ERNESTINE was my maternal 3-great grandmother.She appears to have been a prolific letter writer and I am always hoping to discover more of her letters.
ERNESTINE was born in Philadelphia in 16 Sep 1796 and died in Philadelphia in 23 Mar 1890. She was the daughter of JOHN JOSEPH ABERCROMBIE, SR.,(noted violinist with ST. CECELIA Society of Charleston, SC.) and SARAH DENORMANDIE.
ERNESTINE married 1) ROBERT H. C. PEARSON, in 1812, Jefferson County, KY2) JOHN FIELD, in 1828, Philadelphia.
ERNESTINE had 4 (known) children: MARIA DENORMANDIE PEARSON; SARAH CATHERINE FIELD, CHARLES J. PETER FIELD, THEODORE FRANCIS FIELD.
I have extensive research on this family on my website:
The letters of ERNESTINE ABERCROMBIE obtained from various sources:
Letter 1. Philadelphia, 17th April, '71 
My dear Brother,
****** I wrote to Sarah Goodman some weeks ago, but have never received a line in answer. Now I draw the conclusion she has never rec'd. the letter, or has correspondence which occupies all her time. I love Sarah very much, she was kind and attentive when I stayed several days with her. I hope her impression of me is as favorable as mine of her.
***** Regarding the De Normandies, I have cast them from memory and interest. I know many years ago Mam told me her Uncle Abraham went to Geneva, I think that was the place, and spent all he could get possession of. I know from the Biles Family, John De Normandie, Mama's Nephew , her only Brother's Son, is now enjoying what property he could get in France, a few years ago .
Caroline has one letter in her possession, but the most reliable information of the Family you could obtain would be from Capt. E. W. Willets, 209 Fourth St., opposite St. Mary's Catholic Church. His Mother was a De Normandie, and nearly related to Mama. This address he gave me when after a search he found me out and visited me. I suppose he is still in that location, as I was told he was well
off and owned the house. I know he is a very pleasant and friendly gentlemanly person, andwould be highly pleased to see the most distant relative of the DeNormandie Family. For my part I would have turned my attention to the old Stock "Abercrombies" for an entailed estate no one can wrest from you.
You should write to our Consul to search the "Kings Lyon Office" where my Father told me all the Abercrombie Papers were on record. I must conclude - or be too late for this mail - very affectionately with love to all, your ever affectionate. Ernestine.
Typed transcript of letter from The Historical Society of Pennsylvania(received: 3-5-08)
(from the: Sophie Selden Rogers Collection, p. 81-155)
Philadelphia, June 7, 1861.
Dear brother, (COL. JOHN JOSEPH ABERCROMBIE, U. S. Army)
I have not fifteen minutes received your letter with its enclosed. I thank you most kindly. As touching the DE NORMANDIE family, I have not troubled myself about them in any way. I was told by mama, her great uncle, I think ABRAHAM, had received and squandered all except a portion which could not be spent. How or what the reason may be I never inquired. I know only AUNT BILES family, or rather her boys, CHARLES, who is dead, JAMES, I think a resident of thi s city, and WILLIAM a farmer in Maryland. Now she (AUNT BILES) left also three girls, MARY, who is dead, HANNAH, who also died a few years ago in Bristol, she married a SILAS PHILIPS, leaving one child, a girl. - her boys (AUNT BILES) when I heard from them some years ago were all living.
Note written by hand in margin: CLARA DE NORMANDIE married DR. THOMAS K. BILES of Lower Makefield Twp., Bucks Co., Penna. He died 1821.
Now mother's brother, DOCT. JAMES DE NORMANDIE, her only brother, married a MISS STRICKLAND, I think that was her name. He had only sons, no girls, one was called JAMES, the eldest JOHN, after his father, also a Doctor. He it was my Mother gave the DE NORMANDIE papers, and I learned through the wife of COUSIN THOMAS was enjoying the estate at that time in France. ANTHONY went west, AMOS, I do not know anything of. JOHN may perhaps be the eldest, and I may mistake in calling him JAMES, However, there were four sons, and the eldest was a Doctor and married a MISS YARDLEY of Philadelphia.
I wrote you sometime ago all the information I was in possession of, referring you to CAPT. WILLETS of 4th Street with his house and number. He has the most accurate knowledge of the family of any living of the name, his mother being a very near relative to GRANDMOTHER DE N.
