Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eliza Seaver

Dear Friends: About the following letter:
Eliza French was born in Cavendish, Vermont, 31 Dec., 1804, dau. of Daniel & Sarah Brigden (Swift) French. Dan French was a native of Hollis, New Hampshire and came to Cavendish, raised by his brother-in-law, Ben Spaulding on the Twenty-Mile Stream farm. Dan's father had died when he was only 13 but Ben Spaulding looked after him as if he was his own son. On 21 Oct., 1799, Dan purchased his own land and built a farm on the Twenty-Mile Stream. He had purchased his land from Dr. Asaph Fletcher, and named one of his own sons after the doctor. There is a great deal of information about Dan and his family, in "Families of Cavendish, Vol. 3 - the French family. A handful of historical original letters - treasures were sent to our Cavendish Historical Society by Mr. Larry Gobrecht who looked up our historical society on the internet and offered to lend the originals to us so we could "typescribe" them and scan them in for our own collections. Larry wrote to me: "somehow the New York destination letters and Vermont destination letters ended up in the same place before ending up in Cornwall NY (near West Point) in my dad's collection. That would have been at least 15 years ago and probably much longer than that." Larry's father, apparently collected old letters! We are very grateful to Larry for thinking of us. I am especially since I know all these folks from my own research into our Families of Cavendish. It is amazing letters still exist and we are very fortunate to have Larry look up our historical society and make contact.

The following letter (the 1st one I have type-scribed) is especially interesting. Sounds like Eliza had rheumatic fever or some such critical illness and it was a miracle she lived! They did not know back then, about the advantages of aspirin or other medicines. They put her body in "warm water" and bled her. She was lucky to have survived the treatment, let alone the disease.

In this letter, she speaks of the Adams' folks, who were also from Cavendish (see Vol. 3) and moved to the same area in New York State as she and William Seaver did. She speaks of A. Baldwin (Abel Baldwin who went to Montpelier, Indiana about this same time with Newton Putnam and all the Putnams on the Twenty-Mile-Stream with other Cavendish folks - see Families of Cavendish, Vol. 1.] William Seaver also wrote of the Smith family who went to Schoolcraft Michigan. This was the time when many Cavendish Vermonters headed "West young men" Eliza mentions that she just learned her sister Mary was married! Mary married 29 March, 1836, Artemas Spaulding. For all of our folks related to the Spaulding families, I thought I would add that tidbit. I am going to go through the rest of the letters and will type-scribe them all -scan them all in, before I send the originals back to Larry. I will send my typescripts to Margo to put up on our web site.

-Good reading to all. If anyone has questions, feel free to e-mail me. -Linda M. Welch, Historian, Cavendish Historical Society.

Lowville, New York 25 April, 1836
To: Daniel French, Cavendish, Windsor County, Vermont
From: William & Eliza Seaver & family
[first part from William Seaver] Dear Parents: I improve this opportunity to inform you of my health and family which is good at this present time. Although Eliza has been very sick this winter, she was taken the 15th of January; she was confined to the bed 5 weeks, which she was not able to sit up any at all. She was taken deranged after she had been confined to the bed one week. The first that we discovered that she was out of her head she rose up in the bed and hollered for the Jimeson who is a preacher in that place, that she wanted that he should come and pray with her for her soul was in hell and he must come agreeable to her request. We sent for him and repeated it for several times until we found it was a damage to her then we dispensed with his coming. She would for the most part of the time answer every question with the greatest correctness, but her memory was better than when she was in health. She had spasms or fits, which took us from four to five to keep her on the bed. Those spasms was mostly nights. We had a counsel of doctors twice and they decided that there was no chance out of them for her to get well, but she sometimes was so bad that they thought that was doubtful; but He who breathed all world into existence has seen fit to restore her to health again. We was blest with kind neighbors. There was not anything lacking to be done that was not done for her good. As for myself, I was attacked with the fever in the meantime, which I was in bed and went through in course of medicine which broke it up and I was not confined to the house but one week. After that I was taken with fever and ague which lasted five or six days but I am in good health now. I am to work at my trade this summer and a plenty of liveliness. As respects that money I had due me in Michigan, I have not yet got it. I have wrote to Smith twice and not had any answer yet. You must give my respects to Mr. Wyman and family and tell him that he shall have his pay. I shall write to him before long. You must write soon as convenient. So I must close. -Wm. Seaver.

