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:


October 1866

Vol.3 No. 157 [M 72]


                            Gloversville Seminary


                            Saturday evening Oct. 6th [1866]


My dear Mentor,


I cannot tell you how glad I am to hear from you once more. I had just written to Mr. Peck, did he know what had happened to you and before his answer came yours, and now I have got so much to tell you & cannot wait another moment. You see I am not at my own dear home but again in active life among pupils and school book, and a pretty active one too, our school numbers a hundred and fifty though most of them are day scholars which relieves us of care out of school hours, but gives but little time at this season for out door exercise though I walk every day and the weather has been so fine since I have been home that I have collected some fine things and last Saturday we made an excursion to Canada Lake the source of East Canada Creek. A delightful time we had of it, a party of fourteen teachers and pupils, the whole distance (sixteen miles) is wild and romantic and we passed several small lakes, made a fire in the woods cooked our dinner and then gathered mosses. I have already sent several specimens to Mr. Peck and find they are new to me and I think they are not in the list you sent of yours - at least I hope so for I want to send you something once more. I just wish I knew what to do for you when you feel so downhearted, don’t you think after all we shall have real happy times when we get together - on the other side? for I fear I shall never meet you here, but I am sure I shall know you there; sometimes and when I feel the most delighted with the objects about me too, I feel as if I could fly if I might but forever enjoy His works without, pain, and sorrow, and care, as I shall up there. I do assure you I think this hope of immortality is glorious, yet I love life here but I am never quite satisfied. The woods were just in their gayest colors last Saturday and the day was made expressly for us, yet the company were strange to me, only friends of a few weeks, and I did not dare talk of all these things as I would to you who know me so well, and part of the pleasure was lost. They think it so strange too that I gather mosses, and then I feel sensitive about it, because you know one does not like to be odd, so I say just as little about it as I can when I am just full of joy that I have discovered something. It is too bad you are so confined to business, and I am anxious to know what you think of the political field now, please tell me for I am uncertain, uneasy, and want direction, you know how very important it is that all women should be right in political affairs. Mr. Peck thinks this part of the state has not been explored expressly for mosses and I may perhaps find some rare things. I hope so too, and I think it a very favorable situation for there the whole face of the county and the soil is very different from Schoharie. It is very sandy and instead of mountains only hills and no rocks. It is strange I was so little acquainted with a place so near my home & the village is entirely given up to glove and mitten making and unless you are acquainted with it you would be as much surprised as I was to see the business done here. Although I am intensely Yankee in my ideas, it is impossible not to remark the difference between a school in a manufacturing village and one of our Academies in a county village. I believe it has often been remarked by others but I have never felt it so much before as now. Yet my situation is quite pleasant and I am contented. I must send you some of my new mosses even if you have them. They will fill up the letter and may do for duplicates.


Please write me when you have time - and don’t let them abuse you with so much business, take time to be happy. I am going home to spend the Holidays will you not be in Albany about that time? The room containing the State Herbarium is never open. I have called every time I have been in Albany the past year and have never found any one to tend to it and Mr. Peck says the same thing. Can there not be some arrangement made whereby we can have access to it? Direct to me


Gloversville Sem, Fulton Co. N.Y.


Recd Oct. 9


Her comments on the difference between the Schoharie Academy and that of Gloversville perhaps involve some lack of refinement in the Gloversville population and an overriding zeal for, perhaps, the Yankee pursuit of making money.


“The room containing the State Herbarium is never open. I have called every time I have been in Albany the past year and have never found any one to tend to it and Mr. Peck says the same thing. Can there not be some arrangement made whereby we can have access to it?” According to French (1860 p. 27, ftnt. 4) all of the collections of both the State Geological and Agricultural Hall, the entire State Museum, that is, “The whole of these collections are open to the public on every weekday except holidays.” Something was happening to disrupt the state of affairs as it existed up to 1860 when French wrote his gazetteer.


Fulton County is 45 miles west of Albany. The western  boundary of the county is formed by the East Canada Creek


In 1860 French indicated that “The manufactures [of the county] consist principally of leather, lumber, and buckskin gloves and mittens.” (p. 314). “More buckskin gloves and mittens are manufactured in this co. than in all others parts of the U.S. The center of the manufacture is at Gloversville, though it is largely carried on at Johnstown and other villages. Work is given out to families through a large section of country, forming the most productive branch of labor in the Co.” p. 34, ftnt. 5. Gloversville is aptly named as a village of “glovers” for “There are in this town over 100 establishments for the manufacture of gloves and mittens, and 10 mills for dressing the skins.” French p. 317 ftnt. 9.


The Gloversville Union Seminary was located there and the township (Johnstown) educated the most children of any other (3,210).In 1860 they employed 7 teachers to preside over 265 students of whom 60 studied “the classics.” There were 101 volumes in its library.


French indicated that most of the county bedrock was buried under glacial drift. The northern part of the county is today in the mountains of the Adirondack Preserve, in 1860 called by French the Great Northern Wilderness of N.Y. where “The hills are covered with a light growth of forest trees; and when once cleared, the soil is too light and thin to produce any thing else.:” p. 314 ftnt 4. Small lakes are a characteristic of the “wilderness region of Northern N.Y.”


Clinton apparently wrote to her after this letter and in the same month (October). It is Rhoda who did not respond in November or December and not until April of the next year (1867).