A Blue Christmas

A young Victorian-era Texas woman

Daughter of Volney and Clara Sparks Cavitt

This lovely young woman is named Florence Cavitt and she was a native of Wheelock, Texas, not far from Bryan/College Station.  This portrait might be from around 1895.  Although she and her sisters had plans to get their educations closer to home, a traveling Presbyterian minister convinced their parents otherwise.  Being a Presbyterian family, the girls were educated in Anchorage, Kentucky, at Bellewood Female Seminary.  I suspect they were young teens when they were shipped off by train to their new school.  Obviously, the family was financially well-off to even consider educating their children, and the handwork on Florence’s dress speaks of someone’s spare time to make it, but train tickets were expensive and a trip home during the school year, out-of-the-question.

Following is the transcription of a letter Florence wrote to her cousin, Norman Cavitt, who was in college in Sherman, Texas.  The handwriting is beautiful and clear.  I have left her small lapses in spelling and punctuation intact in my transcription.


Dec. 23rd, ‘93

Dear Norman:

It was so nice of you to send the pecans which we rec’d this week.  You can’t imagine how we do appreciate them up here.  Have already been enjoying them and they are just fine.  Hope you’ll get something that you’ll enjoy half as much.

Our holiday began yesterday at twelve and now nearly all the girls and a great many of the teachers have gone home.  It will seem a little lonely until we get used to it and reconciled to the inevitable (not getting to go home).  I tell you, it made us feel a little blue to see so many girls leaving and going home too.

I am “broke” now though I haven’t gotten all the presents I’d like too.  Not because of any beauty in it, but because I thought you could use it.  I send by this mail a Magazine Cover.  As you perceive it is not at all ornamental but, will keep your magazines very well.  I hope you take “Harpers” for I think it will just about fit it.

We are enjoying our holiday very well, but, all three in our room have sore throats- and I think I am taking the “Grippe.”  We are afflicted in various ways (The small pox is in Louisville).  We have no snow this Christmas and the weather has seemed today like Texas weather during Xmas.

I have been walking out in Anchorage and have searched all around for some holly and mistletoe, but, as yet have been disappointed.  Have seen only one piece of holly and another girl had that; but, I’m going again this aft., for I want to decorate our room like it ought to be at Christmas.


The very idea of your thinking about staying at Sherman during the holidays!  By this aft. you are at home and have seen all the homefolks- perhaps have been up to W.  You will go to Sunday school and see everybody- will see my mother.  Tell me all about them and your grand times.  Tell me everybody you saw and what they said.  Tell me about everybody and everything.

I know you will have a gloriously grand time and will be ready to enjoy them all if you have had as hard a time pulling thro’ these last two weeks as I have.  I hope you will have just the happiest and best Xmas that you ever did have, but, that you will write a long letter and tell me about your fun.  I enjoyed the last letter especially much.  Of course it would be too much for me to expect one of you during the holidays.

I haven’t felt at all “Christmassy” yet, but, have made up my mind to make the best of things and contribute my share to make the time pass off well and have as much real enjoyment as possible.  I certainly can enjoy the rest and quiet, if nothing else.

But now it is getting dark, so I must stop this, or you might thing me a little bit homesick.  I did not intend to leave that impression at all.  Corinne has been reading to me and it has really seemed very cozy in our dorm room.

I wish you the very merriest Christmas and, as happy a New Year.

Remember me to any one who might ask about me.