Post, Matilda ?. Letter to Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis.


Handwritten letter from Matilda ? Post to Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis, [February 3, 1856]. This letter is believed to be from Willet Kirby's wife Matilda, Matilda Kirby rather than Post.


February 3, 1856

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(Page 1)

Seckond [sic] Mth third
first day eve
Dear Sarah[1] supose [sic] you think it is time to
hear from father[2] he is now very well has been so
for the last two weeks he said this morning he would
like to be weighed thinks he would weigh as
much as ever he did he has been sick since I last
wrote you was taken between Crismass [sic] and new
year with pain in his side and stommack [sic] I applied
a plaster to his side but it did not releive [sic] him he
was soon takn [sic] stommack [sic] sick deemed billious [sic] we
docterd [sic]him in our old fashion way with bitter
[teas?] and a dose of salts which had a good affect
although it took him some time to get over it
he has not been out doors since he was taken sick seldom
goes in the kitchen he reads a good deal in his large book
sacred history the print is so small in his new book
that dear sister Amy[3] sent him that I have to
read that and the news papers for him it is
astonishing how quick he hears and understands
what is read and said to him it has been hard work
to make him understand sometime back = wish he
had better glasses know not how to get them for him
or him who they are hope when the wether [sic] comes
warm Willet[4] can take him to hempstead[5]   please
tell dear Amy that we recieved [sic] her packiege [sic] and are
much obliged fear she sent Mothers[6] memorandom [sic]
book before ^she^ was done with it as there was no nesesity [sic]
for her to send it yet

(Page 2)

farther [sic] is interested in his book remmembers [sic] well
of hearing grandmother[7] repeat some verces [sic] of
phillis wheatlys[8] poetry to him the day before her last
Sikness [sic] also remembers seing [sic] Paul Cuffe[9] at yearly
Meeting[10] in new york[11]  we have had calls this
afternoon from john ketcham[12] hannah robbins[13] and
Carry Rebekah[14] is staying at broocklin[15][sic] since
the quarterly meeting with Margarette[16]
John says they loock [sic] for her home this week  Willit
and myself attended the quaterly [sic] sixth day heard
or thought we heard a great sermon from John
hunt[17] but josef post[18] and Mary[19] came up in the
cars with us and joseph said he got mad/ as he
termed it/ at him fifth day and had not got
over it yet and John Reboham[20] said he felt very
much so it was ^in^ regard to something he said
in the mens metting [sic] about the antyslavery [sic]
sosiety[21] [sic]  well our time was so short going fifth
day after noon and returning sixth day evening
that we had no time to shop except Wilet
a pair of specks so good that he said he could
almost see home with them I did not
get a cloak this winter saw no way to get
it made as nancy[22] has been so engaged
we could not have her think thee and
Mary must have very nice ones beautiful
cloth I should have wanted your patron
had I have got one ...forgot to tell you
where we staid [sic] in new york we parted with

(Page 3)

Mathew[23] and hannah at the south ferry new york
[illegible] each went our own way we trudge about
a great deal to find [atrny?] W and Edmond[24] could
not that [ink spill] they live in Eldrige street had
forgotten the number so we made trucks for
henry willises[25] there found quite a company
amongst the rest the bride[26] and her husband[27]
Ruth more as was now is Mrs Atkin Skidmore
sister to lidia Willis[28] we staid [sic] there next
morning set out again in search of our
neabours [sic] again hannah W with us well
we found them but not well anna had
very soar [sic] lips and Edmond sick with a
cold did not see Mary R though hannah
said they waited till most all the folks was
gone we met Phebe ^seamon^[29] liddia and Anna
havaland[30] in the street they gave us a
pleasant invite to take dinner at there house
which of course we accepted traveling in the cty [sic] is
pretty good some icy but hard for the poor
horsses [sic]... previous to our going to new york we had a
letter from Edmond saying they was much better
and hoped soon to return and settle down at
their old home yesterday james smith[31]
went to see them they told him they should
come back in march tooth a little more comfortable
Sarah thee will see that I have made our
awfull [sic] [illegible] bloat I want to put it in the
stove and father and W both said not do it but
send it if thee will eckuse [sic] it I will tell thee how I done
[marginalia, left margin]
done it I was hurrying to get it ready for the office to morrow
[Marginalia written along top margin]

willet said it was fathers bedtime so I started suddenly

[Marginalia written along right margin]

to wait on him and up set my ink stand

(Page 4)

