My grandmother Vincent was Penoma Ophelia Seay before she married, better known as “Oma.” Her mother was Fannie Walker Pace. Fannie was a very artistic woman. Our family had a oil painting Fannie made in 1896. You can see it by clicking HERE. You can read and save a document about her artwork and craft skills by clicking HERE.
My main reason for this blog post is to share a letter Fannie wrote in 1947, the year I was born. It’s an interesting letter. It doesn’t have any Genealogy information in it but it is fascinating for Family History. It’s a mirror into her life the year before she died at age 86.
You can view the images and transcripts of the letter by clicking HERE and clicking on the individual filenames, “.jpg” for image files and “.txt” for transcripts. Click on the README.txt file first for an overview.
Here’s where I need help from everyone. The letter is very hard to read. If you have time and can decipher some of the words that we haven’t yet been able to interpret, please let me know via email or by posting comments on this blog. If you don’t have time to review all this and would just like to see what we’ve been able to figure out so far, here’s our interpretation of what Fannie told her daughter Oma in 1946 or ‘47.
In the transcript below, words added by the editor (me) are in brackets. “[sic]” means I didn’t make a mistake. In the letter she actually wrote the word “I” twice. Original spellings are preserved as best I could while at the same time trying to properly interpret what Fannie was writing. You’ll have to interpret poorly spelled words in context. For instance, the word “Money is spelled “Moy” in one place and “Monny” in another.
[PAGE 1] Sunday Eve
Dear Oma, I wrote you a letter, it came back to me. I had the pneumonie in [my] right side. my nabor kids would not come in until they heard me cough. Mr Craft & Johnie [Fannie’s daughter] was all the ones to help me. Staid in bed 3 weeks. this last week was all [the time] I I [sic] have [been] able to stay up. the grass & weeds
[PAGE] 2 has taken the place. Most of my tomato died but law at the peaches I have had. I saved [aa*] a lot of [them] so do you wish any? had 1 trre [??? bb*] of enough mad[e] pickles all from 4 serve [cc*] elbird & new derving. this spell got me strong. am notion [to] sell & get away. What will be the best to sell at so you 3 kid & me will have a portion equal divid in 4 parts? [dd*] I can sell to a man in
[PAGE] 3 town for cash if you will all sign it [ee*], if not will borrow moy on [the] place. tel the one that loans me the monny [they can] have it for 2500 year without intest [ff*]. best to sell if I can get a place to live [that] will feed my self so write what you think is best. haven seen of Buby[‘s] folks since last spring B cause near being killed. not able to walk [gg*]. ever where I stay I
4 give [away] my junk. how is your Sore? get 1 oz of Glycerine, 3 oz of Aa iodine[, and] mix. rub over it. if it burn[s use] grese [to cover it] with [for] 6 hours [hh*]. have cured with this Dr Harry perscrption. it will turn skin black of go the groth. some[one] broke open [my] house last [night???] [They] broke [the] lock [and] stole some cotriges. all I went after was gone [in] 1 hr. [They] stripapad my yard [ii*]. write & tell me who you think best stora ge no who can walk. write soon. with lo[ve] to all, Mother
aa = Evelyn? Emily? Eula? Erika?
bb = She is obviously talking about pickled peaches.
cc = She probably means varieties of peaches. Elberta is a common and very old variety but I have no idea what she means by “derving”?
dd = Fannie is talking about selling her place and equally dividing the proceeds 4 ways, one part each for: Fannie (1861-1947), Fannie’s son Beaury Walker Seay (1884-1966) aka “Buby”, a child’s nickname for “Brother”, and Fannie’s two daughters, Penoma Ophelia (1888-1955) aka “Oma” and Johnnie Christine (1891-?).
NOTE: Fannie loved nicknames and had one for each of Oma’s children. Maud Kelly writes about this in her Vincent Family History.
ee = Perhaps her husband’s will required that his property be divided equally among his living heirs. This was once common with the wife as executrix, requiring the children’s signatures upon selling the place.
ff = This is hard to read. If Fannie can’t sell, she plans to mortgage her property, but for how much? It appears she is willing to sell for $2,500.00 and no interest if the loan is paid within a year.
gg = I wish I knew more about this event. Was “Buby” (Beaury) nearly killed and not able to walk? Perhaps one of his descendants would care to comment.
hh = This is a best guess at sentence structure and word interpretation. If you look at the actual image file for this page of Fannie’s letter, it’s really difficult to tell what she has written. Her sentence structure is so broken at this point that she may have meant something entirely different.
ii = This sentence and the one following it are almost indecipherable. We’ve transcribed what we can comprehend and left words we can’t decipher as they appear. It appears someone broke her door lock and burglarized or vandalized Fannie’s home. In the second sentence, she may mean that whoever stole the ammunition (cotriges) also stripped (“stripapad”?) her yard of anything of value while she was gone for only an hour. In the sentence following she may be asking Oma if she knows of a place she can store things safely that would work for someone (i.e. Fannie) who can’t walk very well.