Manuscript Archive of the Correspondence of the inter-related families of pioneer medical doctors of Buffalo New York - Dr. Bryant Burwell, M.D., and Dr. John W. Clark, M.D., and William Henry Glenny, Jr., student at Yale College's Sheffield Scientific School, all of Buffalo, New York, 1818-1878.

211 letters, 610 manuscript pages, about half are folding letter sheets, written in ink, in legible hands, dated 27 April 1818 to 5 April 1878, 6 letters are undated. The collection also includes the following manuscript ephemeral items 1. "Dr. B. Burwell on Temperance": a seven page (undated) manuscript lecture. This lecture on "Temperance" examines the question: "Why do men who have acquired the habit of drinking intoxicating liquors, continue still to use them, notwithstanding all the facts and arguments which have been addressed against their use?" 2. "Family Record," 4 printed pages for Burwell family, with manuscript records of marriages, births, and deaths, dates ranging between 1768 and 1852 for the immediate family of Dr. Bryant Burwell, including his parents, step-mother, and siblings. 3. Five deeds or leases dated between 1826 and 1833, all for property in the "Village of Buffalo." All parties are listed as being from Buffalo: Deed between Cyrenius Chapin to Bryant Burwell, 22 December 1826; Deed between John W. Clark & Stafford A. Scott to Bryant Burwell, 3 May 1827; Lease between Jacob A. Barker, to Rynear Dumont, 2 January 1830; Deed between Bryant Burwell and Anna his wife, to Newton Ropitor, dated 15 March 1832; Deed between John W. Clark, to Bryant Burwell, M.D., 20 March 1833.

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Clark, Burwell, and Glenny Families of Buffalo, New York

         John Whipple Clark (1799-1872)

    John Whipple Clark was a physician and entrepreneur who settled in Buffalo in 1823. He was born in the Village of Newport, Herkimer County, New York. His parents were Stephen Clark and Esther Whipple, who were originally from Rhode Island. After graduating from Fairfield Medical College he moved to Buffalo to seek his fortune. At this time Buffalo was a growing frontier town. Surveyed and laid out by the Holland Land Company in 1801, Buffalo grew slowly until the advent of the Erie Canal in 1819. Clark arrived in Buffalo in 1823, at the beginning of Buffalo's population explosion. As a young single doctor, educated at Fairfield Medical College in western New York, Clark recognized in the growing village of Buffalo an opportunity to establish himself as a successful doctor and businessman. He grew prosperous until losing his fortune in the Panic of 1837. He never married.

    Clark's hopes for Buffalo were not without basis; in 1822, the canal commissioners decided to make Buffalo the western end of the Erie Canal. This decision and the completion of the Canal in 1825 insured Buffalo's transformation from an isolated village to an important center of commerce. In 1825, Buffalo's population was 2,412 and by 1830 it had grown to 8,668. The village offered Dr. Clark and his first partner, Dr. Cyrenius Chapin, abundant business. They profited from the needs of the growing population and often solicited work from the Native American's in the area. There is one mention in the correspondence of a doctor Kennicutt visiting a "squaw" at Jack Berry Town.

   Nevertheless, Clark soon abandoned medicine for real estate. In 1825, Clark began buying land in Buffalo, often developing and then selling the properties. Several letters speak to this period of his life where he thought the value of his lands would be $1,000,000 in twenty years. In 1828, the Buffalo Literary and Scientific Academy was established, and Clark became the treasurer and a trustee.

    It seems that Clark's enthusiasm for Buffalo was contagious; some of his sisters and their families moved to the area. Part of this collection consists of the correspondence between Clark and his brother-in-law and fellow graduate of Fairfield Medical College, Dr. Bryant Burwell. When the Burwell's moved to Buffalo in 1824 they shared a house with Clark. Dr. Burwell and his son George would eventually open a medical practice on Pearl Street in downtown Buffalo, and Clark's sister Anjelina and her husband Dr. Green lived not far away in Lodi.

    Evidence of Buffalo's prosperity in the 19th century is clear: the population exceeded 10,000 in 1832. Five newspapers circulated in the city, and over 3000 vessels passed through Buffalo annually. The 1832 Buffalo city directory notes seven houses of worship, two banks (including a Federal Bank) and three firehouses. Located in the city's center were several taverns and hotels. From 1830-1832 Clark was a village trustee and in 1835 was elected Aldermen of the First Ward. The Panic of 1837 wiped out any financial success he may have gained and he appears to have returned to practicing medicine. Clark writes a letter to Burwell describing events in the Patriot War in January 1838.

