Letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry (April 7, 1878)

Dublin Core


Letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry (April 7, 1878)

Alternative Title

Letter from DeForest to Sperry (April 7, 1878)


Sanford (Fla.)


A personal letter from Henry L. DeForest (1857-1902) to his future wife, Anna M. Sperry. In the letter, DeForest discusses his conversation with Henry Shelton Sanford (1823-1891), his correspondence with Mr. Day, Sperry's birthday, and his plans to travel north.

DeForest (1857-1902), along with four African-Americans at the DeForest home in 1905. Called "The Palms," the DeForest home was located at 105 Aldean Drive in Sanford, Florida. DeForest was born in Derby, Connecticut, and knew Sanford since childhood. In 1870, DeForest came to Florida seeking better health in the warmer climate. He became Sanford's agent and helped carry out the work of establishing Sanford. He managed the contracted workers for Sanford's groves, especially the contracted Swedes that Sanford brought over in 1871. By the 1880s, he had married Anna M. Sperry, also from Derby, and had become an established businessman and grove owner in Sanford. He built his general store in 1887, which was the second oldest brick building in Downtown Sanford. His general store was the building where the historic September 1887 fire stopped. DeForest built other commercial buildings in downtown.


DeForest, Henry L.


Original letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry, April 7, 1878: DeForest Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry, April 7, 1878.

Is Part Of

DeForest Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.
Henry L. DeForest Collection, Sanford Collection,, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




487 KB


4-page handwritten letter and envelope






Derby, Connecticut
Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher


Originally created by Henry L. DeForest.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by the Sanford Museum and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.


Hazen, Kendra
Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Fry, Joseph A. Henry S. Sanford: Diplomacy and Business in Nineteenth-Century America. Reno, Nev: University of Nevada Press, 1982.
Molloy, Leo T. Henry Shelton Sanford: (1823-1891). Derby, Connecticut: Valley Historical Research Committee, 2009.
Sanford Historical Society (Fla.). Sanford. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003.


Sanford, Fla April 7 – 78
My Dearest Anna,
Yours of the 31st with mov
ed me last night, and I note with real
pleasure the increased length of your recent
Today had been lovely, and
I enjoyed the greater part of it at home
Ms F is away and I am alone with
Mrs F tonight and I fear I shall not
be able to write you at length. Mr +
Mrs Sanford together with Mr + Mrs
Fred Shelton arrived last night. I
called li dee the butler this afternoon but
they were out. I believe that I before
have told you that when Mr Sanford
and myself parted we did not [?]
any great amount of affection
for each other although he wrote me
a letter expressing his hopes for and
interest in my future welfare, but
without lack of charity I never gave
Mrs Sanford the [?]- of being succession[?].
I have written as above to show why
I purposely omitted calling an heir, I
am told he is very much troubled over
his affairs here and that he is very
“blue.” He certainly has reason to be, his
business is in a very bad way and if it
so continues it is very easy to forsee the
I occasionaly hear from Mr
Day, but know but little of his plans – in
fact I think he has none. He may come
down here next fall, but not before.
I am so sorry deary, that I did not
know of your birthday. I would liked to have
given you some little keepsake. As I have
nothing else I send you a violet.
In order not to disappoint either of us
I shall not arrange to go north before
the last of july. Although, I may go by
the 15th but not before. – This is for
three months in the future. I delay going
untill July in order to remain until
the last of Sept, as I can not well be
absent longer than two months. I am
anxiously awaiting a reply to my last
Sundays letter in refferense to details.
I so long to be with you tonight
my darling that I haven’t the heart to
write of it. Mrs F is longing for her
husband who has been absent just
five days and when I remark “just
think of me “being without a sight of you
for seven months” she comforts me by
informing me that I do not miss you
as I would a few months hence. This
may all be, but I am pish wed to
see you.
Remember the li dell of home and
to will + live.
Remember with the --- faith my
measures me, that the truest desire of
hear and with Gods help the firmest resolve
of my life is that I may succeed in
making yours a happy future. With
loving kindness I hope to wholly win
your heart, efervently pray God that our
lives may be made one by his blessing
and I earnestly hope that together we
may show our gratitude for this Great Gift
[?] perfectly then I at least have done
In the past.
Good night my darling
God bless and keep you
Your own


Miss Anna M. Sperry
Derby Conn.

Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

4-page handwritten letter and envelope




DeForest, Henry L.. “Letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry (April 7, 1878).” RICHES of Central Florida accessed March 26, 2023, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/4215.



Transcribe This Item

  1. FSM00013.pdf