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America's History in the Making

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Letter from Polly Wilson McGee

February 24 1814

Dear Brother it is a long time since I had a line from you but I hope that this will not always be the case we at present contemplate a peace with the savage this will furnish us with opportunities of conveyance and a letter from you or Sister Sally or any of your children that can write would be a comfort to me in this wilderness those that live under the stated means of grace can form but faint Ideas of the darkness that pervades this frontier and I hope of our Lives are spared a few years that you will come and preach or drift for people is moving out dayly the runaways will soon all be here again with a great many others but we can place no confidence in those that fled a number of them I heard howling and praising god for shaking the earth and wishing he would do it a gain for the sooner that nature would under go her last convulsive shotk the sooner their souls would be at rest but I soon found that those people were in reality as feard to die as I was for as soon as the Indians come and killed one man they rose up with one consent and fled to find a place of safety leaving a part of their stuff behind them

Polly W Mcgee

(Page 2)

Last Sitting of the Legislative we were struck of into the new county they call it Washington the county seat near [Rees Lick?] is called Mount Vernon—
My love to Sally all you and all your children— —

PWM

Mary Ann Wilson McGee, Letter From Polly Wilson McGee to Joshua Lacy Wilson (1814). Reuben T. Durrett Collection on Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley. Joshua Lacy Wilson Papers (Chicago: Special Collections Research Center, Univeristy of Chicago Library).

Creator Mary Ann Wilson McGee
Context Women living in places that had been recently settled by whites, commonly wrote letters to family members they never expected to see again.
Audience Her brother
Purpose To keep in touch with her family

Historical Significance

Men and women faced a number of challenges in settling the frontier-from missing friends and relatives, to the difficulties to setting up a household in the wilderness. This letter from an Indiana woman to her brother, written during the winter of 1814, suggests these difficulties.

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