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Letters from Elisabeth "Betsy" WELLS [KY] to John CLOSE [KY>LA] dated 1805>1845
Posted by: JTrahanUSA (ID *****8938) Date: October 23, 2005 at 21:48:20
  of 18908

My transcription of a letter [#1] from Elisabeth WELLS to John CLOSE dated 22 Feb 1805

February the 22nd 1805
Washington County
State of Kentucky

Dear Brother I happily embrace this opportunity of writing to you to inform you that I am in a good state of health at present But do inform you that I have been sick. I had a fellum [sp] over my eye but by applying a blister plaster on the back of my neck I found relief and by so doing I have 12 running sores.

Dear Brother I received your letter on the 14th day of February dated the 27th day of November. You blame me for not writing oftener than I do; had I a pen at my will I would write to you every opportunity.

Dear Brother, The love and respect I owe to you shall never depart until Death [?] me from this world depart. I must inform you that I am living in the same house I lived in time past. You inform me you have a mind to go to the sea (which causes me a great deal of uneasiness) which I wish you not to do; you have informed me you have the opportunity of marrying a lady with an independent fortune; which I would be very happy in your so doing And then I would be very happy in seeing you return to your own native country. Dear Brother I wish you would inform me in your next letter whether you propose coming to this country or not.

Dear Brother I send by the bearer of this letter Forty five yards of six hundred lining which I wish you would sell to the best advantage for me and send the money back by my friend, Bernard Montgomery And send a letter back with the money. Amongst the lining which I send there is Four yards of a small stripe which I make a present to you. I hope you will receive it for the love you owe to me.

I must inform you that we have had a very hard winter which occasioned great loses on the waters which the number of boats lost by the Ice was 100 and odd And there was 4 men froze to death in the Neighbourhood of Beards Town on the third day of February.

I must inform you that there has been a great deal of sickness last faul and this winter that there has been a great many Deaths in particularly young people which makes me fear that I may be the next. The candle is almost burnt out and we will lay it by till tomorrow the 23 of February.

The last account I received of our sister Elender she was very sick and her youngest child is dead the last account I received of my sister Henrix she was well and all her family. Sister Mills too desires to be remembered by you. She is well and all her family.

Dear uncle, I, Margaret Mills desires to be remembered by you. I am well and in Perfect Health.

Dear Brother May God be your keeper from all harm and may your time be spent pleasing to his holy will and may you from all wicked company keep and may your days in grace, peace and happiness be spent and your nights be spent in quiet sleep and rest until we do meet together. I have nothing more to write by I remain your loving Sister until death.

Eliza Wells

Attn John Close

The purpose for sending you another letter the last week in April by the Post (?)
I was in Breckinridge when your [?] arrived in Beards Town and I never received them till the last week in October and on the first day of November I put a letter in the post office at Beards Town and I desire you would send me a letter as soon as possible.


To Mr. John Close living in New Orleans [?] by Mr. Bernard Montgomery

This with care to New Orleans
February the 23 Washington County


My transcription of a letter [#2] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close dated October 25, 1806

Kentucky, Washington County
October 25th 1806

Dear Brother,

About two weeks ago your friendly address of the 17th of August came to hand, and my dear brother, I receive its contents as a cementing cord of attachment. Whilst in this unfriendly world which frequently separates those who are under the strongest ties by nature. Your letter afforded me great consolation to find you were yet alive. Your long silence had raised some doubts with me on that score. I have the lamentable news, to tell you of the death of our sister Mary Hendricks in July last, leaving seven poor motherless children, the youngest of which only 8 months old. She died of a short illness. Her dying request was that I should take her infant to raise & Educate. I have had two trips down the Ohio for her children & have brought four of them away, the youngest of which I mean thro [sic] Devine assistance to raise as well as my poor Humble situation in life will enable me although I find difficulty enough to support myself, the others are among my sisters Anna & Peggy, who I suppose will do the best they can for them.

During the summer past, I have been in a very bad state of health & so low at one time that my live was doubted, but thank God I am on the recovery, and the only comfort that I have is that by living a pious and virtuous life in this world I may enjoy happiness hereafter.

I do not censure your conduct for the postponement of Matrimony. It is certainly a matter of the most serious consequence to fix upon a partner for life. For my part I am and still intend to continue in a state of Celibacy unless I shall think I am bettering myself much.

We have a very bad crop year owing a great drought & a very sickly season attended with many sudden deaths.

