My 3rd great grandfather, John Williams, left us the following letter:
As my time is now short I have concluded that it would be best to leave a record of myself in case some day it might be of advantage to those I leave behind. I, John Williams or Williamson, am second son of Robert Williamson and Isabel Marshall whose father was proprietor of Quindo Brief House. My eldest brother's name was William. He entered His Majesty's service in the Navy in 1800 as surgeons mate of the Kint. My father was a farmer in Whitehall, Qumkirk Estate, Parish of Calder, County of Lanark, Scotland.
I was born in Whitehall in 1772, 3rd January.
My father, in order to help a number of poor weavers in '97, '98 and '99 was induced to embark in the manufacturing business for their support and no doubt would have made a success himself but unfortunately he employed a villain by the name of Thomas Addam who brought him into great difficulties and finally complete ruin.
I was taken from the plough and placed into his warehouse but having had hardly any education or practice I was quite unfit for the business. In 1800 he associated my name with him in business under the firm of Robert Williamson & Son.
In 1802 we dissolved and I was sent out to New York after business and returned same winter. On my return I found him and myself completely ruined.
I left home again in 1803 for good without money, clothes, or friends for Charleston by this place [Wilmington] and here I have stopped.
On my departure from Liverpool the clerk in the Custom house entered through mistake on the clearance my name John Williams which I did not discover until some weeks after. On my arrival here I had to enter myself Williams and not thinking I would stop here I deemed it of no consequence what I was called. Indeed my mind was in such a state I hoped that the Fall fever would put an end to my sorrows and I believe it would have had it not been for my worthy wife's care of me in whose house I boarded.
I have remained here ever since under the abridgement of my real name only omitting the letters "on."
This is a record of myself which may be of service to my family and have therefore subscribed my real name to this.