1854: Clarissa Ann (Van Horn) Hugunin to Hannah Seabrook (Van Horn) Walker

War of 1812 Saber of Lt. Daniel Hugunin

This letter was written by Clarissa [Van Horn] Hugunin (1798-1865), the wife of Daniel Hugunin [or Huguenin] (1790-1850) who was a veteran of the War of 1812, a representative from New York State in the U.S. Congress from 1825-1827, and was appointed U.S. Marshall for the Territory of Wisconsin in 1841 by President William H. Harrison and his Secretary of State, Daniel Webster.

Mentioned in the letter is Clarissa’s 25 year-old daughter Cornelia Matilda Hugunin (1829-18xx), who had decided on a music career but married Z. Blakeley in Cook County, Illinois in December 1854. Cornelia was the youngest of Clarissa and Daniel’s children; others included James Robert Hugunin (b. 1818), Margaret Hugunin (b. 1820), Madora Hugunin (b. 1822), and Daniel Clinton Hugunin (b. 1825).

Clarissa wrote this letter to her relative Hannah Seabrook (Van Horn) Walker (1816-Aft1900), the wife of Benjamin Walker. Hannah was the daughter of Thomas Van Horn (1772-1832) and Lucy Torrey (1779-1849).  The “Uncle Daniel” referred to in the letter was Daniel Van Horn (1768-1855), and the “Aunt Hannah” was Hannah Van Horn (1778-1854), who was separated from William Dolloway for several years prior to her death. Hannah and Benjamin Walker had one child named Medora Walker (1848-1916) at the time this letter was written in 1854.

Stampless Cover

Letter 1, Page 1 & 4

Letter 1, Page 2 & 3

Letter 2, Page 1

Letter 2, Page 2 & 3


Addressed to Mrs. Hannah S. Walker, East Springfield, Otsego County, New York

Kenosha [Wisconsin]
May 20, 1854

Dear Hannah,

In January last I received a good welcome letter. I answered it immediately since when I have not heard from you. I feel very anxious to hear how you all are & if you are all in the land of the living yet.

I hope you will write me soon and let me hear of one & all. Begin with Uncle Daniel — I have thought of him frequently this spring. The weather has been so bad with us that I think if it has been as bad with you that a person affected with a rheumatic complaint must have suffered much. I [hope] times are pleasanter at the Hollow than formerly.

Ann Fox & her daughter — how are they? Aunt Hanna & Caty & Cornelia — your husband & all the little Walkers?

Tell your husband that there is but one solitary bloomer left in this place, & she continues to wear them because she is so obstinate. She is determined to let folks see that there is one woman left who has independence enough left to do as she pleases. All the rest that were going to do wonders were fairly laughed out of it, so gave it up for a bad bargain.

Tell your husband that there is but one solitary bloomer left in this place, & she continues to wear them because she is so obstinate. She is determined to let folks see that there is one woman left who has independence enough left to do as she pleases. All the rest that were going to do wonders were fairly laughed out of it, so gave it up for a bad bargain.

You will see by this date that I have got back to Kenosha again. I went to Chicago last August & stayed with [my son] James until the last of April. [My daughter] Mag’s husband is in N. Y. & she wanted me to come & spend the summer with her & I am afraid of Chicago in hot weather. The cholera is there now, but it is confined to the poorer classes as yet. But I quake when I think of them in hot weather. I think it always will be a sickly place.

[My daughter] Medora’s family are well & live a little ways from this.

[My daughter] Cornelia has made music her profession & intends to try & support herself that way. I tried to do what I could at keeping boarders but this place is run down so low that every one that can get away does & she was not willing to live in that manner. And she has great musical talent & she thinks & is willing to try to have her talents support her. I think every one ought to be willing to do what they can towards their own support so I did not try to dissuade her — although I would rather she had her fancied some other way of supporting herself.

I have rented the house for $100 a year & hard work to get that much. So you may judge of the enterprise of this place by that. The house is old & ought to have some repairs but it is a tolerable good house. It has thirteen rooms in it [and] has a woodhouse, well, cistern, smokehouse, and summer wash house & barn. And then to not be able to get but just enough to keep it insured. I have to pay four & a half percent on the policy & taxes according — not a very flattering prospect. I can get all the embroidering to do just now for it is very fashionable, but it is rather bad for my eyes. But all I care for is to keep it for the children — little as it is. I want nothing for myself but what I can arrange to sew enough to get as long as I can have my health. And when the time comes that I have poor health, why the town may take care of me if the children cannot. If I had dreamed of the downfall of this town when I was East, I would have gone to Albany & gone in an embroidering establishment that was then going off with great gusto.

Love to all & everyone & take pity on one who wants to hear of you all. — C. A. Hugunin

Kenosha, Wisconsin
June 17th 1854

Dear Hannah,

A few days since I received your letter containing the melancholy news of the death of our lamented Aunt Hannah. I feel to sympathize with you. You must miss her very much. She has lived with you many years. I always thought her an intelligent & agreeable companion. When I was with you three years ago, I supposed she would have seen many more years than this over her head. She appeared in good health & good spirits & was so comfortably situated. And she was looking so much better than I expected to see her that I was quite agreeably surprised to see her. You recollect that I had not seen her from the time she separated from Mr. Dalaway until I saw her at your house. I hope & trust she was prepared for her departure which is the main thing at last. This life is but short at any age if we look back.

In your letter, you mention the distribution of her property. I hope the nephews & nieces are all satisfied. As for my part, I have never had a thought of a copper from any of my connections. When my grandmother lived, I understood from her & a Mrs. Hulburt — a witness of a will she made — that my three brothers & myself were to share equally. I supposed it would be so & considered myself entitled to a share. Perhaps I was presumptuous in feeling so — (if so, I have been well punished). When I found she had willed all she had to James with the exception of two hundred and fifty to the two other boys, I felt myself cut off entirely & took it for granted that I was, so I have made up my mind to that effect [and] will never consider myself entitled to any from any other source.

But I think it rather singular that she did not make you her entire heir. This legacy to Teneyck & your brother Abraham must be quite a windfall as well as quite unexpected. Teneyck is quite wealthy, I suppose.

When you write, let me know how much Aunt’s property amounted to (that is if you do not consider it an important question). She was considered by the people at Schenectady very wealthy.

You also speak of Aunts having been called home on account of Uncle Daniel’s illness. I hope he is better & also that Aunt Caty has not been taken sick in consequence of having had to take care of the sick.

I hope you will write often & keep me advised of the health & all the news of your family & all at the Hollow and all connected with the families. I would be delighted to hear often from you & would write oftener if I was not fearful of intruding myself upon you.

Give my love to all the Aunts and Uncle & cousins. And take a share to yourself & pleasant husband. Take good care of your darling Medora. Our poor dear little ones are all down with the measles. The youngest is very sick — I fear dangerously so. Write soon. Yours truly, — C. A. Hugunin


Portion of Daniel Hugunin's Appointment as U.S. Marshall of Wisconsin Territory in 1841, signed by President Harrison and Secy. of State Webster.

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