Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, February 1, 1831

  • Posted on: 11 January 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, February 1, 1831



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, February 1, 1831

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Auburn, NY

receiver: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: Albany, NY

transcription: alc 

revision: dxt 2015-09-10

Page 1

Teusday night 1st February
My Dear Henry, After finishing my letter to you yesterday I went up
and staid a couple of hours with Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
, found her rather desponding. W
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16

had been very cross and struck her while she was attempting to punish
Birth: 1854-02-13 Death: 1931-05-23
for some misdemeanor. I did not stay to tea and was so fortunate
as not to meet him. Lazette says she asked Capt. Worden
" the other day about
that house. He said he had proposed to Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
to purchase it but frankly
told him it was not for himself and that no payment could be made
immediately. Pa told him his price and that he might ^take^ posession of the house
but was not willing at that time to and has since evaded giving him
a deed, (is that what you say in such cases, at all events you know what I
mean). Do you know any thing of this? I always understood that Capt
Worden had purchased the house himself. I do hope Pa will never let
it go into the hands of Alvah Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
he would most assuredly
The charging of property by a debtor to a creditor as security for a debt, on the condition that it shall be returned on the payment of the debt within a certain period • Convey property to a creditor as security on a loan •
or sell it before the expiration of one year. Lazette says Capt
Worden told her she could live there as long as she pleased he had no doubt.
If Worden cannot provide food for his family I think he must be indeed
past all hope. Lazette says he never proposed to her to board as he told
you he had, but that she had often proposed it if he thought it less
expensive and he would give her no answer. I stopped at Muirs
x Birth: 1790  Death: 1868-02-17  Birth: 1801-01-27  Death: 1864-01-08 
as I went
up and got her a calico
Plain white cloth made from cotton, but which receives distinctive names based on quality and use • Printed cotton cloth •
frock she has worn the last one she had a
year and there was no prospect of her getting another. I found Mrs Hills
Birth: 1836 Death: 1913-11-09

there making a call she looked very pretty and was uncommonly agreeable
much more free from affectation than usual she was going to see Mrs
Birth: 1806-02-11 Death: 1872-06-17
and the young Enos
Birth: 1808-11-25 Death: 1883-09-19
. Enos having arrived at the age of one month they
depart next week for the east. Mrs Throop says now that she is going with her
three babies and two nurses to Albany Utica to spend the winter at her fathers
Birth: 1827-01-26 Death: 1892-09-11

I imagine she will leave some of her retinue there and go herself to Albany. She
is not well pleased with calling her babe Enos but the Governor must be complimented
Birth: 1793-04-12 Death: 1854-02-23
says. Mrs Hills told us a strange story about Dr Morgan attempting to sue
Mrs Hotchkiss
Birth: 1804 Death: 1889-01-24Certainty: Probable
for accusing him of malpractice in Mrs McMasters
, case, it occurred
some time ago, did you ever hear any thing of the kind? It is too long a story to write
Mrs Hills says that she was told by old Mrs Fitch
Birth: 1802 Death: 1866-07-16
who it appears was one of
the parties implicated. Mrs Isac Miller
Birth: 1777
called when I was there, about as
interesting as usual. Mrs Dr Smith
Birth: 1801-08-15
also called she had on a gay


Excited with merriment or delight • Having many or showy colors • An ornament •
Page 2

a satin filesse &c, with a pair of the Dr’s
Birth: 1780-12-27 Death: 1839-12-04
old woolen socks drawn over her
shoes to correspond. Taste. I had but very little of the 2 hours alone with Lazette
she is quite well again but has had a dreadful sore throat. Betsy Pitney
Birth: 1801 Death: 1860-08-06
at our house in the course of the day is spending a few days at the Exchange with
her beloved parents. Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
felt somewhat inclined to quarrel with her because
Birth: 1786-11-18 Death: 1853-04-20
had beat Leonard
in the suitt Betsy kept remarkably cool so they did not
come to an open rupture which I was fearful would happen at one time. Maria
 Death: 1835-12-05
and Cornelia Pitney
Birth: 1811-10-06 Death: 1838-05-09
also called, strange enough it may appear but the Dr
has been and brought Maria out of his own accord. Betsy Pitney imputes this
act of grace to the intereference of his new wife. Maria returns home some time
this week. The Dr flourishes to his hearts content in his new dwelling, keeps
four fires in constant operation, a hired man a little girl and Bettsy is in pursuit
of a large girl to do chamber work. Mrs Pitney sits in the parlour and wears
white kid gloves. Unless the Dr is a new man, completely metamorphosed this
state of things cannot continue any length of time. Mary returns home this month
Cornelia appears quite as insensible as ever. Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went to Compstons
x Birth: 1800  Death: 1851-06-04  Birth: 1790  Death: 1850-04-03 
to tea
where she was rallied considerably about riding with Hugh
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
. Came home in a
snow storm, it continued snowing all night this morning it was almost
impossible to get along. Serene
Birth: 1805 Death: 1884-01-19
sent for us to come and take tea there with
the inducement of Betsy’s Pitney’s agreeable company, we could not go through
the snow on foot it is so deep so Peter got Mr Richardsons
Birth: 1776-06-05 Death: 1853-04
liver v
and horse and drove us over, had a very pleasant visit came home soon after
tea because I could not leave Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
long. Grandma considers it a crime of
the first magnitude if I ever go out of the house says people ought not to have
children if they cannot stay at home and take care of them. Fred was a good
little boy and did not make any trouble, his cough is abating, all day
yesterday Grandma was fully persuaded
To influence by argument, advice, or intreaty • To convince by arguments, or reasons offered •
he had the Whooping cough
because Mrs Dr Smith said she was afraid her youngest child had
it, a very rational conclusion, he has cut an upper tooth we discovered
it by his grating them together for his own amusement, his gums have been
badly swollen some time, he does not appear to have much respite from his
afflictions. Your Friday’s letter came last night but I am so tired and sleepy
that I shall not say any thing about it to night I must go to bed good
night dear one.
Wednesday night
Dear Henry I am equally weary to night. Fred has cried and I have walked
with him until I can hardly move I took some cold going out last evening
my head pains me all over. Fred has a cold, is cutting teeth, and has a stye
coming on one eye, dont you think he has some reason to cry. Betsy Pitney
and Maria Harris have spent the afternoon here, the conversation was of course
all about the Dr. I cannot tell you half the very ridiculous things he says
and does until I can talk to you. They say his wife appears amiable
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •

