Love is in the Air

Betsey Huntington Wolcott

There are some fantastic love letters in the Society’s collection. Here are two excerpts to inspire you from Frederick Wolcott to his beloved Betsey Huntington on June 27, 1800.

If I were to write to you as often as I think of you, the perusal of my letter would afford you a constant employment.  If, however I could flatter myself that you would read them with as much pleasure as I write them, I am sure you would not be unwilling pretty frequently to hear from me.  My mind dwells with great pleasure on our acquaintance & friendship.  I love, without reserve, to write to you & to disclose my feelings; to tell you I am your friend, & that I will always remain so… I shall leave home the next monday on a journey of business, & shall be absent a fortnight or three weeks.  Betsey, how many times do you believe I shall think of you before I return?  May I not with more propriety say how much of my time shall I not think of you? Full transcript

He later wrote of their upcoming wedding:

I will only add that I have never thought Weddings were proper occasions for much parade.  In the one in which I expect to be interested I am willing however that the good Girl whom I love, and in whose judgment I have confidence, should be the sole directress of the ceremonies…. I am entirely happy in the choice I have made and, in my most sober hours, my judgment and feelings wholly approve of my determination (provided you will still yield your assent) to form with you a connection on which in an eminent degree will depend the colourings of my condition and prospects thro life. Full transcript

Their life together was cut short when Betsey died in 1812, shortly after the birth of their sixth child, Laura. Frederick went on to marry again,  but no letters of this kind to his second wife are known.

Maria Tallmadge Cushman

Love isn’t always a bed of roses. Upon breaking her engagement with Virgil Maxcy, young Maria Tallmadge received a letter from Tapping Reeve.

By this you will perceive that I am not unacquainted with events that have given you much uneasiness the occasion of my writing this is that I know on such occasion in such cases the mind is returning to the event and inquiring whether it can be justified my dear child your conscience if rightly informed must acquit you in of any guilt in dismissing Mr Maxcy for I have no doubt that you struggled with your reluctant affections to make them yield. This you found impossible ^ the consequence must have been if you had preserver^ed until you had given your hand you would have done it without giving your heart this would have ^ been a step that could not have been retraced and most probably would have been a source of grief not only to you & would have been injustice to him you must with an aching heart have lived a life of deception and after all your attempts to conceal from him the real feelings of your heart would have been made in vain…your knowledge of his strong attachment to you and your tenderness for him of nature and wish to render him happy might lead you into an error but never stained you with any fault of heart…

She presumably found love after all as she went on to marry John Paine Cushman. Poor Mr. Maxcy’s life did not end so well. He died during an explosion on the ship “Princeton” in 1844.

Click here to find a transcription of the entire letter to download.

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