Monday, July 16, 2018

Narrative of Bethany Veney, A Slave Woman 1812-1915

The Narrative of Bethany Veney a Slave Woman.
Published in Worcester, Mass. 1889.
Bethany Veney was an abolitionist, author, beloved community member, & as the oldest resident of Worcester, MA at the time of her death in 1915 (at 103 years old). Bethany Veney’s future looked bleak when she was born in 1812, a black woman enslaved in Luray, VA, but with her determination, faith, & cunning intelligence she forged a path to her own freedom. Her fiery spirit & the power of her will are best revealed through her own words: “McCoy had bought me away from my child; & now, he thought he could sell me, if I carried to Richmond, at good advantage. I did not think so, & I determined, if possible, to disappoint him.”- an excerpt from her book, The Narrative of Bethany Veney- A Slave Woman. You can read it online here- 


I have but little recollection of my very early life. My mother and her five children were owned by one James Fletcher, Pass Run, town of Luray, Page County, Virginia. Of my father I know nothing.

The first thing I remember with any distinctness was when, about seven years old, I was, with other children, knocking apples from a tree, when we were surprised by my young mistress, Miss Nasenath Fletcher, calling to us, in a loud and threatening tone, demanding what we were doing. Without waiting for reply, she told us to follow her; and, as she led the way down to a blackberry pasture not far off, she endeavored, in a very solemn manner, to impress us with the importance of always telling the truth. "If asked a question," she said, "we must answer directly, yes or no." I asked her "what we must say if asked something which we did not know." She answered, "Why, you must say you don't know, of course." I said, "I shall say, 'Maybe 'tis, and maybe 'tain't.' " I remember well how the children laughed at this; and then Miss Nasenath went on to tell us that some time all this world that we saw would be burned up, - that the moon would be turned into blood, the stars would fall out of the sky, and everything would melt away with a great heat, and that everybody, every little child that had told a lie, would be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, and would burn there for ever and ever, and, what was more, though they should burn for ever and ever, they would never be burned up.

I was dreadfully frightened; and, as soon as I could get away, I ran to my mammy, and, repeating what mistress had said, begged to know if it could be true. To my great sorrow, she confirmed it all, but added what Miss Nasenath had failed to do; namely, that those who told the truth and were good would always have everything they should want. It seemed to me then there was nothing so good as molasses and sugar; and I eagerly asked, "Shall I have all the molasses and sugar I want, if I tell the truth?" "Yes," she replied, "if you are good; but remember, if you tell lies, you will be burned in the lake that burns for ever and ever."

This made a very strong impression upon me. I can never forget my mammy's manner at the time. I believed every word she said, and from that day to this I have never doubted its truth.

Though my conception of what constituted the truth was very dim, my fear of what should befall me, if I were to tell a lie, was very great. Still, I was only a young child, and could not, long at a time, be very unhappy...

About the Author
Bethany Veney was born a slave on James Fletcher's plantation in Luray, Virginia in 1812. She had a daughter by her first husband, identified in this narrative as Jerry, and a son by her second husband, Frank Veney.  She served a number of different masters, and was separated from her family for a time before being sold to a northern businessman, G.J. Adams, who freed her and her son. Veney worked for Adams and his family in the North. After living for a short time in Providence, Rhode Island, Veney settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, with her daughter and three grandchildren. Bethany Veney published The Narrative of Bethany Veney, a Slave Woman in 1889, over twenty years after slavery was abolished. It includes details of her childhood, incidents that occurred while serving various masters, the way she received her freedom, and her new life in the North. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1816-18 Eliza Ogden writes of life at Litchfield Female Academy

1816-1818 Eliza A. Ogden's Journal Book

Litchfield Female Seminary in Connecticut

July I8, 1816, I arrived at Litchfield the 3rd of July. I went to Mrs Bull's to board. The next day I went to school in the afternoon, but I did not learn my lesson. Thursday I arose in the morning very early, ate breakfast, studied until the bell rang. I went to school, learned a lesson in Geography in the forenoon, in Grammar in the afternoon

Friday I was examined in the Elements of Geography. Saturday I learned a lesson in Geography, and was examined through the rules of the school. Sunday I attended Church, heard Mr. Beecher preach. He took his text in Luke the 3rd Chapter and 7th verse in the forenoon, and in the afternoon in the 2nd Epistle of the Corinthians, 7th Chapter and 3rd verse. He preached very affecting indeed; he wished to have us all be good Christians. After meeting I went home, and in the evening went to Conference. After Conference I went home, went into my room, thinking of what Mr. Beecher had said. I arose this morning as usual. I went to school, recited my lesson in Sacred History and went to writing my Journal and have just finished it.

July 22, 1816. Monday, after I read my Journal, I spent the rest of the afternoon in writing. After school I went home and studied my lesson for the next day. The next morning 1 arose, ate breakfast and studied my lesson until I went to school. I said my lesson very well. I went to writing. In the afternoon I recited in Grammar and Geography and did not say them as well as I could wish, but I hope that I shall do better the next time. Saturday after school I went home and thought I would take a walk; I concluded to go to Pine Island; part of the scholars accompanied me. We had a very pleasant walk indeed; we went almost there and we could not see the water or any thing that pleased us very much and the girls would go no farther. Coming back it rained and wet us some. I went to the Post Office expecting to get a letter, but I was very much disappointed not to find any there; I have not had any since I came from home. Sunday I went to meeting; we had an excellent sermon; he preached from Luke. I attended Conference last evening; we had very good advice; he prayed for us, made a very long prayer. This morning said my lesson very well. I did not miss.

July 29, 1816. Monday morning before I went to school I began to write my Journal and finished it in the forenoon and read it in the afternoon. After I went home and attended to the duties of the evening I retired to my chamber. Tuesday I recited a lesson in Geography in the forenoon, in Grammar in the afternoon. After I went home Mrs. Bull mentioned two very sudden deaths, of a young gentleman and a negro, that were drowned. Wednesday I had my holiday. Thursday I recited my lessons as usual. Friday there was not any school in the afternoon. I recited my lesson in Geography in the forenoon. We were examined in Geography Saturday in the forenoon, I missed a good many times. Sunday I went to church; heard Mr. Beecher; after I went home I read till it was dark. This morning I arose as usual, made an apron before I came to school; after I came to school I recited in History, said my lesson very well missed only half a quarter.

Aug 1. Monday morning I went to school recited my History lesson and wrote my Journal. Tuesday I recited my lessons as usual; after school Miss Logan and Miss Ayres came here and drank tea; Miss Logan informed us that she was going to leave the school this week. Wednesday went to school in the forenoon; while there Miss Whittlesy informed me that there was a letter in the Post Office for me. I went down as soon as school was out and got the letter. They were all well. My Aunt, who was sick when I left home, was better. In the afternoon Miss Eliza Camp and Miss Keeler came to make us a visit; after tea they walked on Prospect Hill. Thursday as usual nothing occurred worth relating. Friday recited a lesson in Geography; in the afternoon was examined I missed very little. Saturday after we had answered to the rules of the school, Mr. Cornelius came. He said many of the scholars were going away and he wished us if we had any disturbance or any thing against each other to forgive one another before we parted and if ever we met again to meet as friends. He said that every year. Four of Miss Pierces scholars had died and if four should die every year for twenty years how many would there be left. How necessary it is to look to the preservation of our souls so that we may all meet in heaven. After school Miss Butler went to the Post Office. . . .

Aug. 12, 1816. Monday morning I learned a lesson in Sacred History; in the afternoon I recited in Grammar. Tuesday in Geography and Grammar. Wednesday I had the pleasure of receiving two letters from home; they were very unexpected. They enjoyed pretty good health. Papa and Mama will visit us this fall. In the afternoon Miss McNeal visited Miss Beecher and just at sun-down she invited me to take a walk with her and Miss Beecher on Prospect Hill; we had a very pleasant walk indeed. When we arrived at the top of the hill Miss McNeal said that she always liked to look at that little cottage under the hill; it looked so rustic and retired, to which Miss Beecher replied that she thought it was more pleasant to look at than to live in, a very true observation I think. After a stay of some minutes we concluded to go home. It was quite cool and we had no shawls with us. We went home and Miss McNeal said it was time for her to return home as she was going to Conference. She took leave of us and I spent the evening at Miss Beecher's. Friday I was examined in Geography. I missed very little. In learning the State of New York, when we came to the rivers, I learned that the Delaware River had its source from Lake Utstagantho. I should have thought that I would have known where it arose as I have lived close by the River. When I was coming here I saw the head of it, but I did not know as it arose in any other place. After school I went home and Miss Haine's brother came there soon after. How happy I should be to find one of my brothers there. Saturday was examined in the rules of the school. Mr Beecher was not at home and therefore he did not come into the school as usual. Mr. Cornelius came into the school for the last time. He explained to us the situation of other nations, of the Heathen Idolators who never heard of a Bible. I think as we live in a christian land we ought to look to the preservation of our souls. Sunday I attended the Church of England. I think I never heard so good a sermon in my life. He compared a death-bed repentance to a man and his son. He said if you put it off till on your death-bed it would not be received, for perhaps if we ever got well again we would return to the world again and be as sinful as ever. He said it was nothing but fear; it was not for the love of God but for the fear of death, and he said if a man's son was very disobedient to him he would chastise him and his son would repent and promise to do so no more, but it was only because he feared him; it was not because he loved him any better than he did before