            Ann Clark and Dr. Bryant Burwell (1796-1861)

   Ann Clark, the sister of Dr. John Whipple Clark, married Dr. Bryant Burwell. Bryant Burwell (1796-1861) was born in Russia, Herkimer County, New York. He studied medicine with Professor Willoughby in Newport, Herkimer County. In 1817 he married Anna Clark, John Whipple Clark's sister, who was then living in Newport, New York. A number of letters in the collection are written to Ann Clark Burwell from her mother, Sally Clark. They mainly discuss family matters.

   Bryant and Ann Burwell had three children, George N. Burwell, Esther A. Burwell Glenny (who married William Henry Glenny, Sr.) and Anna C. Burwell Rathbone. In 1820 Bryant was admitted into the Herkimer County Medical Society and three years later graduated from Fairfield Medical College before studying in Philadelphia in 1826-1827 (at Jefferson Medical College). Some of the letters in this collection are addressed to Burwell in Philadelphia. In 1824 Burwell formed a partnership with Dr. Cyrenius Chapin in Buffalo, where Burwell had moved, and continued to practice until his death. Burwell had moved to Buffalo at the urging of Dr. John Whipple Clark, who had been Chapin's partner previously, before Clark left the practice of medicine to go into the real estate business full time.

     Like Dr. Clark, Dr. Burwell's real estate investments were wiped out by the Panic of 1837. The income from his medical practice (he specialized in obstetrics) was barely enough for him to support himself. As a result of the economic circumstances, Buffalo's physicians were forced to concentrate more on medicine than on real estate, and by the middle of the 1840s there began to emerge a regular and well-organized medical profession. A medical college, a county medical society, and even a medical journal were established.

      While patients would sometimes visit the doctor in his office, it was far more customary for the physician to make house calls. Burwell spent the better part of his working day either walking or riding on horseback, making the rounds of his patients both within the city of Buffalo and outside of it, in places like Black Rock or Hamshill. Buffalo physicians, in addition to their own practices, rotated working for the city in the six health districts, in the penitentiary, the orphanage, the almshouse, and the county poor house.

    Burwell fell into a depression after the death of his first wife and his financial losses of 1837. He tried to purge himself of his unhappiness by working very long hours. This depression was relieved somewhat when he met the widow Mrs. Mary Cleary in 1844 and after a nine month courtship, married her in February 1845.  After his marriage he became suddenly extroverted, and involved in the affairs of the day. He slowly withdrew from his medical practice and brought in his son, a recent medical school graduate. However, his happiness only lasted briefly and by the 1850s he was again in a great depression and appeared almost suicidal. He died in December of 1861, and is said to have failed from a general decay.

     George N. Burwell (1819-1891) the son of Bryant Burwell and Ann Clark, was born in Herkimer County, New York in 1819. Like his father, he too received medical training in the city of Philadelphia (Jefferson Medical College). He served as attending physician at the Buffalo Hospital of the Sisters Charity for 30 years and was a consulting surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital. He was admitted to the Society in 1844, and died in 1891. Several letters from George to his father relate the various lectures he attended at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and he describes the "new" methods and procedures he was learning that were then coming into practice.

             Esther Burwell (1821-1897) and William Henry Glenny (1818-1882)

    Esther Burwell, the daughter of Bryant Burwell and Ann Clark, married William H. Glenny (1818-1882). Glenny was born in Northern Ireland and came to Buffalo in 1836. He lived an immigrant “rags-to-riches” story.  At a young age he worked as a clerk in the bookstore of A.W. Wilgus. In 1840 Glenny founded a small crockery store. Four years later he married Esther Burwell.  In 1877 Glenny hired renowned architect Richard A. Waite to design a new store at 249-253 Main Street in Buffalo. It came to be known as "Glenny Block" in Buffalo.  Later it was known as the Dennis Building, it is Buffalo’s only remaining full cast-iron façade structure.  The William H. Glenny Company became a prominent importer of fine china, glass and other merchandise, becoming one of the largest of its kind in America.  In 1856 he became one of the incorporators of the M & T Bank and was also a trustee of the Erie County Savings Bank. Glenny was a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church and associated with the organization of the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia Railroad Company. Glenny took up residence at 692 Main Street in 1863.  After his death, his widow continued to reside there until 1895 when, like other historic homes in this area, it was replaced by a commercial building.

