Jeanne Denig
WS Thomas



New Lamont Hotel
East Liberty
Pittsburgh, PA
[1918 or 19 wst]

Dear Cousin Will:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good morning! I hope you & cousin Emmy and the children are well and will find your Christmas stockings bulging.

We thank you unspeakably for your kind & cordial words concerning our precious son, who arrived home on the "Kroonland."

He has spent three days here with us in Pittsburgh & will be with his family in Philadelphia over Christmas.

On December 26th he returns to the Brooklyn Naval Hospital for further inspections.

I gave Rob your letter and he will try to see you. Will you be at the Hospital on December 26th?

Rob has very good use of his hand and waves his arm, but he says he has little sensative - for instance if he pinches the [blerk?] he does not feel it. Possibily he will be ordered for further treatment - electricity perhaps.

He wears two service stripes and two wound stripes.

Commodore has been on active duty since the beginning of the war, and has been stationed in Pittsburgh as the principal head of fleet supplies for the Navy.

I did not receive the letter you mention as having written me concerning Great grand father's verses- My mother was greatly excited when the first edition of the "Night Before Christmas" was published in the name of Clement C. Moore- She bought a copy & brought it to my grandmother, who calmly said "Some one has made a mistake- Clement Moore did not write the "Night Before Christmas." Your grandfather Henry Livingston wrote it. I was brought up to believe this statement. My grandmother has repeatedly told me all about it- and of having heard it read by Major Henry himself as by himself.

I gave Rob the letters I had of Grandfather's. In Navy life things get packed up & sometimes remain packed for years,& one does not know where to look. I know of a chest of things of ours that is somewhere. I don't know where. We used to have the privilege of storing things in Navy Yards. I sometimes dream of a packing trunk of dresses I think I had that I did not give away nor yet wear out!

Rob said he gave me back the letters to send to you. I do not remember it. At any rate those letters bore no reference to poetry and threw no light on the authorship of the classic verses.

If Guy Livingston has the Livingston family bible, I think there is a poem in that composed by Major Henry on the birth or the death of one of his children. But this is only a "think" on my part. It is vague in the back of my brain.

My grandmother, Eliza Clement Brewer Livingston, knew her father-in-law, Major Henry Livingston all her llife and was on intimate terms with the family from her childhood- she lived with her grandparents Mitchell at "Russ Plass"{ the estate adjoining the Livingstons. She told me that Major Henry wrote verses all the time, & always at New Year, an address that was published in the Poughkeepsie paper- "Donder & Blitzen" was a familiar expression of his- He wore a night cap in winter & his wife tied her head up in a 'kerchief-

Great grand mother Jane Paterson was very original I have been told. She probably would tie her head up in a 'kerchief if other people wore close night caps- She was quick & lively and did things her own way-

Commodore says "The Night Before Christmas" will ever be a Shakespeare-Bacon sort of affair. He also said the Livingston claim should be given publicity- Why not print that a belief exists among the descendants of Henry Livingston that he wrote the verses - start the ball rolling.

Thomas Collection


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