Chambersburg, Penn., Oct. I, 1859.
Dear Wife And Children, All, — I parted with Martha and Anne at Harrisburg, yesterday, in company with Oliver, on their way home. I trust before this reaches you the women will have arrived safe. I have encouragement of having fifty dollars or more sent you soon, to help you to get through the winter; and I shall certainly do all in my power for you, and try to commend you always to the God of my fathers.
Perhaps you can keep your animals in good condition through the winter on potatoes mostly, much cheaper than on any other feed. I think that would certainly be the case if the crop is good, and is secured well and in time.
I sent along four pairs blankets, with directions for Martha to have the first choice, and for Bell, Abbie, and Anne to cast lots for a choice in the three other pairs. My reason is that I think Martha fairly entitled to particular notice.1
To my other daughters I can only send my blessing just now. Anne, I want you, first of all, to become a sincere, humble, earnest, and consistent Christian; and then acquire good and efficient business habits. Save this letter to remember your father by, Anne.
You must all send to John hereafter anything you want should get to us; and you may be sure we shall all be very anxious to learn everything about your welfare. Read the “Tribune” carefully. It may not always be certainly true, however. Begin early to take good care of all your animals, and pinch them at the close of the winter, if you must at all.
God Almighty bless and save you all!
Your affectionate husband and father.
1 Martha was the wife of Oliver, and was to be confined in March. Bell was the wife of Watson, and the sister of William and Dauphin Thompson; Abbie was the wife of Salmon Brown, who stayed at home with his mother.
SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 550