    Their son Bryant Glenny moved to New Haven to study at Yale University in the late 1860s (1867-1868). He, his mother and father, and his brothers John, George and William, write to each other, filling each other with family news and events in their lives, offers of parental advice to their son, etc.

          William Henry Glenny, Jr (1845-1923)

    William Henry Glenny, Jr. was born on 8 September 1845, one of at least four sons of William H. Glenny, Sr. (1818-1882) and his wife Esther Burwell (1821-1897). Mrs. Glenny was the daughter of Bryant Burwell (1796-1861) and his wife Ann Clark (1798-1838). William H. Glenny Jr. attended Yale from 1862-1865, graduating from Yale's Sheffield Scientific School in 1865, receiving a Ph.B. (Merc.)  There are at least eighty-seven letters in this collection that are written by Glenny to his family (parents, brothers) and letters they write back to him during the period of 1863-1865.

   Glenny, Jr. appears to have gone to work for his father and eventually became the head of "William H. Glenny Sons & Company." Glenny was a one-time president of the University Club of Buffalo and took an active interest in that organization. He married Jane Wey Grosvenor (1843-1898), a native of Buffalo. She was one of three daughters of Seth Heacock Grosvenor (1812-1864) and his wife Jane Wey (1818-1897). Glenny and Jane had at least two children, a daughter Esther, who married Harry H. Bemis, as well as a son, Dr. W. Harry Glenny (1873-1942).

   Some of the correspondents are Glenny's brother, Bryant Burwell Glenny (1848-1917) of Buffalo, who also went to the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale (1867-1868), but does not appear to have graduated.  Cousins James G. Brown, Will E. Burwell, and Anna C. Burwell.

            Description of Collection:

    Of the 211 letters in the collection 36 letters are addressed to Dr. Bryant Burwell, 21 to his wife Ann Clark Burwell, 9 to their daughter Esther's son, Bryant Glenny, 4 letters to Esther herself, another 4 were written to Esther's brother George N. Burwell. William Henry Glenny received 56 letters written mostly by his parents and siblings, but also some friends. There are other letters written to Esther Burwell's husband William H. Glenny, her son George Glenny, and letters written to other doctors, friends, and family members.

   Some of the correspondents in the collection are: John W. Clark, Dr. Bryant Burwell's brother-in-law, who wrote 23 letters; Clark's mother Sally Clark, who wrote 8 letters; Dr. Burwell himself, with 6 letters; a Dr. S. B. Green, who wrote 6 letters; Bryant Glenny, who wrote 5 letters; and 41 letters written by William Henry Glenny, Jr., mostly to his parents and brothers; as well as miscellaneous letters written by immediate family members: Dudley Burwell, George N. Burwell, Susan Burwell, Ann Burwell, Sarah Clark, Angeline Clark, Caroline Clark Moore, Bryant Burwell Glenny, George B. Glenny, and Esther Burwell Glenny. Other letters are written by family, friends or business associates. One letter was written by "J. Jimeson," he may be a Native American doctor who studied at Fairfield Medical College. In Jimeson's letter, he mentions doing his thesis "on the principal diseases that were incident to the Indians before they became acquainted with the whites." In a letter by John W. Clark to Bryant Burwell, Clark states "Jimeson in his letter to Chapin from Washington says "Doc't Burnwell treated him with a great deal of politeness & attention apparently" - I observe by that lingering word apparently that he still retains a share of his Indian..." (Further research on Jimeson would have to be done to confirm this possibility).

    The portion of the collection dealing with William Henry Glenny when he was a student at Yale is as follows: 35 outgoing letters, 115 manuscript pages written by William H. Glenny, to his siblings and parents, dated 1865, addressed from New Haven, while a student a Yale College's Sheffield Scientific School; 52 letters, 151 manuscript pages, written to W. H. Glenny, by his parents, brother, cousin, and friends, dated 1863-1864 (one letter is from 1863, the others from 1864). The letters are addressed mainly from Buffalo, to Glenny who was a student at Yale College's Sheffield Scientific School.

