A distant relative purchased a photocopy of part of a letter from the late 1760s written by a family member. In fact, the letter’s author was my 4x-great-grandfather, George Stockham. He was my mother’s mother’s mother’s husband’s father’s father’s father. I transcribed the letter. Can you transcribe missing words I couldn’t?
He was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England in 1736. He died 20 Apr 1821 near Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At the time of the letter, George was engaged in seeking willing and able men to travel aboard the Concord, under the captain-ship of Jacob Volans of Bristol, and become indentured servants in the colonies/states.
George Stockham is of particular interest in connection with the Revolutionary War and persons who wish to join either the S.A.R.¹ or the D.A.R.² organizations. He was married to Elizabeth Biss, doubtless the daughter of Gilbert and Sarah Wichal Biss. George and Elizabeth had some 11 children.
I offer the pages here for download and my transcription for your evaluation. You will notice some words are missing in that transcription, being replaced by underlining. I am hoping you, dear reader, can transcribe missing words based on the images I here provide.
Transcribe Missing Words
shipt on board the Brig Concord, Cap’n Volans to thy address Please to dispose of it in the most advantageous manner thou canst for the benefitt of the comp[any] & place where pr[o]c[ee]ds?] of it to my cr[edit?] hope Insurance will be made on this adventure agreeable to instructions already given, George Stockham a passenger on board this vesell, I expect will, by a proper representation of this country – to many poor people in the neighbourhood he came from, be a means of procuring a number of persons to indent themselves servants and return in her, I request that thou will give all proper assistance in prosecuting that matter & supply him with money to pay for their indentures & other expenses he may be at in procuring them, or in his travelling from this country in order to take shipping. I hope he will take care & be frugall therein, please to order the money handed out in such a manner as to be in proportion to the number of servants that do embark, if any of the people should want cloaths, please to supply them according to their necessities after they are on board with such things as they cannot do without for all which expense debitt me therewith for other matters please to be referred to agreement between the owners of the Brig & myself. Copy of which will be herewith sent, I submitt this matter to the prudent management of thy Brother & young man under thy Directions & am respectfully thy Assured Friend
George Stockham Philada 4th Novr 1767
I have agreed for thy passage in the Brig Concord Cap’n Volans for Bristol to which place I wish that a safe & pleasant passage on thy return to the place thou came from thee may acquaint thee from labouring people with the genuine state of this country & the opportunities industrious honest poor men have of supporting themselves by their labour here & if from thence a number of them should incline to indent themselves servants to come over here young healthy people, tradesmen of full age for four years, labourers for five years & youth for six or more years according to their age & circumstances from the of wages, scarcity of for this poor & high price of provisions there I am clearly of the mind great numbers of poor people may much benefit themselves by coming over here, I say in case they think so too & incline to come, I have agreed with the owners of this Brig for condition on which any number she can accommodate may come & for assistance in the same thou art to apply to the house of Lancelot Cowper Merch[an]t in Bristol who will have particular directions both from the owners of the Brig & me concerning it as also to supply thee with money to pay the expenses thou will necessarily be at in procuring or getting the servants bound, thou must be very careful in transacting this business & be at as little expense as possible & not lay out money on any person until thou are sure they will come with thee & thou should have regard not to promote any person coming over here but such as is likely to be benefitted thereby &useful to the community when they do come as thou are to represent me in this matter in having them bound if though returns in the Brig they should be bound to these & thy assigns to serve in the Province of Pennsylvania or the Jersey, and if anything should happen to prevent thy returning, the indentures must be in Cap’ns Name in the same manner – thou should have the people in readiness when notice is given thee by Cap’n Volans that they may embark within the time limited after such notice is given they are to be at no expense to the Vessels until they go on board after which they are to support them untill they are discharged here,
Respected Friend’s Philada 2nd Decemr 1767 Thos & Wm Lightfoot
Inclosed is Invoice & bill of Lading for sundries shipt on b[oar]d the Brig Greyhound Cap’n Eldridge for your Co [ ] also Invoices of sum re[ceive]d shipt the Pine Grove, Abraham Mitchell intend going down to the works in a few days, & as he will very likely be there before this gets to hand, my Father [ ] is writing till he goes, I am respectfully Your Friend
Cap’n Joshua Eldridge Philada 2nd Dec 1767
Thou art to proceed in the best & most expeditious mariner thou canst for Pine Grove Furnace in Nanticoke River in Maryland on thy Arrivall
Final ThoughtsI’m not asking for spelling corrections. George was, after all, from England. Also, spelling was different in those days. What I am asking is that you give it your best shot and transcribe missing words I could not. I strongly suspect there is someone “out there” who is capable of doing just that!
¹ Sons of the American Revolution
² Daughters of the American Revolution
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