While reading Joan's blog Roots'n'Leaves I noticed her Monday posts called Amanuensis Monday which were transcriptions of family diaries or other material. I wondered what this word meant so I went googling. I found the definition: one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscripts. Further research into the origins of this prompt idea lead me to John Newmark at TransylvaniaDutch. Since I am of that certain age (retired), and no longer "employed" I will "volunteer" and join in the fun of Amanuensis Monday.
So here is my first Amanuensis post. This is a letter in my possession, dated July 8, 1860 from Mary Eliz. Heliner of Emmitsburg, Frederick county, Maryland to her "friend", Minerva Louise Favorite Douglass of Ottumwa, Iowa. Minerva is my gt gt grandmother. The letter is quite difficult to read in some places and impossible in others.
I received your very welcome letter and you can hardly imagine what joy it gave me for when I wrote I had the wrong direction. I had to guess the place. I was sorry to hear of your ???? affliction. I hope brighter days are in store for you. When you move east perhaps you will regain your nice happy ??? ????. …I am glad one of your children is a ???? ahead of mine although the name is not pretty yet I like to have some of my friends call there children that name. There was a gentleman in town yesterday from Mercer, a Mr. Fleming. Sis ??? requested him to call to see Laura Smith, I did not see him so told Laura that Sis was to be married soon perhaps it is ??? . we have very cold and unpleasant weather. Cold enough to wear shawls in evening and morning, it certainly is very unhealthy. On the fourth I was at a fishing party, Danners girls, Brooks girls, myself and Maria were the girls. Pierce Danner and James Helman were the boys. We had a great deal of fun. We rode out and back. I was at very large picnic last week but did not enjoy myself very much. There were too many at it for any pleasure. Ellen Weltz is married. She married a man in Baltimore. You remember her, she always lived next door to you. I will now answer the questions you asked. Mary E. Eichelbarger is not married nor any of the family. Your Guthrie is living in Davenport Iowa. She has been there nearly three years. She is not married but Jane is married to George Beam, they are living near town. Mr. Guthrie is dead nearly two years. Mrs. Shiles and William are both dead. The rest of the family are living in St. Joseph Missouri, moved out this spring. Charlie Bow is married to a Mis Maxwell. He is living in the country. Sarah Troxel sends her best love. She says she would like to see you. She is living with her father ever since Charles is married, she is the same lighthearted creature she ever was. Josh and Eli are still single. Isaiah Bow is married to Miss Bushman. Cal Zimmerman is very delicate. She does not go out much since she had her child which is a little girl. Joseph Weltz has been living in Virginia five years, they are very much pleased. Jeminas mother is out with them now. She will be home this week. All the girls send their love to you. Every person appeared glad to hear of you. I told a great many persons that I had a letter from you. They would all like to see you. Philomena Pittinger and Victoria are coming home. Phil is not well, she thinks the country will do her good. Your Aunt Marg. Jones lives in Iowa City you are not far from her, they are doing well. Fishers are in the same place. I would like to see all of them. I wrote to Jim that he was coming in but he has not made his appearance yet. Smalee was in but did not come to see us. I think it very hard he might have called if only for a few moments. There has no doubt been a great many changes since you left, a great many have died, some have married and moved off. Frank Eysler is living in St. Joseph. She has two children. She does not like it out there, but she is one of these discontented creatures. If nothing happens I expect to go to Virginia in a few weeks. I hope I will enjoy myself. Pearsons are living in Westminster. Mary is to be married soon. Aunt Molter is dead this two years. Sam bought her house and is married and has two children. He married a lady from Pittsburgh. Rev. Mr. Senham is also married again. He is living near Philadelphia. Annie Diven is married to Harry McDivim. He is living in Kansas. Julia Shark has grown to be a very fine lady, very sociable and pleasant. Kate Geets is still single. She is keeping house for George since his wife died. Susan is married and is living in Hanover. What I have not told you please remind me when you write again. All the family join with me in love to you and your family, remember me to your husband, answer very soon and believe me ever your true friend. Good bye hope you are all well, Mary Eliz Heliner