Long Lost Recipe Books from Old Sweet Springs – try some “Brandy Peaches”

These are all artifacts which came out of old abandoned house, Lynnside, shown here by drone.

Even more interesting than the fact that they came out of Lynnside, is that the owners of Lynnside in the mid 19th century, was the family who owned the famous Old Sweet Springs Resort.

We found a few items which we’re 98% sure came out of that house: a glass 1850’s era photograph of a woman, almost surely the “lady of the house,” Letitia Floyd Lewis, as well as her personal scrapbooks full of recipes and health related remedies and clippings. All mid 19th century. 

Included among her recipes are medical and pharmaceutical recipes, for things like arsenic, nitrous gas, and phosphate of potash. I believe these books originally belonged to her father, Gov. John Floyd, who is buried on the property. He was a doctor and served as a surgeon on the Revolutionary War. Some of the beautiful handwriting appears to be much, much older. These were probably carried with him during his service, and was later given to his daughter. Or perhaps she just kept them when he died on the property during a visit in 1837.

You can see where she signed her name in the books several times, and even wrote “Lynnside” on the cover of the smaller one. Some of the recipes look great and appear to have been used for serving guests at the adjacent Old Sweet Springs Resort.

Also pictured are two crocks which were together with the other items, one of which appears to have been involved in the fire, which destroyed the mansion. There is also a piece of furniture which we believe sat in Lynnside and was rescued from the fire.

I also learned an old story about Union soldiers during the Civil War ransacking Lynnside because of Mrs. Lewis’ brother, who was a Confederate General. General John Buchanan Floyd, her brother, fought at Gauley Bridge, and surely was known by the locally encamped Union soldiers.

These amazing handwritten recipe books are full of everything from cocktails, to pharmaceutical recipes. They even have recipes which were obviously given to her from guests to the Old Sweet from around the country. Some of them have the name of the person who gave the recipe, as well as the location of their residence. One lady was from Maine….

This is a treasure trove of 19th century cooking information. Here is one recipe which sounds awesome:

Brandy Peaches:

“Peaches for this purpose shouldn’t be too ripe, scarcely ripe enough for eating. Take as many as you desire & by dipping them in boiling by?, take off all the fur or skin of the Peaches – after which make a thin syrup (emphasis original), in the proportion of one pound of sugar to a pint of water & after skinning it till perfectly clear, allow the peaches to boil in it until they may be easily pierced with a straw. Put them into some closely cornered vessel (emphasis original) as its very important no steam should escape (emphasis original) – & when all have boiled sufficiently in the syrup, boil what of the syrup remains to the consistency of thick honey & to each half pint of the syrup, add nearly a pint of the best French Brandy – covering the peaches with this mixture & tench the jar whilst hot very closely with several layers of soft paper – is best to not uncover the vessel for 24 hours.”

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