           Sample Quotations from the Letters:

"August 14, 1825

Dear Brother [Dr. Bryant Burwell],

     ...I was at Utica at court last week to pick up the crumbs of knowledge that should fall upon the wise - & I must say that my fainting spirits were not a little revived, to find myself further advanced in Legal Knowledge than many that were examined for counsel. I say not this boasting but in derogation of the practice of admitting numskulls into the Temple of Justice...Buffalo at this time must be a busy place, and no doubt one of much prospective importance, in point of business, population, and commercial  enterprise, but be you not decide it will not increase after a few years, it can never rise beyond a retail village & a store house, the western world will pass it as Albany is left now with prices below the New York market....D.[udley] Burwell"

"Russia [NY], 13th, 1824,

Dear Sister,

    ...I attend school this winter and bound to home. I have to work had we have twelve in the family. I have not had time to visit Norway [NY] since you left it. I have been very much confined to home. I have not made one visit since my school was out. Mother is very lame she is not able to do any house work....Betsy lives at home now she talks of going to her sisters to spend the winter. I hope you will not forget to write every opportunity....Susan Burwell"

"Russia [NY], 5, 1824

Dear Brother [Bryant Burwell],

    I received your very kind and affectionate letter with much pleasure. I have heard from you often but have not received a line from you before, we all enjoy good health excepting Grandma, her health is very poor. I do not think she will live through the winter. I commence going to school last month. My studies are such as you recommended. I find it is very hard for me to try to attend school this winter. Father is very much opposed to it and I have to work for my board. I have nobody to help me. I have nothing to home only what I pay for. Poverty oppresses me very hard. I had almost given up the idea of attending school when I received your letter. I think I shall try to persevere.  Dear Brother I hope I shall be able to follow your good advice. I hope you will continue to write every opportunity. I have no Mother to advise and direct me in the paths of piety and virtue, but am left entirely to myself. I had the misfortune to loose [sic] my Mother before I was old enough to know my loss, but I hope I shall be able to follow her examples...Susan Burwell

"Newport, Jan 14, 1826,

Dear Ann,

...I send by Davies a skein of stocking yarn & a little thread. The yarn is course, but the best I have. My wool was carded so bad that it would not spin. Sarah is a good girl and appears to enjoy herself well. I don't know when I can spare her to go to Buffalo again...Sally Clark"

"Newport, Jan. the 16th, 1827,

Dear Sister [Mrs. Ann Burwell],

     ...I like my new brothers [brothers-in-law] very much and either of them would give me a good home. So you see that the old maid is well provided for. And what is still better I have my eye upon an old bachelor here who is rich, moral and not addicted to any prominent vices such as swearing, drinking or foppishness; things that I detest. He is fond of the girls and wants very much to get married. He frequently calls to see me, but has not yet had the courage to explain his motives. I believe I have some vanity as well as some of the rest of my sex and therefore have the imprudence to think that I could get him if I wish it. My object in writing to you thus freely is that I hope you will keep my letter a secret, but quiet John on the subject you need not let him know that I requested you to. I should like to know if he thought that I was old enough to think of matrimony or capable of judging of the merit and virtues that I should like in a companion. However you need not tremble so for the gentleman in question has not got my affections yet although he is rich in virtues and the good things of this life...Sarah"

"New York, May 17, 1826,

Dr Br,

    I have now been in this great city two weeks tomorrow & long enough to satisfy my curiosity. I assure you I would not live here under any inducement whatsoever - And sure I am that I would never content myself to live, where there is so much of noise, hustle & confusion. This city which has been justly styled the Emporium of the New World, exhibits all the splendor of wealth & misery of abject poverty. One hundred & sixty thousand people huddle together must exhibit a great diversity of intellectual moral & extranious differences - People of all nations - all complexions - & all languages a complete cabal - every man using the language & wearing the garb & please which interest or passion dictates - for myself I would of have turn pirate at once as to eke out an existence here....D.[udley] Burwell"

