March 1992

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Diary of

Josephine Matilda deZeng

Geneva, New York

About Josephine Matilda deZeng

July 1842

Saturday 31st

Had a note from Mag DeL. this morning to see if we were positively going to take tea at Grandpapa's, to which I replied "Yes", also a nice dish of gooseberries from Ed. I then went to apprise Aunt Dox of our invitation and send for May Ten Eyck to go with us. But these preliminaries were scarcely arranged when it began to pour, and rained violently 'till nearly four o'clock, when it ceased for a while. May T. E. then came in, but before I could get dressed it commenced again & continued until tea time & of course prevented the visit. Ed Dox came in and sat till the bell rang for prayers at college & then left us but returned to pass the evening. He went home with May between nine and ten.

This ends a week the whole of which I have passed in gayety. Little am I prepared for tomorrow.


The violent shower this morning prevented me from going to Sunday School, but it was of short duration & at church time we had promise of a fine day. Margaret T. E. went with us to church. "The Bishop" preached all day, and after morning service confirmed four persons. His morning sermon was splendid, proving fully not only the propriety of the rite, but its direct descent from the Apostles. The text was from 1st epistle of Peter 1st chap. 13, 14, 15th verses.

. . .

Three weeks have now elapsed and no additions to my journal, but I will endeavor to sum up the acct.

The first week we held our Fair. Wednesday was commencement day & we had a house full of company. This week I passed in a state of great excitement. On Monday of the next week Annie Peyton, May Ten Eyck, Mag DeLancey & myself with Ed Dox & Ed DeLancey went to Hopeton to spend the week. Mr. Whiting & Mr. McKinstry accompanied us as far as the Dresden landing in the Steam Boat. Our visit was a gay one indeed. We passed one day at Mr. Henry Rose place, Hampstead I think he calls it.a This day was delightful. The next day it rained so violently we could not go out, though the gentlemen drove to Penn Yan. This day Mr. Peter Dox passed at home & he and Annie P. of course flirted furiously. Thursday Mr. Mason Gallagher came up and remained the rest of the week. This day May T. E. left us. Friday we made an excursion to the falls & a most delightful one it was. This night the Penn Yanners called after tea. Ed D.L. this evening urged me again more strongly than before to walk with him, "he had something to say, I will grant him a great favor," etc., but I still refused to go. Saturday he absolutely haunted me. I cannot but think he means to offer himself, but how can I listen to him. We returned home in the afternoon. He & his cousin called in the evening, but I was over at the Prouty's with Ed Dox.

Monday of the next week Mag DeL. & her cousins the Coopers left for Cooperstown. Fanny Beardsley went with them to Utica. I went down with Charlotte & Caroline Brown to see them off. In the afternoon went across the Lake to a pic-nic. Tuesday spent with May T. E. Called in the evening upon Miss Morse, Miss Swift & Mrs. Whistler. The rest of the week I hardly know now except Saturday Eleanor Booth took tea with me and brought her baby. I saw Mag equipped for a ride on horseback with Mr. McKinstry, and then returned to entertain Eleanor. Thursday evening Mr. McKinstry & Mr. Whiting called much to the alarm of Sarah Sutherland who was sitting with me. Ed DeLancey afterwards came in & then she rushed off, afterwards telling me she would never come in to see me again after dark. I felt almost agonized at the idea of being left alone with Ed, but fortunately the boys came in and relieved me. He asked me to go with him to the Rainers concert on the next Monday, which I promised to do.

Sunday August 21st

Was at church all day today. Mr. Paine preached in the morning & Mr. Cooper read the service, in the afternoon Mr. Cooper preached and Mr. Windsor read the service. Two most excellent sermons, but I believe my head was too full of E. to remember much about them. Miss Munro told me Mrs. DeLancey had heard from May, which I have not though looking anxiously every day.

Monday 22nd

This morning Miss Munro and Miss Martha DeLancey called. I am very much afraid Miss Munro will not be able to get a house to suit them. It would be delightful to have the 2 Dittis living here. As they went out Rachel and Mr. McKinstry called. He asked me to go with him to the concert this evening, but I was unfortunately engaged. I then went with Rachel to call upon Miss Dwight. She is very pretty & agreeable. She has the mildest black eyes I have ever seen I think.

In the afternoon Janet Clarke called to invite me to pass the afternoon & evening with her on Wednesday. Uncle James & Edward called, and Ed DeLancey came to say he would call for me a little before eight, which he did & I was delighted, the singing was exquisite, the Bass singer has the deepest, richest & most melodious Bass voice I have ever heard. The Tenor singer was also delightful. E. was very anxious to have me walk with him up to the Mile Point but I dared not though it was so charming and as light as day. I was awoke from my sleep by these same rich voices thanks to Mr. Gallagher for the delightful serenade.

