WOOLSEY PAPERS II

Letters of Rebecca Woolsey

1783 - 1785

Printed for the Rev. M. Lloyd Woolsey
for Presentation

to Descendants of the Writer

CHAMPLAIN:

Privately Printed at the Moorsfield Prefs

 

 



 

Letters of Rebecca Woolsey

To Her Daughter Theodosia

These letters were written while Theodosia was on visits in Boston, evidently spending two successive winters there. The year was omitted from several of the dates, but it is believed that the letters are here given in chronological order.


Some of those for whose reading the letters are now printed may wish to have their memory refreshed as to names and dates.

 

Rebecca Lloyd was the daughter of Henry Lloyd and his wife Rebecca Nelson. She was born, Oct. 31, 1718, at her father's Manor of Queens Village, Long Island, afterwards called Lloyds Neck.  She married, in 1742, Melancthon Taylor Woolsey, elder son of Rev. Benjamin Woolsey and Abigail Taylor his wife, of Dosoris, Long Island. They had six children: of these, three little daughters, Mary, Abigail, and Elizabeth, died in infancy, between Nov. 13 and Nov. 30, 1753.  There were two other daughters, Theodosia, born Jan. 17, 1747, and Rebecca, Aug. 22, 1755; and one son, Melancthon Lloyd, May 8, 1758.


After the death of Colonel Woolsey, Queens Village and Starnford seem to have been the places of residence of his widow and her daughters until after the first part of the War of the Revolution.  They then retired for safety to Danbury, and later made their home in New Haven.


In reproducing the letters, it has not seemed necessary to give all the repeated greetings to and from relatives and friends, with discussions of dates for journeys, nor to repeat endings and signature. The spelling and punctuation have been adhered to: those familiar with eighteenth century manuscripts need not be told that even among persons of good social position good spelling was by no means a general accomplishment. In this case, informal writing to a nearest relative may account for some slips; but in such words as "marcy" and "parfect," one inclines to suspect a strictly phonetic spelling, in accordance with an old traditional pronunciation, handed down, it maybe, through three generations of the Lloyd family.


The letters can have little interest for any readers but those of a limited circle. They are printed with the thought that some at least of the descendants may derive pleasure from the perusal, and be glad to know a little more than the mere names of the writer and recipient of the letters, or of others mentioned therein and, as it were, to be admitted to the intimacies of that affectionate family circle, though all so long since passed away.


We get an idea of the long journey between Boston and New Haven, and of the problem of an unmarried lady undertaking it alone. We realize the uncertain delivery of letters, whether by the "Poast," or, as often, through the hands of friends. And we see privations, due to the misfortunes of two wars, bravely borne by one who had been brought up in affluence.


The letters have been preserved in the family of the Hon. James and Rebecca Woolsey Hillhouse and are reproduced by the kind permission of their descendants, Mrs. Valery Havard and Miss Hewit.

Newhaven, Novr 28: 1783

Dear Dosey,

I received your agreable Letter and am glad to hear of your helth and being happy in your friends, and hope all things that are agreable and good may be continued till we meet again, which time I long to see, hope in the spring if we arrive at that Distant Period you will bend your Corse Newhaven ward early.


I begin with little Delightful1 she is one of the finest Children you ever saw she groes surprisingly and the most playful good humord, active Little sweet Picture, O what shall I say more Everything charming senters in our belovd babe, we must not love her too much. Your Sister much the same as when you left us, rather on the mending round, your Brother Hillhous2 in his usual helth and good Spirits full of Business and as good as ever and you will say he need be no better. The Laidyes at the other hous are well and want to see you much Mrs Hillhous3 Lements your Absence, as to my Self I am as you know in the Decline of Life have many Little Complaints but for one of my age am favourd with a good shear of helth, if you Cannot Read this it must be imputed to my Poor Lame hands for they are all Rapt up in Poltis and Ointment I have but few fingers that has not a Bleeding Sore on them and some very painful, we heard from your Brother4 a few days ago they were all well, no adition when he wrote, but Daily Expected, he sais as much of his blooming Boys as his frutful fancy can Paint and you know he Draws to the Life, he Compairs them to the new blon Rose and a ripe Peach, he sais he took a peep at his babes and thear Dear mama as they Lay asleep while he was writing.


This moment receivd a Leter from my Dear Brother Lloyd5 full of affection to me and my Children. Your Uncle John has fecoverd his helth and has had the Pleashure of seeing Mrs Broom6 and all her children in perfect helth and heard them sing. The Rest of our Stamford friends are well7. Poor Mr Jaims Davenport buried his wife last week, I pity him with all my hart.

