There turns out to be an entire academic circle of the most wonderful Irving scholars. One of the joys
of research is that threads pull in the most fascinating ways.
I collected all of Irving's
diaries, but couldn't find a direct connection between Henry and Irving. I also couldn't find a
reference by Henry to Irving.
But I DID find a
connection of Irving to Henry's brother-in-law! In 1803, Irving is visiting Utica and, after
church, writes that he is going to Whitesboro for tea with Mr. Platt. Oh, joy indescribable.
Mr. Platt had to be Jonas Platt, the husband of Henry's sister Helen. They had moved to
Whitesboro, where Platt had become a mentor to Henry's daughter Catharine's husband, Arthur Breese.
Don is nothing, though, if not a skeptic. He wanted to know how I could tell that it was OUR Jonas Platt,
rather than someone else of the same name. Fair enough. A trip to the National Archives brought
back the bacon. I could trace all the Platts in New York, and knew where they were in the 1800 and 1810 census.
This was, indeed, our Jonas Platt.
Irving was probably visiting for political reasons. Irving's brother was in the NY Assembly with Platt
and, in 1810, Platt would run (unsuccessfully) for Governor of New York.
One of my research tasks was to learn everything I could about Henry.