To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        18 May 1797

    My dear Sally

    Yesterday morning as I was seting in the [Congress] Hall General [Peleg] Wadsworth came up to me and in a tone of voice a little different from his common conversation asked me if I had any news from home. I told him—none by this post—Have you not heard from home, said he, in a manner that carried a degree of surprise with it, & to which his countenance added to my attention—He made a pause, & after I repeated that I had not any Letters, & asked him in some hurry, if he had heard any thing? He said—have you not heard that some of your neighbours children are drownd? No—who are they? how many? a pause & his distressing looks immediately told me that George must be among them—He however said—two of Mr. [George] Peirsons & one of Mr. [Seth] Springs—I asked no more questions—And he after lamenting the unhappy situation of the parents turned away—But still it became fixed in my mind that he had heard of one of my dear children being among the dead; but was too much affected himself with my feelings to be the unhappy messenger of such distressing news—& thought it better to leave me to hear the information in some other way—In this state of mind I passed the day in hope & fear, till at Supper I desired the General to declare expressly & without delay if he had any information from his correspondent, that any of my children were among those that were drownd He then said—he had not—I was releaved & slept much better than I otherwise should—But I participate in the distress of our friends.

    I hope to hear from you by our next mail—

    I am my dear your affectionate

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    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked; postmarked.