(written in by hand - 1763 - 1844, Burlington, NJ)
THOMAS HALL was also a near relative, our Grandmother DE N's one nephew. Mama, when we came from Virginia, was a frequent visitor at his own house in Burlington. He owned one also in Bristol which he let Grandma and AUNT POLLY live in, as long as they lived, rent free. You must surely remember the house. You know we visited Grandma when mama was visiting Philadelphia . Now you have all the information I can give. You had better write or call on CAPT. WILLETS , or my mother's uncle, (if alive), DOCT. BARD. Perhaps you may learn all you wish and save much trouble.
As for the proof of our descent I do not know it will be made, as all the papers were given to JOHN DE NORMANDIE when my mother came on to attend to Grandmama DE N's funeral. Our mother' s marriage, age and death was recorded by her in the Family Bible I have, if this would identify us as DE NORMANDIES, also her marriage with MR. PETERS and PaPa after his death.
I think you did as LOUISA did last week. She wrote "I send you Aunty this flower, think I handed it to you." and I saw no flower, I suppose she left it on the table in her haste.
Page 2. #151.
ABRAHAM DE N. was my grandfather ANTHONY's brother who went on and nevergave an account of hi s transactions. My mother's brother was JAMES, theonly son of my grandfather ANTHONY. Youn g JOHN A. DE NORMANDIE was mymother's Brother (JAMES) eldest son,
he had only three sons, no other children, their names were JAMES,ANTHONY and AMOS. My mothe r's brother died in 1793, aged 38.
It seems some of the Heirs wish to know when he died but cannotascertain. I send you this fr om her Bible written by Mother herself.
As soon as you have done with the papers you can send or bring them tome. It matters not, CO USIN CHARLES says, how long, they only wish tokeep them as a Family Relic. They will not int erest themselves any moreabout them as they have given hundreds of dollars among their famil y andcan get no account of what went with the cause or money. At the sametime C. says if th ere is a certainty of any legacy for them he will bearhis part in the money matter as two o r three hundred dollars here orthere is no object to him, if a certainty attends it. I sen d you theenvelopes that you may know the letters are no "humbug." I have onlyread two think ing it best to send them on.
My best love to dear Sister and children, and a very large part indeed Ithink the "biggest" t o yourself. I was quite out of spirits in nothearing from either of you, and my questions no t answered of thechildren. MARY owes me a letter. I want one of her good happy makingminut e Epistles very much.
very affectionately dear brother, Your sister (written in here by handERNESTINE ABERCROMBIE ) E. A. F.
Father thanks you for your kind remembrance also SARAH. They send sameto you.
Philadelphia, 23rd Feb., 1874 (Letter 2.)
***As respects our Father's Family all the principal papers were lost on the road when we moved from Richmond to Nashville, and Murfreesborough. My mother put them in her bandbox and the bottom came out, and all but the Certificate of Marriage, and the small
Coat of Arms, which my Father gave me were saved, as I kept them for you.
My Father's Father was Alexander of the House of Birkenbog, - then one of his relations was Francis, Limner to King George, but I do not remember which George, Col'nl. James was killed in the battle of Bunker Hill. I do not know whether he was Sir Ralph's Son or Nephew.
He was my Father's Cousin - Sir Ralph was Cousin to my Father. His Father, I think, was brother to our Grandfather, Henrietta, I forget
what relation, a near one, she married Admiral Sommerville of the English Navy.
Our grandmother was Madame De Herent, she fled from Scotland with my Father, then six months old, on account of her religion (Catholic), taking the part of King James.
She educated my Father in the Jesuite College at Douay, French Flanders. My Father told me he had some property there by his Mother and gave me his direction to his "escrutor." I suppose he called his name half French and half English. This paper was also lost. The gentleman that filled the Office was "Mr. Savary," Douay, French Flanders. My Mother always said it was the gentleman who had always transacted his business in France.
Our Coat of Arms was bestowed on some of the Family for bravery at the Crusade War of Jerusalem.
Now my Dear Brother as I am fighting a war with the world for Heaven, these things have little worth in my eyes, yet I would give you every satisfaction within my means, or power under all the derangement of my eyes. Give my love to all the dear ones, write very soon and tell the rest of the Family to do the same, for this will contribute to my few enjoyments on this earth .
Very and ever, your affectionate sister
Letter 3. Philadelphia, Sept. 27/89. [1889?] Date most likely 1869. (Her brother GEN. J. J . ABERCROMBIE d. Jan. 3, 1877)
My dear Brother:
You have been troubled at my silence so unusual. I have been very ill with cholera morbus, Caroline had to leave everything to attend
me. This my birth months has generally brought me some indisposition. When I am better I will look for a letter Mam wrote to one of
the family of Abercrombies many years ago and send you what information I get from it. What I know I give you.
