Words of the week: Elizabeth Pitkin Porter's letter to Moses

While the Porter-Phelps-Huntington house is full of countless objects owned by different generations of the family, what brings the house even more vividly to life are the stories of the people who owned these objects--as captured in their letters, diaries, and other writings. We get a sense of Elizabeth Pitkin Porter’s personality, for instance, in a letter written to her husband Moses Porter on August 9, 1755, while he was stationed in upstate New York during the Seven Years’ War. Her expressive words reveal not only her fondness for her husband, but also the power and pleasure she derived from writing. She confides:

“I am glad to hear that you received my scrawls for I am apt to please my self that you took some delight in reading what I took a maloncolly [sic] satisfaction in writing. I read yours over and over and take more pleasure therein than in any worldly thing. But there is something wanting. I long to see you and to hear that pleasant noise which would refresh me more than wine.”

Tragically, Moses never read Elizabeth’s affectionate words; he was killed defending a British fort from French attack just three days before her letter arrived, and Elizabeth never remarried. However, we are fortunate to have an archival record of their correspondence, because it grants us insight into the nature of their relationship, and into the effects that historical conflicts like the Seven Years’ War had on families’ lives.

For more about Elizabeth Pitkin Porter’s correspondence with her husband Moses, visit our collections page.