Christmas letter to Thomas F. Venable from his mother

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Christmas letter to Thomas F. Venable from his mother


Letter to Thomas F. Venable when he was a student at the University of Virginia, dated December 25, 1830. Written by his mother.


Hampden-Sydney Archives & Special Collections




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Haymarket Dec. 25, 1830

This is Christmas night, Mr. Proctor has gone to Cumberland to attend at a sacrament and three days preaching. Nat(?) Abram and William have gone to the Flannery's and I and little Mary Louisa are entirely alone. I thought I would spend some of my lonely hours in writing to you my dear son, you who by day and by night occupy so much of my thoughts and anxious feelings. I feel you have thought I have been neglectful of you, but not so; for some weeks past I have been closely confined at home, and never more closely confined to work, trying to get the _____ closed before Christmas, and make some winter clothing for ________ and your brothers and each day busy as my hand have been my thoughts and my prayers have been with and for you. I received your letters some time back and have sent those to your cousin Nat(?), also your circular; from those communications my hopes were very much encouraged, I began to hope you had resolved upon a better course than heretofore pursued. That you were resolved to be a student therefore a scholar. (but by the way my dear child I fear you have undertaken more than you will do well, those tickets are very expensive and if you don’t do them justice by studying you had better not undertake so much for fear nothing will be done well. And a little well done is a great deal better than a lot half done.)

I said above my hopes were raised and I began to be somewhat reconciled to your situation, when I was told again that at the university there was a practice of having balls and _____ and that the students were in the habit of frequenting these places; and that you had also been attending them. Is it _______ Thomas -- - If so I bid farewell to every advantage from your books, and so may you, can you for a moment think it(if?) ________ a student’s business to attend these places, _______ his time taking his _______ from his books spending his money and exposing his health; and this is not all, the worst part is committing so much in disturbing your mother and all your friends who feel _______ for you. Remember my child your mother, your ________ earthly friend is a member of the church and cannot for a moment tolerate it. You are a member of the visible church having been baptized into it.

I cannot no I cannot for a moment consent to you attending such places, and when you -- you know my decided disapprobation against it you will not hesitate I hope to stay away -- - and you will write to me you will not attend such places anymore. You a thousand times better be at Hampden Sydney where there are no such places to attend. It was such things as these I dreaded at the university, for I knew there was no religious influence there. You did not tell me any thing[sic] about the church you attended or ____ you ______ ______ remember my dear child you have to _____, we hear of sudden deaths of old and young and middle aged dying we have no time to spend in folly and wickedness for we know not the day or the hour when we may be called too lay(?) these things seriously to heart(?).

I have been a good deal mortified _____ ______ that has been several times _______ _____ since you went away; and that is that you were engaged to be married to Agnes Wood, and that Agnes had heard that you had ______ out ______ ______ and she was very angry and very _____ mortified and a whole pack of foolishness like that. I am extremely sorry that a boy of your age should pay such attention to a girl to give such ______ as that _______ , such children you are to have talked of this, it is very imprudent and doing yourself great injury. I hope you will be more cautious in future. Richard Venable and _____ Read have got their wives at home and dined with them at Henry E. Watkins There was a large company there. I also spent an evening with them at _______ _______ _______ at Sam Venables’ Your cousin Jane has been dangerously ill but is _________. Cousin Nancy Allen and cousin Fanny(?) is _________ both declining fast. Martha Watkins sent a dozen or two beautiful engravings from Livet ______ for her _______ book. Little Louisa received your gifts and if she could she would tell you she is ___________ ____________. I have had William David Rice with me for several days, he has asked very often about you and says he wants to see you mightily.

If Mr. Proctor (?) were at home he would join me in love and best wishes for you, but as he is not will take the liberty of leveling(?) them myself and with the most anxious solicitude for you.

I subscribe myself your most affectionate mother,

J(?) W Proctor

Give my love to Thos(?) Liggon(?)

Margin on p. 1: I expect if you could trace it you would find in this roommate of yours a relation. I know relations by the name of _____ and believe they live in Chesterfield, I have relations there too by the name of Royster(?). As this young man if his mother or grandmother was not named Frances Spencer(?) before she married. If so you are cousins.

Margin on p. 2: If so his great grandmother was a Watkins and your great grandfather the same, Henry Watkins who I expect he was named for. Frances Spencer who married a _______.

Margin on p. 3: Was raised by my grandfather and married at his house, she was the _________ of my mother and own cousin to her. I am glad to hear he is steady.




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