Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 22, 1832

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 22, 1832



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 22, 1832

action: sent

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

location: Florida, NY

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

location: Albany, NY

transcription: anb 

revision: ekk 2015-09-17

Page 1

Sunday afternoon
My Dear Henry, I was too hasty in coming to the conclusion that I had written
my last letter but to relate circumstantially how I recieved your letter which the
regular mail would not have brought me until tomorrow afternoon, I must go
back to the time of dispatching my last letter which was done about 4 oclock on
Friday. Although it did not rain any on that day it was so unpleasant and withal
so muddy that we had no expectation of seeing the bride
Birth: 1812-09-30 Death: 1848-10-18
but while Ma
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
and I
were sitting by the fire both very composedly pursuing our respective occupations of
knitting and sewing and thinking it was almost time for Pa
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
to come home to tea
I espied a gig


To fish with a harpoon • Any little thing that is whirled around in play • A light carriage with one pair of wheels, drawn by one horse; a chair • A fiddle • A dart or harpoon • A ship's boat • A wanton girl •
drive to the door and knew immediately it must be George
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
. This gig
was followed by another and another and yet another and finally two others making
six in the whole. I took occasion to convey a huge work basket into another vvin &
when I returned found the six ladies all ready received by Ma who appeared quite
bewildered by such a rush. I introduced myself and enquired which lady I
was to claim as a sister - which was Tempe. This is Mrs Seward was the formal
reply of one of the bridgemaidens. I saluted the blushing bride and as Miss Julian

was employed in bedecking her fair person I conducted the ladies up stairs -
to their rooms when they employed the next two - hours in dressing. When I came
down I found the six gentleman with Pa in the midst and I went through the
following introduction Mrs Seward - Dr Finlow
 Death: 1876-09-21Certainty: Probable
- Mr Leddell
Birth: 1783-10-25 Death: 1865-04-15
- Mr Hoyt
Birth: 1816Certainty: Probable
- Mr Cooper
Birth: 1802-04-20 Death: 1879-07-26

Mr Layr Sayr
Birth: 1767-07-24 Death: 1848-03-04
. It would have been my turn to blush no had not these young
men all been so perfectly indifferent to me and upon the whole a description of people
who never make me blush unless by rudeness. And withal the other advantages
I had that I am not more than half as much afraid of your father as I used
to be having discovered that I am pretty firmly established in his good graces.
But I am wandering from the young married folks. I shook hands with brother George
but did not congratulate him as I had heard him express a great horror of that kind
of ceremony. George you know is pretty much averse to ceremony of all kinds.
Page 2

I succeeded before tea in ascertaining from George the names of the ladies who composed the
party. they were Miss C Wood
and Miss Jane Finn
of Florida the two Miss Leddalls
xMiss Leddalls

Miss Lair
of Mendham. They did get dressed before Eight oclock which I considered very
fortunate as I had some apprehensions at one time about their appearing again that
that night. We spent rather a dull evening. Miss Wood & Miss Finn went home at
ten. it was nearly twelve when all matters were arranged and Ma and I went to bed
anticipating a fatiguing day on the morrow. The people from New Jersey must return
on Monday of course the company must be invited to see them on Saturday the most
unpropitious of all seasons. As soon as breakfast was over George made out a list
and invited me to write the notes invitation. I made use of all my good letter
paper for the purpose and regretted that I had not brought more as I think I shall have
a serious time writing to Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
on the paper we purchased here. Cousin Augustus
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08

and Patrick
were dispatched with wri the notes and returned with the answers
that they would all come if they could which was very satisfactory. We found
no rest for the soles of our feet that day. The young people all went to Goshen after
breakfast - did not return until afternoon - dined at Cousin Henry
Birth: 1793-04-15 Death: 1871-08-27
’s - George brought the
mail when he returned and I by this means received your letter - but it came
just when I could have no satisfaction in reading it - just as the company began to
arrive. I could not induce Ma to stay in the room of course if fell to me to
receive the company which I would have done unwillingly but was perfectly inacquain-
ted with even the names of half of the guests - however such things are of small account
in this region where the principal part of the congregation go to eat and drink.
Birth: 1800-06-17 Death: 1885-11-09
and Cousin Henry Virgil
Birth: 1808-07-15 Death: 1866-05-21
and his wife
Birth: 1811-08-24 Death: 1854-09-16
Julian Seward
and Cousin Mary Evans
Birth: 1794-08-30 Death: 1876-12-31
& Charles
Birth: 1810-01-08 Death: 1838-01-04
were all that came from Goshen. Gen. Wickham
Birth: 1772 Death: 1845-11-16
was ill and no others were invited.
The Woods
x Birth: 1800-01-11  Death: 1859-08-18  Birth:   Death:  
x Birth: 1767-09-30  Death: 1841-03-30  Birth: 1754-02-28  Death: 1834-05-30 
Posts Gurnee’s