Our father was the legitimate son of Sir Alexander Abercromby (it seemswe must spell the name as that branch Birkenbog has always spelled it, my Mother adding ie herself as was lately written. My Father gave me charge to adher to the Old Stamp as he usually called
his Father's side, this way of spelling being the original and only way it was spelled, perhaps this should not be overlooked as his
name is spelled in his Certificate of Marriage - but to proceed).
Es-- of descendant of the House of Birkenbog Family, chief of that ancient name of Scotland. I think my Father said at Ross-Common, the place he either lived, or it was the County, but as you always seems so indifferent, never replying to my urging you to put in your claim, I concluded you never would so took very little care about them. They must have been lost or burned with other riddances which
are generally got rid of to make more room in drawers.
My Father said Sir Ralph was his first cousin.
He had also a Brother Francis, who was rather dear. Lady Catherine Sommerville married Admiral Sommerville, and was also a very dear relative of his.
Col. James, who died at Bunker Hill in the Revolution was a cousin.
Another was Writer to the Kings Signet, one of the Georges. He told me when we wanted information his records were at the
Kings Lyon Office, London, and respecting other property in Douay , French Flanders, and Mr. Savary, his man of business (I forget the French term) if written to had all his French papers. I do not know what these papers refer to, very likely to his estates in Scotland and America. He also told me just before we came from Virginia the estate was entailed upon the eldest son and eldest daughter, and no
other member of the family, that he was then the next Heir after the one who was in possession. That if no application was made by
the Birkenbog Heir it would pass to the next line, I forget which, the Glass fords or Tullybody but, should a Birkenbog come in and
prove his claim, the property must return to the Berkinbog Heirs. Now this is the reason he enjoined on me to keep the Marriage
Certificate and Small Coat of Arms and never to lose either, as my Mother was to present you the genealogy and other papers, with a large Coat of Arms, attached to the tin box which contained your papers, this she gave you and you told me that they went to the bottom
in a trunk you had sent when you were at Mexico. Our arms is three boys [boars?] heads, a javalin and a cross on which is engraved
the words "In Cruce Salus," time of the Crusades.
You see that God has mercifully called me back to the religion of our Ancestors who fought so nobly in the cause and were knighted, and received rich inheritances from their sovereign. I cannot remember anymore about them. A gentleman of good informed told me entailed estates could not be lost to the right Heir. You should consult some of those Estates Agents who know all these matters, or the English Consul. Youwould not be obliged to go to Europe as it could be done here or in New York through foreign agency.
JOHN JOSEPH ABERCROMBIE collection of letters from DUKE University
239-241 (to MARY ENGLE (PATTERSON) ABERCROMBIE, her sister in law, from:ERNESTINE (ABERCROMB IE) PEARSON FIELD)
Oct 13th (no year) (perhaps 1863?)
Well, my dear sis,
Long look'd for has come at last. I am in your debt. I
own, but have written two letters to your other half, so I do not think
I am as culpable, as I thought I was, your last was 3rd Aug and sincethat
I have written twice, to my brother and once to yourself, in my last to
your husband I mentioned my reasons for not sending the DE NORMANDIE
Will: since which I have been trying to get some important papers in
the form of letters from ANNA MAGDALINE DE NORMANDIE, one from J. A.
DE NORMANDIE, after his arrival in Geneva, Augst 1851. To COUSIN CHARLES BILES
Two more from East Liverpool Columbia Co Ohio. There is a great deal of information
in his letters, but from the way he speaks of his father, I have little doubt
he has acted the same part my grandfather's brother JOHN A. DE NORMANDIE
acted by my grandfather ANTONY DE NORMANDIE. He accuses my COUSIN JOHN (his
father) of stealing the power of attorney, from him his father (DOCT. JOHN DE NORMANDIE)
has a better right of course to my UNCLE JAMES property than the son has
Now dear sister like my other cousins, I think there is something wrong.
Why if he accepted twenty five hundred made up among the BILES family
to get as he told them Their, part in the estate? Why did he not write
to my brother announcing the same proposition. What right had he
to his grandfather's estate. This J. A. DE NORMANDIE who writes these letters is
my uncle's sons, son grandson to my mother's brother, JAMES JAQUES was the
God Father of UNCLE JAMES my mother's only brother; it seems the Will does
not extend to the females except the testators own two sisters. You will
see in the translated Will I wish to send you, and which I want you
to have compared with the one you have, and with the one I have here
which I have not translated, some French person in Washington may
translate it more faithfully than an interested party. JAMES mentions
in one of his letters from the city of Geneva 1851 he says - There are
2 certificates of perpetual rent on the Hotel De Ville or Government House
in Paris No. 10542 and 28572 - both estimated in principle at L3655.
