Correspondence of Rhoda Waterbury and
G. W. Clinton
Rhoda Waterbury and G. W. Clinton
1865 - 1867
by P. M. P.O. Box 299,
Vol. 2. No. 46 [D 187]
Schoharie, Nov. 11th, 1865
is so long since you have sent me word that I fear you are sick and as I have
some news to tell you I can wait no longer. Mr. Austin has decided that my
new Riccia is no Riccia
at all but Grimaldia barbifrons,
so my laurels have all withered and I am trying very hard to find something.
My last packet to Mr. Peck contained Hypnum splendens, Hypnum Crista Castrensis, Hypnum laetum. I see you have
them all by your list so I cannot have the pleasure of sending them. I find
the mosses in fine condition in these days but they need to be handled with
gloves it is so cold I wonder how they can grow so, but I am glad they do for
what fun it is to study Botany in winter. I wish I had saved ever so many
more that I thought I did not need, for now in stormy weather I really learn
more of them than I did when the weather invited so strongly for a constant
ramble. I am not sure but I shall progress faster in winter. But really I
wonder what has happened that you have not written. I thought perhaps you was engaged more than usual about the time of election,
but that has passed off so well I begin to think you must be sick, but I was
so anxious to tell you about that Riccia affair
that I could wait no longer. And I want to tell you though it is not
botanical that my brother in the army is to be home Thanksgiving. We have not
seen him since the day he first turned his face south two years since, he had
just left college and would go; and we are almost wild with delight that he
is coming home unharmed we hope. I know you have just the heart to sympathize
with us and will pardon my giving you thus much of home life. I do hope that
you are not sick but only busy, and I do know it is not reasonable for me to
expect you to devote so much time to me and I will not be so selfish, but
that in time I shall hear that a kind
of your disciple,
Hon. G. W. Clinton
Recd. Nov. 15 & ansd.
Up to this date, the letters between Rhoda and Clinton averaged about one every two weeks.
There is a specimen in the Clinton Herbarium
(BUF): Grimaldia barbifrons
Bischoff USA New York Schoharie Co., Schoharie. Ex Coll. G. W. Clinton,
Miss Rhoda Waterbury s.n. 1860’s Herbarium number: 41899; see introduction above.
affair” may refer to a note made by Sayre (1987) in her biographic
essay on Coe Finch Austin, that “By 1864
The election may refer to a state bi-election
as Andrew Johnson was the new President of the
Hypnum splendens Hedwig is Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) B. S. G.; , Hypnum
Crista Castrensis L. ex Hedwig is Ptilium crista-castrensis (Hedw.) De Notaris; Hypnum laetum Sull. is Brachythecium stereopoma (Spruce ex Mitt.) Jaeg.
Vol. 2. No. 58 [D 174]
Schoharie. Saturday eve, Nov. 1865
am sorry you do not enjoy cold weather but I do not wonder. I too long for
the long summer days when one can be comfortable everywhere and happy in a
sense of freedom to go where they please, yet I like to breathe the bracing
air that makes the blood tingle to the tips of ones toes. I hope you will not
be sick at all this winter for if you do not have such a world of work, as
you almost always do, I shall impose myself upon you in the shape of an
epistle frequently, for you see it is quite a necessity with me, old maid
that I am, I am gathering in a great stack of mosses, my friends say to keep
Betty the goat that does the churning (for we are farmers, that is Pa and I)
but I intend them for quite another purpose. I am thinking of those
blustering days when you cannot see the mountains it snows and blows so, then I shall be up here in my cozy den, as snug as can be
with a huge pile of moss and my gem of a microscope. Oh dear! I am so glad
Homer will not be in the army this winter, for last winter when it was such
weather you do not know how I felt. Do you know now that it has passed I can
hardly realize that the past fearful years have been anything but a terrible
dream? It seems as if I had been holding my breath all this time that he has
been in the army and hardly dare breathe now for fear he will not come safe,
but last night his [horse?] equipage came by express, so he must be near. As
Mr. Austin has sent me three very good specimens of Grimaldia
barbifrons I shall send you one that you may
compare his in fruit with mine sterile. I shall look after mine next spring.
How glad I am that I can send you something Hypnum splendens I have only sterile too but I will send and try
to find it in fruit. I think it was too early for it when I visited
There now! thanks to my little instrument I have a list to send once more
I have not one of your last unless it be Didymodon rubellus.
What a fine Indian summer week! I [have] enjoyed it knowing it was the last warm weather of the year. You will not fear that I do not dress warm in my rambles. When I tell you my eldest brother is proprietor of the Rensselaerville Woolen Mills, the cloths from which you may have seen in the market and in which I dress from before this time until settled warm weather next spring. By the way Rensselaerville is a grand place for mosses. I am quite crazy when I am there, twenty miles from here and we must visit it next summer. Please send me a stem of Leptodon trichomitrium in fruit if you have plenty, mine is sterile. I think you will become acquainted with my friends if I keep up these rambling epistles about everything, well! I believe you do not like a studied letter, and I do not like to write one. There is real pleasure in saying what I think, knowing you will not expect much from your disciple.
I know you will excuse this girlish letter, please tell me is it
difficult to read my writing? I can write a plainer hand if I try.
This is very careless
Hon. G. W. Clinton
Recd Nov. 24. Wrote Dec. 9
Cylindrothecium cladorrhizans (Hedw.) B. S. G. is Entodon cladorrhizans (Hedw.) C. Mueller; Hypnum tamariscinum Hedwig is Thuidium tamariscinum (Hedw.) B. S. G.; Hypnum brevirostre (Bridel) Ehrh. is Hylocomium brevirostre (Brid.) Fleischer; Hypnum recurvans (Michx.) P. Beauv. is Brotherella recurvans (Michx.) Fleischer. Leptodon trichomitrius (Hedw.) Mohr is Forsstroemia trichomitria (Hedw.) Lindberg; Weisia viridula Hedw. ex Bridel is Weisia controversa Hedwig. Hypnum curvifolium Hedwig has survived, taxonomically, in its earlist generic placement.
French (1860) is silent on the establishment Rhoda’s brother manages in Rensselaerville. Grimaldia barbifrons is a liverwort (Hepatica) and is now Mannia fragrans (Balb.) Frye et L. Clarke (see introduction above).
Sullivant’s Plate 7