and pleasant. I am sorry for her. The discription of the dinners in your
letter were extremely satisfactory to Grandma. She told Pa something about
it and both of them being deaf they had made a strange story of it
when I was questioned Pa had got it that Granger
Birth: 1792-12-01 Death: 1868-08-31
had given a dinner
and Grandma that you had given a dinner to Granger. I despaired of
making them both comprehend the true state of the case so made myself
tolerably ignorant about the affair. I expect Pa thinks by this time that
I have not sense enough to comprehend a letter when it is written in a good
legible hand. I am glad you did not go to the Mayors
Birth: 1783-06-14 Death: 1854-08-26
as the case was
and am sorry Henry Webb
Birth: 1852-05-06 Death: 1900-06-18
is a fool though I imagined as much before.
I feel much interested about Weed
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
, had he never been married I should have more
hope of him. I should think it rather a difficult task to enlighten a man who
has been so long in an error. Do you think he ever loved his wife
Birth: 1819-02-06 Death: 1893-11-01
? I should
have liked him better had his reformation commenced at the time of his marriage
but you know him better than I and are a better judge. I was so unsuccessful
in having a dress fitted in New York by measure that I do not feel much
encouraged to attempt it again, much obliged to you for your good
intentions. Sarah Scott
torments me almost to death she is constantly in my
room as soon as there is a fire made, so to get rid of her I am going to bed.
I wonder if Mr Rees
will bring me a letter when he comes good night love. Frances
Page 3

Dear Henry To night I have made me a pen with the pretty little pearl
handled knife, it arrived here this morning before I was up. I heard some one
once knock and had a presentiment
The person who has the legal right or exclusive right to any thing whether in possession or not •
that a letter had come for me because
according to my calculations Mr Rees would get here last evening. When I went
down I found the books letter and knife. The letter I did not find until
I had looked some ^time^ when on holding up one of the books it dropped out.
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
was delighted with his letter and claimed the seals and red
strings about the books. I reccollect perfectly well going to this same
Mr Mancius
Birth: 1779-12 Death: 1833-11-07
with Pa when I was about ten years old. Mrs Mancius
Birth: 1787 Death: 1834-08-27

played on the piano which I considered no common occurrence being the first
I ever heard, she had then two little girls younger I should think
than myself who I considered favoured mortals. I then thought every
thing there uncommonly splendid, but would not consent to stay
and learn to play on the piano as Pa proposed, proposed as we sometimes
do to leave Augustus but I can reccollect now that I then supposed
it all a very serious affair. Your account of your visit was very
amusing but I might not have not appeared quite as much so to you
in the commencement. I feel some curiosity to see Mrs Emma Willards
Birth: 1787-02-23 Death: 1870-04-15
of poetry, what will her vanity induce her to do next, she will undoub-
tedly publish a book of travels when she returns from Europe next Summer.
I wonder if she is any more popular in Albany than she used to be
I have read but a few pages in the ‘Water Witch’
Author: James Fenimore Cooper Publisher: Carey & Lea Place of Publication:Philadelphia Date: 1831
have been trying to persuade
Maria to stay and read it to me my eyes are so weak that I read but
very little. Maria stayed with us last night, thinks she must go home
on Saturday. Betsy Pitney went away without asking for any books
what do you think of that. My eyes refuse to do their office any longer, good night
I must finish this by day light.
Friday night. This morning Pa went to Syracuse with Mr Watson
Birth: 1778-03-29 Death: 1840-12-22Certainty: Probable
. I am
like August[ us all ]


Reason: wax-seal
places are Syracuse, he went to Seneca Falls, expecting
him [ home to night ]


Reason: wax-seal
but as it is ten oclock conclude he will not come
Lazette [ ca ]


Reason: wax-seal
me down and spent the day with us. Frances and Augustus
have rode poor hobby almost to death. It has been a cold blustering day
When Mari Lazette went home Maria went with her as far as Dr Pitneys
so we are quite alone again. Maria goes home tomorrow. Clary and
I have been reading the ‘Water Witch’ to each other this evening, you have been
gone 5 weeks last Wednesday, it seems a long time but it is not yet one
third of the whole time. Esq Brown
does not go down to Albany until the
last of this month and then he will not return here again until he goes to Illinois
of course he does not go as delegate to the Convention. Saturday morning
After a very cold night we have a fine clear but very cold day. Pa came
home in the night in the stage, Mr Watson went to Geneva. I do not think of
going out this cold weather, defer all my visiting until spring. I hope I shall have
a letter tomorrow morning although it is hardly reasonable to expect them so
often when I have been almost a week writing this one, your own Frances.
Page 4

William H. Seward.