Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 25, 1831

  • Posted on: 14 December 2017
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 25, 1831



student editor


Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's persons.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "pla" point to place elements in the project's places.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's staff.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's bibl.xml authority file. verical-align: super; font-size: 12px; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration: line-through; color: red;

Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 25, 1831

action: sent

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

location: Albany, NY

receiver: Lazette Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01  Death: 1875-10-03

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: meb 

revision: crb 2017-07-28

Page 1

Sunday 25th Dec —
My Dear Sister your second letter came last evening – It was
a dear letter and I was quite dissatisfied with myself for a
some time because I could not write one as good – It brought
home to my mind so forcibly that had I felt as much “in the
vise” as I sometimes do I should have cryed as loud as
ever Miss Blood
Birth: 1804 Death: 1879-10-01Certainty: Possible
did when she was homesick – Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03

has before this received a long letter I wrote her on
Sunday last – The cashmere dress affair has about dissipated
all my sympathy for Mrs. Hills
Birth: 1808Certainty: Probable
– I am glad that Sherbourne
Birth: 1802 Death: 1834-06-18

is going to be married I hope she will be comfortably
located at her husbands
Birth: 1782-11-03 Death: 1842-06-24
home before I return, not that she
ever did me any harm but I did not like her looks –
Ministers are always successful in making matches principally
because they have leisure to give their attention to the subject
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
has not commenced going to school yet principally
because there is no school near us but we shall send him
somewhere this week or the next – Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
can easily keep
pace with him in her studies for he is fast forgetting all
he ever knew – Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
is well and I think grows fat I attempted
the other day to put on his circassian frock when Mrs. Cary
Birth: 1788 Death: 1863-06-22

came and it would not meet by an inch he tries to say
every thing he hears said and speaks many words very dis-
tinctly – some of two syllables – as button, candle &c – he has
taken a wonderful fancy to one of the table waiters
whom he calls
Pa and Eliza
says Phillip
(that is his name is afraid to come
where I am on that account – we have four table waiters Robert
an old man William
a boy
and John
and Phillip to good looking
youths who wear tights and sailor jackets and are very attentive
to me on Eliza’s account I suppose – The housekeeper
left last
week mad about something – Landon
Birth: 1802-08-22 Death: 1860-03-04
the landlord is not married –
Page 2

he is a young man very good looking – the remainder of the household
consist of 2 coloured women
x2 coloured women

for cooks and and one frenchman
performs the part of scullion – 2 porters
x2 porters

who do all manner of work
and one or two coloured ^men^ who appear to be engaged in shoveling in
coal which makes them somewhat blacker than they are naturally
The house is called Congress Hall and is the house you will
r recollect formerly occupied by Mr Crittenden
Birth: 1787-09-10 Death: 1863-07-26Certainty: Possible
– on the hill
by the state house one side fronts Washington street and the
others I know not what you know I am never very wise about
streets – Mr. Landon is the Landlord I believe I have said that before
It troubles me exceedingly that there is no housekeeper only think
what such a house must come to trusted entirely to servants. O I had
forgotten the two Chambermaids Rosanna
and Mary
and a little girl
whose name is Eliza
who does I know not what – Mary and Rosanna
have had one quarrel about who shall do the work in my room that is
empty the wash bowl and wipe up the hearth as Eliza and & I manage
to do the rest ourselves – George Throop
Birth: 1793-04-12 Death: 1854-02-23
has called upon us or upon me
as Henry
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
was absent – and politely offered to take home any packet I
wished to send – he goes tomorrow and I feel anxious to finish this letter
and send by him but I do not know hardly one word I have written on the
last page as Henry and Fred are both leaning on the table and talking
with all their might – Henry wrote to you last Sunday, that letter
you must have received before this time I intend for the future to write every
day for I am sure I cannot now remember the one half of what I
wished to say to you what I have been doing and seeing for the last week
which certainly appears like three – To begin with Monday – After dinnerno – in the morning that comes first Mrs Hopkins
Birth: 1778-02-01 Death: 1866-12-17
called upon me a very
clever good homely woman she wore a purple satin bonnet made like
an old Lady’s hat I cannot describe it any other way trimmed with dark
ribbon and a black satin cloak – after dinner as Mr. Landon was
going to have a larger grate set in our fire place – we went out on the
unavoidable business of mantaumaking and millenary – left Gus and
Fred with Eliza down stairs where the people are good natured enough to
let her stay much of the time – they all pet Fred a great deal to day
Eliza said some one let a plate fall and broke it – “broke” said Fred
before any one else had time to speak – this occasioned a great laugh I
know you like to hear about the little fellow or I should
Page 3

