Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, February 13, 1839

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
  • By: admin
Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, February 13, 1839



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, February 13, 1839

action: sent

sender: Benjamin Seward
Birth: 1793-08-23  Death: 1841-02-24

location: Paterson, NJ

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

location: Albany, NY

transcription: dwr 

revision: crb 2016-02-13

Page 1

Patterson, N.J. Wednesday ev’g Feb. 13. 1839.
My very dear sister
One so kind to me as you were
during my late visit at Auburn, cannot be indis-
posed to hear a word about the prosperity of my
journey & something of the news from our Florida
friends: and although you are ^probably^ taxed for all the
strength you have to spare, I will drop you a line
Kind Providence has not only preserved
me in all my journeyings since I left you
but has greatly favoured me in regard to weath-
er, roads, modes of consequence company &c.
I am to be thankful also that I have not only
had increasing health myself, but have gen-
erally found friends enjoying the same blessing.
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
was sitting by the fire when I
arrived, rose to meet me with somewhat of ease
& grace and seemed pleased to see me & to hear
from court. He certainly looks better & complains
less and has more enjoyment in his food and in
his sleep than when he visited Auburn & Westfield
a year & a half since. I spent a night & two
days with him, most of the time in conversation
and a portion of it in business with sundry persons
and he showed no symptoms of fatigue or uneasiness
morning or night.

[left Margin] N. York Thursday morning, Astor House, safe arrived. Please say to my good brother that
I am here, have been long
in coming but it has been
unavoidable. In an hour
I will be in the office of
Mr. Blatchford
Birth: 1820-03-09 Death: 1893-07-07
, and
soon Henry shall
hear from me.
Tell Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11

Grandma was very
pleased with his
letter. Remember
me, respectfully
to your Father
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13

& to Mr W.
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16Certainty: Possible

& believe me
your affectionate
& grateful

Page 2

Dear mother
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
is also in better health
than she was two or three months since, although
I can see that she fails. The truth is, she had
been a good deal oppressed with company during
autumn & now a respit is affording her opportunity
to recover. Her lame arm is quite much
better, insomuch that she is now able to knit
with her crooked hand; and this affords her re-
lief from what she considered little better than
Polite; having the manners of well bred people • Graceful in form; elegant in appearance, dress or manner •
vagrancy. Her spirits too are less weigh-
ed down than I had expected. The dear old lady
could talk of little else, when opportunity served
than, of her dear departed Cornelia
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
. Sorrow she
has, it is true, deep & unintermitted, but then it
is not a sorrow without hope. The evidences, I
am happy to say that our dear sister departed in
a state of grace and in a full reliance upon the
merits of the Savior, and for an interest in His
Kingdom ^are full & satisfactory^ , and this consideration sustains dear
mother amidst this sore affliction.
Dr. Canfield
Birth: 1798-11-26 Death: 1865-01-05
, it seems, assured so ^much^ in his mind
about the propriety of the step that it was not until
the grave had been dug & but an hour or two
before starting, that he finally concluded to bring
the precious remains to Florida. Augustus
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08
preceded & carried Dr Cummins
Birth: 1839-01-13 Death: 1916-04-21
& one or two others
with him to communicate the doleful tidings. Father
was out riding, his return discovered these friends
at the gate to meet him & their solemn countenances
told him before they spoke that death had somehow
fallen upon his household, but like all the rest of us
he least expected it there. Poor dear old people
Page 3

they were both overwhelmed. Orders were immediately
given to rouse a couple of sleighs & friends to go and
meet the Doctor, who, when he had arrived with his
four little children
x Birth: 1827  Death: 1829  Birth: 1834-07-25  Death: 1922-02-28  Birth: 1832-02-20  Death: 1876-01-14  Birth: 1829-12-04  Death: 1867-10-25 
, were met such a reception as you
can more easily immagine than I describe, from
hearts all subdued to tenderness by sudden sorrow.
Friends were invited, the funeral was held in the house
and every room & every place was filled. The text “I
know that my Redeemer liveth &c”, a meeting occasion
- after which a numerous company attended the re-
mains to Goshen, where it was temporarily interned
in the vault of the steward family where our
dear little Cornelia lies. The corpse it is said
looked as natural, almost as life.
Dr. [ C ]


Reason: hole
remained some six or eight days [hole]
& return [hole] [ w ]


Reason: hole
ith his little charges and has since [hole]
written that he returned safely & comfortably
& has found a suitable woman to keep house
for him till spring. Rumor says he is about
to come to F. to take Dr. Backus
Birth: 1794-06-15 Death: 1858-11-04
practice, who
has closed his house & I believe gone to N.Y.
Birth: 1799 Death: 1872-04-23
, I believe will go out to Illinois
in the spring, to see how he likes the country
and Washington
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
, is expected to remove to F.
Dear mother is “exceedingly anxious to
take one or two of Cornelia’s little daughters but
from that others may think it not prudent and
the pleasure be denied her. But the day before
she was taken C. wrote a kind long letter to her
parents, & laid it by for mail day, & the day
before her death she asked for pen & paper and
wrote “Dear Parents, I am fast receding from the
shores of time, pray remember my dear little
girls”. The last few words almost unintelligible
Page 4

Oh was there ever such an appeal, so made, under
circumstances thus affecting, ever resisted, never, &
this will not be, my heart is broken while I write
it, was ever mothers love, strong in life, strong
in death, more fully exemplified. Precious, dear de-
parted sprit! if allowed to witness the evidences of
tender emotions swelling the bosoms of those that
loved thee in, life: behold the guarantee, in our
affection attachment to your memory, that your dying
request shall not neither be forgotten or disre-
garded by your surviving kindred.
The Lord bless & sustain you, dear, dear Sis-
ter F. amidst the trials of life. Good night.
B. J. Seward.
Mrs W.H. Seward
Care of Excellency The Governor
New York


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
Jennings, Feb, 1839