I supose [sic] you will wonder what I have to do
so much that I do not take a little more time
and write better in the first place I cannot write
anny [sic] better in the next I have three pair of panta-
loons to make for farther and W and then am a trying
to spin a little wool storma [sic] days and mornings
and then more than all we are expecting Mrs Corden[32]
again if she is as much troubel [sic] as she was when
here before may the hand have mercy on us
the doctor[33] called yesterday to see if we would
have her I hessitated [sic] some in guiving [sic] him our
answer but when Willet came in he said let
her come doctor says if she stays there at Norwich[34]
in less than two weeks she will bee [sic] worse than
ever his plan is to take her away from home
untill [sic] the weather comes warm and then take
her out west and he returns and settle
up his business she has been verry [sic] smart and
rode out with him considerable they made us a
pleasant vissit [sic] a little before crismas [sic] perhaps
they will not come it is poorly worth while
to pay intrest [sic] on trouble before it comes
the weather is very cold farther [sic] says a real
old fashion winter if so I prefer the new fashion ones
we feel some troubled about Amy fear she
has too manny [sic] cares wish she was here
with us this winter cant she come
Edward[35] the boy says tell Amy post to come
again and Sarah too for he had rather see
them than all the rest except Sarah
he has been making Amy a bed [illegible]
but it is a quear [sic] looking thing
write soon dont forget
love to all Matilda[36]

[1] Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis (18180116-1914) Daughter of Quakers Jacob and Mary R. Seaman Kirby. Signer of the Declaration of Sentiments. Lived with Amy Kirby Post and Isaac Post in Rochester, NY. Source: "Sarah Hallowell Willis", Western New York Suffragists: Winning the Vote, accessed 27 October 2016,

[2] Jacob Kirby (17650811-18591203) Father to Sarah L, Amy, and Willit Kirby, Source: Long Island Surnames Database, accessed 10 October 2016:

[3] Amy Kirby Post (18021220-18290129) Sister to Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis and Willit Kirby, Quaker, abolitionist, feminist and spiritualist. Information provided by Post Family Papers Project. (PFPP)

[4] Willit Kirby (1806-18821203) - Brother to Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis and Amy Kirby Post, Source: "Willit Kirby", Find-A-Grave, accessed 10 October 2016:

[5] Hempstead, NY

[6] Mary Seaman Kirby (17740327-18540921) Mother of Sarah L, Amy, and Willit Kirby, Source: Long Island Surnames Database, accessed 10 October 2016:

[7] Hannah Titus Kirby (17430912-17841003) - Jacob Kirby's mother, Source: Long Island Surnames Database, accessed 10 October 2016:

[8] Phillis Wheatley (1753-17841205) - First published Black American poet, slave of John Wheatley of Boston, published Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London: 1773), Source: "Phillis Wheatley",, accessed 30 October 2016,

[9] Paul Cuffe (1759-1817) Son of African slave and Indian mother, abolitionist, Quaker, ship captain. Helped establish "The Friendly Society of Sierra Leone". Source: "Paul Cuffe",, accessed 30 October 2016:

[10] New York Yearly Meeting - Yearly Quaker Meeting

[11] New York, NY

[12] John Ketcham (1782-18650828) Quaker, Source: Long Island Surnames, accessed 30 October 2016,

[13] Hannah Robbins

[14] Carry Rebekah

[15] Brooklyn, NY

[16] Unknown

[17] John Hunt (1740-1824) Quaker Minister, Source: "An Inventory of the John Hunt Papers, 1770-1828", Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, accessed 30 October 2016,

[18] Joseph Post (1803- ) Brother to Isaac Post, member of Westbury Monthly Meeting of Friends, abolitionist, Source: Hofstra University Library Special Collections Department, Post Family Collection 1796-1935, accessed 30 October 2016,

[19] Mary Robbins Post ( ) Wife of Joseph Post, daughter of Willit and Esther (Seaman) Robbins, member of Westbury Monthly Meeting of Friends, abolitionist. Source: Hofstra University Library Special Collections Department, Post Family Collection 1796-1935, accessed 30 October 2016,

[20] Unknown

[21] Anti-Slavery Society

[22] Unknown

[23] Unknown

[24] Unknown

[25] Henry Willis

[26] Ruth More

[27] Atkin Skidmore

[28] Lidia Willis

[29] Phebe Seaman

[30] Anna Havaland

[31] James Smith

[32] Unknown

[33] Unknown

[34] Norwich, NY

[35] Unknown

[36] Matilda Kirby (1807-18940209) Wife of Willit Kirby, Source: "Matilda Kirby", Find-A-Grave, accessed 30 October 2016:


Handwritten letter from Matilda Kirby to her sister-in-law, Sarah L. Kirby Hallowell Willis. The letter describes the general health and care of Jacob Kirby, Sarah's father. Matilda recounts Jacob's reminiscences of the work of Phillis Wheatley and of seeing Paul Cuffe at the New York Yearly Meeting. The letter details a trip to the New York Yearly Meeting in New York, New York and notes several people Matilda and her husband Willet, Sarah's brother, met there. The letter then describes some unease at the prospect of a future guest, a Mrs. Cordon, who is suffering from an unknown ailment. The letter suggests that Mrs. Cordon is a repeat guest. Matilda closes the letter with concern for Amy Kirby Post and her "manny [sic] cares". 

The letter provides valuable insight into the tightly-knit Quaker community and the connections between families at home and at Meeting. It is useful to those seeking more information about health and care-giving in nineteenth-century America, as well as the general responsibilities of women during that time.

About the Original Item

February 3, 1856
Internal Identifier
, ,
Post Collection
Item Type:
“Post, Matilda ?. Letter to Sarah L Kirby Hallowell Willis.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed December 11, 2018,