Aug 26. 1816 Monday I arose, studied my History lesson, went to school, recited and began to write my Journal. In the afternoon I learnt a lesson in History. Tuesday in the afternoon I recited in Geography and in the afternoon I learnt a lesson in Grammar. After school I went down to the Post Office, received a letter from my parents. I was very glad to hear from them, including the death of one of my cousins who died very sudden. Wednesday I had my holiday. I did not attend school. In the afternoon I was making my frock. Miss Hurlbert and Miss Stanly came and took tea with us. After tea we swung a little while and I went home with them as far as the school house. Mr Frasure preached there that evening. He seemed very anxious to have us all be religious and be saved. Thursday as usual I did not attend meeting. Friday I was examined, missed a considerable. Saturday I worked on my frock untill it was time to go to school. I was examined. The definitions were read. Some were very good. Mr Frasure came into the school. He made an excellent exhortation, pointing out to us the road to happiness. He said if we had a mind to be religious we could leave all and follow Christ. It was nothing but our own stubborn will that we did not. After school he visited at Mrs. Bull's. He gave us some excellent advice. He went to every one of us was very particular and plain. He advised us what to do and how we must do to be saved. Sunday I attended public worship. Mr. Frazure preached from 2 Corinthians 7th Chapter and 10th verse: "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." After meeting he came to see us again. He said he could not bear to part with us without our having religion. He invited us to go to meeting that evening as he was going to preach. I went. Monday I came to school; was examined in Sacred History. I missed very little. After I had recited I went home and wrote my journal.

Litchfield Sept 2, 1816 Monday morning I recited a History lesson, wrote my Journal and read it in the afternoon. Tuesday morning I studied my Geography lesson untill school time. After I recited I wrote copy hand untill school was dismissed. In the afternoon I learnt a Grammar lesson. After school I went down to the Post Office; received a letter from home. They all enjoyed pretty good health. Wednesday forenoon, as usual; in the afternoon I had my holiday, but I came to school two hours. After school I spent my time in writing. Just at sunset Mr. Eeecher came down to see us. He talked very affecting. He said he could not make a very long visit with us at present, but if we wished he would come in some time and pray with us. We all joined in the request. I should be very glad to have him come for I like to hear religious instructions. Thursday I recited my Geography lesson in the morning and went home to write a letter. In the afternoon I recited in Grammar and parsed. Friday I learnt a Geography lesson in the morning. In the afternoon there was no school. Saturday forenoon I was examined through the lessons of the week, in the afternoon through the rules. Sunday I attended church. Mr. Beecher delivered an excellent sermon pointing out the road to happiness. In the afternoon I attended the Church of England. We had a very good sermon. Monday recited a lesson in Sacred History, went home and wrote a letter to my parents.

Sept 9, 1816 Monday forenoon, as usual. In the afternoon finished my letter. After I came home from writing school I swung a little while along with our new boarders. Tuesday morning I studied my lesson untill school time. Then I went to school and recited a very good lesson. Mr. John's, Nancy's uncle, came after her quite early in the morning. He had brought two young ladies with him to stay as long as Nancy did; very pretty girls I think and I find in becoming acquainted with them they are two of the most amiable girls I ever was acquainted with. Sarah and Minerva Hinkle were their names.''

Sept 24. Monday morning I studied my History lesson, went to school and recited very well. In the afternoon I studied the same. Tuesday I learnt a Geography lesson in the morning: the afternoon a lesson in Sacred History, as usual. Wednesday morning the same. In the afternoon I was allowed but a part of my holiday because I staid out of the house when it rained. After I staid two hours I went to writing school. Thursday, as usual. Friday I attended school, recited a lesson in Geography. In the afternoon was examined in Geography and Elements. Received 2 credit marks for one and 18 for the other. Saturday was examined in the rules, after which Miss Pierce read four verses; said we must remember them or have a miss. The first was "What was sin? Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God The sin whereby our first parents fell was their eating of the forbidden fruit, the covenant being made with Adam not only for himself, but for all his posterity. All mankind from him by ordinary generation sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression. By one man's disobedience many were made sinners. The fall brought mankind into a state of sin and misery by one man sin entered into the world." Sunday attended meeting in the forenoon, but I did not Saturday afternoon. I went to writing school. We were coming home and met my uncle. It was very unexpected. He went to Mrs Bulls and drank tea. Monday I did not go to school. About two o'clock my uncle started for home. It was so late that I did not go to school in the afternoon and there were no lessons to get. . . .

Friday it was general training and there was no school in the morning. I went down to the school house and saw them on the parade. In the afternoon I went down to Miss Jones, to see the sham fight . I liked it very well. Saturday morning Miss Pierce said that the rules might be called in the forenoon and be examined. In the afternoon I was examined in Elements and Geography; did not miss in either. Sunday Miss Marsh was quite sick and I did not go to meeting. Saturday Mr. Brace read a little story about the beggar boy, how he met with a rich gentleman, and as he looked very poor he asked him to go and live with him and he would take care of him. He looked considerable out of health too, but he would not. He endeavoured to persuade him by telling him his name and where he lived, but in vain. The boy was insensible of the offers made to him. The gentleman threw him down a shilling. The boy caught it up without thanking him or giving him any of his matches or offering to go with him. He went away and returned. His companions slept with him that night as thoughtless as ever. While Mr. Brace was reading it Miss Pierce made observations upon it. She said it was the same thoughtless creatures that we are that appeared the same in the Lord's eyes as he did to the rich man; that the money he gave him was like the blessings that we received every day. When the gentleman asked him to live with him it was the same as when the Saviour offers us eternal life. The school stood in prayer. Sunday attended meeting. . .

Oct. 26, 1816. Nothing of importance has occurred this week. We have got through our examinations; finished yesterday morning. Have been to writing every night; began to paint free hand last night. Saturday after the names were called Miss Pierce made an address to all the girls; told them what to do when they got home. This week on Thursday went to the Church to hear the Bishop preach. He did not come in untill some time after the people got there. They sung untill he came. The chorister had a great deal of trouble to get the young ladies put in the singers seat and a great deal of trouble to make them sing well. We had an excellent sermon. I was very much pleased with the meeting. I expect papa will be here to-day. I shall be very much pleased to see him. The next week after school I shall go to Salem to see Miss Stephens. Mrs Bull is going to Hartford while we are gone. I expect to go to New Haven. I think I shall be pleased with the city as I never was there. We arrived at Salem safe and met with a very welcome reception at Mr. Steven's. Were introduced to Mr and Mrs Stevens likewise Margaret. I spent the time very pleasantly. Made a great many visits; heard a great many beautiful songs and learned one, The Frozen Widow and the Kiss.


Dec. 1, 1816. Miss Pierce's school commenced the 27th of November on Wednesday. I was very glad to have school begin again, for I wish to improve all my time, as I am going home so soon. In the morning Mr. Brace called the girls to read and to have them explain upon what we read to show to him Saturday. In the afternoon I recited in the Elements and Geography. Mr. Brace said we must begin Elements again. Thursday was Thanksgiving day. I attended meeting. Mr. Beeeher preached an excellent sermon. Friday I recited my lessons in Elements and Geography. Mr. Brace gave our class 15 pages of Sacred History to recite in the afternoon. There was a singing school in the evening but I did not attend; it was so wet. Saturday all that wrote definitions read them and ciphered the rest of the forenoon. Just before school was out the stage came. Mr. Brace said that Miss Pierce had come. The girls were so glad Mr. Brace had to leave off school before it was time. I employed myself in sewing and studying in the afternoon and evening. Sunday about as usual.

Friday morning as usual. In the afternoon I was examined in Geography and Elements. Our class in Elements missed a great deal; did not get through until almost dark. Saturday Mr. Brace read the certificates. I had a very good one. After the rules were called Miss Pierce gave us some very good instruction. She told us what would render us agreeable to our companions. The heads Candor, Truth, Politeness, Industry, Patience, Charity and Religion which if we would observe would lead us to holiness.

Dec 14, 1816. As usual...Thursday evening Emily and myself visited the Miss Jones'. We staid there all night. We had an excellent visit; enjoyed ourselves very much indeed. Friday afternoon I was examined. The evening I spent in knitting Miss Jones was here a part of the evening. Saturday after attending to the rules the time was taken up with instruction. Miss Pierce asked us for what purpose our parents sent us here. To learn and make respectable hereafter. How were we to acquire it? By attention. But if we spent that time in sloth and idleness what commandments were we breaking? We disobey our parents and break God's commandments. After that we read around in the Bible and Miss Pierce explained it to us and told the girls their faults. I spent the afternoon in sewing; the evening in writing.