I will conclude by beseeching you to keep up your Brotherly correspondence.

I remain, Dear Brother, your affectionate sister.

Eliza Wells

P.S. Mr. John Helm presents his compts [sic] to you. E. W.

The letter I last rec'd is the only one for 2 years. Direct your letters to the Post Office Bardstown. Farewell Brother.


My transcription of a letter [#3] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close dated August 21, 1820

August 21st 1820

My Dear Brother

My constant wishes and sincere desire is to see you and your little family. I started a letter to you the seventh of last November by the male [sic] but have received no answer. I shall inform you that I have been very unhealthy for some time past, but thanks be to God I have recovered and enjoy as good health at present as common. I expect you would be very happy in knowing my station of life. I shall inform you that enjoy that holy station of syllibasy [sic] with much happiness which I hope is God's holy will. My Dear brother I shall also inform you that by the hand of God [__] I am [__]

I am in a very low circumstance and all my grief is that when I become old I shall be destitute of money and friends and become a misery to myself and to those with whom I dwell. I received a letter from you dated August 4th 1819 which gave me much satisfaction to hear of you and your family's good health. In this letter you invited me to come and live with you, which I would do with all the happiness that life could enjoy if it was not out of my native country, but as it is not, I would not be willing to come, for perhaps I might come and in a few years Death might [__] you away and leave me in a more worse disposition than I would enjoy here. I should recommend you particularly to look into the vocation of your children and see if none of them has a design to devote themselves to God; as you well know, they are the gift of his holy hand, which he has rindered to you as the happiness of your life, therefore you ought to be particular in bringing them up to bear and sanctify him and watch over the as the apple of your eye. Your sister Polly "Hendrix" daughter Mary Ann has become a nun, and Polly has married and has one child. I shall also inform you that I keep house for the Rev. Mr. [_____], a catholic priest here there is a small school commencing where they take children to be educated and it would be the greatest happiness of life for me if you would send one of your boys; for I should take as much care of him as if he was my own child.

As I was writing my letter I being so well blessed that in a fit of laughter I bursted my cleave.

Now in triumph of joy in hopes you will send a piece of cloth that unfortunate for to mend

My love and complements to your wife and children and to the priest of that parish if his name is Mr Brassia [?]. A Dieu my Dear Brother with the complesence of everlasting love

E. Wells

John Close


My ranscription of a letter [#4] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close dated May 1, 1828
[Right edge of last page is torn and some words are missing]

May the 1st

Dear friendly brother the sudden and unexpected opportunity of which I avail myself of sending you these few lines must in some measure excuse the little bit of information which they contain as it is now by candle light that they are writen [sp].

I have not, to my surprise and astonishment received a single scrap from you since August the 17- 1826 Though I have writen three or four letters to you since and expected for a certainty to have received one when I heard that you had sent me some things to Louisville I went to the office but could find none and none came from Louisville from your comission merchant or Daniel Smith to whom I directed you to send the goods so that I am not informed as yet what you have sent me though I understand they have arrived safe at Lousville and expect them now every day here safe as arrangements have been made to that amount (o yes I forgot to tell you) I am as flighty and as saucy as ever and I wove six yard and better today of flannel 5 qarters wide to show some people how to work and I feell [sic] so funny now that I think that if you were here I could mow you down as formerly and perhaps much easier as I know I could handle you now. What I should have to do would be to get you to stand on a hillside and let me roll against you down you would come!!! so by this warning if I do not receive an answer to this letter you may look out for sqalls [sic] for if I have to come down to get an answer there will and shall happen more than you expect or ever could expect.

Now Dear Brother I have done with fun for the present. I have had the happyness to have made my Jubilee for the second time in my life and you must tell sister that there were between eight and nine hundred persons that made theirs in this one congregation alone so that you may expect that there are some sparks of virtue and piety in this country tho the world seems to have engaged all mankind in its attachments to [___] pleasure and other [____] not suffering to God or [____].

The bearer this Mr. Joseph Walker [___] to start untill [sic] August next again time [__] expected to have collected some [____] to your little flock by which they might They have an Aunt Betcey still living.

I sent you a Book entitled Cobbets letters of reformation which reached New Orleans [___] unluckly [sic] was brought back because [___] could not find your agent. I shall send the book by the above mentioned J.Walker. I hope you will expect of from [y__].

