Witness Letters
WS Thomas



Dr. William S. Thomas
240 West 71st Street
New York

My dear Cousin.

The little incident connected with the first reading of the "Visit of St. Nicholas" was related to me by my grandmother, Catherine Walker Griswold, who was a daughter of Catherine Breese, the eldest daughter of Henry Livingston. As I recollect her story, there was a young lady spending the Christmas holidays with the family at "Locust Grove" on Christmas morning. Mr. Livingston came into the dining room, where his family and their guests were just sitting down to breakfast. He held the manuscript in his hand, and said that it was a Christmas poem he had written for them. He then sat down at table, unfolded the manuscript, and read aloud to them "The Visit of St. Nicholas"

All were delighted with the verses, and the guest, in particular, was so much impressed by them that she begged Mr. Livingston to let her have a copy of the poem. He consented, and made a copy in his own hand which he gave to her.

On leaving Locust Grove, when her visit came to an end, this young lady went directly to the home of Mr. Clement C. Moore, where she filled the position of Governess to his children.

The above is all that I remember positively as having been told me by my grandmother.

There are two further details which I think were a part of the story, although I am not so sure of my recollection of them as of the above main facts. One is that the young lady was either a Canadian or an English woman (I am inclined to think the former) and that other is that, on leaving Locust Grove, she went to join Mr. Moore's family in one of the Southern states.

I heard this spoken of by Mrs. Griswold after I had reached years of discretion (20 years). [About 1870, based on Mary's birthdate about 1850] She spent the latter years of her life at my father's home at Poughkeepsie, where she died in 1881.

Yours sincerely,
Mary W. Montgomery
59 West 53d st.
March 3rd 1917 New York

A Southern Moore Connection with the Livingstons:
Henry Livingston lived very near the home of his first cousin Judith Newcomb Livingston, who was married to John Moore. Moore was the brother of Rev. Thomas Lambert Moore, who was married to Clement Moore's aunt, Judith Moore. John and Judith had a daughter Lydia Hubbard Moore, who was married to Rev. William Henry Hart. Lydia and William's children were all born in Richmond Hill, Virginia between 1816 and 1829. Their eldest child, Frances Livingston Hart, married Rev. Clement Moore Butler, the brother of the Harriet Butler of Troy NY who took the poem from Moore's home to be published in the Troy Sentinel.

Thomas Collection


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