Monday, December 19, 2016

Part III - A Treasure Trove of History

Four Generations
(sitting) Elizabeth Swales Preston and great grandson Roger Sentell Ewing)
(standing-left) Fannie Preston Sentell
(standing-right) Mary Sentell Ewing

1873 - A Letter to Fannie Preston from her sister Lizzie

Among the many items recently sent to me were three beautifully penned hand written letters.  I must have read them a dozen times and with a little outside help to decipher them. This particular letter is dated May 3, 1873 from Lizzie (Elizabeth Preston, born March 29, 1836) to her sister Fanny Preston, born July 2, 1850). Both are daughters of John Preston and Elizabeth (Swales) Preston and were born in Sodus Point, NY.  Lizzie would have been 37 years of age and Fanny 23. Fanny was married in 1874 to a Capt Edward Harvey Sentell and resided in Sodus Point NY at the time of this letter. Elizabeth (Lizzie) married in 1877 to A Capt. William Bissell Morley. The letter is beautifully preserved after 143 years. You will recall that I have shared both Elizabeth Swales Preston's and John Preston's journey from England to Sodus, NY.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) must have been visiting or living in Ontario, Canada at the time as the envelope is post marked from there. On the letter she writes the name of the town, Napanee, and then the date. I don't think they believed in punctuation or in starting a sentence with an upper case letter. One sentence just runs into the next. All the same it gives a reflection of life back in 1873. In early May there was still ice on Lake Ontario.
Envelope addressed to Fannie Preston - 1873

Napanee, May 3, 1873
My Dear Sister,
I received your letter with the check all right. - have not cashed it yet. We are in hopes gold will come down. Robert says they have twelve thousand dollars in American money. Wednesday morning the 23rd of April we went down to see the Kincardine go out - she started nicely but got on the sand and they had to take part of the load out of her to get her off. Friday evening Robert and Ms. Geddes went on board of her at Mill Point bound for Toronto. They did not get out of the bay until Saturday night. They had to plow through the ice it being the first boat out. They arrived safely in Toronto Monday eve. Robert came home Wednesday night. They found it difficult to get a freight, but they have heard from her she had a load of lumber for Oswego, it is uncertain when she will be there. She had the "Andrews" in tow. They say she travels slow as she has not had her wheel repaired yet. The friday before Robert left being "St. Marks" day they had the baby christened "Eliza Grace". I hope Eliza will appreciate the honor.  Eliza Grace is not shortened yet. Very much to the disgust of these Canadians, they put them in short clothes at three months here.  Nell has been busy sewing for Mary. She grows so fast she has out grown her last summer clothes. She is going to school. Miss Hattie Wilson has a select school for children Mary's age. She is (the letter is torn here). the painters are at work  in the dining room they were three weeks at the front part and they will be as long at the back part. It does not interfere with the other part of the house at all. They set the table in the kitchen.  I am glad to hear we are to have a clergyman again. The services here are very nice. They have such nice singing. I have been getting a white straw hat trimmed with black. Give my love to the Point people. Particularly Mrs Cook and Mrs Rose. I suppose you will see them Sundays
now. Tell Dasie - Arthur would like to have her to play with - he is just overflowing with play. When we ask him now if we shall go to Sodus he says we can't the boat has gone. I must close with love to all.
From your sister
P.S. May 5th
Robert is going to Oswego tomorrow. And perhaps he will come up to Sodus if he has time. He will come to the Ridge

1873 Letter to Fannie (1st and last page)

(pg2 & 3) letter to Fannie from sister Lizzie

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