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Sarah and Jasper Yeates

Trash or Treasure?
Some love letters have been treasured and preserved to be passed down to future generations. Many others have been destroyed-burned, shredded, or carelessly tossed away.
Those that survive help us understand a person, place, era, segment of the population, or slice of social history.


A Lifetime of Romance

Jasper Yeates (1745-1817) was born in Philadelphia. After receiving degrees from the College of Philadelphia, he was admitted to the Bar in 1765 and became a highly-respected and distinguished lawyer.  He was appointed chair of the Committee of Correspondence for Lancaster County in 1776 and served as a delegate from Lancaster County to the Convention of Pennsylvania in 1787. Jasper received a commission as associate justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1791, a position he held until his death in 1817.  Because of his political and judicial obligations, Jasper was often away from home.

Sarah Yeates (1748/9-1829), born in Philadelphia, was the eldest daughter of Sarah Shippen and James Burd. Her family moved to
Lancaster when Sarah was a child.  Sarah and Jasper married in December 1767 and settled in Lancaster. They raised their family at 24 S. Queen Street. The couple exchanged news, made decisions, and expressed their love in letters throughout their marriage.

I have little to add but my sincerest wishes for your happiness, & that our love may receive perpetual increase by an unvaried intercourse of the kindest offices.

Letter to Sarah Yeates from Jasper Yeates
22 May 1769 

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES, MG-206 YEATES, AUNGST COLLECTION


 

...if you would get me half a dozen pair of stockings (mine are almost past mending) I will thank you and give you as many kisses when I see you.

Letter to Jasper Yeates from Sarah Yeates
10 January 1792

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES, MG-207 YEATES, CARSON COLLECTION


 

I should be very glad if you where coming near home instead of going further from us, but I trust you will be preserved and return in health to your family who will be made very happy by the event and none more so than your very affectionate wife.

Letter to Jasper Yeates from Sarah Yeates
17 May 1793

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES, MG-207 YEATES, CARSON COLLECTION


 

I now consider you at Belmont & often speak to Mr. Smith about what I presume to be your engagements.  In about a month I should begin to turn my face homewards & rejoice at the anticipation. But I am fearful of pursuing the idea long, lest my stay abroad should be made doubly uneasy on reflection. My love to our dear children. I ever shall be my dear wife most affectionately yrs

Letter to Sarah Yeates from Jasper Yeates
24 April 1797

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES, MG-205 YEATES, LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION


 

I have received both your affectionate letters for which I thank you. I have need so to do when I consider after such a number of years acquaintance as we have had you still continue your kind attentions to me in writing frequently. I do not know anything more grateful than to hear from those we love in their absence.

Letter to Jasper Yeates from Sarah Yeates
15 October 1801

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES, MG-207 YEATES, CARSON COLLECTION


 

I earnestly long for the happiness of your company which grows more dear to me every day I live. All the family are well-the children join me in our love to you. 

Letter to Jasper Yeates from Sarah Yeates
No date

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES, MG-207 YEATES, CARSON COLLECTION


 

I must contrive some mode of getting Yeates conveyed thither to morrow...My letter shall not leave you in a state of uncertainty about the child. It shall remain unsealed till to morrow at all events...I am just relieved of my charge. John Conyngham takes out our child in 20 minutes. They have just left my room with the band box & bag.

Letter to Sarah Yeates from Jasper Yeates
3 March 1816

LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES
MG-205 YEATES, LANCASTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION

 

 

 

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Love Letters

Before the telephone, e-mail, and text messages, people relied on letters to carry sentiments and information to loved ones..



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