A nearly 200 year old letter sent from Wayne County to Tennessee has miraculously survived
The following letter was donated to Old Waynesborough Park by Susan Evans. It was written in 1824 by Henry Daughtry in Wayne County, NC to James Boyet in Bedford County, TN.
The handwriting is clear but his grammar is terrible. There is no punctuation nor are there any paragraphs and the spelling is poor. Keep in mind though that Mr. Daughtry likely had very little formal education, no TV, internet, and probably no books except for a Bible.
After the transcript below there is information on some of the people mentioned in the letter.
In the following transcript I have added punctuation and separated the text into paragraphs. Anything in brackets are my notes.
to James Boyet
State of Tennessee
The State of North Carolina Wayne County
July the 30th 1824
Dear Brother and Sister, I take my pen in hand to right to you wonce more to In form you that we are in only tolerable health and We hope that this few lines will find you all In a State of good health. I have bin down a few weaks Back with the flux [dysentery] but I am on demend.
I hope I would advise you if Ever you should have this comeplaant [complaint] in that Countary [country] you apply to mutten Suet [?] and molasses, and mix it to gether and drain it for a sight. Did with it heare til that Remedy was found out.
Chelly has bin misy [?] poorly Ever since last Jenuary til a few weaks Back. She has mended Some. She has miscared [miscarried] 2 or 3 times Sence Arthur was Bornd [born].
The last letter that we Revd [received] from you was dated the 11th of April 1823 and we long to hear from you all. I want you to right […page torn] to let us no how you all are. I put a letter in the office for you the 14th of September last and has had no answer from you Sence the reason of my not righting Sence I have bin looking for one from you Ever Sence.
Croopes [crops] of Corn is tolerable, likely Cotton is very likely we make Sight of Cotton in this Countrary [country] to What we youst [used] to do. I have a Bout 6 acres in Cotton this year and it is very likely.
turn over July the 30th 1824
Tell Eliza her mother is very poorly With her sad Comeplaant [complaint] and is a most Right Blind. Her eyes is got Sore again. She want you to rite as quick as you Can for she longs to heare from you all wonce more and Remember her love to you all and Kiss all the children for her Sak[e] and Bid them love for Ererer [Ebenezer?] and Zilpah and her family is all well and remember her love for you all.
Zilpah had another Daughter Bornd the 1st day of May last year and they Call her name Edith. Nancy and Betsy remember there to there [their?] uncle James and aunt Eliza and Zilpah and Josiah and little Jessa and they says you must send word if the Children groos [grows] fast for Nancy thinks she is a most [almost a?] woman.
People is wary [very] Sickly with the fever and flux. Old John Musgrave and Charity is both Dead. John died the last April and his wife Charity died the first of June. Brittain Scoot [Scott?] is dead. Old aunt America Howell is like[ly] to die with Dropsy [edema]. She is sweld [swelled] all over fit to Bust.
Sarah Hines wants you when you Right to rite if you have Seen or heard anything of Mathis. He left this Country about 2 years ago and has never heard nothing from him Sence he went away. She want if you can hear of him to Send him word to Come home, for there is many comeing to him from his father’s Estate, and see to it.
Nancy Sasser is married to Lemuel Whitfield.
There is a great reverend in the Babtist [Baptist] Church. We have the most preaching I ever node [knowed] in my life. In this Countary [country] of all Se[?] and Societys Babtist and prispeterianes [Presbyterians] and piscopalens [Episcopalians] and quakes [Quakers]. There is from 12 to 14 a day Babtised [baptized] monthly. Crawford Howell is great preacher as any in the State all most.
And so I must conclude with Love to you all until death.
to James Boyet Henry Daughtry
[?] Remember her [?] to ginny and all the Children and Ginny must send her word if she is married or not for she is a most married to handy tolar [?].
Remember my love to Major Howell and when you rite, Send me word of where [you] are a living In the Same County or not and the name of the post office. I want to rite to them.
The letter writer, Henry Daughtry was born in Wayne County in 1782 and died in 1825, just a year after he wrote the letter. His wife, also mentioned, was Chelly Wise.
James Boyet, the letter recipient, was born in August 3, 1790 and died March 25, 1868. He first married Mary Vann in 1803 and later Elizabeth Rogers in 1809. He is buried in the Boyett family cemetery in Lewisburg, Tennessee. Zilpah was possibly his sister. In 1807 she married James Holland in Duplin County. This might be the “uncle James” mentioned in the letter.
Lemuel Hatch Whitfield (1798-1871) was married twice, first to Nancy Sasser and then to Lucy Ruffin. He is buried at Willow Dale Cemetery in Goldsboro. One of his daughters, Georgia (1833-1872), married Edward Brownrigg Borden (1831-1918). Their son Frank began the Borden Manufacturing Company in 1900.
Sarah Hines was a Quaker born April 15, 1784 to Peter and Hannah Hines. They were members of the Contentnea Monthly Meeting, located a few miles northeast of what is today Fremont.
Reverend Robert Boyte Crawford Howell was born in Wayne County in 1801 and by 1824 was a local Baptist minister. He moved west to Tennessee and continued preaching until his death in 1868 in Nashville. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.
Reverend Howell (TN state archives) and his grave at Mount Olivet in Nashville.