LETTER (January 12, 1882) WRITTEN BY JOSIAH WARE TO MRS RUTHERFORD B. HAYES CONCERNING SOME ITEMS BELONGING TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

Transcribed by Judy C. Ware
Judy C. Ware February 2009

Original copy of letter on file in RB Hayes Library in Ohio


                                                              Berryville, Clarke County, Virginia,

Mrs. Lucy W. Hayes

My very dear Cousin,

     Wishing that 1882 may, throughout its existence, be a year of unceasing prosperity and happiness to you, the ex-president, and all yours, and that many - very many such years may pass over your heads, alone to bless you “without one drop of mingling sorrow.” 

     Mrs. Ware (I acknowledge, my better half) has a piece of Mrs. General Washington’s dress.  She agrees to send you, with her love, one half of it.  She values it high. 

     I miss seeing you very much and promised you, when I got to see my son in Chicago, I would visit you - but the war reduced me to such poverty that I am unable to do either, and for the few years or days I am allowed to remain, I must school myself to be content and thank the Supreme Being for the blessings I have enjoyed; one of them is the knowledge and affection I enjoyed of your grandmother - if I could only join her in the Region of Bliss when I go hence and we two welcome you there when, from extreme age, you totter out of this life.  But remember, my dear cousin, you have never been to see me, and if you were disposed to visit me, I think I could give you some weeks pleasant time in our strawberry and raspberry seasons, & it being a good season, it’s not too far to Luray Cave if you have curiosity that way.   It might interest the President and Webb, if it did not you and your ladies. 

     I am very clannish.  I cannot admit any other people better than ours and it goes hard not to see my children occasionally.   Tell Webb if he clings to his bachelor (condition) - I have a son in St. Louis, Dr. Charles Alexander Ware, and one at home to sympathize with him.

                                            Love to all - kiss Fannie for me 

                                                     Most affectionately,

                                                                J. W. Ware

                                                         January 12, 1882

The papers are for Mr. Hayes.

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** Webb Hayes was the 2nd son of Lucy and Rutherford B. Hayes.

*** Josiah died on August 13, 1883 at the age of 81.  This letter was written about 1 years before his death.

*** It is of interest to note that “Luray Cave” had not achieved the full name of Luray Caverns yet. The discovery of the full extent of the Luray Caverns had actually just begun in 1878 – just 4 short years before this letter. A man named Andrew Campbell (with 3 other men and his 13 year old nephew) slid down a rope into the cave & discovered the largest series of caverns in the East with only the use of a candle. It would end up being years before people really had a grasp of the magnitude of the discovery.

*** The grandmother that Josiah mentions in the letter was Lucy Ware Webb.  She was Lucy Hayes’ grandmother and Josiah’s aunt.  In a letter written to Governor Hayes in 1876, Josiah Ware wrote of his remembrance of Lucy Webb – his aunt: “Aunt Lucy and my father were each other’s favorites, as she told me, but she must have been every ones favorite that knew her.  In every respect she was the most perfect woman I ever knew – she was old and white-headed when I first saw her.”

In a different letter, Josiah wrote:  “I can see a resemblance in the form of cousin Lucy’s face to Aunt Lucy . . . her eye shows a cheerfulness that was a sweet trait of Aunt Lucy.”

Josiah also said that: “I also knew Cousin Lucy’s grandfather, Isaac Webb.   He was a very small man, of an active figure.   I first saw him, at their house near Lexington, Kentucky - - about 12 miles, I think, east of Lexington --- about 1825.     (Josiah W. Ware Recollections, RBH Diary, III p. 581-2)


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