Henry Livingston, Jr.
Witness Letters



Top page missing - Newburgh, N.Y. stationery

...been questioned as authentic authors, so why not unearth all we know. We can't say emphatically that H.L. is the author of it. Tho' we believe it positively- The public will say "that is a dream of the family; prove it- why have let it lie so long dormant? That idea is rather damning don't you think so, & they will ask the reason for this late datea.

You say so positively Cousin Will in your letter to your cousin "Our great grandfather wrote it & the fact should be known to all the world"- Years ago Cousin Gertie said she began to think it doubtful- I however agree with you, you deserve a world of credit for your courage, & I will help you all I can- & the rest of the family should but I would give much to talk it over with you before yr article is put in-

I believe with you, & you have cumulative evidence, which even if not proven is of great interest- & as H.L. was such a versatile, cultivated gentleman there is much to back him up in the public mind- & the matter should be made public-

You have yr Aunt Eliza's letters to my sister - Anne Livingston Goodrich? but we ought all to have combined & claimed our ancestor as the author long before we did - especially the younger descendants of those who actually heard him read the poem, his son Charles- I will try to describe the house he lived in as I recall it- tho' I think I have already done so-

You must know the history of the various Livingstons that were born at "Locust Grove", several Henry's- It was built by Gilbert L. who was the brother of Phillip & Robert, was he not, in 17- hundred & something, & we have the pane of glass on which he wrote the date of the building with his diamond ring, I gave it to my nephew Edward Livingston Montgomery- (please don't ask him to unearth it, for he couldn't do it) the red-embassed velvet xx which belong to Gilbert L- I was surprised to see in a glass case in the Washington Headquarters Museum in Newburgh- it gave me quite a start!

The house was of stone, painted white- a long low building one story above the main floor, & dormer windows above that- A big front door Dutch style, green- divided in the middle with old brass knocker. big fireplace on entering hall- & corresponding one xx stairs where he used to stand & read his poems to his family, when he emerged from he called his "Den"- The house was part stone, & part wood- It faced the lawn he speaks so beautifully of in his poem, in full view of the moon on the crested snow, and the tiny reindeer- I can't quote it as I haven't the poem, but you know it- The carriage drive went from the old coach road, (the high road from N.Y. to Albany) passed This manor house if it may be styled that in its unpretentiousness, and circled round the lawn. An old fashioned well with oaken bucket stood in front, which my great grandmother Catherine Livingston, (not yours) fell down at an early age in her search for the unknown- & from which her nurse rescued her by means of the oaken bucket- But all this is in my sketch-

If you only had a wee corner for me, a sofa would do, I would love to stop a night & discuss it all- but I know you haven't- nor would I ever again put you out by occupying your room- so I will wait till I see you here-

Now I must stop- and with love for Cousin Emma, Yourself & the children-

Always affly yr Cousin

Cornelia Griswold Goodrich

"The Inn"
160 Grand St.

The house stood in Locust Grove while Uncle S.F.B. Morse was there & was more or less in ruins & was torn down.

SOURCE: New York Historical Society, Thomas Papers


Arguments,   Quest to Prove Authorship,   Scholars,   Witness Letters,   Early Variants,   Sources,   Publicity,
First Publication,   Timeline,   Smoking Gun?,   Clement Clark Moore's Poetry,   Fiction,   Letters from You

Xmas,   The Man,   Writing,   History,   The Work,   Illustrations,   Music,   Genealogy,   Biographies,   Locust Grove

Henry's Home

Mary's Home

IME logo Copyright © 2003, InterMedia Enterprises