letters written long ago by
members of the Denton family
much to Michele Epps for sharing this first letter.
"This is a very good rendition of the original done by my cousin who did our
family research. I kept it exactly as written by our ancestor although the
temptation to edit spelling, etc., was great. It is a very sad but insightful look into
the life of a distant relative. This is the James and Deborah who moved a branch of
the family to Denton's Valley in Virginia/Tennessee. An original copy of this letter is
preserved at the Gerow Family Assoc. in New Paltz, Ulster CO, NY."
following letter was written by Deborah (Gerow) Denton (1763-1853) of Washington County
Virginia to her mother Elizabeth Coutant Gerow and brothers and sisters in the
Plattekill-Marlboro area of Ulster Co., NY. It is addressed to William
"Jerow" and while difficult to read, appears to have been sent to "living
in New York and ___borough". It was sent from Abingdon, Washington County
Virginia July 7, 1811, as #25 in the packet of mail."
State of Virginia
June the 29th Day
in the year 1811
Mother and Brothers and Sisters,
I embrace this opportunity of writing unto you to let you know that I am well at present
and hoping these few lines will find you in the same state of health. And I (should
be?) very glad to see you all (if) it was possible, and I want some of you to move out to
this country if you can (possibly?), for I am not satisfied in the way I am living, for my
companion is no comfort to me for he drinks, by times very hard, and when he is in drink,
I see no peace with (man?).
Jerow is married and has three children, 2 boys and one girl, and he lives in about a mile
of us. And David is married and has one boy and lives some distance from us.
And Daniel Denton (follows singing -------?) and he talks of going to Nathaniel Hull over
the Ohio to see his Aunt and his cousins. For Ezekiel Hull moved over the Ohio and
this last November he died with a (gathering?) in his head and an issuing out of his ear,
and Mary Hull is left a widow and she has her house full of little children to take care
When you write to us, I want you to send my age for I have forgotten it, and direct your
letter to Abingdon post office, Washington County,
Mary Denton has got well of her lameness and she desires to be remembered to you all,
especially to her aunt, Polly (Suett -- probably Shuart) And Betsy remembers her love to
you all. Her (granny is important to her?) and I have had six children, four boys
and two girls and five of them is living. And the three youngest's names is William
and Elias and Martha and the children all remember their love to you all.
I send this hair that is the letter to my mother. This hair was cut out of Deborah
Denton's head. And I want to be remembered to you all.
We want you to write the first opportunity. We had a very hard hail the first of
June so that it cut down fields of grain that had 50 acres in and it is (allowed?) that it
done a thousand dollar's damage.
And so, no more at present, but remain your affectionate son and daughter until death.
James and Deborah Denton
(Nathaniel Hull -- his hand)
Please excuse this bad spelling and writing. Done with a bad pen and in a hurry.
This letter was written by Hezekiah Smith, descendant of Ezekiel and Martha Denton Smith:
Camp on Winter Hill March 17, 1776
My dear Hephzibah,
I am sorry that it is not in my power, to afford you the agreeable intelligence that
Boston is in our Possession: when that Periond will be, is uncertain; but I hope some time
this Month.-The fifth of March I expected a bloody-Battle bothe on Dorchester Hill and in
Boston; but the Time was not come for the many Souls to be removed into Eternity which
such an Engagement would effect. We had about four thousand on Cambridge Common ready to
Embark for Boston, if the King's Troops had sailed out on our People at Dorchester Hill, I
would not have you the least concerned about me, for verily believe I am where I ought to
be, and in the Way of Duty is the Way of Safety. I could not consent myself to be confined
out of the Army at present; latley I have perceived more of the genuine Operations of the
Holy Ghost in some individuals, as I apprend, then I have met with since I have belonged
to the Army.
-St to publick
News Dr. Johnonnot can inform you. As the Season is very open & either Decon Shepard,
or Jonathan Bradley or any other persons, to make up the front fence to keep the Cretures
from hurting it & I will satisfy you for it.
from your, etc.