East New Market


18 July 1856

From Cornelia Thomas to Cousin Mary


East New Market

Dear Cousin Mary,

Agreeable to promise I take this opportunity of writing to you. Joseph would inform you that he saw me safe aboard the boat. It was a very pleasant boat & a good many passengers going to different places on the Eastern Shore. I had not proceeded far before I made the acquaintance of a lady who was going to Cambridge & was an old acquaintance and warm friend of Mr. K. & Sister Caroline & appeared very much pleased to meet with one related to them & I was equally well pleased to make an acquaintance, being all among strangers & going to a strange place. I enquired of her what I should do in case Mr. K. should not be at Thompson's Wharf. She replied that I need not be the least uneasy as there was a family living there who are acquainted with M.K. & she knew they would send me over, however, I had no difficulty when I got there. Mr. Kemp was already in waiting. We had a very pleasant ride on the water. The water was calm & there was a pleasant breeze, & I did not get sick, though by the way we came pretty near meeting with an accident. There was another steamboat come alongside, & the 2 boats got to racing & we were going at a pretty rapid rate, when the (Wilson Small) was the name of the other boat, turned to go up the bay. She did not check her speed in time & came very near turning right into us, but made out just to clear the boat, & that way all the ladys commenced screaming, but I thought it would not do any good to holler & I looked calmly on & felt as though we may not go down this time. They had an elegant breakfast & dinner on board, but I did not feel like eating & therefore did not eat, but got a cup of tea & some ice cream. The fare was 2 dollars, ice cream & cakes, three figs, porterage 25 cts. When I landed, I stopped under a shady tree while Mr. K. got his horse ready, when to behold, the mosquitoes came around me thick enough & when I got in the carriage, they fell to stinging me in good earnest on my forehead, back of the neck & hands, & by the time got to New Market, my face & hands were all in blotches. Last night was very warm here, & the mosquitoes bit me so bad, I could not sleep. They say there were worse than usual, & tonight I must try & get them all killed before I put out the light, that is, all in the room, & mend some holes in the mosquito blinds & I hope we shall be able to get along better.

I think this is a right pleasant village, good water, soft & generally healthy. The population is about 300. There are 2 churches, one Methodist & one Episcopal, 1 Hotel, 5 stores & three physicians. The country is a little hilly. The roads are hard & good, free of stones, & the corn looks as well as I ever saw it at this season of the year. I think the early season must of been better suited to the growth of it, for it is very dry & hot here now. I think New Market is quite a place. Last night we had a beautiful serenade; there were several gentlemen, & they sang very well & had instrumental music too. I expect the inhabitants heard of my arrival & came to serenade me. After singing several songs, they came under Mr. Kemp's window & sand hymns; that I suppose was for his special gratification. There appears to be a good deal of young society here. There is a female seminary here, & also an academy for boys. I think if it were not for the mosquitoes, I could get along pretty well here, but I hope when I get more used to them, they will not affect me so much.

It is very pleasant to be with Sister Caroline & the girls, & see her family once more, & I feel my heart going out in gratitude to God for having brought me here in safety. They are all well here, except John, their oldest son, who has been suffering for 2 weeks with a chronic abscess on his leg or thigh. He had it lanced today; it discharged considerable & we hope it will soon be better, which we think it will, unless it should spread & form others, & if it does, it will keep him suffering. Caroline has weaned her own little boy, about 22 months old, & has taken Sarah C's to nurse & to bring up if it should live. They all love it very much, & the Dr. is better satisfied to have them take it. He comes to see her once a week & appears to be all the tie he has to earth at present. It is a very small babe, 2 months old, & it takes so little to nurse anyway, but on a pillow, it was not quite 8 months old when born. Her Mother died with dropsy of the heart; she had it before her babe was born, but did not complain much.

This has been the hottest day of the season here, they say mercury stands at 96 in the hall. There is no Dysentery here, or no prevailing disease. How are you all at Edgemont this hot day. Do you feel it hot there. How is Emma. I would like soon to hear from you & hope you will write soon & let me know. If we may only be blest with health this hot weather, we should not complain. I am glad I have got my journey performed & will not be obliged to travel again, I hope, until the weather gets cooler. Caroline sends her love & says she will be pleased to see you & Joseph while I am here, & if you feel like coming at any time, write a week before & let Mr. K. know when to meet you at Thompsons Wharf & he will do so. They did not get my last letter until last Monday & the 1st one on last Monday week, & he answered it the next day, & I expect you will get it perhaps, & if you do, you need not remail it. You can tell by the Post Mark, & you may read it, & if there are any others come for me, you may remail them & send them to me if you please. Direct to East New Market, Dorchester Co., Md., care of R.C. Kemp, & with love to all the dear children & enquiring friends, & Joseph & yourself, I remain yours with affection,

Cornelia Thomas