Correspondence of Rhoda Waterbury and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
May 10, 2006
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Correspondence of

Rhoda Waterbury and G. W. Clinton

1865 - 1867


Edited by P. M. P.O. Box 299, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166‑0299; and Research Associate, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York, 14204. Email:


July 1866

Vol. 3 (105) [M 124]


                                    Warsaw, July 2nd, 1866


My Dear Friend,


I feel sure I have offended, and yet it must have been far from my heart for I cannot remember that last careless letter, do forgive it for I must write again. Our darling baby has flown, we placed his little body in Mt. Hope last Friday. I cannot write you about our desolate home. We start east on Tuesday July 10th, unless Providence forbids, the school has closed. We are ready for a visit from you any day, and yet by your long silence I fear you do not wish it. Will you drop us a line once more? As ever yours


                                    Rhoda Waterbury,


Hon. G. W. Clinton


Recd July 10



The schools of Warsaw township, including the Academy in Warsaw, educated the second highest number of children in the township, after Sheldon: 1,049 students in 1860 (French 1860 p. 716).





Vol. 3. No. 116 [M 113]

                            Schoharie, July 22, 1866


My Dear Friend,


Yours via Warsaw reached me at my home a few days since we left as soon as possible after baby left us, and the remainder of the family are as usual spending the summer vacation here at Grandpa’s. Of course it seems very lonely and still with only the two children here but we try to do the best we can but sister’s health is very poor and unless we can succeed in cheering her some way she must soon follow her children. It is a rainy Sabbath and I am writing but not with the same spirit as a year ago. It is quite easy to theorize about the spiritual when one feels cheerful and the sun shines, but when the clouds come and one is feeling every where to find the Father we care but little for theory and want only a strong abiding faith. If I could only accept some of the old ideas of immortality and the Eternal and never question them, I think I should be happy. I know you will say, “there is revelation,” yet even there so much is left for the imagination to fill up, that it must ever remain the dread unknown unless a strong faith lifts one above it, where nothing is revealed is it not right to form to ourselves the most perfect picture of blessedness of which we can conceive and rest upon it as all we can know of what “eye hath not seen nor ear heard”?


Since my return I have kept my rooms most of the time, not sick I think but worn out with watching and anxiety. I shall begin to ramble again the free air of our mountains and communion with Nature will do more than hours of intense thought toward setting the spiritual nature right I think. I wish I had something to send you and I hope to have next time. But when will you visit us? Will you not be at Albany during the Convention and run up for a day or so? I am very anxious to see you.

I think I must go to teaching again in some institution the first of September, not that I like it better than any other employment, but I was “bred to the profession,” and it is difficult to get away from it. So drop me a line (if you are not so occupied you cannot), telling something about when and how you will come.


I feel quite sure I shall have more of my old self about me after a week of rambling and shall not be so dull. After all this I need not say direct Schoharie as you can hardly mistake the home among the mountains of your disciple


                            Rhoda Waterbury


Hon. G. W. Clinton


Recd Aug. 12 [quite a long delay]


She will teach at the Gloversville Union Seminary in Fulton County (letter of October 6, 1866).


As indicated in the next letter, the convention in Albany was a University Convocation involving the Board of Regents specifically. Rhoda indicated that Clinton did not show for this meeting, as he avoided meeting Rhoda in person at all costs in 1866. As the next letter ishows, he displayed great prudence in doing so, but annoyed his political and professional colleagues with his absence and, as Rhoda hints, possibly suffered some damage to his reputation. The meeting surely celebrated the new administration and organization of the New York State Museum.