"Doctr. Burwell,

Sir,

    We are all alive and pretty smart. Messrs. H. & Cary have recovered so much so that they have commenced keeping batchelor's house and board by themselves. The inhabitants are about over with their fright that the Typhus was raging here, introduced by [Himersmith], Doctors and all were alarmed and if Cary should be taken down sick, than resolution was to ship him to another quarter, it is rather provoking that bilious fever do not occur about here more, the doctors would learn what is Typhus fever if the doctors should be in Buffalo serving the prevalence of bilious fevers and see thirty or forty different cases in the course of the day, what would they think or say? Even, it is said a man in Newport just returned from New York sick very much like the yellow fever; they have had the spotted fever. I expect upon the same foundation what will be the next I know not, perhaps the Plague...I am trying to write theses, on the principal diseases that was incident to the Indians before they became acquainted with the white man....J.Jinuson"

"Buffalo, Jan 16, 1825, [Bryant Burwell, Philadelphia],

     ...Business at the office progresses much as usual. Indeed there is but little doing. We have a patient in Hamburg, which we visit occasionally. We have this moment received a call from Tonewanta [Tonawanda]. Yesterday I visited a squaw at Jack Berry Town. The patients in the village are Ms. Bainham, Mrs. [Lideon] Smith, Mrs. Morse occasionally & Col. [Dygart] has a child sick today - No fevers....Money is extremely scarce. I have not collected tend dollars these 2 months and our office business does not bring in more than $2 or $3 per week. The folks in the house have that. Still they run me hard. I know not what to do. My own debts I can not pay though they hint plainly that it is necessary. If I live through the year I shall be able to swim (perhaps). I don't know as we should do any better if you were here. You could only help us do nothing. I make every exertion possible to make money, but I can not get it. In fact there has not been but $5.00 paid on the bills & notes which you marked for collection when you left here. Your folks do not call for anything which is a great comfort to me...Kinnicutt"

"Buffalo, Jan'y 21st, 1828,

D. Sir [Bryant Burwell],

     As this is probably the last chance we shall have of sending by private conveyance I shall not be delicate about throwing in the minutest & most trivial circumstances without regard to system or order...The old doctor is as ambitious as a boy. He has petitioned congress for a pension & a marine hospital., which are presented to congress by our prompt Mr. Gurnsey. The old Doc't is now engaged in petitioning the Legislature to assist in the erection of a hospital. I have a considerable confidence in Congress doing something...The pension & the hospital will put the old Doc't & family above board & consequently add much to your pleasure. As matters have turned that G - d D---d set of marauders are vacated from Chapin's office & I hope they will never get organized there again. [Jinuson] in his letter to Chapin from Washington says "Doc't Burnwell treated him with a great deal of politeness & attention apparently" - I observe by that lingering word apparently that he still retains a share of his Indian..."

"New York, Aug't 15th, 1828

D. Sir [Bryant Burwell],

   ...In observing Albany & New York & their progress I think I may safely anticipate that 20 years will make a great place of Buffalo & that the harbor above Pratts will be in use & very valuable - It's not exaggerating to say it will be equal in that time to the [profit] of Albany & if so the land which I am engaged in will be worth a million. I have made particular enquiries about lots and rents in every place & find that our lands in Buffalo are offered lower than any that I have seen in any place. It is false the stories many tell about Buffalo lots being higher than any where else. Here I am one among 200,000 people & amusements & business & bustle confounding but Buffalo is my hobby & I shall stick to it & endeavor to succeed in my undertaking in general & ever have an eye to the improvement & beautifying the place & establishment of all good institutions &c &c... Yours J. W. Clark"

"New York, Aug't 21st, 1828,

D. Sir [Bryant Burwell],

     ...I attended the first opening of the New Bowery Theatre last evening for the first theatre I have attended. It was magnificently splendid - I am getting many useful ideas relative to architecture, streets, pavements & a thousand city regulations, which I wish to see in practice in Buffalo...J.W. Clark"

“Saturday, Niagra Falls, 9 o’clock A.M. [January 15, 1838] J.W. Clark to Bryant Burwell

Dear Sir,

    I wrote a line yesterday in great haste to Lucy saying that we were home too late for the Lockport cars & would be detained a day – I also stated the rumor was that the Navy Islanders would attempt an invasion of Canada last night. You will have heard all about the nights transactions ere this arrives.