Dec. 22, 1816. Thursday evening Miss Waldo came to board with Mrs. Bull. I spent part of the evening in writing. Friday was examined as usual; the evening in knitting Miss Harriet Baker, Miss Marrin and Mary Landon spent the evening at our house; spent the evening very pleasantly. Saturday after the rules were called we all read round in the Bible and Miss Pierce explained to us what we read; that Christ was both God and man; that he came into the world to save sinners and all men through him might believe and be saved. If we should go to Heaven we could not be happy because we did not love God. I spent the afternoon in sewing; the evening in writing and reading Sunday Mrs. Bull excused me for not going to meeting. Mr. Brown came home with Minerva from singing school; spent the rest part of the evening there.

Dec. 30, 1816. Saturday we read in the Bible as usual. Miss Pierce did not explain much as Mr. Beecher came in so soon. It was the first time that he had been in to the school since it commenced this last quarter. He read the 3rd chapter of the Lamentations of Jeremiah where he wept for the daughters of my city." He said it was just so with us. He did not think it would do any good for him to come into the school; he had no idea that it would unless the Lord would look down from Heaven and bless us. Sunday attended Church. The text was from 16th Chapter of Acts, 30th verse, "Sirs what, must I do to be saved?" He said that we must repent and believe and explained how we should repent and believe, but my memory is so poor that I cannot remember it. I spent the evening in sewing and studying my History lesson. I had five hundred and forty-two credit marks in a month:

One more week has passed away and I feel as if I had not improved it as I ought to have done. Every day I am reminded of the shortness of this life. I hope I shall improve the week better. Monday was examined in Sacred History; in the afternoon in Grammar, but the class was sent back; they recited so poorly. Friday morning I was examined in the Elements. We have not had so hard a lesson this winter; we missed a very great deal. Sunday very pleasant . I attended meeting. Mr. B. spoke so low I did not hear where the text was. He told how faithful he had been to his people; be had preached to them in public and had been around from house to house &c. &c.

Jan. 14, 1817. On Monday 6th I attended school; was examined in Universal History; the afternoon in Grammar. I spent the evening in sewing. Tuesday went to school in the morning; the afternoon was not able to attend school. In the evening I went to Pierces. Miss Mary read the life of the two sisters. It was very entertaining. If I had the first evening I should have understood it much better. They were very pious, amiable girls. There mother was a very vain woman. Their father was a good christian; was very rich, but his wife squandered away all of his property. The girls were married to very fine gentlemen; they were quite rich. Returned home and studied my lesson.

Saturday Mr. Brace read the life of Miss Nancy Hyde. She had always been brought up with religious instruction. When she was ten years old she was taken sick. She said she would be willing to die if it were not for her brothers and sisters, father and mother, but she said that the Bible said she that loved father or mother better than Me shall never enter into the joy of the Lord. When she was in school she always employed all of her time; she never would laugh in school, nor even smile. She wrote excellent compositions and Mr. Brace read some of her poetry, likewise some of her Journal, which was very good. In the meantime her father died and her brother went into partnership with somebody and was cheated out of all his property, so that she went to teaching school to support her mother, but she did not teach school long before she was taken sick; she was about twentyfour years old; she had no wish to live only to support her mother, for her brother had gone to sea to make his fortune.

Jan 15 1817. Week as usual. Passed a pretty good examination for me.

Jan 26, 1817.  Monday afternoon recited in Rhetoric. In the evening Emily, Nancy and myself visited at Miss Pierces. We spent the evening very pleasantly. Miss Smith and Miss Landon came in while we were there asked Miss Adams to take a sleigh ride. She went and returned just before we went home. Saturday Mr. Brace read a sermon from Chronicles; if our parents were wicked and us also, their punishment would be more if possible, and for that reason we had ought to be religious like wise for the feelings of christians; if we should not become religious until we grew old we should think that perhaps they left the world because they had no pleasure in it and would not know whether they had a good heart or not; they would be unhappy because they spent their youth in such a thoughtless manner, but how the reverse, those that remember their Creator in the days of their youth they will be happy in their old age; they can think how they spent their youth in loving and obeying the Lord? Many children whose parents have not religion, by becoming pious themselves have been the means of converting their parents. Sunday I attended meeting. It was very comfortable, as we rode.

Monday Feb 4 1817. I attended school as usual last week; have generally spent the evenings in sewing and knitting and have recited the same lessons during the week. Thursday we parsed and I got quite a new idea — that no was not an adverb or adjective. I think Mr. Brace has a great many queer ideas about parsing, but I expect it will be parsed as a compound of not any. Friday I did not miss but half a Quarter in both examinations. (0, what a smart girl was I). Friday evening Miss Rowe went down to her uncle's and I had to sleep with Nancy, which I was not very much pleased with. I thought I had ought to sleep with Emily; not give up my bed for Miss Waldo. Saturday the whole school read round in the Bible the first chapter of Proverbs. Miss Pierce asked what was the beginning of knowledge? The fear of the Lord, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of thy mother; that we must obey our parents; improve all of our time; it should be better to us than the richest ornament; if we were enticed to sin by any of our mates consent not . Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets. God is present every where; he calleth in the streets and we will not hear; when we call upon him we shall not be heard; in our distress and anguish then we shall call upon the Lord for mercy, but he would laugh at our calamity and mock when our fears cometh for they hated knowledge and not choose the fear of the Lord, therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own ways; when thou liest down thou shalt not be afraid for the Lord would be our confidence. I spent the afternoon in drawing on my map. Sunday I attended meeting. Mr Wyck preached a sermon from the Epistle to the Ephesians 22nd Chapter and 1st verse on total depravity. I was very much pleased with it, though many were not. 1 thought he explained it very well indeed.


I arrived at Litchfield the 30th of August; was five days coming; had a very pleasant journey and met with a very welcome reception at Litchfield September 21st, 1817.

Monday I recited a lesson in Universal History in the morning. In the afternoon I recited a lesson in Rhetoric. I spent the evening very pleasantly with some of Miss Edward's boarders.

Tuesday morning arose very early, attended to my usual studies, attended school, recited a lesson in Elements. In Switzerland the greatest curiosity was the Alps, being so high and always covered with snow. The glaciers, vast bodies of ice, from which the lights reflect in ten thousand brilliant forms. I recited a lesson in Rhetoric. Likewise I recited a lesson in History in the afternoon. I spent the evening very pleasantly. Wednesday, as usual, some of Mr. Beecher's boarders. Thursday and Friday my usual lessons. Friday afternoon was examined in Geography, Elements and Rhetoric. I missed very little.

Saturday Miss Pierce gave us some very good instruction wishing us to improve our time so as to satisfy our parents as she did all she could towards our improvement. I certainly think she does and I am sure it will be my endeavor to improve my time to the greatest advantage, so that when I return home I shall deserve and receive the fullest approbation of my beloved parents for the improvement of this summer. Nothing is so desirable as the approbation of our parents.

Sunday I attended meeting. Mr. Beecher preached a very good sermon, quite as good as he usually does, though I do not think he is one of the best of preachers.

We have received a considerable company this week. Saturday Miss Pierce called us to read in the Bible, after which she gave us some very good instruction, as she always does. Sunday I did not attend meeting. The next week was spent as usual. Saturday after the rules were called Miss Pierce went for Mr. Beecher. She said she wished us to pay particular attention to what he said as he was not going to be here but two or three Saturdays more; he was going a long journey again, at which all the girls joined in a laugh. I suppose it was because he was going to Boston to buy him a wife. The last three weeks have been spent as usual. There has been a ball. The young ladies of Miss Pierce's school went — all that were over fifteen. I went through my lesson and examination in Elements without missing for which I had a number of additional credit marks. The credit marks were read last week for the summer. I had 721 for what time I had been here. Miss Pierce said I had done very well indeed.

Monday Oct. 13th Mr Brace began his general examination in chemistry this morning and will examine all his classes in a fort-night from tomorrow, as school will be out at that time. How quick the flight of time! It passed without my hardly knowing it. It appears as if I had a great while to stay yet, but it will soon pass away, I am afraid before I am prepared to go home. I do not know how I shall ever repay my parents for their goodness in sending me to school, but I think if I improve myself as much as they expect and to their satisfaction they will want me to repay them no better. It certainly must afford great pleasure to parents to see their children walking in the ways of wisdom and prudence. I have received four letters from home and feel very anxious to receive another, so as to know when Zenos and Julia are coming: I have been looking for them as much as a fortnight and was quite disappointed in not receiving a letter last Saturday to inform me they were coming. I have been through my examinations much to my satisfaction. This vacation Mrs Bull was going to take her niece home (Sarah Smith who lived in Weathersfield), and they invited me to go with them and we would go and visit Hartford, the Capitol of Connecticut. I was very much pleased with going and accepted it of course; so we started off about 9 o'clock in the morning with one of the dumbest old horses that ever was. Sarah and I walked most all of the way for fear he would not live until we arrived; however, we went through safe, but it was quite late in the evening and very dark, so that we could not see where to drive, but we at last arrived. Mrs Smith soon recognized her daughter and after an embrace with her, shook hands with us. We ate our supper (which was a very good one). We soon retired to rest. We slept up stairs in a very pretty room and the best bed that I had slept on since I left home; and the room was very prettily furnished and everything looked neat . The next morning we were awakened by Mrs. Bull. When we went down there was a large fire built for Sarah and me, for we sat alone most of the time. We had a very good breakfast and after breakfast Mrs Bull asked me if I had a mind to go to Hartford that day. I chose to go and Sarah went with us. We spent the forenoon in trading with Mrs Bull. After Mrs Bull had purchased all her stores for the winter we went to Mrs. Welles, a friend of Mrs. Bull, and ate dinner, Charles Welles' mother, the one that Mrs Bull promised to have meet Emily when I was here before, but he was not at home. He had gone to New York and was going from thence to Philadelphia. After spending a few hours there we left the city for Weathersfield and arrived about dark; spent the evening very pleasantly with Sarah until it was time to retire. After a pleasant night's sleep, I arose quite early with a heavy heart as I knew that I was to leave Weathersfield with all that it contained. After going down stairs and eating breakfast Mrs Bull informed me that she should return to Litchfield that day. Mrs. S. urged her to spend another day, but nothing would stop her, she would go. So about one o'clock in the afternoon I bid farewell to Weathersfield and rode as far as Farmington (a beautiful town) and called at Miss Roe's a mantua maker and drank tea. She boarded at Mrs. Bull's last winter. When Emily was with me, she informed me a good deal of what happened after we left Litchfield between Miss Waldo, Mrs. Bull and Mr. Smith, and a quarrel she had in school. One morning she went to school and it was very cold and she went to go in and found the door was

