[Mary Lane of Newport, New Hampshire.] Autograph Letter Signed to her brother Dr Robert Lane of Mobile Point, Alabama Territory.
2pp., 4to. In bifolium, the recto of the first leaf of which is addressed by Mary Lane to 'Doctor Robert Lane, Mobile Point, Alabama Territory'. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper. Mary Lane is semi-literate, but her letter is infused with anguish. 'Dear Brother | I have written to you Since I received your letter, but perhaps mine has never reach'd you almost every one of the family has wrote to you before this period no doubt you heard of the deaths of our father and Brother. Sister Jenkes is at this time verry low in health and has been unable to help herself for two or three months [...] verry likely dear Brother you nor I will never see her more in this world, I think of going to see her soon, but it is difficult for me to assist her, my health Is not soo good as in times past; my employment verry poor, your children are well little Mary is now big Betsey is Going to the Academy Dear not the anxiety your relatives to have about you in this country Do write them, well may you escape the deadly contagion that rages in the Country where you reside it distracts my heart to think you fall a Prey to this dreadful in a strange Country. Surely you will return if life and health are spared you when you think best, which I hope will be soon. Betsey wants to see here Pappa verry much. Mother sends her best wishes to you an enjoys useal [sic] health'. The internet carries a 'History of Cannonsville', written by Mary Lane's relation Mrs Hester Lane Miles between 1887 and 1892, which contains the following reference to her: 'One time when MARTIN LANE went back to New Hampshire, his sister returned with him they each had a good horse and were 5 days on the road. All their baggage was carried in (unreadable). The sister, MARY LANE, was a teacher and taught school a year or two and then returned home.' Mary Lane's 1794 will is held by Boston College, and is described as 'the oldest in the Brooker Collection to have been written by a woman'. "Alabama Territory", an unusual address, used only between 1817 and 1819.