Beloved Father

Wishing for some form of acknowledgment from her estranged father in 1702, twelve-year-old Jahanna wrote the following heartbreaking letter to Peter Besallion, a French Canadian who at the time was a successful Indian trader living in newly-formed Philadelphia. Unfortunately any response that may have been sent is yet to be unearthed, but it is known that young Jahanna did not receive any of his considerable inheritance.

Transcript follows.


Beloved Father

My only Desier is, that my dier father would be pleast to Remamber me, for I understand that you are my only father, my mother Jahanna Sioute Shee take noe care of me for Shee gave me away hwen I was a Little Child to Anna Couvenowen, whar I have bin these 12 yeare and a halfe and have bin well brougt up and mantand that I can (di?) in the house wat belongs to it. Now My only Desier is that my beloved father would be pleas to Remamber his Diere Child; and Send me few word back again that Should mak me glad and Satisfigd in my mine that I hav a father in Life; My hombey Respect to my Diere father for ever Petter Beselion.

Jahanna Beselion

New York 27
of August 1702