Letter - MAY 02, 1858  

William Slater's travels took him first to William Hopkin (presumed to be a family contact from his time living in England) and then Edward Jackson (TJ's brother who has now moved to Philadelphia). Then he relates how, on earlier visits, John Watson's wife had been so unpleasant to Aunt Watson. (John Watson's mother) However by the time this letter was written, the wife had died and William Slater observes that "Aunt Watson has little reason to fret"

Reading Pa North America
May 2nd 1858

My dear Father and Mother/

I almost began to think you had forgotten me then again I banished all such thoughts knowing that I did not hold such a light place in your affections and those of my Brother and Sisters. I felt persuaded you had written but where the letter had got to I did not know, thought mine had miscarried and lots of other things, so you must try to conjure up what amount of pleasure it was to receive the long expected letter it reached here the last day of April in the afternoon and Tilly Jackson took the trouble to bring it out to the Rope Walk, and Henry handed it to me when I was winding up. I tore it open directly and took out one which happened to be E's and looked at the fag end again to see if you were all well having done had to put it away until night and get on the wheel for we were spinning Manilla rope yarn and had to pull and tear away to get it done, It seemed to do me o most good for after I got on, I lead the van and seemed to spin as easy again.

I left John Watson's on the Wednesday week before I got the letter and staid in Philadelphia and Germantown till Saturday William Hopkin was very glad to see me and wanted me to stop a week with him some friends of his to whom he introduced me when I first called on him saw me again and shook hands with me as heartily as if they had known me a good many years one man who came from Leicester was in the company did not recognize me at first sight so I thought to wait and see if he would ken me presently our eyes happened to me then he jumped up and came with an with extended hand to ask me how I was and told me he had been looking at me a good while, which I knew before he told me. Edward Jackson lives in Chestnut Street, Phila da and his wife carries on a dressmaking business she has got a sewing machine

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she showed me how it worked it did stitch away more brisker "I can tell you" and did the work first rate.

Now I must tell you that John Watson's wife died sometime in the latter end of March

While I was there she had been sick nearly nearly four months the Dr. said it was dropsy at first then turned into something else I don't think he knew what was amiss with her he was quite a young inexperienced man however she is gone and I didn't think there was much occasion to fret especially from my aunt and she does not.

I have heard it said we should not say anything about people after they were dead but as you have never heard anything particular about her before I can't tell you without. And to give you a correct idea of things must revert to John's courting days some twenty six years ago. John carried on the above business for 12 or 14 years the lady had put him off 2 or 3 times and wanted to wait until her father and mother were dead who were very old She had a nice sum of money and was a very good manager. John made a vow that if she would not be married at such a time he would not have her. the time came and alas he stuck to his word and left her to be a desolate old maid although she had got a many things ready towards rigging a house out to make it comfortable. Then an old fellow that lives near when he heard of it recommended a niece of his to John who had been brought up to tailoring work for a living (as a great number of women in N Jersey are), and said to John, Elizabeth will make a good wife John why not Elizabeth so he married her in about six weeks (for mad I should think] and if ever a fellow was henpecked, he was "that's sure"? However he put up with anything for peace and quietness sake and then she must domineer over my Aunt contradict her whenever she spoke and try to make her look as little as possible and herself as big as possible at a Aunt's expense.

I've seen a good deal of it and them as that lives there tells me it has been so ever since he has been there and that is eight years. I used to get as mad as blazes sometimes but then I had no business

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to speak the servant girl copied after her mistress and was encouraged to be saucy to my Aunt and never to do as she told her one night she was doing what Aunt told her not took no notice of her but began to laugh at her I said to the man that if it were my Mother she was insulting, I'd kick her out of the house

Charley was by so he told her, in the morning she told me that if I was so big I should not do it so easy perhaps I told her she had no business to insult my aunt She behaved a good deal better after that, and told Charley that I thought a wonderful deal about my aunt, John & his wife got to hear about it and were displeased but they did not tell me so, its no use for I couldn't tell half or a quarter of the daily petty annoyances she put Aunt to

It has been a time of constant persecution for her ever since John married her but she seemed to bear it with a wonderful degree of patience she said to me I must hear and see and say nothing she is John's wife was something like Mrs.Hanfot impudence and ignorance mixed up but not such a blaguard. John's first love was sister to William Watson's wife and she is a very nice motherly woman and always treats Aunt with respect and kindness.

That illustrated paper has Amos Watson's house and store in it so you must take care of it. T Jackson junior came home last night 1st May from his long voyage. He is pretty well tanned his health is a great deal better he has a very sailor like appearance his beard and moustache is something like Mr. Vincent's. Trade is dull yet so Mr. Jackson wants me to go to see his brother Henry who lives on the way to where Mothers cousins live and go on to see them for a week or two and in the meantime he is going to pay off two or three men so that others can make full-time he is afraid they might do him an injury if he paid them of and just put me on so I am

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going in the morning and shall finish my letter to you about the Railroad I shall travel on is called the Lebanon Valley I shall endeavour to give you a description of the country if I'm spared. I was very glad to learn that you are all well, all the kindness I meet with here can't make me forget home and I'm sure they are all very kind when I go down at night as I often do cousin Thomas says as soon as he sees me come in Willy or William and if Edward is there he says how go Will right side up with care eh? He is a real hearty good fellow laugh's and jokes above a bit so you see I'm not amongst cold strangers. Cousin Mary Jackson lives in the same street nearly the opposite where Thos Boards, keeps a school and has house to herself so I often go to see her

I took dinner with her to day and am here for tea and have written this letter during the afternoon some of it while she was gone to Sunday school I am quite at home here without making any fuss call in as a matter of course take possession of a rocking chair and swing myself backwards and forwards till I feel satisfied I am very sorry I did not get that letter because of the one Father wrote to me he must write another next time and also one to Thomas Jackson I am sure he would be pleased to hear from you he told me he had not had a letter from England for a good while I cant pretend to let him read mine he would want an interpreter to English some of the lingo. Aunt Watson wished me send her kind love to her dear Sister & also to Father and Mother and all of you she said if she was to see my father she would not know what to do with herself she seemed to feel it a good deal at parting with me and wanted me to come and see her again if she was living when I went away. I have just written a letter to her telling her that I have got a letter from home she will be disappointed to learn the other was lost when there was one for her she was getting quite anxious to hear whether her Sister was alive and well as well as the rest of you. You must read this to Aunt Riley and she will hear that Aunt W has had a greater share of trouble than she ever dreamed of I must conclude now as the saying is from from sheer want of room and remain your very affectionate son

William Slater


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