This letter was written by Clarissa Sedate DeWolf (1822-1854) to her brother, Frederic Edwin DeWolf (1821-Aft1890), a merchant in Cattaraugus County, New York. Clarissa and Frederick were the children of Russell Brewster DeWolf (1793-1872) and his second wife, Clarissa Smith (1797-1863).
At the time of her letter, it’s clear that Clarissa was extremely depressed over the loss of her older brother, Russell Lemuel DeWolf (1818-1847) who died unmarried on 3 August 1847.
Addressed to Mr. Frederick E. De Wolf, Versailles, Cattaraugus County, New York
[Pittsfield, Lorain County, Ohio]
Friday, September 3, 1847
Anxiously waiting to hear from you, we joyfully received yours one week today. Glad to hear of your safe return and that you wre well. And oh, may it long be the same with you. May I yet long enjoy your society, your love, your affection, your kindness, your sympathy, as a dear brother. To you be assured I shall ever reciprocate the same.
We are all in better health than when you were here. My ride to Elyria [Ohio] done me no harm. I was there again on Saturday, attended the Commencement at Oberlin, which held two days last week. ¹ Father has seen Mr. Pelton. He has engaged what help he needs at very low prices — 10 & 12 dollars per month. Of course that is not the place for you, Mr. Bailey, Mr. Van Black, [&] Mr. Prentiss were here yesterday. The Odd Fellow, Mr. Waggoner from Medina, came here last Sabbath morning from whom we received $39. Russell’s travelling Card and Book. Yes, they have returned to us again. Oh Frederick, it is indeed so well Russell never return to us again. Shall we never again hear his voice?
I cannot but indulge myself in gossip. I feel gloomy all the time. I cannot help it, It is impossible. I am so lonely. It seems to me sometimes as though I could not stay here another day. Do write to me often. I want to see you more than ever.
There has been a number of deaths here since you left and many more that are sick. Mr. Sexton’s family are all sick but one. Mr. West that was sick when you was here is but just alive.
When you write, we want you to write respecting Russell’s gravestone. That man that lives near Cleveland was here today with some. He has them from 9 to 40 or 50 dollars. We wish to hear from you before we purchase. He says he will sell as cheap as they can be bought about here. Do as you think best.
There is one thing I forgot to mention to you when you was here. I am owing at Mr. Morrison’s in Forestville 9 or 10 dollars which he said I need not pay till father paid for his horses and so I let it remain and as you will pay for them soon I wish you would settle that for me and I will do the same by you and you will oblige me much. You wrote that Pearl [DeWolf] had a fine [baby]. We would like to know what gender. May good angels watch over and guard you is the heartfelt wish of your — sister.
Our love to you. Excuse this hasty scribble.
¹ The commencement exercises of the Ladies’ Department at Oberlin were held on Tuesday, 24 August 1847. Lucy Stone, the famed suffraget and abolitionist was a graduate of Oberlin on that day.