13. The other words, I cannot make out. He says JOHN ABRAHAM (my
grandfather's brother) after the death of ANNA MAGADELENE drew (or accumulated)
he writes, rents for 2/1/2 years besides ?9658.13.3 argent (anothe French word
I cannot make it out) on the estate of JAMES DE NORMANDIE my mother's
brother Godson, to the Testator, he says "how there has been no settlement of
"these rents since 1782 - unless the heirs of JOHN ABRAHAM DE NORMANDIE
"are drawing them of which it is very probable. but my dear sister if you
think one of the letters in an envelope would reach you in safety if
you write immediately I will send one and you may find them very
important, my brother must (I?) think have his part at least of the part
in Parise. I have borrowed them, letters, Will, and translated Will for
a month or so from ANTHONY D. BILES on purpose for your inspection
in this time you can coppy such parts as you think necessary for your
purpose, and send them safely, back to me, to return to him. But how
shall I send them? one at a time by mail, will be very tedious, cannot
you appoint a place where I could take them, until you can send
for them. you know I would not like a stranger who knew my sis
and brother to come to this "house." Now my dear I hope you will not
blame, or scold, at my long silence - We are getting uneasy about
CHARLES he is in Comp E 33rd Regt NJ Vol. He is so punctual writing always
once a week. Can you tell us anything about the 33rd he is first Lieutenant
LIZZIE had one letter since he left in Sept - I have had one from THEODORE
from Culpepper two or three weeks ago. You never mention ERNESTINE or
JOE in your last, what has become of them. After we have concluded
our business with the DE NORMANDIES you must give me an account
of every individual, you know how it pleases me to hear from them
all. I cannot fill my sheet dear sister my poor old head is so
much bewildered in writing, and coppying from the letters, that
I feel it aching, and must close, besides I must visit a sick person -
a short adieu, my love to all my children as well as to their
dear father, and a good scold for his not writing. Believe me
dear sister, the same true and affectionate sister as ever
notwithstanding, a little apparent neglect may sometimes appear
in your ever affectionate
ERNESTINE A. F.
I wish you would write your address more plain. I can make out
21st but nothing more, so must put it to JOHN's care.
176 & 177
Philadelphia 23 March 1871 (to her niece, SARAH IOWA (ABERCROMBIE)GOODMAN)
My very dear SARAH
I have been anxiously awaiting a visit, or
letter from you, having rec'd a letter from your
Father he informed me therein of your trip to his native state (Maryland).
I of course gave up all looking out.
Yesterday KATE MATHIEU, MARY's youngest daughter
came to see, and bring me some change. I was
surprised. "Why KATE" I said "Why does your Mother
send me money this, when she sent me some
"last week, I am sorry, as I know, she must have
"put herself and family, to some inconvenience by
"so doing?" KATE in her turn looked, also very much
bewildered - "Why Grand Ma Mother has been able
to send you anything for two weeks before?" -
I thought it as strange, as mysterious, I went to
my writing, and letter draw's turned over all
the Envelopes I had rec'd by letters diligently, comparing
the superscriptions. The hand was more like ELLIS
STAGERS from I was in receipt of a letter, but there
was a defect in some of his D's and E. Well, I
was rather worried, and at last remembered your
letter and card, when you came to Wst P -
comparing the Envelope I made my conclusion
to whom I was indebted for this very acceptable
delicately made Donation just like your self, my
dear one, just the way of adorning the crown,
in Heaven with such jewels, of Earth, not letting
the left hand, know what the right has done. -
I thank you kindly, and gratefully and may your
Heavenly Father, keep you ever, from dependence,
on the Bounty of others. Had you have written a
few lines dear SARAH, the gift would have been
more highly prised. Make no reserve, with Auntie -
If I have fallen, I rejoice that I have a representative,
young, and approaching a station I once enjoyed -
"The goods of this world" may your path be divested
of all worldly, thorns, and the sunshine of love and
peace walk around every hour of your wedded
and I hope, happy life, is the prayer of your
ever, and very affectionate
My most respectful regard, to my new, but not less
esteem'd nephew, M. GOODMAN
(in pencil by another hand - to 1427 Chestnut Hill)
188, 189, 190.
