1844: Daniel Armstrong to Louisa Dwight

This letter was written by Daniel Armstrong (1790-1865), a veteran of the War of 1812, an Owego lime merchant, and the Tioga County Treasurer (1843). Daniel’s wife was Olive Dwight (1799-18??) who was a milliner in Owego several years before and after her marriage. Daniel and Olive had no children.

The recipient of the letter was Louisa Dwight (1819-18??), the daughter of Joseph Dwight (1778-1861) and Deborah Pease (1781-1873) of Cincinnatus — a small village on Otselic Creek in Cortland County, New York.  Five years after this letter was written, Louisa would marry Edward Brint Adcock (1823-????). Siblings of Louisa mentioned in this letter include: Laura (1811-1845), Solomon (1815-1877), and Lavina Samantha (1824-1850). Three other siblings had died prior to 1844: Emiline (1812-1843), Marcus (1817-1843), and John Willard (1821-1823).


[Addressed to Miss Louisa Dwight, Cincinnatus, Cortland Co., New York]

Owego [New York]
November 4, 1844

Dear Louisa,

Ladies Fashions in 1844

We received your letter this morning containing a recipe for coloring for which we return you our thanks and stating that you had not received the patterns. We forwarded a paper about 10 days since on which the patterns were marked and also a slip giving some particulars respecting them. We now send another. The top of the crown to the silk are a very little rounded, but many do not like them as well & have them square. The whole pattern is the silk. Give yourself no uneasiness with regard to the Block as we are much more indebted to yourself & Laura for your kindness in sending the draft and recipe, than the value of 2 such blocks. We are under many obligations to Laura for the draft.

We are enjoying about a usual degree of health, and the family friends all so far as we know are well. We should be much pleased to see you again, Louisa, for you can scarcely imagine how lonely we were for some time after you left us. You had been with us so long that you had become one of the family and we can say without the guise of flattery that no one has ever lived with us has shared more largely in our affections or left a more deep seated regard for your present and future welfare.

We have been taking a retrospect of the past summer and cannot call to mind a single occurrence that interrupted our friendship for a single moment during your stay, and the reflection serves as partly an equivalent for the loss of your society. Mrs. C. Manning sends her love and hopes you will visit her this winter.

Aunt Sally Bissell has been here a little more than 2 weeks and we intend, if possible, to persuade her to stay amongst us during the winter. She wishes to be remembered to all her friends at your place and especially to Brother Joseph & his lady and shall expect to see them here the first sleighing. Adelia & Josephine & Mother send their love. Josephine wishes us to say that Olive has been much hurried in the bonnet business ever since you left and still continues to have all she can do. She sits as usual the most of her time with an old bonnet on her lap and works hard – but you know that ole virginny nebber tire.

Olive & Mrs. C. Manning are now sitting by the kitchen stove taking a friendly pinch of snuff together.

Col. [Benoni B.] Curry steps round with as much self-importance as ever, and he keeps his eye well shined for the Ladies. I hope he will marry this winter.

You will now tender our kindest respects to Laura, Lavina, Solomon, & your father & mother, and all the friends – especially to Joseph & wife & Ambrose & tell them we shall expect a visit from them and yourself Louisa the first sleighing.

With assurances of our kindest respect and an ardent desire for your happiness & prosperity, we remain… Your affection friends, — Daniel & Olive Armstrong

P.S. We should be highly gratified to receive occasionally a letter from you and any other friend who may please to write. – D&O

An advertisement for Milliner Shop


Col. Benoni B. Curry was a tailor in Owego, New York, who kept a shop on the south side of Front Street, opposite Manning’s Hotel in 1841. In 1844 he was a widower, but he later married Maria L. (Clark) Reeves, the widow of Lorenzo Reeves. Maria Reeves ran a millinery shop in Owego. In 1848, Curry expanded and converted the Reeves home into a temperance tavern called the Croton House. It burned in the Great Fire of 1849.

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