beginning in 1807 when Lambert was a member of Congress
ending in 1815 when Lambert was in his last year as a U. S. Senator
The original letters can be found in the Emma Finney Welch Collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I have transcribed the letters as Lambert wrote them, which is why there is an absence of commas and periods. My only change is the addition of paragraph breaks to make the letters easier to follow.
Monday morning Decbr 28th 1807
Dear little susan,
I received yours of the 20th Dec’br 1807 and am very much pleased, you tell me our good folks is all gone to meeting, that is very well done in them, for to possess true religion is to us poor mortals, the pearl of great Price. You think of me a great many times in a day without seeing any of my pares, to be shure[?] you are a good girl. And for once you must tell Grammy that Grandpaa says, if she has got any pares left, you must have one on my account, and you can give her a kiss for me –
aunt Amelia is getting better, and hath got her wood hauled, and aunt Acsah has but little wood. I hope your uncle Thomas will not let her suffer, and you say you had good luck a kill of the hogs & nobody thinks it worthwhile to tell me how fat they was or whether they was not fat, nor not one word about the beeves; any more than if they expected I was never more to return. you have made the saussages, and wish I was with you to ate some of them I am obliged to you, I hope to get home before they will be all gone
you say there is no school, & that John Lambert is gone to Philadelphia to learn to be a Doctor &c but I do not know whether sam Wilson lives at my house or not I have not heard a word about him. –
you must remember me to Granny, to mammy, to Merriam, Maria, Aunt Acsah, Aunt Amelia, little Achsah, Betsey and to Hannah Brown, and you must tell Hannah Brown, she had best to write me a letter, & have it enclosed with the packet that comes from home and when I com home I will give her a kiss.
miss Susan Hoppock } I am your faithful friend. John Lambert
This is a wonderful example of how John Lambert quoted Susan’s letter back to her, letting us know what she had written to him. It also shows how much he missed his home and news of the goings-on there. This year, Lambert had to spend Christmas in Washington DC without his family. It is interesting that he made no inquiry about how Christmas was celebrated in Amwell Township. Perhaps it wasn’t as important a holiday then as it is now.
“Gone to meeting” sounds as if the Lamberts were Quakers. But none of John Lambert’s family appears in the records of the Kingwood Friends or in Hinshaw’s Quaker Encyclopedia, which rules out the Buckingham meeting also. What other religion would have “meetings”? Baptists? Presbyterians? Much to my surprise, I cannot say which church John Lambert worshipped at. However, it appears from the marriages listed in Deats’ Hunterdon Co. Marriages, that most of the early Lamberts attended Presbyterian churches.
Cast of Characters:
Aunt Amelia is getting her wood hauled and Aunt Achsah has but little wood; Uncle Thomas might let her suffer? It seems that Amelia and Achsah must have been unmarried sisters of Thomas Dennis.
“John Lambert has gone to Philadelphia to learn to be a Doctor.” This might be John (1791-1882), the son of Gershom Lambert Sr., who was Sen. Lambert’s first cousin. But that seems unlikely, since he would only be 15 years old. Another possibility is John H. Lambert (c.1791-1847), son of Jeremiah Lambert (1765-1844) and Elizabeth Holcombe (c.1770-bef 1802). A letter was sent to John Lambert in 1817 from his nephew John H. Lambert, residing at the time in Huntingdon, PA (reprinted in The Lamberts of Amwell, p.25).
Granny, mammy, Merriam, Maria, Aunt Acsah, Aunt Amelia, little Achsah, Betsey. Because so many names keep recurring, I have decided to compose a glossary of Lambert-related names, and to add to it as we proceed through these letters. Already we know more about some of these people than we did at the start.
Sam Wilson. Still a mystery – where was he living?
Hannah Brown appears again, this time as someone who deserves a kiss from John Lambert. Really must identify her.
Updated 10/8/2012 to include reference to early Lambert marriages in Presbyterian churches.