(January 28 1760)
Dear Doctor Roberts,
I trust that this note finds you in good health as well as your good daughters. I am writing on behalf of my brother William, with who you served with at the Siege of Niagara this July past. He sends his regards as he is still abroad in the Frontier fort of Frederick, treating the men of the Maryland Forces. He hopes that you ahve healed fully from your leg wound and that no amputation was necessary, which I would also hope! I heard my brother’s tale of the ordeal and it seems most frightful an experience!
My brother, when not tending to the men in the King’s service, owns an apothecary shop here in Frederick , MD. He tends to the sick, as well as sells general medicines, tinctures, and the Finest Virginian tobacco. Sometimes he receives additional gifts or supplies from his suppliers and in his recent writing to me, he has asked me to send 2 of these items to you as gifts for 12th night and your Birth day, as I believe it has just passed. He hopes that both will be of great use ot you in your wilderness tendings and for the men of the Independant Co of South Carolina. And know that should you grow low on supplies of medicines, we can work on a steep discount and credit for your practice.
The shop grows busy now so I must away.
Miss Charlotte Clift, sister to Dr. William Clift
Upon your last writing to me, I dare say I felt a bit nervous for you. Indians! What savages they are! Daily we hear stories from the western frontier of Indians raiding houses and the small villages to the west, and continue to worry they will come closer to the cities in due course. One lady came into town looking a fright, and told us her husband had been killed and then scalped, the hair taken cleanly from his head! I do hope that does not happen to you or any in your care. It sounds frightfully painful to say the least!
The indenture is working out so very well- she learns quickly, cleans well, and eats little. What more could I ask for in a servant, except for perhaps another one with which to keep the house tidy even more regularly. I keep the young one at work in the back of the shop mostly, preparing the ground herbs and such for dispatch, though I have thought of beginning to send her on deliveries as well. It will save me half a crown regularly to have her do such wandering than letting local urchins do the task for me.
This weekend past, I had the honor of having Tea at Mrs. Hanson’s farmhouse with some other ladies of stature who’s husbands are also stationed with you in the Wilderness. The tea was most fabulous, and I was grateful for the opportunity to wear some of my finer clothing. Mrs. Hanson was a gracious hostess, and provided molasses cookies, scones, fresh cream, and several jams for us to partake of. I took a bottle of rosewater as a gift to her, which she was most appreciative of. It was a grand break from the daily rush of life in the city, and the fresh air did my body well.
I will be travelling to Annapolis presently for a weeks time to receive more supplies for the shop. We are desperately low on tobacco and sulphur, and I wish to receive as much as possible before the winter comes. Some of the women this weekend spoke of their husbands returning home for the winter months, which I have not heard to be true or not. Will you be returning to town? If so, I shall advertise your services in the Maryland Gazette while in Annapolis as well, to keep you busy through those slow months.
Ever your sister,
My Dearest Brother William-
I trust that this letter finds you in good spirits and better health. It had seemed that in your last letter you had taken on a bit of the melancholy yourself, and had planned on bleeding yourself a few ounces to rectify your constitution. I do hope this has restored your health to its proper status.
I have heard talk in town of the Indian raids out near the fort where you reside. Have you seen any of the savages? I hear they are quite ghastly in appearance, and cruel to their prisoners. Stories arrive daily of raids throughout the Pennsylvania wilderness, and even tales that the savages there have allied with the French in those regions. Has anyone out there been injured thusly?
The shop is starting to turn profit- the arrangement you made with the Virginia tobacco farmer has proved most advantageous to our business, and that product, as well as many of the medicines are selling quite well. The indenture you procured for me before your absence has also proven a great advantage- she cleans well, is learning to read and grind the herbs very well. Mayhaps by your return we shall have to open a larger shop!
Today I am heading to Mrs. Riley’s for afternoon tea and supper. I do hope she plays something on her fiddle for us guests, she truly is a talented player and I do love to hear the strings.
Your ever loving Sister,