Dec. 1, 1817. After spending a pleasant vacation in Litchfield, I entered school on Wednesday. I recited a lesson in Elements in the morning; did not miss. Thursday there was no school as it was Thanksgiving. I did not attend meeting. Friday morning arose very early, attended school, recited a lesson in Elements. I recited in Rhetoric in the afternoon. I spent the evening as usual. Saturday there was a school in the forenoon. I recited in Elements and was sent to my seat for which I felt very much ashamed. After the lessons were through Mr. Brace called for the definitions which we were all appointed to write. My words were the difference between obtain and attain. I wrote that obtain was most generally applied to natural or visible things — attain to something intellectual or mental. After school I sent to the Post-Office after letters; received two, one from my cousin Emily Butler and one from Miss Sherwood, my school friends. I spent the evening in reading. Sunday Mrs Bull excused me for not attending Church. Monday attended school, recited in Elements, and was again sent to my seat, but I hope I shall not be sent back again. In the afternoon recited in Rhetoric and wrote a part of my Journal.

Dec. 4th. I have recited my usual lessons this week; have not missed but once. Friday I was examined in Elements and Rhetoric; went through without missing. Mr. Brace gave all those that did not miss leave to go home. I went home and painted until dark. I spent the evening in sewing. Saturday attended school. After the rules were read Miss Pierce asked us all questions in the Bible from the first six chapters in Acts. Soon after Mr Beecher came in and gave us a lecture on the first question of the catechism. "What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever" He said that in order to glorify God we must love Him and become acquainted with him and likewise endeavour to acquaint our companions with his goodness as we would if we had a friend at home who was very amiable, and tell our companions how amiable she is; It would be glorifying her. I employed the afternoon in sewing. and was very much disappointed at night by not receiving any letters from my friends. The week as usual After I had gone through my examinations, Mr. Brace gave me leave to go home. I spent the remainder of the afternoon in drawing and painting. Saturday Mr. Beecher came and gave us a lecture from the catechism. Sunday morning very unpleasant and Mrs Bull excused us from going to church. I spent the day in writing and reading and the evening in sewing.

Dec. 21st Thursday. Miss Fowler informed me that I was appointed Lieutenant in her division, for which I was very sorry, as I do not think I am able to perform the office as well as it ought to be performed. The afternoon was spent in parsing; the evening, as usual. Friday recited my usual lesson in the morning. In the afternoon I was examined in Geography, Elements and Rhetoric; but did not miss, but was not examined through the whole examination in Geography. In the evening Miss Denison and Miss Landon called at our house and spent the evening. We had a number of very good songs sung by Miss Landon. Saturday after the rules were called Mr Beecher come in and gave us a lecture from the third, fourth and fifth question of the Catechism. He said that there were three persons in the Godhead, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; that each possessed a different mind, but were equal in power and wisdom; that the power of the Father was to creat, that of Son, to redeem, and that of the Holy Ghost to convert. That there was no mystery in their being three persons, that the mystery was in their being united in one. Sunday it was so cold that we could not keep warm by a large firo and Mrs. Bull excused us from going to meeting. I spent the time in writing to my dear Cousin Emily in answer to the one I received Saturday. Monday morning it was very cold. I went to school and met with a sad accident getting over the fence. So that I was obliged to go home. I did not attend school in the morning. In the afternoon I went to school and wrote my Journal. The evening was spent in studying my lessons

Wednesday morning I went to school; recited a lesson in Elements without missing. I recited in Blair afterwards and missed a quarter. I have not missed before since I recited the first lesson. The afternoon I spent as usual; The evening also. Thursday was Christmas; an unpleasant day; went to school; recited my usual lessons; missed a half of one in Blair. There was no school in the afternoon. I spent the afternoon in drawing and writing, the evening in studying my lessons. Friday Miss Landon came to our house and drank tea. Sunday morning very pleasant. Going to meeting Mrs Bull informed me that Mr. Mason was going to preach. The text in the afternoon was from 1st Corinthians, 15th Chapter 22nd verse; For as in Adam all die so in Christ all men shall live. After Mrs Bull returned from meeting while we were drinking tea I was very much surprised by her handing me a letter. After reading it I was still more surprised by another from her pocket which I read with equal pleasure. I spent the evening in studying and writing. Monday morning attended school; was examined in History by Miss Ann without missing I wrote my Journal. Wednesday I had my holiday in the afternoon, but Mr. Brace desired those that recited in Rhetoric to come to school as he was going to read some figures which he desired us to find and bring them to him on Wednesday after he had finished I returned home and spent all the afternoon in looking after figures, but did not find but two or three. Thursday morning I was awakened very early by Mrs Bull coming into the room to wish us a Happy New Year. I went to school and recited my usual lessons without missing. Mr. Brace said as we began the year it was most probable we should end it, and Miss Pierce said she hoped we would not for she never saw it began worse I attended to parsing in the afternoon. I could not tell what phrase to put in the room of sincerely, in a sincere manner. After we had finished parsing Mr. Brace said if the lieutenants wished to resign their commissions they could and I think I shall, although Miss Fowler wishes to have me continue in office. After school Misses Penny, Gregory, Fuller, Smith, called at our house and spent a short time. Saturday morning after the names were called I went to Mr. Brace to ask him how much the postage of my letters was. and was

very much surprised at the reception of a letter from papa which informed me that he should come for me this month if there was good sleighing. either the first of the month or the very last, as he wished to be at home in the middle of the month: I went to school in the afternoon, and when I carried in my credit marks for industry Miss Pierce thought I did not have enough and was going to take off my holiday, but Mr. Brace excused me because I had not missed in my lessons during the week. We recited in the Bible and there were a great many missed.

Jan 5th, 1818 Monday morning I attended school and recited a lesson in History to Mr. Brace, and did not miss. He told me that I ought to have been examined to Miss Pierce, as I had been through the first volume, but Miss Pierce had not told me that she wished to have me examined with them and therefore I was not. Tuesday I went to school and Mr. Brace called our names for us to chose our seats. I chose mine in the South East corner near Miss Pierce and Sarah Finkle chose hers next to me, for which I was very much pleased, as I think she is an excellent girl. Wednesday in the evening Miss Esther received some company and invited me and the rest of the boarders, into there room. I enjoyed myself very much. After spending an hour or two with them I returned into my own room, and after spending a short time in studying over my lessons I retired to bed. Thursday I attended school, in the afternoon after the lecture on philosophy was delivered we were called to take our places for parsing. I was not called any more to parse the hard questions, as I had resigned the commission of lieutenant, but I was called to parse in my turn and made a very great blunder in putting a verb in the infinitive mood in the imperfect tense. which I knew to be wrong and corrected myself as soon as possible, but it was too late. I could not have but five credit marks, but it was not for the credit marks that I cared. The evening I employed in studying my examinations, and during the evening I was very hapily surprised by Mr. Beechers coming into the room with two letters for me, one from my brother who is at school from home. Saturday I attended school and after I had carried in the credit marks for our family and the rules were called Mr. Brace began at the top of the catalogue and told the faults and good qualities of each one. I am happy to think that my conduct this winter, has been such that Mr. Brace had no fault to find with me, for I am sure it has been my endeavour, and always shall be to obtain the approbation of my instructors and parents, for I think there is nothing that can afford parents more happiness than to know that their children endeavour to improve and our tutors also. Miss Pierce did not ask our lesson in the Bible. because she had not time before Mr. Beecher came in. He gave us a lecture on the doctrine of decrees; that God knew everything as well before it came to pass as afterward. The afternoon I spent in painting, the evening in reading. Saturday in the evening Mr. Beecher and his wife came to see their Mother and Mrs Bull called us from our room to sit in the parlor and behold when we arrived we found that Mrs Bull. had invited our pastor in for the purpose of giving us some instruction which we were all very much pleased to hear. Sunday in the evening Miss Sheperd wanted to go to conference and wished me to go with her and I at last consented Saturday did not attend the lecture on Mineralogy in the afternoon because on account of the weather. Sunday I employed myself in reading the life of Mrs. Abigail Waters.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