not write so much about him – but I am wandering – Well my habit between the two gals
looked so bad I did not like to appear in the street with it on so I put on a shawl
trusting to pride to keep me warm which I found rather a poor dependance
we went first to Miss McLaren’s
the mantaumaker got samples of the most
fashionable cloths for cloaks and dresses and then proceeded to make the
purchases – returned was measured – got directions which milliner to em-
ploy, went to Mrs Roberts
 Death: 1889
spoke for a black velvet hat trimmed with
white gause ribbon – all to be finished this week – went to the hairdressers
for some curls frizzed over (only think what people will do for the sake of fashion)
I wish I knew enough to have fashion of my own but there is no apology for
silly people’s being odd – got me a pair of moccasins which are worn out
by the way I have walked twice in them – then came home almost frozen
found the masons at work in our room which was filled with lime and mortar
however the grate was soon done a good fire made in it and the room
reduced by the two chambermaids to two inches of lime which I believe Eliza
and I have finally eradicated – Did I mention that Mather
Birth: 1796-02-13 Death: 1868-07-11
, Fuller
Birth: 1787-08-14 Death: 1855-08-16
, and Julius
Birth: 1801-01-20 Death: 1852
called the first week we came – well they did – Tuesday morning
Mrs Bronson
Birth: 1799 Death: 1867-02
the attorney general’s
Birth: 1789-11-17 Death: 1863-09-03
wife signified by way of the chambermaid that
she would be glad to see me I went to her room – firstly I must tell you
that she does not leave her room she expects to be confined in a month
this Mrs Hopkins told me and invited me to go up with her but I told her
perhaps Mrs Bronson would rather not see a stranger – the next morning
the invitation came so I took Gus and went up – she has a little
Birth: 1826 Death: 1860
about Gus’ age – Their rooms are in the 2d story – three very pleasant rooms
one a parlour one for her bed and one for her girl
Birth: 1832 Death: 1868
and little boy the two
first are as large as both of ours put together – each of them – Mrs Bronson
is a small woman looks very like Nelson Beardley
Birth: 1807-05-30 Death: 1894-01-15
in the face dark hair, skin,
and eyes – I was pleased with her nothing formal or stiff about her manner
not very brilliant or the reverse of upon the whole knows I should think
about as much as your Sister – perhaps a great deal more but I can
hardly judge yet – I staid until dinner was brought up – Mr Bronson
came in and made himself very agreeable – you remember seeing him
do you not when we were at school – a good looking man – They have
one other boy
Birth: 1819 Death: 1870
12 years old – he is at school — In the evening Henry proposed
going to Hopkins
x Birth: 1778-02-01  Death: 1866-12-17  Birth: 1772-05-09  Death: 1837-03-09 
– I objected not feeling very well but he said it was quite
warm and only a short distance so we went – I should think half a
mile – cold wind blew us there and coming home I thought would have
blown us back again – Found Mr and Mrs Hopkins two sons
x Birth: 1813-08-08  Death: 1901-10-29  Birth: 1805-01-02  Death: 1876-11-12 
two daughters
x Birth: 1818-08-20  Death: 1912-06-25  Birth: 1808-11-05  Death: 1845-10-08 
in the parlour – a grate – of course cold enough
Page 4

They appear to be an amiable
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •
family perfectly well satisfied with them-
selves and every one else – the oldest girl at home is Hester 16 or 17
the oldest boy had just come home from college on a visit I have forgotten
his name – the others are children – we stayed until I was almost frozen
that is until nine oclock – Mr Hopkins and Henry talked antimasonry
the old gentleman always observing when Henry said any thing that
that was entirely a new view of the case – I thought we never should
reach home for the wind – but we did notwithstanding. Wednesday I
do not remember that any thing occurred O yes George Throop called
in the morning and in the evening we went to the Theatre to see
“Damon and Pithyas” – Forrest
Birth: 1806-03-09 Death: 1872-12-12
Damon – Forrest is a star and I suppose
the house is fuller when he is here than at other times – I wonder that they
try to have a Theatre here the house was not one third full not more
than a dozen ladies and these none of the fashionable part of the town
I was very must delighted with Forrest but the other actors are generally
very indifferent – we rode there but when we came out to come home we
found no sleigh so we walked almost home when our driver overtook us
and carried us home, pretty cold – Thursday miserably cold – after dinner
we went to mantaumakers and my hat having been sent home the
day before and I not quite liking the manner the trimming was dis-
posed of sent it back so we went there also – could not find any
thing that pleased me better and Mrs Roberts being one of the prettiest
meekest little women in the world we took the hat as it was home with
us – Dress not ready to try on – The next morning my cloak came home
it is about the colour of Gus’s frock coat – broadcloth 7 $ per yard
the facing and collar blue black velvet lined throughout with
black silk – black silk cord and tassels the whole amounting to
between 50 and 60 $ – Henry you know always wishes me to have the
best and most fashionable things but I take little pleasure in them
it is needless to say why – the hat is rather becoming. I send you
a piece of the dress in yours it is not finished yet – I do not know
but you would have preferred that colour to the one I have sent
you Henry thought the green the prettiest and I the purple they
are both fashionable – I send 14 yards which the mantaumaker
says is a large pattern for me – do not let Mrs Simmons
make a
jacket for the little black boy
you mentioned – I do not know whether
you will prefer having it made into a pelisse or dress both are worn
Page 5

be sure and have the large cape – All that I have seen that resembled
pelisses appeared to me to be frocks with some trimming, bows of the
the same or welted pieces of this form

