Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, December 21, 1839

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
  • By: admin
Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, December 21, 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, December 21, 1839

action: sent

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

location: Westfield, NY

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

location: Albany, NY

transcription: nds 

revision: ekk 2016-02-02

Page 1

Harmony Hall – Westfield Dec 21, 1839
My very dear Sister
You do not know how happy I am
made this morning by a real discovery:
not that I am about to apply for a patent
or to turn mechanical philosopher. Be
patient and "I will tell thee all"[ . ]



When your kind long letter of Dec 1.
came to hand, mentioning the difficulties under
which you wrote, I was almost unhappy
that I had made it necessary by a pre-
vious letter, to tax you with so much la-
bour to answer me: and I felt that it
would be cruel to write you again; & again
subject you to the slavery of writing: & so
determined to put your letter by for a long
time, although I was very desirous to write.
Now the discovery I have made is that I
may write, on my part & excuse you from
writing on yours. Wonderful! That I did not
think of it sooner! Happy! That I think
of it now – since I may not both lose
the pleasure of letters from you & the hap-
piness of writing you also.
But I have been too long – in my anx-
iety to inquire, something, who it is you
call "dear Mrs Horner
Birth: 1780 Death: 1856-12-09
" (is that the name)
– who, from the mere mention that she calls

[left Margin] Parson Smith
Birth: 1784-04-09 Death: 1847-01-12
seems to be rising – while Mr Huse
Birth: 1781 Death: 1863-03-04
is I think is sinking.
Birth: 1792-08-29 Death: 1875-08-16
& folly are abating among our folks & we are getting to behave.

Page 2

frequently & shares with you in tenderness
of feeling over my loss, has greatly in-
terested me? You have told me of her
willingness "to weep with those that weep" :
I seem to feel a desire that she shall be
furnished with an opportunity "to rejoice with
those that do rejoice" .
Christmas eve' –
Since I was unable to finish my letter
before – excuse me for its age, if I complete it now[ . ]



I believe I have mentioned to you before
that friends abroad have been very kind in
sending me letters of condolence & they con-
tinue to come in. I have often wished that
you might have the perusal
To read with attention • To observe; to examine with careful survey •
of them. – Nor have
the neighbors been less kind in calling & on
such occasions they have indulged me with
the happiness of reading some of these epistles
A writing directed or sent, communicating intellegence to a distant person; a letter •
to them.
This has been a great comfort to me.
You have known also that it has been
regarded by all as a very kind Providence
that our new Niece
was brought into our fam-
ily, to help me sustain my loss. She proves
a dear good girl – and I believe is quite happy.
But a trial awaits her! My young man Denton
Birth: 1819-01-19

thinks he must leave my service on account of
a pain in his breast: & his sister
Birth: 1810-07-11
, whose school
is small, thinks it best to leave also – & they
may be passing your city in about 3 weeks &
perhaps see you as they pass. Poor niece will
be all alone in my family! What a changefied
world is this! My heart sinks within me
when I think that of all the numerous and
happy family with which we came to this

[left Margin] A brother
of Parson Hopkins
Birth: 1786-04-25 Death: 1862-06-27
of Auburn is preaching for us – none of
my family like him. But that is of little moment to him or to us.
"The root of the matter" is kept.

Page 3

place three years ago, Clarence
Birth: 1828-10-07 Death: 1897-07-24
& his Pa now
only remains, when the Dentons shall have left.
Half my family – a mother
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
& two children
x Birth: 1827-02-07  Death: 1827  Birth: 1821  Death: 1825-04-08 
out of
four are in the world of spirits! Still the evidences
to my own mind that God is good are augmenting
with every change I experience.
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08
you remember bespoke the visits of
his brother at the grave of his mother every day
at evening twilight – when they were to think of
each other. I lately asked Clarence if he had
observed this request in every instance: when I
observed him to falter – but he presently recovered
himself by affirming that he had not
missed more than one day. I was glad
to see this evidence of integrity as well as
his [ stefulness ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: jusstefulness
. – In general the little
fellows deportment is very becoming.
We have just had a fall of two feet
& more of snow. Our Johnny
to shovel paths about our house and
grounds – and among the rest to the grave. Al-
though visits there have not been the subject
of remark about our house, I yet discovered
by the footprints of more than two or three who
periodically repair to it: and the discovery deep-
ly effected me. Oh how thankful I ought to be
that my whole family – and many neighbors
& friends abroad & several places sympathize
with me so kindly.
I am writing on Chrismas day. Denton
who has been much confined & very faithful
had the prerogative given him to make up
his own sleigh band & is off with our ladies
and others. It is a happiness to me to see
others happy – & though these young people

[left Margin] With sentiments of the sincerest affection toward you my only dear sister and
of interest in your good husband
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
& dear children
x Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29  Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
& friends, I am your unworthy
Brother B J Seward

Page 4

enjoy themselves, I yet find that at the hours of
of morning and evening prayers, they can very
cheerfully join me in singing "The grave is now
a favoured spot". and 'Tis finished – the conflict is
o'er" & such like hymns. Oh yes we are all
mourners together.
You have heard my late good lady speak of
Grandma Skinner
– the dear old lady is now
paying us her accustomed annual visit – & she
thinks it the greatest treat possible.
's affair – is not yet fully disposed of
although I think she is quite free – except that mor-
tification cleaves to her a little yet: so that I shall
not look for her return very soon – poor dear girl!
I am scheming, where to get some ladies, nieces to
be company for Jane
& fill up my family.
Clarence is preparing for an exhibition – says he spoke
once before Aunt Frances and Uncle
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
: thinks he could do better
Mrs Wm H. Seward
Care W.H. Seward
Westfield N.Y.
Dec 26


Type: postmark

[right Margin] I do not see that I am ever to get time
to get away to Auburn.

[left Margin]
Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
Jennings – 1840