I also sent a pair prayer beads hopeing [sic] that in her leisure hours will say them for me. I send you pictures for the children. Thus I must [___] ever remaining your ever affectionate beloved sister.

Mary Rose Elizabeth Wells


Mr. John Close
Near the red Church
Opelousas [Louisiana]

Transcription of a letter [#5] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close
October 8th (probably 1827 - see August 7, 1828 letter referring to bible & other articles)

Springfield Washington County Kentucky

Dear Brother,

I have not heard from you since I received your kind presents of tea coffee & sugar for which I am extremely obliged to you. In return I sent you by Mr. Joseph Walker who was at our college and lives about 20 miles from you a Catholic Bible in English & Cobbets reformation so much admired in Europe. I think I could be very happy in your family & cannot tell whether this establishment will not soon go to the Ohio. However you would do well to make what offer you choose and I will send it to R Rev B Fenwick to see if he would let you have two Dominicans to form a beginning of an establishment with you. & then if he gives you his consent & obtains leave from your Bishop RRev. Porthier [?] or Rosati [?] you might perhaps succeed. I hope to hear from you as soon as you can & be so kind as to help me to a little money directed to Dr.Gaither at Springfield as (above). I am in good health thank God & send my love to Sister and compliments to Mrs Smith and all friends as named

Your most affectionate Sister
Betsy Wells

Also if you can send me any money or other things Mr. Hayzeltyne the Procurator of the Catholic Seminary at Bardstown will soon be at New Orleans & also Mr. James Cuningham & H. or A. McElroy from our Springfield any of them will oblige me & bring it safe.

Springfield, Ky
Oct 8-
Mr. John Close
Parish of Opelousas

My transcription of letter [#6] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close dated August 7, 1828

Kentucky Washington Cty - August 7th 1828

Mr. John Close

Dear Brother

I have answered all of you letters that I have received immediately upon receipt as soon as received and I have written five that has not been answered, from which I think there must be great miscarriages of letters from and to that country. My last request you to send me a statement of the things that you sent me as to the certain quantity [__].

Beloved Brother, I received from your good kindness #135 of sugar (good) fifty pounds of coffee and nine pounds of tea, and something more than a month after your kind letter stating that you had sent me such articles but not naming the quantity but however it is a little treasure for me.

Dear Brother last spring was a year I sent you Cobbets letters on the reformation (much esteemed here. But unfortunately was retuned on account of the persons not finding your agent at New Orleans. Since that I have sent it with a large Bible with plates in it and some pictures for your little children and a pair of beads for your wife to say her prayers on by one Mr. Joseph Walker who was at school here for some time and who started from this place with the intention to go to his uncle in your Cuntry [sic] 18 miles from the red church Mr. John Williams Dr. of medicine, but I have heard that from some unforeseen cause and the want of money I fear that you will not see him before Christmas next if then. he is a well disposed fine young man and promissed [sic] me to deliver them to you himself.

I understand from your last that you had no opportunity that was safe or you would have sent me some money; I think the safest way would be for you to make some arrangement with the united states bank at Louisville, Kentucky as we have a safe conveyance from there here almost every week in good weather but I could not expect anything of consequence this year as your crops must fail on account of the water.

Dear Brother you informed me of the decline of your health and the severe affliction you have had from the hurting of your eye. I am much grieved to hear of your sufferings but you must remember that you have told me that you have received many blessing from almity [sic] God that he has even give you wherewith to assist me without the least injury to your family but you must remember also that the way of affliction is the way of the cross of Christ and that it is a most meritorious thing to be patient under the sort of affliction of a beloved father wh'ose [sic] son suffered so much for us even to the disgraceful death of the cross thereby showing and declaring to us that the way of tribulation and humiliation is the safe way to the Kingdom of heaven also remember the afflictions of Job.

Dear Brother I must conclude by informing you that I have enjoyed some better health this year than common but still seem somewhat inclined to be too fleshy and think that I must one day or other die with the dropsy.
Your affectionate sister
Mary Rose Elizabeth Wells

PC I saw brother Williams daughter at the Monastery near Bardstown who is going to school there. She informed me that her mother is well and wished much to see me but I came there too late. I have written her a letter but have not received an answer as yet. she is Maryed [sic] to one Mr. Robert Turner near Louisville.

