Copy of Letter from Josiah Bridges Solomon to Frank Solomon, grandson of William Solomon & Harty Bridges.
March 15, 1909
We left Chicago the 20th of December last and came here to be with our daughter, Mrs. J.W. Welch, and family until spring. So that your very highly esteemed letter did not reach me for a long time. However it came to hand a few weeks ago and me in bed with a severe attack of La Grippe. I have suffered much, am still quiet feeble but will try to write you and comply with your request as in my power.
First of all, permit me to thank you most sincerely for your said letter on several accounts: 1st for the information it conveyed concerning my relatives (kin) from your state. My Father had told me that my Uncle William, your grandfather, left N. C. And settled in Tennessee, I think where Nashville now stands. The first time I visited Nashville, some years since, I made numerous inquiries for the family, but could learn nothing of them. Where Uncle William settled in Tenn., postal facilities were very poor and expensive. Since I can remember it took mail matters about a month, the shortest time to get from Tennessee to Louisburgh, my father's post office, and each letter would cost about 25 cents for carriage. I paid that much for many letters to my father when I went for the mail. This is one cause of relatives losing sight and knowledge of each other when there was an emigration. I have often my parents speak of Uncle William, your grandfather, in tenderly affectionate terms, and my mother said he was the finest looking man she ever saw. Of all my father's brothers , I never knew but Luke. He married much against the will of his family, his first cousin, Polly Gordon, the daughter of my grandmother's brother Isaac Gordon. My grandfather married in England, a Scotch lady, Diana Gordon, of the celebrated "Clan Gordon" of wonderful memory. She was my grandmother, your grandfather's mother. Uncle Luke had two sons and two daughters, and the ill results of the marriage of such relationships were very marked in their children. If any of the family in any degree are living now, I do not know anything of them. My father was the youngest of my grandfather Solomon's children and fell heir to the homestead, took care of his mother, till her death. After her death he married Elizabeth Bridges of Franklin County and brother of William Bridges, who was father of Hearty Bridges, who married your grandfather, William Solomon. Jane Solomon, my fathers sister married Guilford Lewis. His son A.M. Lewis, who was a prominent lawyer in Raleigh NC., but Guliford never did. Besides A. M. He had three other boys: Wm. A., Benjamin Bridges, and Robert G. They were all successful men in worldly matters and married fine women. He also had three daughters, only one of them is still living, Martha ( Pat) Lewis. The widow of A. M and R. G still live with their children. My aunt Elizabeth Solomon married William Judd of North Carolina , I think Moore County. They prospered in the world but I never saw either of them, and all I know of them and their family is that their grandson Dr. William J. Judd married my youngest sister, Martha Augusta. They live in Henderson, Vance County, N.C. and have a large family of children. My father's sister Sally married a William Solomon. They had two daughters, but I have known nothing of them for years as they have left Franklin County a long time ago. I suppose they are long since dead. My parents were married in 1818 and lived at the old homestead until 1833. Nearly all their children were born there. I visited the dear old home in 1888, a fine house in that day 1770. The old house that my grandfather built was still standing. To make sure that the house had the same boarding my grandfather had put on it, I ripped off a piece and took out the shop made nails originally used in the building, and for which my father told me he (grandfather) paid 50 cents per pound. This place is five miles almost exactly north of Louisburgh. I visited the graves of my grandparents when I was there. The sons of William Bridges your great grandfather, as I think he was were: Willis, Henry & William. Willis & William , who was one of the finest looking I ever saw, left the state when I was a boy. Henry married a Cannady of Granville, near who's father he lived and died. My fathers children were: Lavinia Ann, Josiah Bridges, William Purefor, Mary Ellen, Lucy Isabella, Martha Augusta, and Jeremiah Henry. Lavinia married a fine man William Powell of Wake (County). She died in 84' after being a widow for some years. I married Mary Melissa Burges of Warren County., 1849. Mary (Mollie) married John C. McCraw of VA. William was a leading lawyer but died in 1873 leaving no heirs. Of Mollie you know perhaps, Martha Augusta Judd is in Henderson, as stated above, Jeremiah died at the University of VA. 1859.
Our common ancestor, William Solomon, from all I ever hear of him from my father and his old servants, while a quiet and unostentation life was (a) man of whom you may be proud. From what you wrote me his son, your grandfather was just such a man as his father was. None of our ancestors may have attracted the attention of the multitudes nor provoked their applause but we have reason to believe they have, as they have passed over the river, heard a far more desirable applause from their divine Sovereign and His redeemed children" Well done, good and faithful ones, the battle has been fought , the victory won, the conflict over, welcome Home." But I am sure you are tired of this by this time and I will now close.
We expect to return to Chicago soon. There is a large library known as the Newberry Library, which professes to hold the ancestral line of the early settlers of our country. I will let my first convenience examine it's records to see if I can find any information there. If so will write you. Will take pleasure in rendering "E.D." any help in my power. Hoping this may not end our correspondence and wishing to be presented to my relatives in your state and praying the blessing of God on you and yours, I am,
Your affectionate cous.
J. B. Solomon
P.S. My grandfather settled in the Isle of Wight Co., VA. When he immigrated to America. I do not know when he came over. Have heard there were three or four brothers who came over at the same time. Have no knowledge of them or their descendants. Some years before my fathers death (June1852) he told me that some wealthy maiden ladies had died in VA. And had willed their property to their relatives in NC. He, my father, proposed to some of the relatives to employ counsel and look into it. But they were unwilling to risk their money in the matter, so it was never looked into. What the relation of these old ladies to us, if any- we never knew. My father was a member of the quarterly court for years before his death, and at the time.
I am in my 76th year.