" Thomas Freame, citizen and grocer, of London, son of Robert, to Margaret Penn, dau. of William and Hannah, late of Ruscombe, county of Berks, at Hammersmith, 6th of 5th month [July], 1727."
Pennsylvania magazine of history and biography, Volume 22 By Historical Society of Pennsylvania
After John had returned to England, in 1735, Margaret wrote numerous letters to him. One or two of these have been cited. Letters also from her husband, from the little boy, and from Thomas Penn, referring to the Freames,—all addressed to John,—are preserved. They throw light on business relations certainly not often occurring. " As early as 1736," says my valued friend, Isaac Sharp, of London, " I find mention of a loan from Freame & Barclay," for Friends' account.
One from Thomas Freame to John Penn, from Philadelphia, October 6, 1735:
"... My fever continued a week after yon went, without the Doctors being able to Turn it. at Last he got it to intermit, & then plyed me Close wth y* Bark w... has quite conquered the distemper. I want nothing now but to gain Strength w"" will come by degrees. Yesterday I went out wth Peggy & Little Tom in y Chariot. I was glad to hear you got to Sea Bo soon, we were afraid you wo have been windbound a week longer."
Margaret Freame to John Penn, from Philadelphia, November 20,1735:
" The Governour [Gordon] is but Very poorly, and in my Opinion is not likely to hold it Long, the rest of our Acquaintance are Pretty Well, as We all are here, tho its cold Weather & We begin to freese by the fireside. I forgot to tell you we have Lost Poor Miss Bettey Gordon, who was Ship't of for Scotland about 3 weeks ago attended by only a little Black Girl and no womenkind besides themselves on bord, I think to the shame of the Governour's Family. Since your departure I have been Very little abroad, Except in the garden, which is my Chief amusement. What there I view I am sure is Natural and Sincere. . . .
" Mr. Freame is not yet well enough to go up and dispose of his land, but hope he will soon; as to the Brewhouse I believe it would turn out Very well, yet Mr. Norris is so much in the Country my Brother has advia'd my Husband, if he could part with it on good terms to do it . . . little Tom is very Well, has rode as far as Cousin Ashtou's today, Since which he has wrot you a letter, Without any help, and I hope he will come to write pretty well, he is often setting out to Feen's, and desires his love to Black Tom and Hannah, Farmer Dell, and all the Neighbors, to whom mine also, if att any time you should send anything from Feen's here pray don't forget a few Horse beans. I should be glad to know if your Limes kept over good & if the Cranberrys I sent Sisters Aubrey and Jackson, or which was best, one being Se [torn] in water and one without. I have sent you a few Water Mellon seeds, which if not good to eat will make fine Mangos, also some Indian corn that will be ripe in three months. Hope you will have some good roasting ears. ..."
The letter from the little boy, Thomas Freame, Jr., to his uncle, John Penn, alluded to in the letter above as prepared " without any help," is in a childish hand, and runs as follows:
" I think in Duty I ought to wait on you w"1 my first Letter, which I hope will plead excuse for all faults. I remember what you told me, and write or go to school every day. I am very much obliged to you for your kind present of tickets, and hope I shall have good success. Fray give my duty to Uncle and Aunt Penn, and all my cousins. My love to Mr. Philops, Mr. Service, and Farmer Dell, with all my friends. So conclude, Dear uncle
" Your affec' nep
"thomas Frf.amk " Phh. No* a 1785"
A few days later, December 8, 1735, Thomas Freame wrote John Penn, a passage in the letter being as follows:
" We have no material news worth Sending unless of y° melancholly state the Governour [Gordon] is in. His distemper at times seizes him in such a manner that it is my opinion He cannot get over it. He is reduced very much and is exceeding weak, Tho' still heart whole, and at times very cheerfull."
Margaret Freame to John Penn, from Philadelphia, March 21, 1735/6:
"... The Governour, who was so bad when I last Wrot I thought he could not Live one week is now as Well as ever he was. what cur'd him of his Lax was so fine a Receipt I think for the good of Mankind it should be known.—take a handfull of the Raspings of Logwood, and Poure Boiling water on it, let it infuse by the fire till it Look of a deep Red, Drink a teacup of this two or three times a day, and att night going to bed.—
" We have had a very hard Winter, no appearance of Spring yet, but Cold hard frosts so that little busness could be done. Mr. Freame talks of going into the country next week."
Several letters from Thomas Freame to John Penn, from Philadelphia, in 1736, disclose that the latter thought the little boy should be sent back to England, in order to be suitably educated, but that his parents felt unwilling to part with him. His father earnestly assured John of the sufficiency of the educational opportunities in Philadelphia, and of the boy's studious efforts.1
Other letters from Margaret to John discuss the propriety of appointing Thomas Penn to be Governor on Major Gordon's death, and the appointment of Thomas Freame to be naval officer. Margaret seemed to think that John did not fairly weigh the propriety of Thomas's elevation. Other letters, some of which are cited below, refer to domestic and other matters.
Margaret Freame to John Penn, from Philadelphia, December 10, 1736:
"... [I] find Bro: Tom sent you word of our att last consenting to have him [Thomas Freame, Jr.] inoculated. The small-pox has and doth rage Very much in this Citty, Numbers of Persons Dying of it. at last seeing it Prove so fatal in the Common way, that by a computation one dy'd in four, and not one in fifty by inoculation, Mr. Till concluded to have his wife and his 2 children, Mr. Taylor his little Boy, and divers others that has succeeded very well. Poor Tom had it full, but is now, I thank God Bravely recoverM, they are all turn'd, and most shell'd off. he begins to call for a Cook instead of a Doctor, he bore it all with much Patience. Doctor Dover's Regimen is drink coole tankard and small beer, but no Gascoin's powders or Slops. Loyd Zacray was his Doctor, who if he was his own child could not have more tenderly attended him. . . . Poor Mr. Allen has lost his only Son in this fatal Distemper, and too many in this Citty are under the same Affliction; the Church bell is not suffer'd to ring but once for six [deaths] and it has rung twice a day sometimes. I hope the Cold Weather will Put a Stop to this Contagion."
Margaret Freame to John Penn, from Philadelphia, April 18,1737:
" Mr. fishborn's Son, who came from London by way of Maryland arriv'd here yesterday, having a Passage of thirty Days, brings little news (and no letters) but that Cousin Will Penn is married to Docf Vaux's Daughter. Could I wonder at his Conduct in anything I should that his Pride should stoop so low."
Portrait of John Penn.Image via Wikipedia