Monday, October 29, 2012

Amanuensis Monday- Letters From the Past: Part I

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Years ago my grandmother Azile Daughrity Roberts Sullivan showed me a Bible that her parents used when she was a child. She told me that her father, Manning "David" Daughrity, read to the family from this Bible every night. 
Tucked inside the pages of the Bible  were three letters written by William McManus to his daughter Loretta  McManus Daughrity.  Etta, as she was called, was David's wife and my grandmother's mother.
 Until now I have kept the letters safe but had not ever transcribed them.  I wish I had done it sooner. I am finding that as I transcribe I am seeing things that I didn't see before and feeling a stronger connection to Williiam, David and Etta.
The first letter was written in March of 1914. William, or W.A. McManus as he signs this letter and is often named in records, wrote from Lucknow, Lee, SC.

The first letter is in an envelope addressed to:

Mrs. M.D. Daugherity
710 Church St.
Sumter, SC

The postage stamp for 2 cents is still attached and the postmark is from Oswego,SC April 20 1914

The following is the transcribed  letter as written without correction of grammar or spelling mistakes.  

Page 1
                                                                                                       March 25th 1914

dear children I am
writing you thias fiew
lines in answer to your
ever welcom letter which
I Received last night
Mr Evans came to see me
and broat it to me I 
am up at Halls Mill
and will be hear all
next weeak theas leeves 
me quite on well but
albal to be up but
I hoap that theas will 
find you all well
 Etta enclosed you
will find a check

(other side of page)
for 10.00 ten dollars for
Jainey that is all
that I can send
you now as I had to
 pay Walter Hollamon
five Dollars for $5.00
Davied I paid
Walter Hollamon 
five Dollars for
 you as youwrote
and asked me to do
and if it is not
Rite why you
write me and let me no
as this is all the paper
I have I clous write soon
W.A. Mcmanus

A smaller page was found in with the letter-

p.s. Etta if I ow you
children eney thing
why just make out a
Bill and I will send it to you
did I forget the Lightening 
killed 3 of our mules 
and knoke dow 2 of the
convicts on the 3th of 
this month

 I have a few questions after transcribing this letter. First, why was the letter written in Lucknow,SC on the 25 March and posted in Oswego,SC on April 10? The two towns are several miles apart and Lucknow had a post office at the time. Maybe he forgot to mail it or had to wait until he actually had the money promised to put in it before he mailed it.
 The second question I have is why was William Mcmanus in Lucknow or later in Oswego? He says he was at Hall's Mill which was a Grist Mill in Lucknow. Did he have business there? I am not sure where William was living at the time. In 1900 he was living in Rafting Creek, Sumter, South Carolina where he owned a farm. I have not been able to find him in the 1910 Sumter or Lee counties in SC. Some of the pages form the area he would have been in are faded and unreadable.  By 1914 his wife had died and  his children were grown. Daughter Etta was living in Sumter with her husband and children and son George was married and living with his family in Rafting Creek.
    The letter adds wonderful detail to William's life .He worked as a farmer and for a time as a guard for the prison known as "The State Farm" in Sumter County, SC. This explains the reference to the "convicts" being "knoke" down by lightening as he tells his daughter Etta. Is there a newspaper report of the lightening strike that killed the mules and injured the convicts?
  I am interested to see if I can find out who Mr. Evan was and why he may have come to see him. I'd also like to look into Mr. Hollamon. Who was he to both William and David? Is there a newspaper report of the lightening strike that killed the mules and injured the convicts?
 And finally there is the reference to "Jainey". Who is she to the Mcmanus family? This is not the first I have heard of the mysterious girl. I have a picture of the some children from the Mcmanus family and one is labeled as being Janey. All others are known to be the granchildren of William and Fannie McManus but  I have no other documentation of a Janey and where she fits in the family. She is not the daughter of Loretta and David Daughrity and I have seen no evidence that she belongs to William's son George. If William is sending money for her then he obviously feels a responsibly. I just need to find out why.
  An interesting item to note is that William spelled his daughter's married name -Daugherity-. yet another variation of the many spellings of the name.
  There are two more letters to transcribe. I wonder what I will find in them that I had not noticed before. Will they answer some of my questions or provide me with more?
This transcription journey to be continued......

Letter Transcribed 28 Oct 2012 by Cheryl Hudson Passey
From original letter found in Daughrity family Bible
Original letter in  possession of Cheryl Hudson Passey archived in Daughrity Family File
Digital Copy of the letter also in possession of Cheryl Hudson Passey in Daughrity Family Documents Computer File 


  1. So these are your great-grandfather's letters! It is amazing how many clues they hold, and how many points you find to research. The lightning strike could be in the newspaper, I can understand . . . but how will you look for that single name, "Jainey"?

    Just now I listened to a webinar about brick walls by Marian Pierre-Louis. Maybe "Jainey" was from an in-law family, or a church group? I wish you luck.

    Genealogy is an infinite pursuit, it seems! Thank you for sharing, and for transcribing these letters.

  2. Thanks Mariann. Not sure how I will find Jainey but I will keep tying!
    I appreciate you reading the blog!