 

1Sarah Lloyd Hillhouse, born July 17, 1783, also referred to in the letters as “Sally.”

2 The Hon. James Hillhouse, husband of Rebecca Woolsey. His first wife was Sarah Lloyd, the latter's cousin.  In a letter to Rebecca, Feb. 7, 1779, she said: "Mr Hillhouse joins me in dutiful and affectionate remembrance to Aunt Woolsey, he never will forget how happily her easy and friendly behaviour made him feel, particularly at N. Milford."

3 The mother of Hon. James Hillhouse.

4 Melancthon Lloyd Woolsey.

5 Probably her eldest brother, Henry Lloyd, Loyalist, after the revolt of the colonies spending the rest of his life in London.

6 Daughter of John Lloyd, wife of John Broome, Lieut. Governor of New York.

7 The connettion of the family with Stamford, easily reached from Lloyd's Neck, across the Sound, dated back many years.  John Lloyd had lived there for some time before the Revolution.

 

Cousin Smith spent the last eve hear sends love. All friends hear are well Except mrs Fitch8 She is a little dispirited keeps up yet, good madam Greeno had a fall out of a Chais and put her wrist out Brus is geting well, mr William has moved to Gifford Miss Cutler to Nubary miss Woolsey to Boston, think how chearful and gay we spend our time our agreable Roger Griswold9 is well but had a prity sevear fit of sickness, mrs Gay has lost her Daughter Whiten an unspeakable Loss for a tender mother to Bury her only child she left an infant about a week old.


I have wrote as Long as my fingers will Let me and as much as you will think worth reading unless it was beter, so Conclude thanking you for your affectionate Letter hope you will Continue to make me hapy in hearing often from you, your friends all partake and Rejoice with me on your being hapy. My love to my Dear Brother10 tell him words are not sificient to express the hapiness I felt the morning I turnd and saw my Brother Jaims standing whair he was not Expected, my Love to my Sister and the Dear Pledges of their Love. My Love to Mr Smith an Laidy give them joy of their son hope he may be long a Blessing and a Comfort to them, my Compliments to Bethens famely, and if thear be any to whom Salutations are due make them as you think proper. Mrs Lucasil and Mrs Hillhous send their most affectionate regards good Buy my Dear I blev your tiard so add no more only that I am your loveing and tenderly affectionate mother

Rebecca Woolsey

Newhaven, Fer 13

My Dear,

I receivd your agreable Letters by mr Borland and Barely. As to your being hapy I have never had the least doubt of that while you are in my Dear Brother's famely, for he and his Dear partner allways make their friends hapy as far as it is in their power. I heartily wish it was in my power to make one of that hapy Company but as the old woman said on another occasion forthwith is wanting, and I must confess I do not know how you can do much longer without it, you say whenever I want you I must let you know it. I allways want you my Dear and as much now as ever I did both your company and help but if it be more agreable to spend the coming season in Boston with the Best of friends am willing on your account though not on my own for it will be a Cross to me, but for your sake I am willing to take it up, my Brothers and Sisters goodness fills me with gratitude they have my thanks and Best wishes for them and their Dear Children and when they have a son added hope he will be as good as they are and he need be no better.

 

8 Perhaps Elizabeth Lloyd, her sister, wife of Samuel Fitch.

9 A relative of Mr. Hillhouse, whose mother was Sarah Griswold.

10 Dr. James Lloyd, Boston.

11Aunt of Mr. Hillhouse.

 

The Birds I have heard Carry news we have heard by the 'by that my Dear Nice Sally12 is in a fare way to make a certain jentleman hapy pray write me soon and let me know all about it, your prity Letters gives more friends pleashure besides me, for notwithstanding your request of Concealment, I send them to mrs Lucas and Hillhous who are as much pleast to read them as if you were their Child or Sister mrs Hillhous sais if she thought it would give you pleashure she would write every week if there was an opportunity, more than all that mr H Father has had the reading ut them and was very much pleasd with your easy stile, he is a charming agreable old jentleman.

 

Salley is the finest Child I know, your Sister Something Recruited tho often complans of a week Stomack I fear she will not be able to give Delightful suck long prity Babe, I can not think of her being weened without Sorrow.

 

mr H is at Hartford, we have not had a line from your Brother since the Birth of his Daughter. If you want money write to mr H and beg the favour of him to collect your interest this spring.

12 Sarah, daughter of Dr. James Lloyd, married Leonard Vassal Borland.

 

I was exceeding glad to hear from my Brother Lloyd do write to him and tell him all you know about us



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WOOLSEY
                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
WOOLSEY
                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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                      PAPERS 2=LETTERS OF REBECCA WOOLSEY
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