1824 Letter

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.

click to enlarge

In the following transcript I have added punctuation and separated the text into paragraphs. Anything in brackets are my notes.

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Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Alphonso Mayo

Ezra Alphonso Mayo made the ultimate sacrifice on September 12, 1918

Alphonso Mayo , 1917
courtesy Ray Mayo

Alphonso was born January 16, 1888 near Eureka to Jesse (1848-1901) & Nancy (1849-1911) Mayo. The 1900 census lists a large household: Jesse (52), Nancy (54), Sarah (28), Jesse (28), Celia (23), Alison (21), Lena (19), Bertie (17), Hugh (14) Ezra Alphonso (12), & Ellen P. Smith (47).

He registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 and was inducted into the US Army in Goldsboro on September 24. His first assignment was to the 81st Division at Camp Jackson, near Columbia, SC. In a letter to his sister, he wrote that he was “getting along well as I can expect” but that he was not getting enough to eat, and what he was fed was “not cooked very good”.

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Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Grover Summerlin

Grover Summerlin, 1918. Taken in Goldsboro by A.O. Clement.

Grover Summerlin of Mt. Olive was one of the last casualties of WWI

James Grover Summerlin was born on May 18, 1892 in Mount Olive, the son of Jesse Giles (1848-1929) and Martha Caroline Grant (1856-1941) Summerlin.

The 1900 United States census lists his home in Indian Springs. The household recorded in the census data was crowded to say the least, although not unusual for a rural Southern family of the era. The inhabitants listed (all Summerlins) were: JG 51, Martha 43, George W  24, Charles A  61, Mary M 19, Martha E 17, Avery W 15, Jessie A 13, Lilly F 11, Joseph 1, James G 4, Sarah A 6, Lamual D 4, and Effie P 1.

Two months after the United States officially entered World War I, Grover registered for the draft just after his 25th birthday. His draft card states that he was an unmarried, self-employed farmer of medium height and build with blue eyes and black hair.

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