Jeanne Denig
WS Thomas



134 East Adams Street
Sandusky, Ohio, October 2, 1920

Dear Cousin Will:

I have been writing to you ever since I received the "Monitor" you were so thoughtful to send me. All along I have been hoping to see some challenge in your paper, but have not seen any mention of it. I was and am tremendously interested in proving the author to have been our ancestor. Robbie wrote me that he had received the "Monitor" you so kindly sent to him, and when Grazia went to see him one day not long ago, he gave the paper to her to read but not to keep.

Possibly he hasn't made up his mind yet what to do about his letters. One hates to let such interesting relics pass out of one's hands absolutely. He has had a great deal of work this summer and been sort of men. I imagine he has been so busy that he has not realized the passing of time. We both are enthusiasts over the subject, and I think you are wonderful in your perseverance. Several of my friends have read Mr. Tryon's article are one outspoken woman said the preamble was too long - that the average reader would tire before getting to the point. I tell you this because we really want to know what people think and say.

I am delighted that you suggested a photograph of the chessman and it will be a pleasure to help you that much. You might use the picture in your historical article. Of Henry Livingston's actual personal belongings I possess, besides the chessmen, his pair of wine decanters and his engraving of George and Martha Washington and the Curtis children.

We had in this house also his tall clock and the family Bible. The clock, my mother willed to my niece, Mrs. Harold Crosskill, now living in University Heights. She hasn't taken it away & it is still in Sandusky. I was sorry to see it go out of the house, but my brother would have had it, so my mother gave it to his eldest child. The Bible went to my mother's eldest brother & eventually to Guy Livingston now living in Cleveland. He has said that the Bible is to go to my son Robbie. The Bible was in this house until I was quite grown up. I believe that there are some verses in it written by Henry L-- upon the death of a child. I have seen them somewhere, and I think they were in the Bible.

I will write Jeannie Gurney. Her mother, (Aunt Susan) was the last of Henry Livingston's children. The Gurney's were burned out two or three times, so much may have been lost. I am sending you to read, the last letter I have in my possession written by Henry Livingston. Please return it. I wish to keep it as it is congratulation upon the birth of my mother's eldest sister [Eliza] who didn't live long. I have a letter written by his wife, our great-grandmother. She was chatty, but neither a good penman nor a good speller. I have heard that she was too full of life & activity to care to bother about such stupid things as spelling and conventional letter writing.

My proof that H.L. wrote the poem is the "say so" of my grandmother Livingston who lived with us until 1878 when she died. She was Eliza Clement Brewer, and lived with her mother & her parents, the Mitchells in the house called "Russ Plass", later bought by Judge Smith Thompson. My grandmother grew up with the Livingston children & was much at Locust Grove. She said that everybody knew that H.L. wrote the poem, & when she was a child she had been invited to spend Christmas with the Livingston children & grandfather had read the poem to them -- as his own. My mother said that her father always told or read the poem as having been written by his father. My mother grew up believing it, and taught us to believe it, and grandmother always said "There is no question about it-- There has simply been a mistake!" But with it all, we have no written proof.

My grandmother was born in 1798. The Mr. T. Brewer alluded to in the postscript of this letter, was my grandmother's only brother.

Commodore is working all the time for the American Legion, & marched in the parade in Cleveland, after which he was on the grandstand to meet the British Admiral and the French General. Thank you again for the Monitor. I will send for all the other papers. My love to Cousin Emmie & the children. Affectionately yours,
Jeannie L.H. Denig.

Thomas Collection


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