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Amanuensis Monday – Letters From The Past

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For the past three weeks, I have shared with you letters my great-grandmother Dona had written to New Orleans in search of the Boullemet family.  The first week, she inquired with the New Orleans Post Office as to their whereabouts.  The second week, the post office responded and so did a Boullemet.  The third week, she wrote to Mrs. Bartels, the daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth Boullemet, who wasn’t exactly overjoyed to hear from her.

This week, it gets real with the final two letters.  I say the final two, but there are obviously letters that didn’t get saved, or Dona didn’t keep a copy of one she sent to Mrs. Bartels because the next letter is again from Mrs. Bartels and it appears that she had received one from Dona we don’t have a copy of.

This is the man in question, my 2nd great-grandfather Rev. F.H. Williams.

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

Rev. Francis Hereford Williams

He looks like a Reverend, doesn’t he?

Here we go, the last letter to be found from Mrs. Bartels:

From Mrs. Bartels to Dona Higginbotham

From Mrs. Bartels to Dona Higginbotham

Transcribed:

New Orleans Dec 6th /17

Mrs. R.F. Higginbotham

Dear Madam

Again I am compelled to say I have no connection by the name of Williams, either by blood or marriage, or ever have had.  As regards the picture it would be folly to attempt to trace any resemblance in a grey-haired man to my lost one.

My mother’s brother was not seen after the close of the civil war by my parents was heard from once thro an incident in his life reported in the daily paper, and none to his credit.

I never heard of any other bearing my father’s name.  My grandfather, a most worthy man, broken-hearted thro the conduct of an only son, totally blinded by sun-stroke was not a wealthy man, he with my grandmother were absolute dependents upon my father for about thirty years and both rest in our family tomb.

I trust this may fully satisfy you that I do not know Mr. Williams and were he my mother’s brother indeed, neither my sister or myself are able or willing to accept a burden to which we are not called.

Respectfully,

Mrs. A.A. Bartels.

WOW, Lady!!!!!

Tell us how you really feel!

If I had lived back then, I would have had plenty to say back to her, but get a load of what my great-grandmother Dona said back to her.  I couldn’t have said it any better or more refined than she did.

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 01

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 01

 

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 02

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 02

 

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 03

From Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartels Page 03

Transcribed:

My Dear Mrs. Bartels,

Imagine my surprise when I received your letter telling me that if my father were your mother’s brother you nor your sister were willing or able to be burdened with him. I am hastening to assure you that such a thought had never entered my mind. My sister and I are amply able and willing to take care of our father and our only fear is that we may not have him to take care of many days longer as he is extremely feeble and though he may not have been a credit to his family in his younger days, he is now considered a very refined and polished gentlemen among his circle of friends and acquaintances. He clearly shows the culture of his early training. We have never published his mental misfortune our friends know very little of his real condition.

My mother is a direct descendant of the Courtney’s, one of the best known families of S.C. Should it ever become necessary for any member of my family to secure credentials for my purpose I feel reasonably certain that we should find no great difficulty in obtaining such references right here in Texarkana. I am not given to boastfulness but I felt that in justice to myself I should try to make you understand that I am asking neither financial aid nor social standing but a very natural desire to know more of my fathers early life to learn if possible if the wound in his head is entirely responsible for his present condition or if there could have been any other reason for it.

I cannot help suspecting that my father is indeed your mother’s erring brother tho. I assure you that I shall not betray this knowledge outside my immediate family. He has frequently spoken of his fathers loss of eyesight caused by sunstroke and has other intimate knowledge of the family no outsider could very well possess as for the name, if he saw fit to change it, it doesn’t matter now as my sister and I am both happily married and there were no sons.

Possibly we shall be happier without further knowledge of our father’s past or his kinspeople. Yesterday my father underwent an operation to remove the pressure from his brain and it may be possible that he will have his mind restored sufficiently to tell us all that we need to know if he is too feeble to understand the shock the Lord’s will be done is all I can say.

Yours Very Truly,

Dona H.

BOOSH!!

I think Dona won my heart the very moment I read this letter!

Dona’s letter had no date, but the last letter received from Mrs. Bartels was dated December 6, 1917 and unfortunately Rev. Williams died just ten days later on December 16, 1917.

Rev. F. H. Williams Obit

Rev. F. H. Williams Obit

I don’t know if he was ever able to speak again, but it doesn’t appear that he was. How sad that Dona never got this resolved for her own knowledge, but had she not left these letters behind, I would have had no clue about the possibility that he had changed his name.

I’ll give you a day or two to ponder on the letters, and then I will share with you my research into the letters and tell you what I have discovered!

I think I now know who Rev. Williams really was, but I would like your opinion on the matter, so I will share all in the next post about Rev. Williams.

Prepare yourself, this is so far-fetched, it would make a good movie.

Or maybe an episode of Jerry Springer.

Amanuensis Monday – Letters From The Past

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For the past two weeks, I have shared with you letters my great-grandmother Dona had written to New Orleans in search of the Boullemet family.  The first week, she inquired with the New Orleans Post Office as to their whereabouts.  The second week, the post office responded and so did a Boullemet. 

