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Cupid Goes to War -- The Love Letters of Cate Raymond

posted Jan 30, 2018, 3:45 AM by Margaret McIntire   [ updated Jan 30, 2018, 5:31 PM by Darien Historical News ]

Celebrate the season of love by browsing through a display of Revolutionary War-era love letters collected by Cate Raymond, a young woman who lived near Five Mile River when this area was known as Middlesex Parish. 

The letters, on display through March, date from 1779 to 1780 and include notes from suitors on both sides of the conflict. Society Historian Ken Reiss will lead informal “drop-in” talks on the exhibit on Sunday, February 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. 

“These letters are fun to read because they give us insight into the personal lives of people who lived here during the war,” said Reiss, who curated the exhibit. All the letters are matched with a modern, typewritten version to make them easier to read. 

The collection includes letters from suitors throughout the region, and both Loyalists and Patriots wrote them. Eli Curtiss professed his love from a Continental Army camp in Garrison, New York, while John Lamson penned his passions in another from a Loyalist base across Long Island Sound at Lloyd’s Neck.

One portion of the exhibit exposes the tortured longings of Joel Reed, whose family had moved from Middlesex to upstate Connecticut in search of good farmland. Along with Reed’s letter, there are two other notes written by Reed’s friends, attesting to his fine and upstanding character.

“From our vantage point, and likely Cate’s as well, what’s happening here is quite transparent,” Reiss said, adding: “One of the friends even mentions that Mr. Reed gave her the paper to write the letter.”

Reiss said, however, all of these many passionate pleas and professions of love seemed to have been written in vain.

“Cate remained single her whole life,” he said.