1822 Sixteen-year-old Mary L. Wilbor writes of life at Litchfield Female Academy

1822 Diary of 16-year old Mary L. Wilbor at Litchfield Female Academy

Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut

Litchfield May 28th, 1822 Went this morning to visit the remains of the once lovely and interesting Miss Helen Peck who died yesterday after a severe illness of five weeks. Went to her father's house this p. M. but as I could not get a seat returned home quite disappointed — do not feel in very good spirits. Went down to the Bantam last evening. Misses Austin, Perkins, and myself fell into the water, going to B. met a poor little boy who was an idiot, who was very interesting. I ought to be very thankful my life and reason are spared me! and may I make a good use of these great blessings! . . . Mr. Brace read dissertations today, and Miss Austin's was pronounced the best . I am very glad, for I think she deserves all the praise that is bestowed upon her. She possesses quite a talent for writing; and expresses herself very handsomely. Mr. B. read one of his own compositions, which was elegantly written. Shall be almost ashamed to present mine to him but my turn will not come until week after next, and I will not anticipate evil...It thunders & lightens very vividly & loudly, but the bell rings and I must go to church, for I expect Dr. Beecher will be very eloquent, for he is very much interested. Half-past 8. Was just ready for church when Miss Shelton brought me my letters but was so much overjoyed I could not go.


Miss Pierce is expected this afternoon and I hope she will come, for the whole household will be very glad to see her. £ past 6. p. M. An old man is now here with pictures at which we look with a perspective glass, which improves them very much and renders them very interesting but they would be much more so if some of the scenes were from our own country, for he had none of American scenery, but as he is an Englishman it is perfectly natural that he should be fond of showing his country in as favorable a light as possible I had twelve credit marks for doing one sum in Reduction. . . . Went upon prospect-hill with Misses Averill, Brace, Buell, & Clarke and had a very pleasant walk. There is a most delightful prospect from prospect-hill. We went upon echoing rock, it is astonishing how long we can hear the echo — I like Miss Buell very much. She is very polite and obliging. She is from Burlington Vermont, a niece of Mrs Lynde Catline of New York. I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing her at our house when she comes to New York to visit her aunt.

On our return home we found Miss Pierce had arrived from Boston. Miss Brace received good news from her friends. I am very glad for she is quite homesick, and I hope the letter will serve to dispel it a little. I went to the Post Office with Miss Averill but we did not go in, for it was very much crowded with gentlemen. I do not think it is quite proper for us to go to the post-office so often but still continue going! May 30-, arose at a quarter past six and exercised before breakfast which will entitle me to an extra.

Miss Pierce entertained us at breakfast with an account of Cambridge college also a singular gothic chair which was presented by some one in England to the college. I know I shall be happy this summer I like Miss Pierce very much and I am sure she will do everything in her power to render me so. Spent the afternoon in Martha Denison's room with Miss Perkins. Martha read aloud in "The Son of a Genius" by Mrs. Hofland a very interesting book which is written iu a pure and concise style. . . . We do not recite rhetoric for it is the day set apart for parsing. Miss B. has left our house for that of Dr. Sheldon, probably because her friend Miss A boards there and she always appeared dissatisfied but that probably proceeded from her never having been from home much. It certainly could not be that she did not receive sufficient attention for Miss Mary was very kind and did everything in her power to amuse her

On my return from the post office, took a long walk with Miss Austin. I think I like her better than any young lady that boards at Miss Pierce's. She is possessed of a superior mind and I think has paid some considerable attention to the cultivation of it. . . . We met no other person that we knew except D. B. who is the most unpleasant creature I ever knew.

Do not expect any letters to-night for the mail does not come from dear New York on Fridays. 25th Miss Pierce wishes us to speak dialogues or short pieces but I do not wish to and hope she will not insist upon it. . . . We have just received the heart-rending account of the loss of the packet-ship Albion Capt. Williams, of New York, bound for Liverpool. Among those that perished was Mr. Fisher professor of Mathematics in Yale College. Mr. F. was engaged to Miss Catherine Beecher, and his untimely end is severely felt and greatly deplored. After having undergone all terrors, and supposing themselves out of danger, and even in sight of land, it was indeed awful, not only to have all hope dashed to pieces at a blow, but the "boon of life " taken suddenly away.

June 2nd 6. P. M.

Attended church all day. The weather was very unpleasant. Dr. Beecher prayed very affectionately for Mr. Fisher and all on board the Albion who found a watery grave. . . . Missed only L ^. in all my morning lessons. Wrote a dissertation this forenoon On the uses of history, a subject on which I have had but a few ideas. Misses Reeve, Tufts, Mrs & Miss Lord took tea with us — H. Buell & myself went home with Miss Lord. We had great sport. . . . Mr. Brace had all his bugs to school this p. M he has a great variety, two were from China, which were very haudsome, almost all the rest were of Litchfield descent, and he can trace their pedigree as far back as when Noah entered the ark. Spoke to Mr. B. of Aunt Julia. He recollected her perfectly, said he thought her very beautiful. . . . Miss Austin has a great deal of humour but her spirits are easily depressed. I should like to fathom the character of my bedfellow Miss Buell for I think her a singular girl, she has a singular peevishness of temper which is very unpleasant; I do not know but that is her only fault, for she is a very pleasant companion, and that excepted she is a very agreeable girl.

Miss Austin has just come in and being in very high spirits she makes so much noise it is impossible to write.

Wrote to aunt J. the dearest aunt I have, also the dearest friend.

Anna Maria Perkins of Ohio also sleeps in the room with us, she is a very good companion and peculiarly amiable.

6- June  Arose before six o'clock, made my bed, swept my room, which will entitle me to an extra.


Have this day commenced learning " Robin Adair," hope I shall be able to play it soon. This is examination day and I have many long and hard lessons to recite. We think of going to Canaan tomorrow. If it is pleasant we shall go at six o'clock in the morning. I do not know who will accompany me, but I think Miss Austin and two Misses Tufts, we had expected the pleasure of the company of Miss B. and Miss P. but Miss B. will go when her friends come, and Miss P. will not go for reasons unknown. I do not think it quite polite in her to refuse to go when she knows that the pleasure of the party depends in a great measure on her accompanying us, but mum! I fear I am often, too often guilty of more impolite conduct but

The text this p. M. was "Pray without ceasing" Dr Beecher was unusually eloquent he appears very much engaged in the "good cause." His church is encreasing very much and great attention is paying to Religion and every one appears interested and a great many meetings are held every week. Miss Buell Miss Perkins and myself went to take a walk after dark and left Miss Austin at home all alone.

After our return Miss P. and myself went to a meeting which is attended every Sabbath evening at our schoolhouse, but the room was so crowded we could not get seats. So we returned to our house, Miss P. to her writing and I to the studying of my lesson in history for to-morrow.

Tuesday. This p. M. Mr. Brace will propose a sum and I fear it will be very difficult. All those that study Blair are under the necessity of writing figures which is very difficult. Mine were left until the last and of course they were pretty well selected, for it is Mr. B's rule to leave the best until the last.

Mr. B. read figures yesterday and he selected five from the parcel, as being selected with the most taste and judgment, and I had the pleasure to perceive that mine was among the "priveleged few."

I have engaged to keep the paper this week which I fear I shall find rather a difficult task. Mr. Brace was passing my desk and saw my journal, he said he had kept one since 1806. I should think it it might be very interesting.

Mr. B reads subjects for dissertations, for the week in which I am appointed the subject is "The causes of dreams" which I think a very easy subject.

We have the pleasure to have the company of little Mary Brace, as she is not more than 2 years old, I presume she does not attend school with an idea of improvement .

July 4, 1822.

46 years have elapsed since the banners of Independence were raised over the shores of America, and about 17, years since General Washington departed this life for the land of spirits there to receive a crown of far greater splendour than that would have been if he had accepted, or rather, taken, that of the United States of America — We were sweetly serenaded by B. & S. and L as we suppose but we were so very unfortunate as not to hear it. When Miss Mary told us of it this morning we were quite astonished that we could be so stupid as not to hear it. It must have been quite romantic, for I never saw a more delightful evening.

This morning was ushered in by the ringing of the bells of the two churches and that of the court-house (which sounds very much like the gaol bell of New York.) and a clashing of fifes & drums, guns &c. Miss A. and myself were invited to a party at Mr J. P. Brace's and we hope to accept the polite invitation.

July 5th, 1822 We attended the party last evening and were rendered quite happy by the kind exertions of Miss Betts and Mr. B. who were very attentive and polite. it consisted of about 60 young ladies all of whom were from our school and about 16 gentlemen. B. D. came home with me I think I formed my judgment quite too hastily of of him for I think him very intelligent. My friend Martha A. wished me to change my opinion and as I think I was prejudiced against him I think it was my duty.