    I walked with the Commissary General all the way to Schlosser last evening – It was a beautiful evening & we had a good view of the cannonading at Chippewa upon Navy Island. The General says it was the most brisk firing that has happened since the war began. We could see the shells issue from the guns & trace them all the in their curvature until they struck & exploded in the air or on the island. The round shot whistled merrily among the trees & skipped upon the waters. There were some hundred or more wagons assembled at Schlosser & the teamster folks were mute on the subject of their business.

    Van Rensalear declared to his friends here that he expected steamboats down from Buffalo in which he intended to embark his munitions of War & that the men would land & ride up the River probably to make a landing some where up the river …

     I think it is all for the best however: as  it will show to the world that our people will support the laws & with the disappointment & failure & the brisk charge from Canada I hope will bring the Islanders to their senses & perhaps & without incurring the awful retaliatory consequences of an invasion of Canada & a probable defeat &c &c – Volunteers continue to arrive for the Island from great distances – But the true affairs on the Island are discouraging & many are disposed to get out of the scrape. …

     You can readily conceive how weak the plan was of departing last night – Brave soldiers to require wagons to carry them a few miles & incur the liability of such a requisition in publishing their plan – which Chippewa was prepared to take advantage of - & then again their exposure to our troops on this side when separated from their arms - & the exposure of those boats to the cannon on both sides in the rapids at Black Rock.

     I have just talked with a man & his wife from Toronto day before yesterday – They were obliged to leave because the man would not take up arms. They talk hard about the tories in Canada & hope McKenzie will succeed – They think the war is not begun yet. They think there are forces enough at home to revolutionize without the help of the states people also that the tories swear vengeance on Buffalo &c &c …”

"Philadelphia, October 18, 1841,

My Dear Father,

I intend this letter as an experiment & wish your idea of the plan. I see things & hear opinions occasionally that are new & have a direct being on practice. I mean to make a note of such things & if they are worth the postage to you, I will continue them, if not, you will of course let me know...George [Bryant]"

[George Burwell, the son of Dr. Bryant Burwell, was in Philadelphia studying at Jefferson Medical College. In this letter he goes on to recount lectures he attended respecting new methods of treatments and practices]

"Yale Scientific, New Haven, Feb 13, 1865,

My dear Father,

   I received you letter of Feb 9th Saturday noon & immediately had the check cashed and shall pay Prof. Brush's bill this morning. I will keep watch of the spring stiles and would like very much to get a new suit of clothes here, if I do I shall have to send to you again for money...I feel fully sensible of your kindness in allowing me to stay here so long and assure you that I will do my best to make my day profitable. If I were not so near through I should like to go into the store at once, but I must say I should feel very bad to leave here now without my degree.....This morning when I went to breakfast the thermometer stood at 5˚ above zero and it has not been above 20˚ for several days past. Don't you think it must be pleasant to walk half a mile to each meal in such weather.

   I suppose you know that Mr. Wadsworth is engaged at present in 'bringing out' oil and mining companies, from what I have seen of him and from what Ned tells me from his letters I should think he was fully enlisted in it and has firm faith in its success. I send you a report of his 'Elk River and Little Kanawha Petroleum and Mining Company' which Ned has kindly given me for you. Ned has got all his father's enthusiasm about it and does not entertain the least doubt of the active success of all his father's companies...Your aff son Will"

"Yale Scientific, Feb 17th, 1865,

Dear Bryant,

    ...We are almost through the study of Anatomy in preparation for Dr. Sanford's lectures, which commence next Tuesday at 3 P.M. Prof Porter's lectures on Moral Philosophy are to commence next Monday at 5 P.M. The President gave us his last lecture today in Political Philosophy and I think the course has been the best we have attended yet. I have like them very much....Your aff. brother Will"

"New Haven, Feb 28, 1865,

Dear Mother,

It has been a custom here that each class when they graduate should have pictures taken to exchange among themselves and they also have pictures taken of each member of the faculty and of such views around New Haven as are interesting either on account of their own beauty or of their associations. I accordance with this custom the class of '65 has had a number of very fine views taken and I have an opportunity to get some of them. I shall order some of them tonight, seven views and the pictures of 12 of the faculty, which will cost about six dollars. Then there are some large views they measure 12 x `16 inches and are very fine pictures. I should like very much to get four of them viz one each of East & West Rock of Alumni Hall & of the Boat House. They would be very handsome framed and hung up in your house & I should value them very much some times as mementos of my life here. If you and father are willing please let me know as soon as possible in order that I may get them before they are all gone. The large views cost $2.25, excuse writing for I am in great hurry. With Love, yours Will."