, Holberts
x Birth: 1807-09-15  Death: 1843-11-20  Birth: 1809-08-11  Death: 1891-01-30 
, Gales
x Birth: 1798-12-08  Death: 1878-10-15  Birth: 1786-04-10  Death: 1860-07-21 


x Birth: 1797  Death: 1853 Certainty: Probable Birth: 1794  Death: 1869 Certainty: Probable
, Houstons

, Miss Finn and some others from this place
in all between 30 and 40 Being Saturday and the short time
for preparation prevented the invitation being more general
Ma was too unwell to do any thing but I could not
prevail on her to relinquish her post to me entirely.
Mary Evans & I both assisted her in sending in
tea &c - which I discovered are no slight task
when you have not a superabundance of servants.
Dear Cousin Mary she is the same gentle being she ever was
Sorrow which makes some suppose has not in the

[bottom Margin] Dear Pa Wont you send a little letter to me?
I have had some wedding cake and some
custard & some sugar plumbs
I do not go to school when it rains.
Freddy calls Cousin Augustus Cousin
Dicy - Augustus.
This little letter I commenced for Gus
last night but he has gone to
school now and left it unfinished

Page 3

least diminished the affectionate warmth of her heart. A kind look a kiss a pressure
of the hand is never wasted when bestowed upon her. she always feels and reciprocates
every endurance of affection. there is some pleasure in loving such people. I promised
a visit there as soon as I could get a conveyance to Goshen. Frances is preparing
to accompany us home. About tea the people departed. Ma looked as though
she would faint every moment and I prevailed upon her to go to bed about
elevin and leave the work in my care. I undressed and took the thing
systematically. All that could be done before the Sabbath actually commenced I
concluded to do that night and with the assistance of Chloe
and Julian we restored
the house to a tolerable degree of order. I was entertained very agreeably by Chloe
who knows more than half of the white people in the world. She talked all the time
about you having sufficient discernment to discover what pleased her auditor.
“Well” said she “Harry ought to be here to night he knows so much more than any of the
rest of them” “Well I can say one thing of Harry we loved together so many years
and he never said a crass word to me” She then recounted various expedients
of yours to obtain spending money and “after all” said she “he would give it
away to the first poor man he met, there is many a negro man in Goshen
who remembers Harry yet. did he never tell you about his giving such a
person (I cannot recall the names) so much one time”. No I replied he never
tells me any of the good things he has done but I will venture to say that you
cannot tell me of any mischief he was ever engaged in that I have not heard before
Yes said Chloe I remember the first time you was here he must go and tell you
all about his runn[ ing a ]


Reason: wax-seal
way. I did think it a shame. Well I know one thing I wish
he was here tonight”. THis was the invariable termination of all Chloes observations
I went to bed just as the clock struck twelve but was too tired to sleep for some
time. This morning we all went to church the wedding party more than filled our
pew so the two Augustuss
x Birth: 1820-05-18  Death: 1889-05-08  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
and I sat with Mr Post. For almost the first time
I was not the person to be the most looked at in Church the bride and bridal party
attracting all eyes. it was a very comfortable season for me. Ma had become
so much refreshed by a night of rest that she could spend the whole morning
in preparing dinner. the table was spread with all manner of good things when
we came home. Since dinner two of the gentleman and ladies have gone to ride to Goshen
and the remainder are walking down to the big spring and I have stolen the time
to write this letter to you. I did not actually read your letter good until this
morning when I could sit down quietly by myself. Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
would not let me last night.
I shall read it to Ma when comapny have all gone and I can get her to sit still long enough
to listen to it. I read her i stoo the others as I always do. I always admired the scenery
in Orange County and still retaining much of the girlish romance with which I
viewed it for the first time it never fails to inspire me with a degree of enthu-
siams I feel no where else. Nothing about Auburn produces the same emotions
after an absence no matter how long the duration until I come actually within
sight of our own home. There are a few thousand associations connected with the natural
Page 4

objects about Windsor that I think would give reate ailar sensations could
I once more visit them - but ever thing about Auburn seems of such a matter of fact
character. their is nt a particle? of romance in the other place or its uves - on.
Monday morning. This morning the New Jersey people returned to their homes. Cousin Harry
and Beula accompanied them. the house seems very quiet again. I have not told you how
I like our new sister because I do not think I have decided in my own mind
She is excessively diffident. I think suffers considerably more in this way than I even did
which Is saying considerable you En i. rather taciturn as yet - but I am not giving
William H. Seward
Congress Hall
Albany –
23 April
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
Frances A Seward
22 April 1832

[right Margin] my opinion. George appears for once perfectly satisfied. The children are both well. Gus has gone
to school. Remember me to the Careys
x Birth: 1788  Death: 1863-06-22  Birth: 1787-08-11  Death: 1869-06-20 
and Mr
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
and Mrs Tracy
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876
. Your own Frances