May 1993

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Diary of

Josephine Matilda deZeng

Geneva, New York

About Josephine Matilda deZeng

March 1854

March 1st. Ash Wednesday

Thinking it would be pleasant to attend this day's service in Trinity Church, I rode down there expecting it would be at 1/2 past 10, but arrived too late, prayers having been said at the usual hour of daily morning service, 9 o'ck. Feeling a little fatigued, I stopped in to Papa's office to rest myself, & see how he was, found him pretty stiff & complaining more than last evening. Jim was there also feeling rather "blue" about his post. Mr Redfield refusing to re-appoint him, according to promise. J. put me in an Omnibus, & I came home to read the service & keep Church by myself. At 4 P.M. walked to Holy Communion but found their evening service would not be until 1/2 past 7. This would disappoint Ed in getting to Ch all day. James came up for a little while in the evening & said Papa's lumbago was better.

2nd Thursday

Quite a disagreeable day, not able to go out. Sewed a little, and read a little. No letters from home.


Rained hard this morning. I could not get to prayers all day. E. came up late. I thought he seemed very grave & serious when he came to dinner & scarcely talked at all. After coming up stairs, he took up a package saying "Josie! I have something to show you," opening it & displaying to me a half burned Office Acct. Book "Oh! dear Edward, not burnt out again?" I felt it, I knew it—all lost. A kind Providence had placed him in a good position just before, else the consequences would have been what I do not like to think of—

Mr. Morris's business however united to dear Edward's own will soon I trust make all good again, except alas! those old papers no money could restore. We spent most of the evening

What Happened?

by Eleanore R. Clise

Archivist, Geneva Historical Society

This incomplete sentence is the end of the last typescript page of Josephine's diary. It is but a single page following her last entry of November 12, 1842, and is numbered 51 after page 50 of the nearly twelve year earlier diary. Where could the missing diary have gone? Was all of it once copied on a typewriter and then parts divided? The last page is typed as though done by another person or at a different time, but copied from a typewriten page because it is a full page.

Was this page included just by accident because it became separated from another set? From it we learn that Josephine calls her husband Edward. Other records confirm that she did marry Edward deLancey. The entries show that Josephine now lived some distance from Trinity Church and wasn't aware of their Easter season hours of service. We learn that her father had an office in Geneva, yet the family glass company was then in Clyde, New York. What does Josephine mean when she writes of no letters from home? And who are Mr. Redfield and Mr. Morris? And what could the old papers lost in the fire have been? Family records?

We know from other sources that these were gloomy years for Josephine and Edward. Their first child, a little girl, had been born less than five months before and had lived only three weeks. Josephine was pregnant again; she and Edward would have been worried and concerned about their future. Remember, she wrote that Edward would be disappointed that she hadn't gone to church services.

When she wrote this page they had been married nearly six years, but there had been six years between the time when die first part of her diary breaks off, and her marriage to Edward in November 1848. Had those been years of indecision for her?

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