John Andrews 22 August 1781
Convicted of stealing cattle and sheep from Dartmoor for his own small farm.
"Exon High-Goal Aug 21 1781
My dear wife and loving children,
I have taken this opportunity of writing; which will be the last you will ever receive from my hands. I hope my dear souls, you will endeavour to make yourselves as easy as possible after my death, which will be soon; and I hope you will pray God to receive my poor soul in heaven, which is my constant prayer for you and my dear children. My poor father is come up under great trouble and affection. No friend have I got to speak to but him; which I thought some friends would have come to see me in this distress, but no friend comes nigh me. I had a letter wrote to Richard to come up to me. I am disturbed to think the young horse is taken from my father, which I think he had a right to keep, by reason he must pay for it. I hope you will be so good as to let my father have the horse, for I know it is in your power. There is one thing more which troubles me much my dear child Elizabeth; which I hope you will be so good as to let my poor unhappy parents have my dear child Betsy. If not, it will be the greatest grief that ever I shall endure. I hope, my dear, that you will not eave a poor distressed fool in trouble, that is now going to depart this wicked world for I have many weighty affairs upon my head, which is to make my peace with God, for Friday is the longest day of my life, which I hope I shall die in charity with all men. My dear, you know my father and mother were always our best friends; and they always will be the same to you and my dear children. There is one thing more that I shall desire that you would do in remembrance of me, that is, to preserve all my wearing apparel, my watch, and silver buckles, to have all sold and the money put in any gentleman's hands until they be of the age of 21. There is no fitter gentleman than Mr. Lane, if he will be so good; or Mr. Bineck. I think either of them to be proper persons, if they will be so good. Let me desire you, my dear friend, not for my father and mother and you to disagree, for you know they were always good friends to us, and so they will remain. I hope, my dear, you will not be so hard-hearted as to keep Betsy from going with my father and mother. Let me desire, my dear, not to disturb the dead; for you know it is my desire that she shall. I hope my dear wife and children, you will take this so be the same as my last will and testament; which I hope, you will have some regard to my memory. You know I always was a tender husband to you and a dear father to my children,
To Charity Andrews, at Higher-Gatton, in Mewton-Ferrers, Devon."