Poor Mr. B. being Captain is very hoarse with the great exertions he made yesterday in the commanding of his troops. An oration was delivered yesterday at the meeting-house by a Mr. Sandford. As Mr. B. engaged to shoot any fair damsel that was seen on the green, and as we supposed the house would be uncomfortably full, none of the young ladies of our house attended. (The writer of this was called away suddenly by family misfortunes and left by stage for Albany.)

Mr S. promised to come to-night and bring his flute and Miss Mary says he will come "if he is alive," I am very busy packing my cloathes. My sudden departure seems to affect almost every one. A gentleman is going in the stage to Albany tomorrow and I fear I must go under his protection but I sincerely hope not.

August 9- I left Litchfield and all its dear inhabitants on the morning of the 21-. The eve. before Mr. S. brought his flute and played while we accompanied him with the piano. Those present were Miss Mary and S. Pierce Miss &c and Mr Brace.

In the night we were awoke by music which appeared to be very near us. we instantly arose and found it to be Messrs. Loring, Burgess and Sullivan with flutes which were played with much skill and sweetness. But all the pleasures of Litchfield could not render it possible for me to remain there and in the morning I took my melancholy departure.

In the stage were a Dr. Goodsell Mr Waters of Charleston Mr Hall and his mother of Columbia. When we arrived at Norfolk where we changed horses we were joined by a company of boisterous Dandies but our carriage not being sufficiently large to carry both parties they proceeded in a separate stage. We were not annoyed by them at all — but they made a great noise — When we stopped to dine they appeared to have received a renovation of spirits — but they had not gone far before they broke their carriage which detained us so much that we did not arrive at Albany until about 8 o'clock. We staid there until the next day at 4 o'clock when we left there for Utica. A Mr. Brown of Auburn was one of our company and was very polite to me. We went to Schenectady that evening and left there at 3 in the morning. In one of the stages was Mr. C. Kirkland who paid me much attention. We arrived at Utica about sunset and after calling a moment on Aunt B. I went to New Hartford with Mr. Mrs and Miss Marie Lyon who came to join Miss Rossiter, and in the morning went with F. Hurlbut to see my dearest Mamma.

Friday, July 13, 2018

1820 Jane Lewis's Journal writes of life at Litchfield Female Academy

Jane Lewis' Journal for the summer of 1820.

Litchfield Female Seminary in Connecticut

Sunday morning Mr. Beecher preached from Gen. 7th Chap. 1st & 5th, "And the Lord said unto Noah, come thou, and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." "And Noah did according unto all the Lord commanded." In about 15 years God looked upon the earth, and saw there was great wickedness, and he said "The heart of man is evil continually, every imagination of man's heart was evil and he said " I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man & beast & the creeping things & the fowls of the air for it repenteth me that I have made them" but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and he said unto Noah, make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall thou have made in the ark & shall pitch it within & without with pitch." As the ark saved Noah, so will Christ save all who trust in him. Noah by faith prepared him an ark to save him from destruction, so also may Christiaus prepare the souls of their children from the bonds of Satan, It has pleased God to prescribe duties to parents & it has also pleased him to save those who believe on him. At the appointed time when all needful preparations had been made Noah was directed to enter with all his family: into the ark: because the Lord had " seen him righteous before him in that generation" the apostle says that he "became heir of the righteousness which is by faith, The same principle which induced him to believe, on the testimony of God, & contrary to all human probability, that the deluge would come at the appointed season, led him also, on the same testimony, to expect the day of judgement & perdition of ungodly men, this moved him to flee from the wrath to come, as well as to prepare the ark; & as he believed that, in the ark alone he could be safe during the approaching deluge; so he doubtless believed the revelation of a saviour, & sought & expected salvation through him alone. The duty of God requires that he that exercises faith for his children shall be saved, Noah exercises faith for not only his children but for all mankind, he preached 120 years for their salvation but what effect did it have " God has made provision in the covenant of grace for our children. Before the deluge Noah's family was the only one who could say, I keep thy commandments. What relation should we exercise toward our children. In order to bring our children to Christ we must first come to him ourselves "God has mercy on whom he will have mercy" It is necessary to bring them to a covenant with Christ. The piety of parents is necessary to bring their children to a peace with God. When children are in great danger parents who have no religion themselves may feel interested for the welfare of their children, and when parents die & have no heavenly comfort, they feel for them & repent if their past life has not been spent to the salvation of their children.

"What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world & lose his own soul," heavenly treasures are eternal, but earthly riches are but few & transient. Happy they who are a part of Christs family, and safe with him in the ark, they may look forward without dismay, & rejoice in the assurance that they shall triumph when a deluge of fire shall encircle the visible creation, but, unless we. dare to be singular, & renounce the favor and venture the scorn & hatred of the world unless we be willing to submit to self denial & diligence, we can find no admission into this ark

Sunday afternoon Mr. Beecher preached from Hosea 10th. 1st, "Isreal is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself" Isreal has often been compared to a vine, but the nation was become an empty vine that bringeth forth no fruit to perfection. They not only spent their abundance on themselves but even their apparent good works sprang from ostentation, or other selfish motives, & not from regard to the glory & the will of God. We shall consider first that there is a difference between love & selfishness. We exercise more love to ourselves than to our neighbours & this is termed selfishness. 2nd. modification of selfishness is to love to God. God loves his children if we keep his commandments.

Sunday evening Mr Brace read a sermon.

Monday we were examined in the third volumne of Sacred History and recited in Modern Europe.

Tuesday sums were given out. —

Wednesday morning recited in Logic and Modern Europe, afternoon I went over to see Roxana Clark along with Maria C.

Thursday was parsing afternoon, no division beat as several had the same. —

Friday was examination day.

Saturday Miss Pierce gave us some very good instruction.

Sunday morning Mr. Baldwin preached . . . evening I attended conference, Mr Baldwin read a letter from Mr. Beecher concerning the revival at New Haven & delivered an exhortation —

Monday to Saturday nothing particular happened. I attended school and recited my usual lessons in Logic & Modern Europe — & attended to the usual occupations of school, mornings & evening's generally devoted to study.

Saturday afternoon took a short ride.

Sunday morning I attended meeting heard Mr. Hooker preach — Evening attended conference — The remainder of the week was spent the same as usual.

Sunday morning Mr. Beecher preached — Evening Mr. Beecher gave an account of the revival in New Haven.

Monday was examined in 3rd Vol — of Universal History

Tuesday forenoon recited in Logic & Modern Europe & wrote, afternoon Mr. Brace gave out sums. I did not have the good luck like others of my companions to get a sum done — evening took a short walk.

Wednesday was field-day — I had the great pleasure of seeing a Louisania Parawra or Black Bear —

Thursday was parsing day Miss Rogers division beat —

Friday was examined in Modern Europe, Logic & the Coast.1

Saturday my name was called, I cared more for the lecture that I expected than the miss for ciphering, but it was short, much more so than I expected. —

Sunday morning Mr. Beecher preached. — evening attended conference.

Monday forenoon recited in Logic & Modern Europe afternoon was examined in Third Volume of Universal History & spelt.

Thursday took the coast & recited in Logic & Modern Europe.

Wednesday was holiday evening Betsey & Elizabeth both went to walk with me.

Thursday afternoon were called to parse, our division has beaten twice this summer, evening Betsey & Elizabeth went with me up to Mr. Brace's. We spent the evening very pleasantly with Ann Jones & Margaret Mix.

Friday morning took the coast & were examined in Modern Europe afternoon examined in Logic & the Coast, the latter I did not miss in evening was spent in writing journal & coast.

Saturday the credit marks were taken in & I had about an hundred for writing etc.

Sunday. Mr. Beecher preached morning & afternoon. Sunday evening I attended conference

Monday was examined in Chemistry missed three times afternoon in Modern Europe did not miss.

Tuesday morning finished being examined in Modern Europe & was in afternoon examined in Universal History.

Wednesday was examined in Universal History all day & missed considerable.

Thursday was examined in lectures in Astronomy. Philosophy &c. by having two weeks journal to copy I have missed the wrong weeks journal, This week I have been attending school & preparing myself for the general examination

Sunday morning attended meeting. Mr. Beeeher preached morning & afternoon. Evening attended conference. Monday was examined in Chemistry & Modern Europe. Tuesday was examined in Modern Europe & Universal History. Wednesday was examined in History. Thursday in Paley, Philosophy & Logic Friday in Philosophy, Arithmetic & Rhetoric. Saturday in Grammar Sunday Mr. Mills preached.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

1816 Fifteen-year-old Catherine Cebra Webb writes of life at Litchfield Female Academy

Catherine Cebra Webb at the 1816 Litchfield Female Academy

The Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut

Catherine Cebra Webb was born at 84 Beekman Street, New York City, January 25, 1801. She was the daughter of Orange Webb, a shipping merchant of the firm of Webb and Lamb at the corner Pearl Street and Burlington Slip, and ruling elder in the Old Brick Church and Elizabeth Cebra daughter of Mr. James Cebra, of the Custom House.

