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Jeanie's World - Devasego
Dearest Jeanie: Highlights of the Wilkes-Smedberg Papers (1853-1913)

Located near Prattsville in Greene County, New York, the Smedberg family managed to retain ownership of  Devasego, a country estate high in the Catskills after the death of their patriarch Charles Smedberg. Many of Jeanie's letters written from here to Jack and to her friends describe in detail the daily activities of all of her family members as well as herself. Her brother John and his wife Jane Adams Smedberg lived nearby and often visited with their children. Jeanie's sister, Agnes Smedberg Adams would come up with her brood of children.  

From her correspondence at Devasego, a historian can gain keen insight into the joys of spending summer in the mountains in the 1850s. Her brothers and nephews were always fishing, shooting, and creating their own fun. Jeanie, her sister, Agnes, and her mother would organize picnics, attend local functions as well as attend church. Long rides into the country and preparing picnics capture a life full of tranquility and joy.

In Isabella's letters to Jeanie during this period, historians can glean the difficulties of moving a household to the country, setting up the summer residence, finding room for all the guests who came and went as well as the trouble of maintaining of their servants in the city who were reluctant to venture into the backwoods of upstate New York.


Smedberg Wilkes Family Papers, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte, North Carolina: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library