Midshipman’s Missing Letter: Evelyn Culme Seymour (1899)

July 26, 2020 at 11:36 pm (people, research) (, , , )

To place this young man in context: Evelyn Culme Seymour was the grandson of Maria Smith, Emma’s youngest sister. Maria married the Reverend Sir John Hobart Culme Seymour in February 1844. They welcomed their first son, Henry Hobart, in 1847. Henry is the “dear Father” to whom, in January 1899, from aboard HMS Majestic, 18-year-old Evelyn Culme Seymour wrote.

As you might guess, looking at the date – 1899 – this period is very late for me. My main protagonists all had died off. It took me QUITE a while to finally bite the bullet and purchase a few letters, related to and yet in a wholly different world, far beyond my Two Teens (Emma and Mary) whose lives went back to King George III.

Still, Evelyn was “family” – and it had been items relating to Maria that turned up periodically for sale. (I wish whomever was cleaning house had found me!) I had just returned from a conference on Jane Austen’s Persuasion and decided, “Why not?” Blame it on the weekend’s naval theme…

Evelyn Culme Seymour_letter1

Periodically, therefore, I search online – hoping (against hope) to find bits and pieces of research. It’s been a while since I have found anything; it’s even been a while since I’ve found something that sold long ago — until last night.

Sold on eBay in the UK in March 2014.

The pictures are TINY! and only page one and the last page are shown. The description claims the letter is “QUITE LONG and INTERESTING.”

Six year later (more than!) if anyone having this letter would like to see what else Evelyn wrote from HMS Majestic – come find me. I have three letters from the ship (two on H.M.S. Majestic  Channel Squadron “letter head”), dating to March, April and July 1898. I am interested only in CONTENT!

WorthPoint (the website) has described the letter’s original description: “Evelyn states that the Empress came to see the ship on the 9th Jan 1899 and he helped her onto the ship and was introduced to her. He also mentions that he went to a dance at Admiralty House and was photographed by flashlight.”

The envelope is addressed to Henry at GLENVILLE, Bitterne (near Southampton), Hampshire. England, of course. This address is EXCEPTIONALLY important. Glenville was the home of Aunt Emma Smith. She willed it to Maria, and through her, then, it came to her eldest son. An address redolent with history!

Permalink Leave a Comment