Folded letter by US Navy Surgeon David Shelton Edwards
In 1837 the letter probably would have traveled overland or by steamboat to Mobile, Alabama, where it joined the Great Mail route north using combinations of horse, coach, steamboat and train. The rate for a single letter (one sheet of paper) traveling more than 400 miles was 25 cents. The absence of the word "Paid" indicates that the letter was sent unpaid and 25 cents was collected from the addressee.
David Shelton Edwards is beginning to feel that his wife Harriet and children are "like creations of Fancy" because he has not heard from Harriet in so long. He remarks again that he leaves the decision up to her of what to do with the children during her visit to see him in Pensacola, Florida and gives her the latest updates on the officers at the Navy Yard.
This letter is part of the correspondence of David Shelton Edwards between the years 1835 and 1848. The 48 letters from this period held by the National Postal Museum are primarily addressed to Edward's wife Harriet; in 1830, Edwards married Harriet Eliza Henry and they had two children, William and Harriet. They kept up a frequent correspondence when his naval carrier kept them separated. Between 1835 and 1848 Edwards served as a Surgeon at the hospital in the Pensacola Navy Yard, Florida; Fleet Surgeon to the West Indies Squadron; and Surgeon aboard many vessels engaged in the Mexican-American War. His naval carrier spanned from 1818 to 1861 and his last sea cruise ended in October of 1859 after which he retired to his family home in Connecticut except for a brief time spent at New Bedford, Massachusetts recruiting for the Union Navy during the Civil War. He died in Trumbull, Connecticut on March 18, 1874.
"Florida Stampless Postal History, 1763-1861" principal editor Deane R. Briggs, MD, published by David G. Phillips Publishing Co., 1999, p. 229, marking no. VI.
Nov. 10th -37-
My dear wife,
Mr Mix leaves here by the first Boat for Mobile & New York by water & I shall send a little package by him-
It seems dearest as if you had forgotten me it is so long since I have received anything from you that you all appear almost like creatures of fancy. Here I have been writing & writing & no answer but I have to thank myself for it as I told you we should be at sea now; but it affords me some pleasure to believe that even this will soon gladden the eyes & heart of one whose happiness is identified with my own.
I have indeed heard by Capt Mac that you are still in being Mrs. Mac's last was the 24th Oct. Capt. Mac's by Express was the 20th so Mrs M. had not rec.d it. but we are expecting another Express answer in a day or two - & It is very probable that you & Mrs. Mac: may come out together - you know Mrs M. is up & off directly - she dont stop to make long preparations. I should be highly gratified to see you come out but could not insist upon it - as you may already have made your arrangements for the winter - & I think I shall get home early next Summer - so even if you do not come I will not think hard of it. though I every day feel most seriously your absence. I leave the disposal of the little ones entirely now entirely to you. You understand what are my views - & there is too much space between us & it requires too much time to allow me to give any particular directions
Mrs. Chose is now at Mrs. Strong's - Mr. Fauntleroy - Wilks, & Com. Dallas are now all at Mr F's house (late the house of Capt C Chose.) but Com: D will take a house in a few days as soon as he is well enough to go out for he is now
he is now quite ill with a fever in his bed - I bled him twice yesterday - Mrs D. cannot bear the confinement of living on ship board - where she was affected with a severe headach & still complains of a ringing in her head - & a still greater difficulty of hearing.
Arthur Breeze has quit here - & gone to St. Marks as Deputy Quartermaster (of the Army-) Black-eyed Susan [inserted above: the Widdow.] lives at Tallahasse close by you know— & Mr. Wiggins has taken his place here-the Vandalia has gone out after the Pirate. no other news here.
After so long a time the Secretary has refused to confirm Cap.t Mac's Act.g appointment - & I fear that he will not get the extra pay - tho as he has performed the duty I think he ought to have it - it would no doubt have been better for him in a pecuniary point of view to have taken the Concord as I do not believe Capt Page will ever rejoin her - I took him down to the Hosp: the other day. I fear he will be entirely well again. though he may get better - his wife is at Mrs. Cook's here - She walks back & forth in the Piazza all day - rollining a hendkerchief or something in her two hands - her mind seems entirely gone.
Good bye now a little - God bless you & kiss Willy & Sissy for Pa - My love to Ma & all the family - ever your Affect.e