Letter from Alice P. Ledyard to Alexander S. White, 1994

The first issue of a newsletter I distributed to a few relatives on Strawbridge family history in the early 1900s featured a long letter from Jane Strawbridge Ledyard to her daughter, Helen, in 1852, giving a lot of the history of the Strawbridge family up to that time. In searching for more relatives to contact, I came upon Mrs. John P. Ledyard, and wrote to her, sending a copy of the newsletter. To my great delight, she wrote back. Here are some excerpts from two letters I received from her:

March 26, 1994

Dear Mr. White or should I say Cousin Alexander?:

I apologize for not having answered your nice letter dated Feb. 14, 1994 (Valentine’s Day!), before this late date – in which you enclosed “The Strawbridge Family History Newsletter.” (I am now 74 years old – and guess I am getting lazy!).

Page 1 of your newsletter (middle lower column) “The Family Letter of Jane Ledyard”: She was a great grandmother of my [late] husband, John Peregrine Ledyard. She (Jane Ledyard) on the Ledyard Family Genealogy I have, was the daughter of John Strawbridge of Philadelphia. My genealogy states her date of birth as 1793 to death of 1855. Your newsletter stated her birth as about 1790. The death date of 1855 is correct. She married Jonathan Denise Ledyard of Cazenovia in 1819. His date of birth was 1793 and death 1874.

Helen Lincklaen Ledyard, her daughter, who urged her mother (Jane) to write “The Family Letter of Jane Ledyard” in your newsletter, was born in 1829 and death 1880, was four years younger than one of her brothers, namely “George Strawbridge Ledyard” of Cazenovia, N.Y., born 1825 and death 1890 – the direct line down to my husband, John Peregrine Ledyard. In other words, our line comes down from a brother of Helen’s.

I am going to refer you to a younger second cousin of my deceased husband. His name is Richard Fitzhugh Ledyard, whose wife, Theckla, has continued working on and updating our Ledyard genealogy, plus interrelated families. Also, please send her the newsletter, etc., as I know she would be very interested in it and could, no doubt, give you a lot of information that could be valuable to you. She has done an excellent job of it. She, too, is a Cazenovia girl, having been brought up in Cazenovia – therefore, having a real interest in the family. Richard, her husband, is a great great grandson of Jonathan Denise Ledyard and your Jane Strawbridge Ledyard (on page 1 of your newsletter). Richard, we call “Fitz” from his middle name “Fitzhugh,” spent a lot of his growing-up years in Cazenovia with his grandfather, George Strawbridge Ledyard, as well as with an aunt (really great aunt), Jane Strawbridge Ledyard Remington – and Richard later married Theckla Constable, a Cazenovia girl. (Richard also graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.).

[Jane Strawbridge Ledyard’s husband, Jonathan Denise Ledyard,] had an older sister, Helen, born in 1777 to 1847, who married a John Lincklaen, who was the founder of Cazenovia. His home, named “Lorenzo,” was built in 1807 and the same Ledyard family has occupied it until the late 1960’s when it was acquired by the State of New York as an “historic home.” It is now open to the public and they have lots of nice things or events that go on there. They have a lovely program at Christmas time, and the 3rd weekend of July each year (this year it will be the 18th) a Driving Competition (of horses and carriages, etc.) – very nice. Also at different times of the year other nice things. We have a private organization in town called the “Friends of Lorenzo” who do a lot of things for the house, have docents who take people through, etc. This past summer they put on a Ledyard Family Reunion July 23 – 25 in honor of the family. We had about 200 who attended, with a reception on Friday evening for all to meet each other (as interrelated families were also invited), a walk through our village showing homes that had been built or occupied by Ledyards and other interesting things, and a catered picnic on Sat. at a nice State Park near-by, and Sat. evening, a lovely dinner dance with an 11-pc. orchestra (dinner catered by one of our good restaurants). It was all held outside under a big white tent in the garden. It was very nicely done and lots of fun. We had people attending from State of Washington, Texas, Ala., Mass., Maine, 5 from France, and 3 or so from Mexico, etc. etc. Many just came and really did not know any of us particularly, in Cazenovia. It was lots of fun. They plan to hold another one in two or three years. Would you like to be on the list?

Again, thanks for your letter. (Now, you see why it took me so long to write you – having looked up some dates, etc. etc.).


(Mrs. John P. Ledyard)

Of course, I was ecstatic at receiving such a wonderfully friendly and informative letter. (The above excerpts contain material from Cousin Alice’s original letter as well as a follow-up letter of a few days later.) I went on to contact her cousins Richard and Theckla Ledyard of Washington State, and Theckla has sent me a real treasure trove of information on the Ledyard family history, including a lot of information on Strawbridge ancestors that I did not have. Some of this material will be found in this issue of the newsletter (such as the picture of Jane Ledyard on the first page), and some in future issues; there’s enough new information to fill many pages. I hope to get to Cazenovia some day to see some of the other family materials. For now, though, I am very glad to have made a connection with the Ledyard side of the family tree.