"Yale Scientific, Monday April 3, 1865,

My dear Father,

...As I write the cannons are firing, bells ringing, flags flying and everybody is rejoicing over the capture of Richmond. I fear the civilians will not be allowed to go down there, but if they are, I shall certainly want to go....

I remain, Your aff. son Will"

“Yale, April 7th, 1865,

Dear Mother,

   ...Our examinations began yesterday. I went into one at five P.M. and today I have another at the same hour. Tomorrow I have one at 3 P.M. and Monday I have two, one at 9A.M and one at 2 ½ P.M. and then I shall be through....Bryant is here safe and all right. He says he did not spend a very pleasant night on the cars. He found your basket of provisions ample, in fact he has still got two loaves of cake and some biscuit. We are going to Prof. Silliman's lecture in a few minutes and I have not time to write much...I remain your aff son Will"

“Yale Scientific, Monday, April 10th, 4:45 A.M.

Dear Father and Mother,

    You may be surprised to see my letter dated at such an early hour for I am writing by camp-light. I woke up about 2 o'clock at which time the fire-bell was ringing furiously. Bryant was already awake and proposed going out to the fire but I was too sleepy. In a few minutes however a cannon began to fire and then all the bells began to ring, that woke us both fully up, then I woke up New and in a few minutes we determined to get up and see what it all meant. I tell you we were not long dressing. We met a fellow when we first started out who told us that Gen. Lee had surrendered with his whole Army. We hastened down town and found the streets crowded with men all making for the bulletin board. I have seen eight large bonfires this morning. We have had in front of the Scientific building you know J.S. C. Abbott lives on the corner just opposite, the Scientist, and when he saw our fires going he went and got some six or eight barrels and gave us.

    5:25 A.M. I have just been out hearing Mr. Abbott speak, a crowd came along with a couple of drums & stopped before his house, called him out, and made him speak. Is not the news splendid, surely they must give up now. My object in commencing this was to congratulate you all on our success and the hope of a speedy peace on our own terms...I remain  your affectionate son, Will"

"Willard's Hotel, Washington, Friday April 14, 1865,

Dear Mother,

     We have at last safely arrived in this city. We left Phil this morning at 4:05 and arrived in Baltimore about 8:30...We concluded to spend an hour or so trying to see Fort McHenry so we rode through the city and took the ferry carrying us to within ½ a mile of the fort, walking up to the fort we were admitted, but found ourselves stopped several times in going about. We learned that Col Dan Macauly of the 11th Ind Vol was in command and as Bryant said that he was quite a friend of Buffalonians & was acquainted with Father & Uncle Geo we called on him. He was asleep and I had taken out my card to leave when the Post Chaplain came in and said it was time the Col was work up as he was going into town soon, so we stopped a few moments longer & in a minute he came in. I introduced myself & Bryant & he was very cordial & kind, went out & showed us all over the fort. I tell you the sentries did not stop us now. He took us into the prisoner barracks and we saw several bushwackers &  others, a rough looking set & finally to complete his kindness he gave us the address of his brother-in-law in the Paymaster's Office & Also (now don't faint) a letter of introduction to Gen. Weitzel at Richmond. What do you think of that? Don' you think your boys know something about getting about....Your affc son Will"

"New Haven, Sept 15th, 1867,

Dear Mother [Mrs. Esther Burwell Glenny],

    ...I have made an agreement at a bookstore near the corner of Church and Chapple to take one of the New York dailies regularly for 1 month for one dollar, these paper's arrive in this city about noon & as near that time as may be convenient I stop in & take my pick thus every day I can take the paper having the most interesting matter in today I choose the Times. I of course shall be very glad to get a Buffalo paper as often as you think it worth while to send. As soon as I finish this letter I shall take my clean underclothes & go down town for a bath. If I remember right the arrangement was that I should go (2) twice in three weeks. Another matter that perhaps you may be interested in, is that I am getting to brush my teeth regularly having missed but once or twice since I got settled...Yours Bryant [Glenny]"

 

Collections of the papers and letters of Bryant Burwell and his family are found in at least two institutions, the Clements Library and the Buffalo History Museum.