Henry Welles Livingston to Henry Livingston
September 9, 1813

NYPL Letters
Gilbert Livingston Collection

Albany 9 September 1813

Dear Papa

I arrived in this City last evening with my Neice Elizabeth Breese and shall leave it again at four tomorrow morning, for Boston where she will spend the winter, and probably the year, with her Aunt Salisbury - I shall after spending a few days with her return by the way of Hartford and Poughkeepsie so that in about three weeks and I [presume Papa] I shall our [more] be rendered happy by greeting those I love- We left Utica at 6 in the morning and arrived here at 1/2 past eight in the Evening which must I think be called good traveling.

Our friends at the [west?] are in health- In the paper of this morning I observe orders for another Conscription which embraces Oneida and the Counties adjoining-

Give my best love D[ear] mama and the children-

Affectionately Yours

H.L. Esq.

Elizabeth Breese was the daughter of Arthur Breese and Henry Welles Livingston's sister, Catharine Livingston. Catharine had died in 1808, when Elizabeth was 11 years old. Arthur was left with 9 children, whose ages ranged from 7 months (Mary Davenport Breese) to only 14 (Samuel Breese). By 1813, Samuel was probably off to the Navy (ending his career a rear admiral) and the next oldest brother, Sidney (who ended his career as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court), was only 13. This most likely explains why Henry, 35 years old at the time, was the one taking his niece to Boston for Arthur.

Aunt Salisbury was Abigail Breese Salisbury, the sister of Arthur Breese and the daughter of Colonel Samuel Breese and Elizabeth Anderson. Abigail had married Josiah Salisbury, a Boston merchant, and they had had two children of their own, Edward Elbridge Salisbury and Elizabeth Martha Salisbury. Since Edward was born in 1814, it's not unreasonable to imagine that Elizabeth Martha might have been named for her first cousin, Elizabeth Breese.

Edward ended up as a famous Yale Oriental scholar. Elizabeth married her cousin, Theodore Dwight Woolsey, another famous Yale scholar, who was also President of Yale Oct. 21, 1846, to Oct. 11, 1871. Woolsey was a grandson of Reverend Benjamin Woolsey, who was also the grandfather of Major Henry Livingston's first wife, Sarah Welles.

When Elizabeth Breese was 19, she married William Malcolm Sands, a Navy purser that she might well have met through her brother, Samuel Livingston Breese.

Sadly, this letter was written only 6 weeks before Henry Welles Livingston died in Hartford CT. It is unknown if he had made it home to see his family before he died. A story told by "Aunt Gertie" in the NYHS describes how Henry Livingston and his son, Dr. Charles Patterson Livingston, went to Hartford to help Henry and returned with black ribbons tied to their hats, so everyone knew that Henry Welles Livingston had died.

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