  She’s a pretty sensible woman and has 3 fine children.  They are Jean, John Scott, and Soloman (he was called Thomas but after the death of his faKitty Scottther, they changed it (his name) to Soloman.”

     Your Aunt Polly Webb and Aunt Kitty Scott are both widows and I suppose will never marry again.

Polly Webb (Mary Todd “Polly” Ware Webb) was married to Charles Webb on February 24, 1791.   Charles died in 1806 - so by the time of this letter, Polly had been widowed for 19 years.

Kitty Scott (Catherine “Caty or Kitty” Ware Scott) had married Dr. John Mitchell Scott.   He had died in 1812, so she had been widowed for 13 years when this letter was written.

I must conclude by giving my wife (Sallie Conn Ware) and family’s best love to you and little Sigismunda.   (daughter of Sally Ware Stribling & her husband Sigismund Stribling)  I shall be glad to hear from you at all times.

                                                                          I am yours respectfully                                                                                     T. (Thompson) Ware


References:

Paris County Tourist Center, 720 High Street- Paris, Kentucky

Letter from Josiah Ware to Gov. Rutherford B. Hayes, dated July 16, 1876

Biography of Dr. James Ware II   Researched and written by: Judy C. Ware  copyright 2006 Dayton, Ohio 

Original long letter of Cornelia Ware Anker (1945)  Cornelia was the daughter of Sigismund Stribling Ware (son of Josiah William Ware).

Letter from Charles Ware to his niece Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth Taliaferro Ware Stribling,  written in 1831.   Charles was the younger brother of James III, and both Charles and James were children of James II and Catherine Todd Ware. 

VIRGINIA GENEALOGIES:  A Genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia by Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M. A.  Printed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1891 – copyrighted 1885.

Edward Snickers, Family Man Chapter III  from Clarke County Proceedings. 

Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association  Vol. III  1948  copyright 1949  by Clarke County Historical Association.

Letter from Lucy Webb to her niece, Sarah (Sally) E. T. Ware Stribling  written June 5 (circa 1830’s).  Lucy Webb was the sister of James Ware III.  Research & transcription of this letter done by Judy C. Ware in 2007 & posted on her website at www.bigballoonmusic.com/Ware

Children of Thompson Ware and Sallie Conn   Posted on website   Researched and written by Judy Ware updated on March 2009   Additional information provided by Debbie McArdle.

Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association Volume XXIII 1983-1984   With Clarke County – A Daughter of Frederick  by Rose M.E. MacDonald  copyright 1985 by the Clarke County Historical Association – printed by Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia 22655.  Pages 33 & 39  

Article entitled The Nook from Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association Volume XXIII 1983-1984 - copyright 1985 by the Clarke County Historical Association – printed by Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia 

Welcome to Franklin County, Kentucky – “Murder on Madison Street; the Beauchamp- Sharp Tragedy” from History of Franklin County, Kentucky by L.F. Johnson

Edward Snickers, Yeoman - by Ingrid Jewell Jones. Published by the Clarke County Historical Association, Berryville, Virginia

 

*** 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 www.waregenealogy.com.  I will forever be grateful for his expertise and kindness. 


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