NB I have had the masses sung for your mother as requested. Pray for your sister

M. R. E. Wells

NB Write to me as soon as Possible

But I forgot something. hang the geography of your cuntry [sic] if I were there I could not understand it so you need not pester me here with it unless you make it plainer (so over again) I have patches enough to pester me here. Fare well Brother for this time. M. R. E. Wells


Mr. John Close
Near the red Church

[Addendum] Taken out 12$ for August

My transcription of a letter [#7] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close dated Octber 20, 1828

St. Rose October 20, 1828

Dear Brother, I am in tolerable health. I return you my most sincere hearty thanks for the Coffee, Tea & Sugar that you sent me but I am sorry to tell you that as all the white servants, most of the blacks are likely to be dismissed by the new Superior according to the institute, to be supplied by Lay Brothers. I have chosen Doctor E. B. Gaither's house at Springfield to be my temporary refuge till I can set out for to join you. Be so kind therefore as to direct a small draft on Louisville to him, for my journey. (Doctor E. B. Gaither, Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky). Be so kind as to answer me immediately.

Yours most Sincerely,

Elisab Wells

My transcription of a letter [#8] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close date January 7, 1833

St. Rose, Jan 7th 1833, Near Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Dear Brother,

I begin to be very uneasy about you, having sent you three or four letters since I heard from you last. I therefore hope you will answer this as soon as you possibly can. As to myself, I am often best of indifferent health as when I wrote to you last but I still keep agoing. We are all well and I hope your country has escaped the Cholera, with us it followed the river. Be so kind as to give my best respects to Mrs. Charles Smith. Tell her that I intend to pay a visit to Opelousas next fall, if possible, to have the pleasure off seeing you all, & I would not but that it will restore my health. I am tired of our cold winters and changeable weather, & I shall have a favourable opportunity. Tell her that according to her recent request I am still bent in engaging some of our community to go & see your country & I am in great hopes of succeeding, but our Dominicans not knowing your country have a great idea of going to Texas, where the greatest offers are made to Catholics & where there is the greatest want of priests to where they can get any quantity of land merely by surveying it. Nothing will give me more satisfaction than to hear from you immediately. Our good Dominicans are highly respected here & they will be a blessing to whatever country they go, but all agree that they never can thrive here, as the country is too poor for them to form a large establishment or maintain many subjects. There is a college of Secular Priests and another of Jesuits near them and I think you may [stop (?)] some of them.

My Dear Sister I must now beg pray that in case my Dear Brother has departed this life you would let me know immediately that I may know whether to set out for Opelousas or not. I assure you that I should have set out long ago had it not been for want of a proper opportunity. Our Dear Niece, Mary Ann Hendrix, is well and still a most valuable sister at the Monastery of Bethania. I am still at St. Rose. Tell me if I ought to try to engage some of our Dominicans for Opelousas & with what prospect & be so good as to send me your address and at what place I had better land. How I had best travel on to you. My great reason for establishing a convent of Dominicans among you is that they may also restore their College as nothing promotes the happiness of a country so much as a solid Christian education which I am persuaded is your best inheritance you can leave your children. The Dominicans only want the means other colleges get assistance from Europe. I beg therefore an immediate answer.

And remain
Your affectionate Sister
Mary Rose Elisabeth Wells


My transcription of a letter [#9]from Elizabeth Wells to John Close dated May 6, 1833

Washington County
St. Rose near Springfield

Dear Brother

I received your kind affectionate letter Apr. 27, 1833. It gave me great joy as I had not heard from you since about 4 years ago & did not know whether you were living during which time & I wrote 6 letters to you. I received your letter & the hundred Dollars but I cannot tell in whose name & sent also to Mr. More informing him that I had received the $100. Dr Gaither of Springfield engaged Mr. Cunningham, a Springfield merchant, to receive the money at Louisville & Mr. Cunningham delivered it to me about 4 years ago. I have been much confined this winter & springs. One of our Priests, [__] Rev'd Samuel Montgomery & 3 of our neighbours are now exploring Texas & have promised to call upon you as they return through Opelousas. They took Shipping at N. Orleans May 26--

If I had known you were living I should certainly have gone with them & been with you & if they settle in Texas I intend to go with them & call on you for I shall only recover my health in that warm climate. I shall write every 15 days till receive an answer from you. Be so kind as to tell me where to land from the river & how to travel to you.

What pleasure will it give me to see you my Dear Brother.

Write to me soon.

