Letters From 
Forgotten Ancestors

“Christopher has the largest beets I ever saw.”
~ 1845 ~
Cattaraugus County New York
Page © TNGenNet, Inc. 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Transcription: © Jim Greve 2005

Stampless folded letter sheet.
Manuscript postmark:
       Versailles  }
       N.Y. Nov. 26  }
Manuscript rate:
       Mrs Kitty W. Watson
       Claremont, N.H.

Versailles postmark.

Versailles Nov 16th 1845
My Dear Children
  We received your letter Wednesday 12th and was very glad indeed to hear from home once more. We have been quite discouraged. Sent to the post office evry day for almost a month and finally concluded if we should get another letter we would wait so long as you had without writing, but we have got over that now it seems. Almost like going home to have a letter from home, do write oftener. I often visit Claremont in dreams a few nights ago I dreamed of being at our old home sitting at the table with our family as all were five years ago. We know not what changes 5 years more will make. It is now 7 months since I left Claremont. If my life and health is spared I shall be at home in 5 months more. I received a letter from Franklin Reed soon after I wrote you stating that he lived in Randolph 30 miles from here. His Mother is with him. He writes her health is very poor. He writes it will not be possible for them to come here and wishes me to come there, but since there is no one going there this fall, I shall have to give it up for the present. I also received a letter a few weeks since from your Aunt Betsey. They were all well. She has visited her son in Troy this summer. Wished very much to go to Claremont but was not prepared to stay so long as she would like to stay there. She thinks of trying to go with us when we return home. Sidney’s wife thinks of visiting her friends in Westmoreland at the same time. I think we shall all make up quite a stage load.
  Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard and Lois visited here about the middle of September. Lois stayed here and I went home with them. Called at Mr. Norton’s in Fredonia. From there to Westfield 35 miles from here. Stayed one week. Had an excellent visit. While there we took a ride 11 or 12 miles as far as the State of Pennsylvania. I never saw so beautiful a country before. The land is almost entirely level. The apple, peach, and pear trees were loaded with fruit. We passed nearly all the way in sight of Lake Erie. I have often heard the western country extolled very highly, but it is far beyond what I expected. The corn here is much larger than in our eastern country. When I returned from Westfield, I tarried two days in Fredonia. Had another good visit, and then returned home. I presume the land in Versailles is as fertile as the land west of here, but the farms have not been under improvement so long. Christopher has the largest beets I ever saw. They weighed one - it weighed 12 pounds.
  Our little Mary grows more interesting every day. I suppose you would like to know who she looks like. I think she looks very much like Mr. C.H. Norton. We often see people passing that remind us of our friends at home. Sometimes we say there comes Allen and Kitty and Edwin, and then we see Luther and Nancy. So we try to comfort ourselves as well as we can. After waiting a long time for a letter from you, we received one from Emily and that comforted us a little. When you write to Emily, do tell them I send my love to them all. Give my love to Edwin. Tell him I love his Mother as well as I do Aunt Nancy. I hope you will give my love to Uncle Grannis, Aunt, and Sarah and all enquiring friends, Mrs. Stevens and Miss Jackson, whether or not. From your
Affectionate Mother
Nancy Chase
Monday eve