Catherine Cebra Webb entered Miss Pierce's school in the summer of 1815, and boarded at first in the family of Lyman Beecher, until Mrs. Beecher's death, and then with the Misses Edwards on North Street, nearly opposite the school. Catherine remained only a few months in Litchfield, — the climate proving too severe for her.

On July 20, 1818, she married Mr. Rensselaer Havens, a shipping merchant of the firm of Perkins and Havens, 198 Front Street, New York City, and ruling elder in the Old Brick Church for 30 years. Mrs. Catherine Cebra Webb Havens had 8 children, 19 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. She has lived since 1873 in Stamford, Connecticut, until her 96th year.

Frances Maria Webb, an older sister of Catherine Cebra Webb, also attended Miss Pierce's school about 1810 or 1811, and met there Alexander Garden Fraser, of Beaufort, South Carolina, a student in Judge Gould's Law School. Frances M. Webb was born June 5, 1796, and married Alexander G. Fraser, June 5, 1812. Frances M. Webb Fraser had 4 children and died in Edinburgh, August 5, 1847.
Catherine Cebra Webb wrote:
I left New York, Wednesday, July lst, 1816, for Litchfield, to enter Miss Pierce's school. I took a steamboat to New Haven, and went by stage from there to Litchfield. The Rev. Mr. Stockton, a friend of my Father's, took me up.

I went to board in the family of Dr Lyman Beecher but stayed there only three weeks, as his wife was so ill they could not have the care of boarders. Miss Catherine Beecher and a Miss Burr, presided over the family. Dr Beecher had a room in the attic for his Study. I had a room with two Misses Wakeman, who were also pupils at Miss Pierce's school. Catherine Beecher had to send a report every Saturday of the conduct of the young ladies in her family, to Miss Pierce.

When Mrs. Beecher's illness obliged me to leave there, they got another boarding place for me across the street, with the Misses Edwards — two sisters — Miss Nancy and Miss Betsey.

They were very religious women; and as the Sabbath began then at sunset on Saturday, we had to hurry to get our letters from the postoffice, and be back before the sun went down. After supper, the Sabbath began with religious exercises — reading of the Bible and prayer—Sunday we all went to Dr Beecher's church. On one occasion, some of Judge Gould's law students were talking during the sermon, when Dr Beecher paused, and looking at the square pew at the right of the pulpit, (where Judge Gould's pupils sat) said, "I will suspend my remarks until those young gentlemen have finished their conversation."

There were no Sunday schools in those days. On returning from church, all we had for our dinner was a piece of pie and a mug of milk, as the Misses Edwards considered it wrong to cook on Sunday. We went to an afternoon service, then had a simple tea, and when the sun went down Sunday was over; but we had prayers and went to bed.

School began at nine o'clock, and closed at noon for an hour's recess, when we went home for our dinner and came back; but I cannot remember how long it kept in the afternoon — whether it was three or four o'clock —

Miss Waite taught me music, and I went into the back parlor of Miss Pierce's residence, to take my lesson on the piano. I remember "The Battle of Wagram" was one of my pieces. I had a very handsome paint-box which my father had imported from England for me, and I took drawing lessons at Miss Pierce's, but I cannot recall the teacher's name.

I did not stay long at Litchfield, as I was a delicate girl, and it was so very cold my Mother was afraid to have me stay. I came home in the Autumn, I remember when Dr Beecher's wife died. Her name was Koxana Foote; and I heard Dr Beecher preach her funeral sermon, standing in the little tub pulpit, while her coffin stood below it .

Miss Pierce had a nephew, John Pierce Brace, who lived, I think, next door to Miss Pierce's, and he taught every day in the school.

Miss Mary Pierce did not teach; only Miss Sarah, She was of medium height, rather fine-looking and dignified, and very religious. We had school every day; only, it seems to me that on Wednesday and Saturday we had a half-holiday.

Among the pupils was a Miss Catherine L. Webb, from Cooperstown, (sister of James Watson Webb) — two Misses Farnham from Massachusetts — Miss Phebe Conklin from Poughkeepsie — two Misses Sanford from Jamestown (N. Y.) — and Miss Emmeline Beebe from Connecticut . (She was the one who told Miss Pierce she could not study because the girls kept up such a "cessation" through the room.) There was also a Miss Caroline Delafield, who lived at her Uncle's, Gen'l Tallmadge's,1 and came to certain recitations only.

Old Grove Catlin kept the Hotel in Litchfield, and had a daughter Flora, who was quite a belle. The law students used to quiz him about his daughter's popularity, and he said, "Yes, my daughter Flora is assassinated most every night" (meaning serenaded) He also said he wore his old-fashioned watch seal "for the antipathy of the thing" (meaning antiquity) — Dr Beecher had two colored servants named Zillah and Priscilla — I remember their grinding the coffee for breakfast. There was a large sink in the kitchen, and a couple of basins, and we had to go there to wash — It was the only place — so of course we could not take much of a bath — which was a great trial to me.

While I was at Dr Beecher's, the Rev. Mr. Nettleton, the revivalist, came to visit him, and I remember their drinking cider and pearlash with their breakfast.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

1815 Caroline Chester, age 15, writes of life at the Litchfield Female Academy

1815 Diary of Caroline Chester 

Litchfield Female Seminary in Connecticut

Caroline Chester was born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1801, and died on April 20, 1869 at Troy, New York. She married John Knickerbocker, in 1825, and died at Troy, New York, 1870. She was 15 years old when she attended the school.


Nov. 30, 1815. I left Hartford at eight in the morning and arrived at Litchfield about four, had very pleasant company, Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler of Hartford, and her niece, Mr. Catlin of Litchfield, and several other gentlemen whom I did not know. It rained constantly almost the whole day. West Hartford was the first place we passed through, it is a very pleasant place though a small one. Farmington is much larger, and as we passed through Main street I saw it to the best advantage. Burlington is a small place consisting of a few houses, one store, a blacksmith's shop, a post office and one meeting house. Harwinton the last town (until we reach Litchfield) is much pleasanter than Burlington, here we left four of our passengers. After riding over many a long hill we arrived at Litchfield which agreeably surprised me. Went immediately to Mrs. Sheldon's where for the first time I saw her and Miss Lucy.

Dec. 1st, 1815. Spent the evening at Miss Wood's upon condition that I would not visit again for a week. Saturday was spent as usual in studying, sewing and hearing instruction. Mr. Beecher visited the school. I was very much pleased, his doctrine is plain and easy to understand.
Dec 19th, 1815. It is one of Miss Pierce's rules to have her scholars rise before sunrise and Dr. Swift observes "That he never knew any man come to greatness and eminence who lay in bed of a morning." It is known that in the 14th century in England and France, people rose much earlier than they do now, and I read yesterday that Buffon said that he was indebted to one of his domestics for ten or a dozen of his works, because he had promised him a crown whenever he would wake him at six and he succeeded in his attempts. Czar Peter a famous philosopher used to rise to see the morning break, and used to say that "he wondered how man could be so stupid as not to rise to see the most glorious sight in the universe; that they took delight in looking at a beautiful picture, the trifling work of a mortal, but neglected one painted by the hand of the Deity." Dr. Doddridge says that the difference it would make if a person should rise at five or seven for the space of forty years, supposing him to go to bed at the same hour of night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years.

Dec. 20th, 1815. Called for Hannah Wolcott, and at her mamma's request she took me to her Uncle Wolcott's house. It is elegantly furnished. He has in his sitting room pictures of six old venerable gentlemen, a picture painted by his daughter, and a print. In his library are two large bookcases filled with books, likenesses of his wife, mother, father, daughter and her husband Mr. Gibbs. In his drawing-room are several large prints from Homer's Iliad, the battle of Bunker's Hill and death of General Montgomery, a large print called Marc Antony, three or four landscapes painted by Mrs. Gibbs and many others. Hannah showed me some Chinese curios, two men one holding two small boxes of tea, and the other, a curious looking personage, a Chinese woman, a pair of ladies and men shoes, stone cut in various shapes, Ivory globes made in the most elegant manner, a number of boxes, six or seven figures made of plaster of Paris, some baskets, and a beautiful collection of shells.

Dec. 27, 1815. Miss Mary Hooker, Miss Burr, Miss Reeves and Miss Beecher at tea. In the evening heard a long letter read from Mr. H. Sheldon. He wrote that he had visited the catacombs and asked his guide if Bonaparte had ever been there, he said "No, Bonaparte had never expressed any desire to be with the dead."

Jan. 1, 1816. Went to school with a determination to improve all in my power, recited in History without a mistake, in the afternoon I went to Mr. Bradley's tavern in a sleigh with Hannah Huntington, John and Mr. O. Wolcott, W. T. and Mary. Had a most delightful ride, returned with Hannah to tea, in the evening took a sleigh ride and returned home about nine. Had a great many wishes that I might have a Happy New Year.

Jan. 2, 1816. After school returned home with Louisa Seymour, and drank tea with her and enjoyed myself extremely. Mrs. Seymour is a very fine woman and endeavored to have our time pass agreeably. I almost froze returning home, for the cold was excessive.

