Transcription of Letter from Virginia Catherine Todd Ware (Caty) to her Daughter-in-Law Elizabeth Alexander Ware (Betsy) 1799 courtesy of: Judy Ware

Transcription of Letter from Virginia Catherine Todd Ware (Caty) to her Daughter-in-Law Elizabeth Alexander Ware (Betsy)      1799

       © Judy Ware 2008

For more information on this line of the family, go to


 Frederick County      Virginia        (Mr. Hannon)

( Frederick County would eventually become Clarke County)

FAYETTE COUNTY   September 1, 1799

My Dear Betsy, (Elizabeth Alexander Ware)

    I am happy to hear, by a letter to Dr. Scott from (my son) James, that I may in the course of a few years have all my children near me, if agreeable to you.  And, more so, could you persuade your Mama out with you – a lady I ever had the greatest regard for.  Confident I am, dear Betsy, you would get pleased with the country were you to come and see the society and many other agreeable things.  Although I suppose Kentucky, in Frederick County, is thought to be a place inhabited by wild people by those unacquainted with the country.  As to that, I must refer you to James, who has traveled often enough to know.  I often laugh at the girls and tell them when my dear little Sally (granddaughter Sarah E.T.Ware) comes, they will be ashamed to find her so much handsomer than them.  We have all the greatest desire to see you.  If James would fix himself in this neighborhood, I should have my children here that are married around me.  Could I express the joy?  No, tongue cannot utter the happiness it would give me.  Therefore, wish your Mama could come with you although (I) know she is so well fixed it would be almost impossible.  But the distance is not great; you might go over a year to see her.  Perhaps I may take a ride with you sometime or other and see all my old acquaintances again.  I am, my dear Betsy, your

                                                       Sincere friend,  

                                          Caty Ware (wife of James Ware II)

Give my best love to your Mama, James, and Sally



       This was one of the letters originally transcribed by Cornelia Ware Anker in 1945.  As she wrote in a different letter, “An old package of letters was what first started my interest in our ancestors.  My father, Rev. S.S. Ware, was given these letters by a distant relative, Mrs. Bergland, of Baltimore, who said that she wanted someone in the Ware family to have them who would value and preserve them.  My father was deeply interested in his genealogy and had a great veneration for his forebears.  He often showed these letters to me and cautioned me to treasure them after he was gone.”

      Cornelia did a wonderful job of preserving and documenting these original letters, but even she admitted that it was sometimes difficult to do.  “I have copied these letters as well as I could; most of them are very hard to read.  The penmanship is beautiful, but it is small and, of course, dim with age.”

     Cornelia thought that this letter was “evidently from Catherine Ware to her granddaughter” but she was not sure of this.  It is my feeling that this is actually written from Caty Todd Ware to her daughter-in-lawElizabeth Alexander Ware.  Elizabeth was often referred to as Betsy and her daughter (Caty’s granddaughter) was more often called Sally.  This is who I believe she is referring to when she mentions “my dear little Sally.”  It would also make sense that Caty would refer to her son (James) by his first name rather than call him Papa or Father as she probably would have if she was writing to his daughter.  It would also seem logical that she would not have said “if agreeable with you” to her two-year old granddaughter.

      With that being established, the person that Caty refers to as “your Mama” would have been Elizabeth’s mother – Sarah Elizabeth Snickers Alexander (Mrs. Morgan Alexander,) and we know now that James III never did move to Kentucky.  He and his immediate family stayed in Berryville, Virginia where he built a beautiful home near the Shenandoah River called Riverside. James III was the only one of his siblings to not move to Kentucky.  His wife (Elizabeth Alexander Ware) passed away in 1806 and two years later, James married Harriot Taylor.  They also stayed in Virginia.

For further information concerning the descendants of Elizabeth and James Ware III, you may also go to the site listed under my name in the genealogy section. 



Transcription of Letter from Virginia Catherine Todd Ware (Caty) to her Daughter-in-Law Elizabeth Alexander Ware (Betsy) 1799 courtesy of: Judy Ware — 1 Comment

  1. To find these invaluable treasures has required so much diligence and effort. One cannot simply thank you enough. This means so much to us decendants of the Ware family line. Thank you so much for your time and effort. It is with great interest I read and treasure these documents.

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