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Abigail Adams to Esther Black

7 Dec. 1797

Dear Mrs Black Philadelphia December the 7th. 1797

I am very sorry to be the bearer of the melancholy news of the Death both of mr and Mrs Hall of. they both fell a sacrifice to the late destroying pestilence

upon Louissas receiving a Letter from her Sister, mentioning that you had not heard of them I sent a servant to inquire after them, and was not a little Shockd, when he returnd with the fatal tydings, that they were both dead, but had left an infant now two months old,wishing to learn the particuliars that I might have it in my power to communicate them to you. I sent and requested Mr Black to call upon me, which he did this afternoon. He went as you heard with Mrs Hall into the Country, but she was discontented and returnd in three days. mr Hall was first taken Sick. lay 4 days and dyed, if I recollect right, I think he said Mrs Hall had been abed about 5 weeks when Mr Hall dyed, that she was so shockd and overcome with his death, that She became perfectly stupified. 3 days after his death, she was seaizd with the same fever, and on the 5 day dyed. that he was greatly distresst for help, & obliged to do every thing for them himself, he seemd much affected, and Said very little but in reply, to the questions I askd him, I inquired what physicians they had. he said Dr Rush & Dr Cox whom I know well, for Mr Hall, and a Dr Duffill for mrs Hall but he said, the Dr told him, mrs Hall fell a sacrifice to Greif and really dyed more with a broken Heart than with the fever.

The Child is a daughter and a very fine Child. Mr Black says: he has put it out to nurse, but is obliged to pay 2 dollors & half pr week for it. I askd him if mr Hall did not leave property. he said yes—I told Mr Black that I thought it not unlikely, that you would take the Child he replied that he thought he could not part with it.

I desired him to send the Nurse with the Child to see me, if he should not, I will send mrs Brisler to see it, and I may then learn more particuliars respecting it

I most sincerely sympathize with and Mr Black, and you on this melancholy event, it has cast a gloom over me ever Since I learnt their fate cut off in the morning of their Days, just as there prospects were opening in Life, and their expectations of future happiness unfolding. the Scene is closed upon them for ever!

If there is any further inquiries you would wish to have made, I will most readily take measures to have them complied with, not only from the regard which I feel both for Mr Black and you, but for that I had for Mrs Hall and the compassion I feel for the little orphan she has left,

Louissa desires to be rememberd to you, and to all her Friends—I am most sincerely / Your sympathizing / Friend

Abigail Adams

Mrs Hall dyed the 9th of october if I remember right

(NcD: Josiah C. Trent Collection in the History of Medicine).
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