Your loving Sister, Mary Elizabeth R. Wells

May 6th, 1833


My transcription of a letter [#10] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close
[probably summer of 1833]

Dear Brother

I received your letter of 19 of June & it gave me much pleasure to hear that you were all well, but I fair that is not the case at this time as that fatal monster is in your country. It has carried off a large number of our springfield citizens & also a great many of our neighbours. It did not pay any respects to persons. It commenced in May in the Country and killed 3 or 4 & on the 9 of June it began in Springfield. In two days fifty fell victim from that fatal monster, & the number last was 80 or 90, it began to subside last week. --

Now I must tell you how our good Rev'd Fathers, Brothers & Sisters of this place exercised their charity to the sufferers. Every one of our Fathers was waiting on the sick day & night except when life required a little rest. One of the Fathers remained in town during the most fatal time -- and I do assure you many converts have been made, God in his Goodness laid the truth open to many -- In Lexington more than Springfield were cut off & several towns in this state have been nearly depopolized [sic] & thanks to Almighty Good I never enjoyed better health in my life than I do now. But one of our family fell a victim of Cholera -- and that was a black woman. I thank our good God we are all well but how long I know not, as I feel as if I were addressing the dead because you are liable to fall as any other but I will drop this subject.

Dear Brother, I did intend to go to Texas if one of our Dominican Fathers had gone to make an establishment but he went to see the place did not like the people but did the country & expects a letter soon & if it is one that pleases, some of them may go & will call to see you if they can find where you live. Please to write the names of the nearest town to you.

My Dear Sister, I will say a few words to you. It has been my long desire to visit you but I fair I never shall as I now am advancing in years. The distance seems long to me but I hope we will meet in Heaven where we never more will part -- I should be glad to see your children, if you & my Dear brother can't visit me I hope some of your children will before my death if it be the Holy will of God. My dear sister, I wish you to look among your little flock & see if you have not one.....


My transcription of a letter [#11] from Elisabeth Wells to John Close
dated December 22, 1833

Dec 22nd 1833 St. Rose
Washington County, Ky

My Dear Brother

I have long and with the most intense anxiety expected to have received a letter from you in answer to my two last. Your not complying with the promise you made of writing again to me immediately fills me with suspense and fearful anticipations. Your last letter conveyed to me the painful and unpleasant intelligence that the cholera was in the vicinity of you. The knowledge of this and judging from the unsparing and indiscriminate destruction the angel of God armed with the pestilence has made in this section of the country. I have concluded, the same havoc has been made among you and that perhaps you and your family have not escaped. I am confident from the Brotherly affection you always showed towards me that you would not without some extraordinary and pressing reason have left me so long in the most melancholly [sp] suspense relative to yourself & family.

I beg of you then with the sincere and true affection of an attached sister, that you will take the earliest opportunity of removing the care and anxiety with which my mind is so painfully oppressed. A letter from you at this time would be a source of the highest pleasure. This cholera has long since eased from among us but I cannot say that the country around enjoys the blessings of health. There is no particular prevailing disease but many die of some one of the many diseases incident to poor frail humanity -The collective No. who died of cholera in this country is perhaps more than 450. In Springfield the neibouring [sp] village out of a population of 700 - near 100 is supposed to have died - the epidemic prevailed about 5 weeks. From the short period of its continuance and from the number who died, you may form a pretty correct estimate of the severity. I myself escaped - even the premonitory symptoms. But if God in his mercy marked my door and the angel of the pestilence passed it by - he chose to chastise me with another nod which tho different from the other, yet was no less afflicting - I had a swelling in my jaw, after it began to grow better the attendant physician recommended the use of sulphur. I sent to him for it. He accidentally with examination sent me a large quantity of white precipitate. I at first distrusted it - but placing unbounded reliance in the Physician without more ado took the prescribed quantity. Immediately my fears were realized. For nearly five hours I suffered as much as a mortal could without expiring. Since then however my health has been much better than I have enjoyed for several years.

A very remarkable appearance was seen here on the night of the 12th of Nov. From an early hour in the night until the morning there appeared an unceasing shower of fire. Between twelve and one o'clock it was most remarkable. It was at any period of its continuance an awfull, grand & sublime spectacle.

