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Cunningham, William
Autograph Letter Signed, Forks of the Yough Settlement, Fayette County, Washington Township, Pennsylvania, to his cousin, R. C., 1795

folio, 2 ½ page letter, inscribed on a four page folding letter sheet, old folds and creases, some spotting, ink faded on several lines of text, remains of sealing wax on integral address leaf, else in good, clean legible condition.

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Cunningham, in this letter, writes to his cousin giving an account of his family’s life and activities, the death of his brother, and a picture of conditions at this frontier settlement in Western Pennsylvania along the Youghiogheny River, and a planned move to the Ohio country by river that went wrong:


“Dr. Couzen,

I take this opportunity to let you know that I and my small family is all in a Tolerable good state of health at present… and that you desired a particular account of the tragical fate of my brother John which lamentable account … undertake to relate … on the first day of May in the year 1794 he married Sarah Bell a Widow Womans Daughter which was a sober Religious and Affectionate helpmeat to him … he would go down the River to the Miamies or Cininnate and buy land … all thought best that John and Peter Bell his Brother in law should go down in Spring and take a venture of such articles as best suited the Country and rase a crop and then return and take down the families in the faul, in March 95 he bought a boat whiskey, Iron Steel castins and flowr &c and every preparation for their Journey with speed that was in their power … Deep the Night dark and he somewhat lower than the lower fording went to the channel of the run the bank washed down more than perpendicular and in one step was in water between 9 and 10 foot deep and about 10 or 11 o’clock Wednesday night and Friday next was found within one Rod of the spot …” [sic]