[this next part written by Miss Eleanor E. Whitehouse of Dayonsville by request of Elisa Seaver] "As it is Eliza's request that I should write to inform you of her sickness, I will endeavor to. I went to her house the 29th of January. She had been unwell about two weeks but she kept about and done her work until the day before I went there, she was taken with a severe pain in he head but she thought it nothing strange as she was subject to the sick headache, but she would often say I never had such a headache before. She tried everything that she could think of but it was all of no avail. I went there on Friday. Saturday she was rather better. The next day se was not so well and continued so until Monday morning, than her husband went after Doctor Jerry (Iry?) Adams. He came and said that she had got a settled fever. He said he though that she must have a course of fever but he did not think it would be very severe. She continued quite comfortable until Friday night when she was taken deranged and she appeared to be in great distress. The doctor came and said that she was a very sick woman but did not consider her dangerous. Her mind seemed to be in a continual worry. She said that it seemed to her as though she should never get well. The Doctor would tell her that she must be calm or he could do nothing for her. She remained in a state of derangement for better than three weeks- the most of the time the next Tuesday after Adams came, they had a council of doctors. Doctor Perry came and said that she could not live. He said that she had the inflammation on the brain. They then put her into warm water and took about two quarts of blood that night. She grew worse very fast. She would rave, and pull her hair, and tried to injure herself all she could. The Doctor called her fits, 'spasms.' Some of the time it would take three or four persons to keep her on the bed and we thought that she would not live till morning. Richard [Eliza's brother] and his wife were there and such a night I never past. It was enough to make the hardest heart melt to see a person in such a situation. The Doctor said it was beyond their comprehension that they never saw the likes of it before. The next morning she was a little more easy and remained stupid through the day. On Thursday, Dr. Seth Adams of Lowville came to see her. He said the disease was not in her head and there was a probability of her recovering. Doctor Iry stayed by her night and day and tended upon her with the strictest care. She did not want for anything in this world. She had the strictest care and attention. Everyone seemed interested in her case; she would often speak of her friends in Vermont and desired to see them very much. She would say "my blessed Father, my blessed Mother, I can see them now. I can hear their voices. My friends are all around my bed. Get away from me let me go and see them. Why don't they come and speak to me?" She seemed in this situation through the week. Sunday morning we had a little more hope of her, but it did not last long. Sometimes she would appear like herself for a few moments, and then we would feel quite encouraged, but her spasms were harder and harder and everyone she had, it did not seem as if she could live through another. She called her husband to her bed and gave her little son up into his care and now said she, "I am willing to die." One night she wanted to be turned on her side. We did so. She fainted away and we did not think that she would ever breathe again, but the Lord has been very merciful unto her, has spared her life and she is now quite smart. I have been here eleven weeks yesterday. I expect to go home today. I have taken up more room now than I calculated on this page when I began to write. I must leave off or I shall encroach upon the rest. -Dayonsville, -Eleanor E. Whitehouse."

[different writing now, Eliza's] Dear Parents: As they have left a little room, I gladly improve it with pleasure that I am permitted once more to write to you as my health is tolerable good now, but not so healthy as I was before I was sick, but I do my work, with the help of Sarah Homes [Holmes probably]. She is going to live with me, and go to school three months. I am some lame with my left leg. When I was taken I was in a good deal of pain in my leg. It seemed to be in the narrow of the bone. It don't pain me now, nor well near so bad as it has.

Mary, I have just heard that you was married. I wish you all the happiness this world can afford. You give my love to yours and to all that inquire after me. You must write if Father and Mother think of visiting us or not. We should be very glad to see them. I think it is entirely unnecessary to wait thinking that Joseph [Adams] will come with you for we've given up all hopes for he has so much to see to, he never will find time. I think you had better take Sally and come on for I think you'll never be sorry. I must close for I've taken up all of the page. You must all write soon as convenient. Yours &C. -Eliza Seaver.

Allen [brother] has bought [land] joining Richard. He works all of the time as steady as can be. Richard was here yesterday. He was well and family. He said Allen was a' coming over Saturday to stay all night. I was up to Brother's the day before I moved and ate new sugar linthed [?] and I thought we should like to call to your tavern to take breakfast and call for the best the house afforded and not have you know us. Please to write where A. Baldwin & Mr. Putnam have made their Pitch [set out their land and log cabins] as we should like to know. -Eliza Seaver. -Marinday Adams.

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