Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday's Child- Bessie Mcmanus

Pisgah Baptist Church ,Sumter County, South Carolina

    The William A. McManus family were members of the Pisgah Baptist Church in Sumter County,SC for many years. Several of the family are buried in the church cemetery. I was excited when my parents took a trip to take pictures of the headstones for me.
  I received the pictures and was surprised to find a picture of the headstone of a child named Bessie McManus. I had never heard of Bessie. She was not in any family record that I had seen. She was not recorded in the family Bible.  I asked my Grandmother and her older sister Mildred if they knew anything about her, but neither had any memories of a child named Bessie in their McManus line. Growing up they had heard that the McManus' were kind and generous. They were known to "take in children". Their own mother, Loretta, is said to have been adopted by William and they were not surprised to see evidence of this "adopted " daughter.

Headstone of Bessie McManus
Pisgah Church Cemetery, Sumter County, SC

                                                           Adopted daughter
                                                                      of                                                                     of
                                                              W.A, & Fannie
                                                          Born Dec. 10, 1887
                                                          Died Mar. 31, 1892

 So far a search of court, church and vital records have not shed any light on this little girl. She lived for such a short time-just a little over 4 years. I can't imagine how hard Bessie's death must of been for my Great Great Grandparents. This was not the first loss of a child William and Fannie had suffered. Years earlier they endured the pain of losing their first born twin girls. Hattie and Lula McManus died just days apart at only 3 months old.
  Bessie McManus is now found and she will not be forgotten. Her life story will be researched and added to the family who loved and cared for her.                                                                                                                                                                                       

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 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Family History Month

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Arthur Baker Family in the 1940 Census-Whose Mother is Mattie?

Arthur Baker Sumter County South Carolina
The Arthur and Mattie Baker Home
Sumter County, SC

 This is the home of my Great Great Grandparents Arthur Wellington Baker and Martha "Mattie" Victoria Bradford Baker in Sumter, SC . This is where my Grandmother, Mary Baker Hudson, grew up and where my father, John Allen Hudson, visited regularly as a boy.  I have been told that several of Arthur and Mattie Baker's children and grandchildren lived on and off there over the years. When the 1940 Census was released I was curious to see who was living there then.
The families of Arthur Baker and his daughter Kate Baker Ryan in the  Sumter, SC  1940  census.
 What I found was nothing new but did have me wondering about the placement of a "mother" Mattie in the household of Jimmy Ryan. Was this Mattie Baker? If not where was she? Was this Jimmy's mother ?
  The Arthur Baker Household listed on line 27 with  Mattie listed                                  
 on on line 31 in the household of James and Kate Ryan.

  Arthur Baker is listed in household 162, was 82 years old, married and a farmer. There is no one else listed in the household.  In the box for marital status there is a M with a number 7 by it. I have been told that this means that the person was married but the spouse was not living in the household.
 Below Arthur, in household 163, is James Ryan, his wife Kate ( who is Arthur and Mattie Baker's daughter ) and their daughter Ellen. Also in the Ryan  household is Mattie,78, Mother and Single. My feeling was that this was Arthur's wife who for some reason was with their daughter at the time of the census and considered to be apart of the Ryan household. . I believed that this is one house with two households enumerated in it. The age, 78, and birth place, Sumter, SC, for this Mattie were in line with what knew about Mattie Baker but I decided that I had better do some checking to make sure.
Patrick and Mary Ryan Marker
Holy Cross Cemetery, California

           Photo by SO 
  First of all I needed to make sure that James "Jimmy" Ryan's mother wasn't also named Mattie. The Mattie living with James and Kate Baker is actually indexed as being Mattie Ryan because of the way she was placed in the family. Taking a look on Jimmy's' death certificate, which I found on , I saw that it said his Mother was named  Mary Keelam with his Father being Patrick Ryan. It also said that they both had been born in Ireland.
 Hoping for an additional source for Jimmy's mother's name I went to my files for his obituary. Many years ago I was given Kate Baker Ryan's Bible. In it were many obituaries and birth announcements that she had cut out of the newspaper over the years.. One of the obituaries was for her husband James P. Ryan. Unfortunately,there was no mention of his parents. Since I knew from previous research that James Patrick Ryan was born in 1893 in Santa Cruz, California  I decided to go to and search the 1900 census for his try get more information. I found the Ryan family living in Santa Cruz, California. Father Patrick, Mother Mary with son James.
 A search of gave me a picture of Patrick and Mary Ryan's marker in Old Holy Cross Cemetery in Santa Cruz, California.  It was a great find  It tells the date of  Mary's death , 25 December 1910, and that Patrick and Mary were from County Galway, Ireland.  My thanks to the person who took and shared this picture on the site.
 Just to tie things up I went to and searched for an obituary for Mary Ryan in the California Historical Newspapers. The search engine was quickly able to find it. The obituary said that Mary Ryan, wife of Patrick Ryan, mother of James P. Ryan died on 25 December 1910.
 It seems clear that James Patrick Ryan's mother was named Mary not Mattie. Mary died in 1910 so she could not have been living with her son in 1940. All of this leads me to the conclusion that the the "mother" listed as Mattie Ryan in the James Ryan household  is, as I suspected, really Mattie Baker.
  I am not sure why this happened.  I do know that Arthur Baker died in October of 1940 and that he had been ill. I know he spent some time in the hospital. The census was dated in June. Perhaps Mattie was enumerated with the Ryan family because Jimmy was supporting her while Arthur was sick. I don't know if I will ever know why, but I do know that if I had not been familiar with this family and had just "found" them in the census I may have made the mistake of taking the information at face value. I would have put in my notes that Arthur was living alone with no wife and that James and Kate Ryan had his mother Mattie living with him.  I would be searching for Arthur's wife and instead of adding a branch to my tree I would be building the foundation for a brick wall!  Always analyze sources.

Arthur Baker (28 April 1857-28 Oct. 1940)

Martha "Mattie" Victoria  Bradford (11 June  1862-19 April 1947)

Kate and Jimmie Ryan about 1940
 On a side note-Kate Baker Ryan was one of the ones to have additional information asked of her and recorded at the bottom portion of the census.  No new information but fun to see her answers.