Thursday. After school took a walk with Margaret Hopkins of Philadelphia. I am very much pleased with her, she is not only beautiful, but amiable, kind, generous and sweet tempered. Dr. Fowler drank tea at Dr Sheldon's and staid through the night. After studying an hour I went to Mr. Brace's where I spent the evening most agreeably and saw a plenty of butterflies and spklers. I returned home about nine, attended family prayers and retired to my room.

Thursday. I rose as usual early and exercised, knit and mended my school frock, when it was finished, the cow bell announced that I must prepare for school. Mr. Brace commenced school as usual by reading a portion of Scripture, and prayer. After school I called at Mrs. Wolcott's, Mrs. Beeves', and called and gave Mary Deming some of Eliza Royce's wedding cake. In the evening I drank tea at Mrs. Deming's with Miss F. Catlin who is the most beautiful woman in Litchfield, Mary Wells cousin to Mrs. Hudson, she unites to a lovely face all those pleasing qualities which delight and attach and make us love and admire, the two Misses Buel and Mise Landon with several of the students. The afternoon was spent very pleasantly at Mrs. Aaron Smith's with her niece Mary, the Misses Hopkins from Philadelphia, Miss Wadsworth from Montreal, Miss Rockwell from Albany and Miss Lewis who resides in Litchfield. The evening was spent very pleasantly in reading a letter from Mr. Henry Sheldon to his sister Lucy. He wrote that he had seen the ascension of two balloons, and that the French surpassed all other people in sublime trifles, that the first ascended in a very fine evening, covered with lamps, conveying a man named Augustine, who was afterward found at some distance from Paris almost frozen to death. The next, he wrote was much the most interesting as it conveyed a young heroine of 20 or 25. She cut the cords to her frail bark and every heart ached, while she ascended so far in the air that she was hardly perceived. She suffered no injury and was afterward presented to the King. Hannah Wolcott, Helen Peck, Margaret and Adela Hopkins came and staid about an hour.

Monday. Rose at an early hour and took a long but pleasant walk with Mary. At school I recited a lesson in Sacred History and had the pleasure to hear Miss Pierce say I had said a most excellent lesson. In the afternoon I learnt in my Blair that poetry is the language of passion, or of enlivened imagination, formed most commonly into regular numbers. I also learnt that a person who composed a letter must write with ease and familiarity, simplicity, sprightliness and wit. Our lesson was very interesting and I recited without a mistake, but it fully convinced me that I was not born with a genius for letter writing. After school took a delightful walk with Mary and Charlotte Storrs. Went with dear Theodosia Devaux who is from Camden, S, Carolina to see Harriot Kirby. Went with Mary to take tea with Clarissa Seymour. ะก Marsh, E. Welch, E. Storrs and L. Seymour were there. I spent my time very pleasantly. In the evening we recited anecdotes, one was — A man who kept an ale house by a pound was frequently visited by the students who wrote over the door " Ale by the pound." The Proctor of the university unwilling to have them visit it, complained to the Vice Chancellor who ordered the ale keeper to appear before him. This request was readily complied with, but as soon as he entered the room began spitting and clearing his throat, the Vice Chancellor asked why he did so, he replied — Sir I came here to clear myself. Well how do you do, asked the Vice Chancellor. Very well I thank you. Go! says the Vice Chancellor for an impudent villain. He left him and meeting the Proctor who had complained of him, he told him the Vice Chancellor wished to see him. He went, and the ale keeper spoke and said, Sir you bid me go for an impudent villain and I have brought yon one of the worst I ever knew.

Friday. Mrs. Wolcott called and very politely asked Mrs. Sheldon to permit me to take tea with her and Miss Cook, a niece of hers from Danbury for whom she had made the party (I was at school) Mrs. Sheldon gave her permission and I went. Though Mrs. Wolcott was the only married woman in the room, yet no one would have thought her the oldest for she looked very beautiful. The party was large. Some of the ladies were—both the Misses Catlin, Miss Hooker, Reeves, Kirby, Sanford, Beecher, Devaux, Lord, Landon, Burr and the two Misses Buel. When the clock struck nine, the girl was carrying round the wine, and I too well knew if I was not at home, the family would be displeased. I spoke to the lady who sat next to me and said I must go, and she said it would be extremely improper in her opinion for me who was the youngest in the room to go first, because if I went, all would go. At about half past nine Miss Burr rose to go, and all the company followed her example. It was very cold and as I crossed the green, the wind blew and I thought, what can be keener? but I found when I reached home that a keener blast awaited me, a blast which will never no never be erased from my memory. I opened the door with a trembling hand, no one was in the room, but soon Dr. came. My heart throbbed violently, and he said — why are you home at this late hour? I told my excuse, he interrupted me by saying that it was but a poor excuse, that I might as well have come as not, for it would have been perfectly proper if I had only been five years old. He concluded by saying that if I ever staid out again he certainly would lock the door if it was after nine. I looked round for a candle but there was none. I asked for one and he said if I wished one I might go up stairs and get one. I spoke and said, Sir I can go to bed in the dark, he made no objection. As I went up stairs I wept as a child and wished I was at home with those friends whom I so dearly dearly loved. Mary was asleep and I thought I should have frozen before I undressed myself, and thus did I pay for my whistle. The party was pleasant but the scolding was not, and sincerely did I wish I had not gone..

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

1825 Rules of Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut

Litchfield Female Seminary in Connecticut

1st. You are expected to rise early, be dressed neatly and to exercise before breakfast . You are to retire to rest when the family in which you reside request you. You must consider it a breach of politeness to be requested a second time to rise in the morning or retire of an evening.

2nd. You are requested not only to exercise in the morning but also in the evening sufficiently for the preservation of health.

3rd. It is expected that you never detain the family by unnecessary delay; either at meals or family prayer. To be absent when a blessing is asked at table, or when the family have assembled to read the word of God, and to solicit his favor, discovers a want of reverence to his name, and shows that you have a cold heart destitute of gratitude to the author of all good.

4th. It is expected as rational and immortal beings that you read a portion of Scripture, both morning and evening with meditation and prayer. That you never read the word of God carelessly or make use of any Scripture phrase in a light or trifling manner 

5th. It is expected that you attend public worship every Sabbath, except some unavoidable circumstance prevent, which you will dare to present as a sufficient apology at the day of judgment.

6th. Your deportment must be grave and decent while in the house of God; all light conduct in a place of worship is not only offensive to God but an indication of ill breeding; and highly displeasing both to the good and the polite.

7th. The Sabbath must be kept holy, no part wasted in sloth, frivolous conversation or light reading. Remember that for all our time, but particularly for the hours of the Sabbath, you must give an account.

8th. Every hour during the week must be fully occupied either in useful employments, or necessary recreation. Two hours must be faithfully devoted to close study each day, while out of school: and every hour in school must be fully occupied. (For every hour wasted in school you must give yourselves a whole miss under the rules.) The ladies where you board must mention if you do not study your two hours each day.

9th. You must never interrupt your companions by talking, or any other disturbance during the hours of school, or those set apart for study.

10th. The hours appointed for any particular study or occupation must not be employed in any other way, but the appointed lesson.

11th. You must suppress all emotions of anger, fretfulness and discontent. Bear always in your memory the many blessings God is continually bestowing upon you, for which he requires not only contentment but a cheerful temper.

12th. The truth must be spoken at all times though it might seem more advantageous to tell a falsehood.

13th. You are expected to be polite in your manners, neat in your persons and rooms, careful of your books, clothes and every article of use.

14th. Tale bearing and scandal are odious vices and must be avoided: neither must you flatter your companions by any remarks on their beauty, dress or any accomplishment, in order to increase their vanity, and let every one thus flattered remember that such compliments are au insult offered to the understanding.

15th. While you are forbidden to repeat anything to the disadvantage of your companions, you are also requested to inform one of the teachers if you observe anything amiss in your school fellows which your teachers can correct. This not to be done from malice, but from a sincere desire for their reformation.

16th. Every scholar is bound to conform to the regulations of the family in which she resides. They are never to go out of an evening without permission from the lady who has the charge of them; are not to read any book, or engage in any amusement without her approbation.

17th. No young lady is allowed to attend any public ball, or sleigh party till they are more than 16 years old.

18th. Speaking or moving once in school hours either with or without liberty will take off a part of the extra —unless they move to recite or practice, or write at the tables — Speaking more than once will take off the whole extra and often give you a quarter of a miss.

19th. You must write a letter to be corrected and sent home to your friends once in four weeks — except excused. You must not write a careless note, or any careless writing. You must write a composition once in a fortnight, of 200 words. You must write at least 30 good lines in a week.

20th. You must have a lesson ready to recite when you first come into school.

21st. You must come in or go out of the school in a quiet genteel manner — you must not talk or laugh loud in the street.

22nd. You must not wear your party dresses, or any handsome lace, neither your best hats or shawls to school.

23rd. You must not walk for pleasure after 9 o'clock in the evening. A reward will be given to those who do not waste any money, books, clothes, paper or quills, during the term. To those who have their duties performed at the proper time. To those who have not been peevish, homesick or impolite. To those who always attend meeting or church. To those who never write carelessly.