In late October 1842, Mary Welles Kellogg of Newington, Hartford County, Connecticut, wrote to her future sister-in-law, Julia Ann Gardiner of Waterford, New London County, Connecticut. Mary was born 11 April 1819, the daughter of General Martin Kellogg (1781-1868) and Mary Welles (1789-1865; the daughter of Roger Welles and Jemima Kellogg). Mary Kellogg, the author of this letter, appears to have been chronically ill, but survived to marry Samuel Kellogg Camp in 1847. The couple had four daughters before she died in 1852, but none of them survived past the age of 9. Samuel Kellogg Camp was the son of James Kellogg Camp and Caroline Deming. After his first wife, Mary W. Kellogg died in 1852, Samuel married Mary’s sister, Sarah Welles Kellogg.
Julia Ann Gardiner, the recipient of this letter, was the daughter of Lebbeus William and Eunice (Latimer) Gardiner of Plum Island, New York. It was on Plum Island, off the east end of Long Island, that Julia was born on July 28, 1819, and where her mother died shortly afterward. Upon her mother’s death, Julia and her older brother John were sent to live with their grandparents (Benajah Gardiner and Charlotte Raymond) at Millstone Point, Connecticut, on the northern shore of Long Island Sound. Another sibling, Charlotte, was sent to live with her other grandparents, the Latimers. Her father, a captain of schooners, resumed the mariner’s life, sailing out of New London to eastern seaboard, gulf coast, and South American ports in the coastal trade. He died in 1862.
The rumor of her impending marriage in 1843 to a Mr. Prier (Pryor?) in this letter proved untrue, as Julia Ann Gardiner would marry Mary Kellogg’s older brother, Henry Laurens Kellogg (1819-1895) in 1849. She died in 1864, only two years after her father. Her husband was a farmer and manufacturer in Newington, Connecticut.
The author and recipient of this letter lie buried near each other in the Newington Cemetery.
October 25, 1842
I have just received your letter written me last week. You express great surprise that I have not written you, or answered your letter of last August to us. The truth is I have been expecting Father and Mother would visit the sea shore every week, and I thought I would delay writing you until I could tell you when you might look for them. They thought of visiting you in June, or the 1st part of July, but Mrs. Hart spent that time in Newington, and before she returned, the busy season commenced. It was out of the question for Father to leave in July although Mother wished very much to go at that time. But he intended to go as soon as the hurry of business was in some measure over. But then the rainy season commenced which lasted a long time, and thus disturbed & pushed back all his business. It was then their intention to leave in September. Mother made preparations to go but the week they were to leave, it rained continually. So one thing after another has taken place and prevented them from the enjoyment of a visit to which they had looked forwards with great pleasure and delight. Mother says she never experienced such disappointment in her life respecting any projected visit, as she has felt in not being able to go and see you this summer. September has taken its departure, October is now almost gone, and she will probably see neither Madison or Millstone Point in 1842.
When 1843 comes, if we live and are in usual health (and [William] Miller’s predictions prove untrue), you will undoubtedly see them early in the summer. It seems to be dangerous to procrastinate. I know not in how many instances they have been disappointed by putting off this visit until later in the season. Mrs. Hart spent here a few days in Newington two or three weeks since — said she had been expecting Aunt Kellogg in Madison all summer — didn’t how many times she had made cake for her &c. &c. Mother did think, at one time, of going without Father, and then having him come for her, but she disliked to have him [miss] a visit, which he had been hoping to enjoy with her. It is now so late in the season they are obliged to relinquish the idea of seeing your family for the present.
My health has in some respects improved since you were here in June. My general health had suffered so much from long continued sickness and close confinement that I am almost reduced to the weakness of an infant. Father was determined to get me out, and persevered in his determination. Every pleasant day (Sunday not excepted) for three months, he or one of brothers have carried me in their arms and placed me in the vehicle and I have generally been able to take a ride of a mile, or a mile and a half, without much fatigue. Made cousin Delia 2 visits. Since October commenced I believe I have not been out at all. Miss my rides as I always felt invigorated after being able to take exercise in the open air. But Father has bought me an easy, spring seat rocking chair, which I find very comfortable. I now dress myself every day and sit up 6 or 8 hours. Still I am able to bear but very little weight on my limbs, have not stood alone yet, [and] sometimes am almost constrained to believe that I shall never walk again — yet try to hope for the best. I don’t know that I ever dreaded a season more than I do the approaching winter. How I should love to emigrate with the birds to a warmer clime. But I suppose I must be content to remain in my “north-east prison” as [my brother] Martin calls it, during the winter. I have taken no medicine for nearly two months and find myself about as well as when in the habit of using it. Mother has not been quite as usual of late. We have all been afflicted of late with colds and sore throats.
Things go on in very much the same course they used to about here. We have had Camp Meetings and Millerites Meetings plenty. A Mr. Levi Deming has lately married a Miss [Caroline] Scranton and brought to his new house. And so you and a Mr. Prier are to be joined in the hands of matrimony? Some such report as that comes from Madison, I believe. Is it so, or not? Or do you keep such secrets locked in your bosom? Perhaps I shall be able to go and make you a visit next summer with Mother (in case you don’t get married before then), but all is uncertain.
Mother sends much love [and] says she feels strongly inclined to go down to Waterford even now, although it is so late, but Rhoda is going to New York to make a visit of several weeks at her sisters, and so she is obliged to give it up. You know I should be in a queer situation to be left alone her with Julia for a housekeeper. It would be such fun as neither myself or the others would relish very much. But I have written until I can scarcely see. If you can make out the contents of this letter, I shall give you credit for accomplishing what very few could. I know you will excuse my writing with a pencil, as it is so much less tiresome to me than holding a pen. I want to see you very much and have a chat. Shall we not have the pleasure of a visit from you soon? You know not how much I enjoy your visits. Remember me to all your family. We should be happy to receive a visit from any of them.
Ever yours, with fond affection. — Mary Kellogg
- General Martin Kellogg, the father of Mary Welles Kellogg, was the descendant of Capt. Martin Kellogg who was one of the captives taken at Deerfield in 1704. Mary Kellogg probably wrote this letter from her father’s Federal-style home on Willard Avenue in Newington, Connecticut, which was built for him in 1808. Today, it is known as the Kellogg-Eddy House and is open as a historical museum operated by the Newington Historical Society & Trust. Gen. Kellogg was a partner with John Belden and Daniel Willard in the manufacture of woolen cloth which greatly prospered during the Civil War.
- The cousin that Mary Welles Kellogg visited on a couple of occasions during the summer of 1842 was Delia (Whittlesey) Camp (1808-1894), wife of Homer Camp whom she married in 1829. Delia’s parents were Asaph Whittlesey (1782-1824) and Laura Kellogg (1783-1824). Laura was the sister of Mary’s father, General Martin Kellogg.
- Levi Sage Deming (1817-1895 ), the son of Levi Deming and Sarah Sage of Newington, Connecticut, married Caroline Scranton (1822-1884). She was the daughter of Thomas Scranton and Betsy Parmalee of Guilford, Connecticut. The date of their marriage, referenced in the letter, was 21 September 1842.
- Mary Welles, the mother of Mary Welles Kellogg, was the g-g-g-g-g grand-daughter of Thomas Welles, an emigrant from England, who has the distinction of being the only man in Connecticut’s history to hold the top four state offices — Governor, Deputy Governor, Treasurer, and Secretary. Mary’s father, General Roger Welles, served with Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. Gideon Welles, a distant cousin of Mary’s, served in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet as Secretary of the Navy.