Editorial Note

Frances Miller Seward illustrated a small bow here.
up the front the waists
entirely covered by a large cape I

Editorial Note

Frances Miller Seward illustrated a small bow here.
think them very pretty
if you have it made in a frock I would tine line it throughout to
make it warm – cloaks are more worn here than any thing else but I
do not like them any better than I used to do I have seen but very
few of cloth the others silk satin circassian and merino of all
colours some with small capes (these are last winter’s I suppose) and
some with large some without any — if you have a frock the cape will
of course be separate – the sleeves appear to me to be the pattern
Miss Blood gave me – I will tell you when my dress comes home—
Friday morning Weed
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
actually came into our room though he has been
often to see Henry he never could induce him to come and see me – some-
thing like Berdan
Birth: 1803 Death: 1827-07-20
I imagine – I like him of course because Henry thinks so
much of him he is homely has a pleasant eye is m a much younger
man than I imagined – I was of course considerably afraid of him
While he was here Mr
Birth: 1787-08-11 Death: 1869-06-20
and Mrs Cary, Trummy
Birth: 1829 Death: 1832-03-29
and nurse
arrived – I
went immediately to see them – Mr Cary is a much younger and
Mrs Cary a much older looking personage than I expected – they are
very friendly – I am glad to have another lady at the table –
Mrs Cary immediately proposed the amalgamating plan that she
hinted to Henry last winter having one of our rooms for a nursery and
the other a parlour so we should sit together and of course see each
others company I a plan I did not think peculiarly happy, but dare
not say so – Henry promised to get me out of the difficulty – nothing
more has been said on the subject but the good woman is constantly
sighing for a parlour to sit and sew and see company in – calculating
upon doing immense quantities of needlework – Mrs Bronson says it
is singular that Landon does not keep the ladies parlour open
thinks he is only waiting for us to signify our wishes to that intent –
for Mrs Cary’s sake I hope it will be in operation soon – Trummy is a
little fellow not much larger than our Fred he is 2 years and a half old
begins to talk quite plain – Friday morning Mrs Savage
 Death: 1837-04-06
wife of the Chief
Birth: 1779-02-22 Death: 1863-10-19
called on me with Mrs Hopkins – She looks and speaks so much
like Mrs. Rudd
Birth: 1785Certainty: Probable
that Eliza thought it was herself – She had on a bonnet
like mine and a purple satin cloak – I mention these things because
Page 6

you said you wished me to tell all how the people looked and what the said
they made but a short stay – Friday evening we went again to the Theatre
Mr and Mrs Cary accompanied us – Forrest was to play King Lear –
I was very much disappointed – I could not discover any defect in
Forrest’s performance but it is an unnatural character rather
I think, and the other parts were so miserably played that it
destroyed the effect entirely – beside all that it is very monstrously
indelicate some parts of it this I was not aware of as Henry read
the play to me some time ago and I admired it extremely but
he of course left all this out – Upon the whole I think it is much
better calculated to read than to act – I do not feel any disposition
to go again to the Theatre – Yesterday the weather moderated and it
thawed I believe for the first time in a month – it still continues
much warmer and now the coal fires are very comfortable but
so dirty – Why they keep you washing your face and hands constantly
and any thing white to wear is quite out of the question that is more than
a day or two – After dinner Henry and I went out to get your coat
or dress as George is going on Monday – got myself a pair of shoes
which when they came home were altogether too small – went to the
confectioners and bought some candies to put in the little boys
stockings (Gus hung them up before dark his in one corner and Freds
in the other) went to the bookstore and got a little book and
came home just in time for tea – read some in Phillip Augustus
Author: George Payne Ransford James Publisher: J & J Harper Place of Publication:New York, NY Date: 1831

a new novel – made Fred an apron and went to bed after playing
St Nicholas – Gus was up at 6 this morning to see if St Nicholas
had remembered and has spent most of the day amusing himself
with his book and finding good places for his candies and sugar
plumb – dear boy he is sound asleep now so is Fred and so shall
I be when I have finished this letter – I expect if Gus was up he would
wish me to ask cousin Frances all about her Christmas eve – This
morning Henry, Trumbull and I went to St Peter Pauls Church heard
rather an indifferent sermon – came home against a dreadful wind – but
Page 7

Mr Cary went before as a screen – I did not think the people in church
appeared any more genteel than in our little church at home – more of
them of course – Eliza went this afternoon and I took care of Fred
This evening I have been writing this letter – Weed was here a short time
but went away to meeting – and I have written and written until
my arm aches and have not said all I wished to yet but I must
finish with one word more – Henry received a letter from Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12

Tuesday evening – They (for Mrs. Tracy
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876
accompanied him)
are now at AnnapolisMaryland on their way to Georgia
do not say any thing about coming home – he wrote in good
spirits I presume in better health from that circumstance
Tell Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
I have commenced a letter to her which will be
along soon your own tired Sis Frances
Page 8

Mrs. Alvah Worden