Tuesday 23rd

This morning Mr. Wilson called to invite us to go to Blossburg & Corning with a party. Harriet Prouty came in while he was here. He urged her also. We both promised to go. We then joined May T. E. & went out shopping. Harriet & I then called on Mrs. Platt & Miss Young & stopped in to see May & eat plums. May promised to come in & take tea with me. While we are at work in the parlor Ed Dox & E. DeLancey came in to see if we would take a row on the Lake after tea in the moonlight. We promised to go. We are to start from Harriet's, who was also going. The evening was delightful, the air so balmy & soft. We were gone only three quarters of an hour, came back with Harriet & found her parlors full of company, Mr. J. F. Dox, Mr. Jas. Brown, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Whiting & Mr. McKinstry. We left in a short time and talked over the party in our parlor for a short time, then went to Mrs. Grosvenor's to see if she was going & would take care of us, and concluded to go although neither James or Papa were able to go with me.

Wednesday 24th

Concluded this morning that I would not go to Corning, and had quite a battle, to keep myself firm for there were Janet Clarke, Rachel Smith, Mr. DeLancey, Mr. Whiting, Mr. Wilson, Mr. McKinstry, all insisting upon it & urging it in the strongest terms, but it seemed hardly proper to go without any of my family with me.

This evening I passed with Eleanor B. How changed she is—from a wild, gay girl into a sober, dignified wife & mother. We talked over old times and recent changes, of her poor cousin May, & our old schoolmate and friend Bessie T. Poor things. Love was the cause of all their troubles. She promised to bring her boy & pass the day with me tomorrow.

Thursday 25th

E's baby was too unwell for me to have the pleasure of their company today. Were all invited to spend the evening, socially, at the Hopkins. Could not go as Papa & James were both engaged at the Factory, and Ed was not invited. He, therefore, passed part of the evening with us.

Today my high church principles have completely mastered me. It seemed to me I must speak to every one I saw, and tell them they must come in to the Church. The arrival in our country of the Nestorian Bishop, it seems to me, ought to create a new era in the Church Hist. He even exclaimed on hearing the "Gloria in Excelsis" "Oh! I got that in my book" Why will people be so blind?

Friday 26th

I have been very quiet today until nearly tea time, when I called at the Hudsons & found E. & her boy "doing very well." Sarah Sutherland called me in to see her. I only staid long enough to hear about the Hopkins party. After tea I went to Mrs. Whitings to see May & Rachel after their trip to Corning. Met Annie Peyton & Harriet Prouty there. John went to the Dwight's party, but Mr. McKinstry was at home. Mr. Russell & Mr. Jno. Stoddard called & also Mr. Bostwickb. May gave a very graphic description of the journey. Annie told me that Josie Swift was positively engaged to Mr. Richards. I must go & see her. I imagined as much from what she wrote to me last winter. Mag DeL. will be home next week Saturday.

Saturday 27th

This afternon and evening I passed with May T. E. She repeated her account of the visit to Blossburgh, and seemed too much delighted to speak of anything else. In the evening Mr. McKinstry called, he sat some time. I think he is the most gentlemanly young man I have met in a long time, very refined & I suspect very clever; just before he left "Damon & Pythias" (the two Eds) came in. I think they "rub" May rather too hard. I mentioned the story of Josie Swift's engagement & Ed DeL. said it was true, the Gen'l her Father having mentioned it to the Bishop. I can now read easily all the mysterious passages in some of her last winter letters—All the girls are getting engaged. I wish I could hear from H.—

Sunday 28th

Our Sunday school is very pleasant and although a little tedious sometimes I think neither Sarah nor myself would give it up for a great deal. Mr. Irving seems quite depressed—his morning sermon he felt deeply. His text was from Luke 21st 19th "In your patience, possess ye your souls." His afternoon sermon was equally good, though he did not shew so strongly his feelings.

After church had a long talk with Mr. Jenkins on Episcopacy. He has promised me a work on the subject by "Checkley" which he says no person can get away from, & which will enable me to give a reason to every person why I am an Episcopalian.

Typescript of the diary provided by the Geneva Historical Society.
Index to the Diary of Josephine Matilda deZeng
About Josephine Matilda deZeng


a. Hampstead was featured in the August 1991 issue of the Crooked Lake Review.

b. This was likely the Mr. Bostwick who was the rector of the Hammondsport Episcopal church, and who is often credited with introducing grapes to the region.

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