New York to Duffield Bank, 1828

“Letters from the Past
From Mr Attenburey in Hudson, New York State
to Mr Gifford, Duffield Bank near Derby, 1828 ”

This letter is an interesting one with family information etc of what was happening to them in Hudson, New York State in 1828, and how the writer missed letters from home. The addresses would suggest that the writer emigrated to America and named his house after their home in England.

The only postal marks are the framed, stepped LIVERPOOL SHIP LETTER in black and the charge mark of 1/5, which was made up of New York to Liverpool 8pence (in force from 1815 to 1839) then the inland cost from Liverpool to Derby, 9d( a distance between 80 and 120 miles) totalling 17 pence that is 1shilling and 5 pence The writer has marked on the front the vessel on which he expected the mail to be loaded, but the writing is difficult and could be Pr Caledonia.


I found out when researching for a previous letter that it was not usual for the American post offices to datestamp their outgoing mail.

It is addressed to Mr Gifford, Duffield Bank near Derby England.

I found the following information from the website

Duffield Bank is a Street in the Derbyshire village of Makeney and measures approximately 1,428 metres long. It is located within the county of Derbyshire which is in the East Midlands (England) region of the UK. 118.22 miles North West from the centre of London, and 4.63 miles North from the centre of Derby.

When this letter was written the town was in a growth period. The Census figure for 1820 was 741 and 10 years later it had more than doubled to 1494

So now to the contents of the letter. It was written on three sides of the thin cream coloured paper which has the watermark JOHN BUTLER but no year. The ink has faded over the years and some words are hard to decipher.

Duffield Bank Near Hudson 1828 October 4th

My Dearest Cousin,
I have been anxiously awaiting a letter from you all this summer or I should have written before it is so very long since I heard from you. I have written many times but have received no answer, it is more than two years since I had a letter from you my dear cousin. What can be the reason I do not hear. If you are ill surely someone would have informed us of it. I find my brother has not heard either, We are very anxious about you. We both wrote to inform you of the death of sister Bakewell last June near a year since which I suppose must have been received We have never known a letter to miscarry between Liverpool and New York. Mir Wright receives letters from there frequently and Mrs Gordonís friends hear from her and you have probably heard she had a little son which I am told is a source of great pleasure to both father and mother. I hope Ann will now enjoy better health than she has done since her marriage. My brother had some thought of going to England this Fall but I donít know for what reason he seems to have given it up. I should have rejoiced if he had gone as I know it would have given you pleasure to see him and I should have heard particularly of you. I am happy to say his health is better than it has been for some time. I have not seen him since last Autumn but I hear from him frequently.

Mr Campbell has left Nashville and they are all at Pittsburg. My Brother is building them a house upon a small Farm he has in that Neighbourhood. I hope he will have a great deal of comfort with them. Nancy has lately had a little boy. They have now four three daughters and one son. We are all about as usual here the children are all generally healthy the youngest is 25 years old. One great inconvenience of the Country is the want of a good school. The weather has been unusually wet for many months. We had a showery harvest a very uncommon thing in this country. The season has been unfavourable for grain but good for gosess? and we never had as much fruit since we have lived here. The Peach trees have many of them broken down with the weight of the fruit My own health is tolerable I have no particular complaints but a general debillity I feel creeping on and a desire for ease and quiet. I find the noise of the Children often more than I can well bear and I sit many hours in my own room with no other company but your picture in which I see or fancy I see a stronger resemblance to the dear original whose features I can never forget, than I did at first sight.

My kind Friend your liberal anual donation is a great comfort to me as it enables me to procure many little indulgencies which we feel to need as old age approaches and which I could not with propriety have without that, but I was sadly disappointed that I did not receive one line with it last year, do my Cousin when you receive this write if only three lines to inform me how you are and please direct to me care of Mr Thos Wright near Hudson, State of New York and I shall be sure to get it. I have sometimes thought perhaps a letter may have been lost since Mr Crowther, Mr Wrights Friend who used to receive his letters and who has gone to reside in England, but Mr W is well known at the Post Office it is scarcely possible.

After catching up with the general news about the mail, he then gives more details of his own health and that of his children.
On looking over my letter I fear you will find difficulty in reading it I have written it at several times and sometimes my hand is so unsteady I can hardly write at all.

I know your kind heart feels interested in whatever concerns me I just mention that my Children that are separated from me are generally well and when I heard last from them they are none of them getting sick but if they can keep their families comfortably it is all I wish for them.

My Daughters and Mr Wright desire to be affectionately remembered to you my dearest Cousin
Hoping to have an opportunity of writing again soon in answer to one from you
I remain
Your ever grateful and affectionate
T. Attenburey

The signature is difficult to read, and the first initial may not be a T.

Considering the age of the letter, and the distance it had to travel from America to England, and then survive into the 21st century, it is in quite good condition. It shows how much the mail meant to the people who had emigrated to improve their lives, but still needed to keep in touch with the relatives they had left behind.

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