A most magnificent display of God's omnipotence - one calculated to raise in or hearts the highest emotions of awe and veneration. From what cause it preceded I am unable to inform. It has given rise to a variety of speculations among the people here. Some consider it as proceeding from some natural cause not yet known to man. Others supposed it to proceed from the corruptions of the atmosphere during the season of the cholera - but its universal appearance throughout the union contradicts this supposition. Others, again of a more religious cast of mind consider it as one of the warnings which men were to receive of the near approach of the general judgment. And indeed if we only read the description of what is to proceed that last and awfull hour and then look with a reflective eye on the revolutions of Europe or the present state of this Country and on the low ebb of morality among the generality of mankind we may justly consider the last interpretations as approaching nearest to trust.

However be that as it may , you will confer a favour on me if in your letter to me you will please inform me what are the speculations of the wise men of God among you. Answer this and my two last letters immediately. In the mean time believe me to be your most affectionate Sr.

Rose Elizabeth Wells

Dear Sister,

I would consider it one of the greatest pleasures I could enjoy here on earth could I see you here do leave one of your darling sons here among the pious and sweet little company of children now residing on Rose Trice [?] - who for their piety are objects of delight to the angels of heaven and without doubt some of them will become most zealous servants in the vineyard of the church. Of these are four or rather five who have just entered St. Rose. Four of them are not yet 13 years of age. How happy would I be could I but see a nephew among this little band. Certainly I should consider myself as supremely blest here. When Br. writes tell what are your thoughts regarding what 1 have said. May they at least be always obedient & loving children and objects of pleasure and honour (sp) to their [____] parents. I am your most Sincere and affectionate sister. R. E. Wells

PS. Let me know my D. B. if you received the [___] I sent to you ---

Dec 24

Mr. John Close

My transcription of a letter [#12] from Elisabeth Wells John Close -
[Probably written in the fall of 1844 - See November 1, 1845 Letter]

Dear Brother,

Not having heard anything from you since the year of the Cholera, the time when you last wrote to me, I had concluded that you must be dead. I wrote two letters to you since that time tho neither of which I never received any answer. I wrote one of them immediately after receiving your last letter and the other about two years after. I know that they must not have reached you for a brother like you would not have neglected to answer them. When I heard that you are still living and in the enjoyment of good health, it was almost like the news of one risen from the dead. It both delighted and astonished me. It delighted me to know that I still have a dear brother living who has always been the object of my dearest affections and has always shown himself so kind and loving to me. And it astonished as well as grieved me to think that we had been so long without hearing anything from each other. As soon as I heard that you were still living, I was so well pleased at the news that I immediately concluded that if I could scrape up money enough on the [___][___] of [___] excess [?], to pay you a visit and take my Christmas dinner with you. I fear I shall not be able to succeed in doing it as the times are so hard here. And of course money so scarce. Yet I console myself with the pleasing thought. What if I never have the happiness of seeing you and your dear family. That I may have the pleasure and satisfaction of hearing from you and them more frequently.

I received the letter containing the check for a hundred dollars which you sent me and got the money. I also got the sugar and Tea, which you sent me.

As to my health, it has been only tolerably good. I have been very subject to the cholic for some years past. Last winter year had a severe attack of St. Anthony's Fire, when it was thought that I would have died. We have had a good deal of sickness in our neighborhood this fall. A very malignant and fatal fever has prevailed not only in our own immediately neighborhood but I believe pretty much over the whole state in different places and has in some places been very fatal. It has baffled the skills of some our ablest physicians. Here we have had since eight or nine deaths during the month of September. Many of neighbours here believe it to be the yellow fever which so often prevails in New Orleans and some of the southern states and with which you are very probably acquainted. If you are, give me, in your answer to this letter a discription of it and the choice of treatment.

I have a Nephew living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who wrote to me some time ago that he intends to come this fall and visit me as it is very sickly in that state. Intend to try and persuade to come and visit you. I believe I have nothing more to tell you at present but I desire you to give my love and affection to your family and my sincerest wishes for their [?] temporal and eternal felicity. I wish you to answer this soon and give an account of your whole family. In the mean time also I wish you as well then to remember me in your supplications and addresses to the throne of Devine grace as I do the same for you and then every day. In the mean time, Dear Br., I remain, as I always have been, your affectionate sister.

Mary Rose Elizabeth Wells


My transcription of a letter [#13] from Elisabeth "Betsy" Wells to John Close
dated November 1, 1845

November 1st, Feast of all Saints "45

Dear Br.

