Letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry DeForest (December 6, 1881)


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Letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry DeForest (December 6, 1881)

Alternative Title

Letter from Henry DeForest to Anna DeForest (December 6, 1881)


Sanford (Fla.)


A personal letter from Henry L. DeForest (1857-1902) to his wife, Anna M. Sperry DeForest. In the letter, DeForest discusses Henry Shelton Sanford's (1823-1891) recent illness, DeForest's love for his wife, and his desire for her to travel to Sanford, Florida, to visit him.

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 DeForest, December 6, 1881: DeForest Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry DeForest, December 6, 1881.

Is Part Of

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




559 KB


2-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., Dec 6, 1881
My dear darling wife
Yours of the 2nd came today. +
should wifes from Henry’s symptoms that he might be
realy a little better – As long as he throws up bile
he is not in a way to recover. – The bile ought to
assimilate with food + to s? to me or
Penniy might succeed us connecting this trouble –
I have [?] a good deal of faith in D?
Don’t worry about me darling. You have enough
to care for. I can get a long + be comfortable – but
not happy.
Don’t feel that your duty is
with me – I feel as if I ought to be with you
to assist.
Oh dear darling wife I do love
you better than all the world. I have about
made up my mind that it will be a long
time before I see you but I shall love you
all the same. I feel that it is almost the
greatest trial I have ever had – this separation, still
if our precious boy gets well + strong it will
be nothing.
I have not seen to very much
of him since he was born, still I love him dearly,
but dearest my love for you has only increased by
sharing it with him.
If you should find any
time this month that you could come, do
so if you wish. I think Henry could remain
here till May 1st + that it would be better
for him than north. -
I am almost afraid
to have him start while he is so poor in flesh
and having ups + downs.
Good night precious. God bless you both

Mrs. Henry L. DeForest
Derby Conn.

DEC 10 81
1:30 PM

Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

2-page handwritten letter and envelope


DeForest, Henry L., “Letter from Henry L. DeForest to Anna M. Sperry DeForest (December 6, 1881),” RICHES, accessed April 16, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/4216.