Philadelphia 18th Aprl - 72
Ah my Dear, very Dear SARAH (to her niece, SARAH IOWA (ABERCROMBIE) GOODMAN)
I cannot find an address sufficiently
strong in language to express how my
heart fluttered, with pleasure when your dear,
very dear letter was place in my hands, on my
return from Church, where I had been ever since
my clock struck six, and when I rec'd this dear
proof of affection, it was just after eight. What on
earth; I seem to hear you say "Auntie were you doing
"this long at Church?" I will tell you very dear one,
We have a mission, conducted by one of the most successful
ministers and missionarys of our Church (FATHER DAMEN)
The services began at 5 o'clock, and ended at eleven
at night, with the men. Now as your Antie is a
Pilgrim, not of this World, but for the next; and being
Old, and the light being about closing, I wished to work
while the light remains, least darkness surround me
e'er I reach my Heavenly Home, and I embrace every
opportunity, and advantage to secure, my Heavenly
Inheritance. If I loose my life, in gaining this
inheritance I am all right, but if indulgence, to this
poor frail tennement, cause me to forfeit, or sell this.
for the world, and sensual case, "How empty my hands
will be before, the Judgment seat of God, where I must,
expect to appear. Now my Dear you now why
Auntie is so exclusively, devoted to her Church, or
rather God, than the world, or all it contains. Our
Sanctuary was filled each night, with respectable mem
bers of other Denominations. This situation in the
Sanctuary is not allow'd to us, but the crowd was
such, that our own people, could not enter, and many
were brought out fainting, therefore, this provision
was made for our separated brothers and sisters. -
I was at the Abjuration, and Baptism of those who
were instructed, and taken in the Church during
the mission, as there were many, who never had been
Baptised. It was a Heavenly sight. I know not how many
there were, but so thick did they stand that you could
see, neither Priests, or Altar. I must change my
subject excuse me dear you know where our thought
are, we are there, also - My Health has not been as usual
"very good" I think it is owing to the irregular life I
lead in respect to meals, as my other habit of going
to bed at nine, and sometimes before, and rising at
5 o'clock no one can control. My chief complaint
is virtigo, or dizziness of the head, which sometimes,
disables me from standing, upon my feet, producing
sickness at the stomach until vomiting relieves me
Old age and dyspepsia 19th yesterday Dear SARAH
I felt so much better that I hoped you would have,
had my letter, but it has proved fallacious, I was taken
with such an oppression of the breast, and lightness of
the head that I had to resign my pleasing occupation and
lay on the bed, the rest of the day, with a cup of
tea, and a couple of crackers as a days meal being quite
unable, to eat, meal or vegetables, this inability of course
keeps me weak. I hope now to be able to finish my l
letters: I think, if I had, had the means, to procure the
remedys, some weeks past I would probably have been
restored (with God's blessing) to health: my unsettled state
with strangers, altho treated by them with kindness
and affection, and every attention to my smallest want -
still SARAH, it is not the position, I have been in
during my past life, and I feel it most sensibly. I
have no refinement around me - all blunt, yet kind
words. I wish a peaceful, quiet, home at my age,
and shall rejoice, when CAROLINE is settled, as she
has always been, an affectionate self sacrificing
child to me. She has been five or six weeks:
with the contents, of her trimmings store pack'd
in boxes, the carpenters, disappointed her in finish-
ing the renovating, and altering, the house. She
thinks next week, or the week after. She will be
able to move me with her. She has not during
this time done any business. I would have written
my dear, one had I have had the means, indeed it
is a source of great happiness, to write to my own
dear ones, and I hope to be able to prove my words -
you have been with your dear babe (how I would
like to kiss her sweet face) quite in the (japion?), we
have all been under the influence of colds and cough,
I think I have never had a more obstinate cough, as I have
now for years, I can and do heartily, sympathise with
you, and should Whooping Cough ensue, She my
sweet one could never have a more favourable
time for it. The brest, is most favourable, and the
Spring, give a shorter duration to this cough, where
she to get it in the fall, it would, go through the whole
winter. I advise you not to run in Danger, or to shun
it with too much anxiety. Commit all to the hands
of a good God. I hope you will be happy in your new
home, you must be with the "Cherub," and so good,
and kind, a husband, as your letters give me reason
to believe. "You must not send IDA for me. I will
give you my reason on a private slip? I hope in a
couple of weeks to be with C, and it will be more
pleasant for us all, we have both parted with all
of our furniture, as we never, intended keeping house
I thank you for your kind intention of sending
or bringing me a "rose" let it be crimson my
Dear, I am partial to that Colour, you, know
or LOUISA does, my passion, for flowers old age
has not whithered, that, and music. I shall live
very retired, and my occupation will be in Church
and my recreation, in the little garden C is now
preparing for me. Present my most kind remembr
ance to your kind husband for me, and say, "the fond
Husband of so dear a Niece, must fill a prominent
place in my affections. Remember kindly to JOE my
"male Pet" - your kind advice regarding my health will
be strictly follow'd as I am unable to leave the house.
Very affectionate dear one your AUNT ERNESTINE.
I enclose a private note for your eye alone.