Letter from Petersburg, Virginia, USA to Maybole dated 1787
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This letter dated 1787 has been in my family for generations.  It is from Petersburg which I take to be in Virginia USA and not the St Petersburg in Russia but I have no way to verify this. I lived in Maybole as did my parents and grandparents, at Woodside on the Main Street opposite Jacks factory. My grand father was a vet, Walter Gardner married to Annie Ferguson, my father was Walter Gardner married to Johan Boa. I do not know anything about the letter except that is was in my father's safe folded up into a small square. I took it to the local archivist here in Dumfries as I could not work out what 'flesh and Graind' meant but it may be polished leather and suede. I hope it is of interest and even better to get some information about it!! Thank you for the website. Its great to have it and keep in touch. Johan Findlay.


Johan Findlay (nee Gardner). She has been a Justice of the Peace since 1986 and wrote All  Manner of People: The History of the Justices of the Peace in Scotland, published by the Saltire society in 2000. She was appointed an Honorary Sheriff in 1995 and in 2003 completed a Pg. Diploma in Criminal Justice and continues to research historical aspects of the criminal justice. She was elected as chair of the Scottish Justices Association in 2007 and currently serves as secretary. Johan was born in Maybole but has lived in Dumfriesshire since she was a child, currently living near Lochmaben.

Dear Sir,           

                     Petersburg Nov. 29th 1787

I received yours per the Margt with the goods. Just three days ago likewise the hats.

I was beginning to be very uneasy about them as from your letter She was to Sail in July.

I have examined part of the things and likes them very well all but the linen I am happy that no more came for it will bring but a Small profit. As to my shoes I am surprized that I.N. should charge me higher than formerly and no better in quality and the money paid per advance beside it may do this time but you may tell him it will be the last on these terms besides he has sent 4 pair graind and 2 flesh where it would have suited better 4 flesh and 2 graind.

I have not the least objection to pay you interest for any money you may advance for me and am very much obliged to you beside I mentioned the order to W.N. and he

 Says you may think yourself well of if you get the principal and I am something in his mind of it but say nothing till we see.

you will remember me kindly to my old mother and uncle and let them know I still keep my health perfectly well I am obliged to her for the things she sent as they are very useful to me and please me very well likewise give my most affectionate compliments to Mrs Wilson and all friends.

You must excuse haste as at present I am very throng but I am informed the vessel sails today and I thought I would inform you of the Margt's arrival

I had almost forgot to tell you that this is my Birth day and I intend to drink all your good health in a bumper this evening-

I am Sir with my warmest wishes for yours and your families welfares

your most humble servant (HbSt)  David Rinny

[HbSt was  abbreviated form of Humble Servant a common way to sign off a letter which depended on the degree of friendship and familiarity]

paid at Glasgow 6d

Mr. Walter Wilson



[Old Scots was often written with abbreviations such as the Margaret which is the ship and was abbreviated to Margt with a small t above the line.  As with the terms Mr and Mrs where the last letter(s) were small and above the line of the top of the letter. It was easier to do that when everything was written by hand.]

[Above the seal are instructions which may be of interest to historians as it says]

Per the farmer(?)

Capt Jamieson

Q.D.C ?

[Beside the seal are the words :]

Wrote Nov 1787

Came to hand

In feby wrote to the Nancy Capt

Hamilton early March 1788

[The abbreviations are used again in Nov and feby (February)  and Capt for Captain. The Nancy is a ship and it would be interesting for a naval historian to do some research on this.]