I take the opportunity afforded me by a visit of a young gentleman of my acquaintance Mr. Edward Fenwick to your neighborhood, to write you a few lines with the hope that they will safely reach you by this means. I have written some half dozen or more letters to you within the last 3 or 4 year. to none of which did I receive any answers, and I must consistently wish my affection for you and your formerly known love for me. Suppose that they never reached you. I cannot believe that a Br. who had uniformly manifested so deep an interest and such an affectionate concern for my welfare and happiness could neglect to gratify me in this particular. I hope you will not fail to answer this letter as soon as you receive it. give me a full account of yourself and family. I am most anscious [sp] to hear from you and them. I had the satisfaction of hearing about a year ago from a gentleman of your neighhood [sp]. Mr. Thomas Quirch that you were still living but he could not give me much information about you and your family. --

As for myself I enjoy pretty good health. As good as could be expected by one of my age. I am now as I suppose you know fast approaching my 70th year and consequently subject to the infirmaries incident to that period of life. I had however not - withstanding my advanced determined on paying you a visit last fall and taking my Chrismass [sp] dinner, with you and family, and enjoy your happy society; but having heard of so many accidents and the loss of so many lives, occasioned by the bursting of the steam boats, that I was entirely discouraged from attempting the journey, and have consequently given up all expectations of seeing any more either yourself or any of your family, unless you or they could make it convenient to come and see. I would be most happy to have the pleasure of seeing any of you. -- I have not I believe any news that would be interesting to you. We have a good sickness in our county this fall. Bilious and congestive fevers but of mild and treatable natures. Very few deaths from them. In conclusion I beg in the first place to give my love and affection to your amiable family and [__] to Mr. Quirch my old acquaintance. I must repeat to you again my request that you will answer this letter as soon as you receive it and I shall in the mean time pray God to bestow on yourself and family every temporal and spiritual blessing.

Your Affectionate Sister

Elizabeth Wells

P.S. Direct your letter to Springfield, Washington Kentucky to the Care of time Rev. James V. Bullock of Sr. Rose.

E. W.

Addressed to:

Springfield Ky Nov 16

To Mr. John Close
Parish of St. Landry
Ten'd by Mr. Fenwick


The original letters are in the JOHN CLOSE PAPERS Collection housed in the Special Collections Department of Hill Memorial Library at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The collection also includes a letter written by Samuel Crawford, Jr. to John Close. Names mentioned in that letter are James Jennings and Mason Crawford.

I have in my possession original letters written by Joseph "Jo" Allen and Joseph "Jo" Huston of Breckinridge County, Kentucky in 1803 to John Close, where the names of James Jennings, Samuel Crawford, and Mr. Stephens are mentioned.

Elisabeth "Betsy" WELLS was a daughter of Capt. Samuel WELLS [Sr.](1734-1781). She and Theresa CARRICO were the first two members of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Among her siblings were Anna WELLS (married to Ethelbert MILLS), Gen. Samuel WELLS [Jr.], Margaret WELLS [married to James HARDIN/HARDEN], Haden/Hayden WELLS, Carty WELLS, Yelverton Peyton WELLS, Capt. William WELLS (married to (1) Sweet Breeze and (2) Mary Polly GEIGER.

Samuel WELLS was married to Ann "Nancy" FARROW of Prince William County (formerly Stafford County), Virginia.

John CLOSE, of Nelson County, Kentucky was the son of Jacob CLOSE (NC>KY) and Joanna FARROW/FARRAR of Prince William County, Virginia. Joanna FARROW/FARRAR, orphaned young, was a niece of Ann "Nancy" FARROW/FARRAR. Joanna (FARROW) CLOSE married Alexander DOWDALL./DOWDLE/DOWDELL in 1796 in Nelson County, Kentucky.

The spelling of the CLOSE surname in southwest Louisiana slowly evolved into CLAUSE.

A marriage bond was signed in Nelson County, Kentucky for the marriage between James HENDRIX [HENDRICK/HENDRICKS?] and Polly MILLS [Mary "Polly" MILLS]. Surator was Jacob CLOSE/CLOSSE, father of John CLOSE.

That same day, in Nelson County, Kentucky, another marriage bond was signed for the marriage between Ethelbert MILLS and Anna WELLS (sister of Elisabeth"Betsy" WELLS). Surator was James HARDEN/HARDIN, who was married to Margaret "Peggy" WELLS (another sister of Elisabeth "Betsy" WELLS).

I have more information about these families posted on my websites at:



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