This letter was written by Martha (Tynes) Pool (1789-1828), the daughter of Robert Fleming Tynes (1755-1830) and Melissa Watkins (1762-1814). Martha married William Pool (1782-1860) in 1812. He is believed to be the son of Seth Pettypool (1755-1805) of Laurens county, South Carolina. When Martha wrote this letter in August 1818, she had three children — William (b. 1816) and two others that apparently did not survive to adulthood. She would eventually have at least four more children — Amanda (b. 1819), Oliver (b. 1820), Minor (b. 1823), and Fleming (b. 1826).
Martha wrote the letter to her Uncle Henry and Aunt K. Wheeler of Stateburg, South Carolina.
Elysian Fields is a ghost town in Amite county, Mississippi. It was located 2.5 miles east of the present city of Centreville.
Addressed to Henry Wheeler, State Burgh [South Carolina]
[Elysian Fields,] Mississippi
August 10, 1818,
My long absent Aunt and Uncle,
I have at length assumed my pen to inform you of the health of my family and connections. We all enjoy tolerable health but Uncle F. Watkins who is about to depart this life after a long sickness. He has been confined to his bed three months or more. In the first place, he had a rising on his leg that we all expected would have to be cut off. But Doctor Pool came and cured the leg. Then he took the diarrhea. That has wore him away to a skeleton. This complaint is something like the consumption but it works downwards in large quantities. This complaint is very fatal in these parts. You may count Uncle dead. He has been speechless for 4 days. There’s no hope. Mr. Boon died this spring with the same complaint. I don’t suppose that Aunt will shed one tear. If she does, it will be for joy, they tell me — I have never been there — [and] that she is talking about marrying already.
I expect, Aunt, you may wonder that I have never been to see Uncle. My reason I will give to you. Aunt has got so grand that she can’t visit no one but the ____. She is one of the greatest hypocrites in the world. She has set Uncle against her own people and berated my father and family worst than heathens. [When] my father came, he Uncle would not let him settle to himself for fear of some scandal but told him that they would build a double house — one end for him and one for ____. Well as soon as this was done and got plenty of land open, Aunt began to treat the child ill. [She] lay in her complaints to Uncle [so as to] make him ___ them and whop the team when father would be gone. She would go all about with her sister hood and tell all kind of tales on the girls. My father found half the provisions and she would draw coffee 3 mornings and then draw it for father and his family to drink and a thousand more of her mean [acts]. I could tell you if I could see you but the old slave will soon leave her and then her pride will fall after awhile. She makes nothing to lay out a hundred dollars at a time. Uncle makes fine crops every year but she goes through with it for he is very little better off than when he came.
We have got fine crops this year. I want Uncle to come out here. There is fine bargains to be had about here. People wants to go over the river. We would all been rich if the rot had not been so bad this 4 year’s back. It is leaving this place.
I have 3 children, Ann ¹ has 5, Betsy ² 2 and Polly ³ one, Myner [Minor] † 3 and Maning 1. Betsy lives with father since the death of Mr. Boon. Polly is married to a Mr. [Sampson E.] Ball on Pearl River — a widower. His first wife [Elizabeth Warren] was Fleming Tyne’s wife’s sister. He is well off but given to dissipation.
My dear Aunt, if I could see you, I should think I had almost got my long lost mother. Remember my …..living grandmother. Aunt West and all my relations and may the blessed and all adorable God enable my letter to find you and family well.
— Martha L. Pool
[to] Mrs. K. Wheeler
¹ Ann Eliza Tynes (1795-1842) was the wife of Co. Robert Petty Pool (1784-1854). Robert was William Pool’s brother.
² We learn from the letter that Martha’s sister, Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Catherine Tynes (1793-1871), was married at least twice — first to Mr. William Watson Boone who died of dysentery sometime shortly before the date of this letter, and second to Mr. Ball. Betsy and her husband lived with her father in East Feliciano, Louisiana, in 1818. According to on-line census records, Betsy married a third time to Thomas F. Lucas (1788-1845). Their son, Thornton W. Lucas (1828-1863) died while in the Confederate service during the siege of Vicksburg on 28 March 1863.
³ Mary (“Polly”) Amanda Tynes (1789-1828) became the second wife of Sampson Edward Ball (1779-1829) of Marion county, Mississippi, in 1817. Ball was a first cousin to Martha Washington. He had several children with his first wife and had one child with Mary by 1818.
† Martha’s brother, Minor Edwin Tynes (1787-1825), died in 1825 in Monticello, Lawrence county, Mississippi. Minor was married to Elizabeth H. Doughty (1791-1860). Minor and Elizabeth had three children when this letter was written — Martha (b. 1812), Amanda (b. 1815), and Oscar (b. 1815).
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