This week, I will share what I assume was a draft letter of what she had mailed to Mrs. Bartels, the daughter of Stephen Boullemet and Elizabeth Williams.

Letter 04 from Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartel

Letter 04 from Dona Higginbotham to Mrs. Bartel

Transcribed:

Higginbothams
Merchants
Texarkana, Ark.

Mrs. Bartel.

Dear Madam,

Your address, 3506 Camp Street; was given me by Mrs. N.B. Boullemet to whom I wrote for information concerning the family of Mr. Stephen Boullemet; and while she did not state positively that you were his daughter, at the same time she left that impression.

If you are his daughter, will you kindly advise me so that I may write you more freely about my father F.H. Williams, who is very old and feeble and whose life is nearing it’s close?

If I am mistaken in assuming that you are the Mrs. Bartel referred to please pardon me, and if possible you would tell me any believe   [note:  this is scratched through on original document]

Hoping to hear from you at an early date I am

Very Truly Yours -

Then I believe she received a reply from Mrs. Bartels.

Letter 05 to Dona from Mrs. A A Bartels

Letter 05 to Dona from Mrs. A A Bartels

Transcribed:

New Orleans
Nov’ 22nd 1917

Mrs. R. F. Higginbotham

Dear Madam,

A few days since I received thro’ the widow of a relative, a letter written by you inquiring about the children of our Stephen Boullemet as his eldest daughter I am writing you. My three brothers have passed away, leaving but my sister and myself both widows. There is some mistake as regards names, my mother was Miss Watkins, not Williams, she had but one brother reaching manhood, whom she never saw after the civil war, he married secretly, a young woman employed and trusted by my parents; as his life had brought little but sorrow to his family there was little grief at his loss.

This is about all I can tell you, there is evidently some confusion.

Respectfully,

(Mrs.) A.A. Bartels.

So, there you have it.

Mrs. Bartels writes back and deny’s that F.H. Williams is any kin. But, this doesn’t sit well with Dona, and she responds! Check back next Monday for the final two letters! These final letters, you will NOT want to miss! I bet I get my moxie from Dona!

Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past

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Last week, on Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past, I shared a letter with you that my great-grandmother Dona (Williams) Higginbotham had written to the New Orleans Post Office making an inquiry into the whereabouts of the family of Elizabeth (Williams) Boullemet and her husband Stephen Boullemet.

This week, they replied!

Reply From New Orleans Post Office

Reply From New Orleans Post Office

Transcribed:

United States Post Office
New Orleans, LA
November 10, 1917.

Respectfully returned to Inquiry from Mrs. R F Higginbotham, re Stepehen Boullimet or Miss Elizabeth Williams et ale.

Mrs. R F Higginbotham
R F D 3, Box 45
Texarkana, Ark.

In reference to your communication herewith, I beg leave to advise that our city directory shows the following: Mrs. S C Boullemet or Mrs. Nettie B Boullemet, 2695 St. Charles. Mrs. Libby Bartell, 2126 St. Thomas. Mrs. Ada Bartell, 2315 Banks St. Mrs Rusk’s name is not shown in directory.

Postmaster.

She also received this letter, apparently around the same time according to the postmarks.

Letter From N B Boullemet

Letter From N B Boullemet

Transcribed:

2625 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans

Mrs. R. F. Higginbotham

Dear Madam,

You letter of inquiry about Mr. Stephen Boullemet’s family was recv’d this afternoon – will mail your letter to Mrs. Bartels whose address is 3506 Camp Street.

Very Truly Yours,
N B Boullemet

Nov 15 – ’17

Well, now she has found them! Will Dona get the response and answers she hopes for? Has she found her father’s family?

Next week, I will share the next letter.

Amanuensis Monday – Letters from the Past

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I’ve told you all about my obsession with all things Rev. Francis Hereford Williams, so over the next few weeks I will be sharing letters with you which lead me to believe he changed his name, and just like every other human, had bad things in his past happen.  None of these things kept him from becoming a man of God.

First, I will remind you that he had suffered a gun shot wound to the head during the civil war and had gone to the Austin Confederate Home to recuperate.  I think my great-grandmother, and his daughter Dona Williams Higginbotham was searching for answers for his condition, but this will all become more clear as I share the letters with you.

This is Dona, my great-grandmother.

Dona Higginbotham
Dona (Williams) Higginbotham

Here is the first letter.

First Letter from Dona Higginbotham to New Orleans Post Office looking for Boullemet relatives.

First Letter from Dona Higginbotham to New Orleans Post Office looking for Boullemet relatives.

Here is the transcription:

Nov. 5. 1917.
Postmaster.
New Orleans, La.

Dear Sir:

I am very anxious to get in communication with some one who is a relative of either Stephen Boullimet or his wife, who was Miss Elizabeth Williams. both of whom have been dead many years. They had two sons – Julien and Will. and two daughters Mrs Rusk and Mrs Bartell or Bartelle.

If you could give me the address of anyone from whom I could make inquiries, I would appreciate it very much.

Very Respectfully,
Mrs. R.F. Higginbotham

Next week, I will share the reply from the New Orleans Post Office.

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