Dear Sisters

  There I am writing to you when we have only had your letter three days, but I have said every day for a long time that I would not write for at least three months after we had a letter from you to pay you for your neglect, but when I receive a letter from home, I feel as though I must go there immediately & as that is not possible I content myself with writing. I should not think you would anticipate much from our letters, for we don’t have anything in the world to write about, but the same old story about ourselves. It’s very dark & stormy this eve. Mother & I are here alone. She sets by the stand reading the story of Adam Brown. Mary has gone to sleep, & I am tired. I would give all the world if you & Nancy could drop in here a little while this eve. Christopher has just come in & says Sarah where is that paper of confectionary I brought home when I came from N.Y. & I told him all there was left was in the cupboard. Me thinks I can hear Nancy say that is just like Sarah, she always was eating up everything. I don’t know what we should do now without Mary. She is a great deal of company for us all. Nancy, if you had been here you would have called her a fish, for she was never easy or still a moment & always crying when she was awoke, till she was three months old, but she is now one of the best babies that ever was (& of course the prettiest). She is very much pleased with the rattle box you sent. I have had a handle to it & she shakes it about well & once in about two minutes she will shake it against her face & then cry as though the world was coming to an end. Tell Father if he thinks of going west he had better come to Versailles, for I don’t believe there is a place in the world (according to its [illegible]) that is increasing so fast in population. Kitty, that little cap you sent I lined & trimmed with pink and it makes one of the prettiest bonnets for Mary you ever saw. When Christopher went to N.Y. this fall he got her a knit worsted cloak & bonnet for winter. They are very pretty. He also got Mother & I some dresses & I will send you a piece of them in this letter. The cashmere is mine. He also got me a very nice Brocha shawl. I believe I never wrote you that I have lost my Edinboro shawl. I lost it more than a year ago. Mother has a new calico dress & has had it cut bodice waist. I never saw her look so well before. Mother is very well contented here, better than I expected she would be, but after all I think she is anxious to have the time come to go home. She thinks about you all a great deal & dreams of you all every night. She had the misfortune to slip down & has been very sore, but it is better now. She thinks a great deal about James. We all want to see him very much. How can I wait much longer? If we have good sleighing I think Mother will go to see Mrs. Reid this winter. But it is getting late & I must finish tomorrow ----

Sunday Nov. 23, 1845
  I intended to finish this the next day after it was commenced, but we have had company & been killing hogs &c &c & I have not found a minute time before. Nancy our birthdays have passed & we are still alive. Can it be that you are 22 & 24 years old? It seems but a few days since were children. You say you mean to have glorious times next Spring & that is what I calculate upon for it don’t seem as though I should ever go there again in the world. Everything is so changed & changing, but I must go to Claremont once more. Christopher thinks I had better stay till he goes to N.Y. in Sept., as he cannot stay in C. but a few days, but I think that is too long to stay, & if we should conclude to do so, C. will not go there till he comes after me. We have not decided when we shall go, but we shall not probably be there before May or perhaps the first of June. I shall not wait Nancy & have another child before I go. It will be as much as I can do to carry one 500 miles, but if I should have to do so, I shall not have any halfway works about it but wait till I have a wagon load & then come bags & baggage. It really seems like winter to day. It snows & is very cold. We have not had a day before this fall that has reminded us of winter. I wish you would tell Mr. Corbin that we received a letter from him yesterday. It was written & mailed nearly two months ago. It was probably delayed in some office. We were very much surprised to think that Danl said that the place was sold for thirty hundred & sixty dollars. Mother says they always told her it was sold for 35 hundred & that was what I supposed, & should think that was very cheap. Wish you would write & let us know about it. Do write soon & not delay as you have done. I am very sorry to hear that Daniel’s health is so poor. Give our love to all. What has become of Elizabeth Chase? Kiss Edwin for me. The Baptists & Methodists are holding a protracted meeting here. Everybody goes but us. I don’t see how folks can find time to go to meeting every day & eve, for I have as much as I can do & stay at home. But it is late & I must close,
From Your Affectionate Sister
S.C. Norton

  Stampless folded letter, dated 16 November 1845, written by Nancy Chase (1786-1871) while in Versailles, New York to her daughter Kitty Woodbury Watson (1811-1881) in Claremont, New Hampshire.
  Nancy Chase was in Versailles visiting her other daughter Sarah Norton (1821-1870) and her family. Sarah was married to Christopher F. Norton on 25 December 1843. He owned extensive lumber mills in Franklin Falls and vicinity. They later lived in Plattsburgh.

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First posted 10 May 2005
This page last updated on Thursday, August 13, 2015