Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 21, 1849

  • Posted on: 6 December 2018
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 21, 1849



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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 Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, December 21, 1849

action: sent

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

location: Washington D.C., US

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: ssb 

revision: tap 2018-11-14

Page 1

Friday Dec 21st
My dear Sister,
Another week has come round – I have
your letter and Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
has the one you sent
her the next day – Sunday it rained here all
day none of us went to Church – Tuesday we
went again to make visits but did not
succeed in reaching the bottom of the list
though we left the carriage but twice
all the others were "not at home" – The
places where we were admitted were not of
the most interesting kind – one was at
Mr Dickins
Birth: 1780-07-29 Death: 1861-10-23
the clerk of the Senate and
the other Mr Harrington
Birth: 1816-10-26 Death: 1892-12-05
of the Treasury de-
partment – We saw one daughter

Editorial Note

Either Maria Margaret Dickins
Birth: 1810 Death: 1884-01-12
, Eloise C. Dickins
Birth: 1811 Death: 1895-09-17
, or Amelia J Dickins
Birth: 1816 Death: 1893-05-25
Mr Dickins who though finely dressed labored
under some infirmity which impeded her
speech and she either was or appeared deficient
in intellect – her sisters were both out
I thought they had better have remained at
home or not have attempted to see company
Mrs Harrington
Birth: 1818 Death: 1854
was much more agreeable

[top Margin]
most objectional part of the establishment
Birth: 1839-06-18 Death: 1920-04-29
and Fanny
Birth: 1844-12-09 Death: 1866-10-29
have both gone to bed – Willie says I must
wish you all Merry Christmas for him – I have been out
this evening to buy toys – Mr School-
Birth: 1804-09-22 Death: 1860-06-07
is established here – he is a pleasant boarder
Love to Clara take her half of my letters on to her – I have
little time to write and it seems to me little that is
interesting to write about– I am very sorry about the fringe

[left Margin]
I paid for 4 yards which I supposed they gave me – 12 s per yd –
Frances refuses to keep the $30 I gave her - She wants nothing at present

[bottom Margin]
when she does I will get it for her – How much I wish I could
see you to night –
Page 2

she is an unpretending woman – keeps house in our
neighborhood – I will tell you now how
affairs stand with regard to etiquette in
calling as rank is a thing much considered
in Washington – Senators wives rank next
to those of the Judges of the Supreme Court
who are second only to the Presidents family –
Of course they are only required to call first
upon the Presidents family and the wives of
the Judges not excepting the Secretaries
and foreign ministers – I supposed when
I came that I must call first on the Secretaries
wives and those of the ministers but the
friends whom I consulted said no – I applied
first to Mrs Carroll
Birth: 1812-03-27 Death: 1895-02-11
whose husband
Birth: 1802-03-02 Death: 1863-07-03
is Clerk
in the Supreme Court and has been here some
time – she was a little uncertain but on
consulting "her friend" Mrs Calderon
Birth: 1804-12-23 Death: 1882-02-06
the wife
of the Spanish Minister
Birth: 1790 Death: 1861
she received the
code as I have told you – Now some
of the wives of the New Secretaries do not
understand this and are still waiting for me
to call which the initiated say I must not
do as it will establish a bad precedent
I see the propriety of this and am therefore standing
Page 3

upon my dignity – is it not laughable– I told
Mrs Carrol that the ladies in question (who are
Mrs Crawford
Birth: 1801-12-25 Death: 1878-04-21
wife of the Sec. of War
Birth: 1798-12-22 Death: 1872-07-27
– living next
door to us – and Mrs Preston
Birth: 1813-01-12 Death: 1891-10-17
wife of the Sec of
the Navy
Birth: 1805-11-25 Death: 1862-11-16
) – would probably not discover their
mistake and feel dissatisfied with me all
winter – She said she should certainly make
their duty known to them when she met them –
As it is it affords us considerable mirth –
I being first in town have called upon the wives
of all the Senators – that is I have left my
card Washington etiquette requires nothing more –
unless one prefers – it is exceedingly convenient
and much more agreeable than the tedious
uninteresting intercourse exacted from me at Albany
So much for visits – Our furniture from
Philadelphia has all come except the crockery
of which we are much in need – Our parlor
is furnished – curtains similar to those at home –
We have not yet received visits at home to
day being the first that the parlor was ready
and to day we were out from 12 to 4 leaving
cards – I went in to see Mrs Henry Schoolcraft
Birth: 1815 Death: 1878-03-12

she is a decided character – a second wife –
a southern lady – she is as literary and as
Page 4

loquacious as Margaretta Conkling
Birth: 1814-01-27 Death: 1890-07-29
but much more
agreeable to me – very unique in costume –
Mrs Judge McLean
Birth: 1802 Death: 1882-01-13
is also a second wife – a very
fine looking woman – she too makes pretensions
to a liberating character and is withal very pious –
We went to Mr Hobbies
Birth: 1797-03-10 Death: 1854-03-23
where we saw Mrs Root
Birth: 1788-10-25 Death: 1871-02-14

widow of Gen Root
Birth: 1773-03-16 Death: 1846-12-24
– mother of Mrs Hobbie
Birth: 1807-08-26 Death: 1898-03-06

She came to see me a few days ago – seems
in rather feeble health and depressed in spirits
She inquired very particularly about you and Aunt
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
– Tell Clarence
Birth: 1828-10-07 Death: 1897-07-24
I saw Miss Frances Hobbies


looked very blooming but is said not to be well
Frances Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
and Caroline
Birth: 1834-07-25 Death: 1922-02-28
have gone this evening
to be presented at the White House – Mrs Bliss
Birth: 1824-04-20 Death: 1909-07-25

"receives" Tuesday morning and Friday evening
These are called ret reception days – The President
Birth: 1784-11-24 Death: 1850-07-09

has a Levee every other Friday from 8 to 11 –
There the ladies go in full dress – generally though
I believe this is a matter of choice – I am glad
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
has concluded to come in February I wish
you would come too – If John does not come
had we not better keep Dennis
Birth: 1827
? – Can you get
along without him at home? – Write just what
you think best – As Mary
Birth: 1819-11-24 Death: 1854-12-18
and Abbey
Birth: 1822 Death: 1895-09-16
both prefer it
I have concluded to hire no Chambermaid – I have
a woman come to the house to wash and iron –
Dennis is of course useful to us – I wish our back building
which I have mentioned were more convenient for Grandpa
it is easy of access but so small that he can hardly
get into it – It is to me the

[right Margin]
Fred is invited to a dejuner a la fourchette

Editorial Note

Dejeuner a la fourchette translates to "lunch with a fork"
Monday 12 A M–
at Mr Blair's
Birth: 1791-04-12 Death: 1876-10-18Certainty: Probable
at Silver Creek – I intend he shall
go –