Old Plantation Days Part 5

During the latter part of the war, I wrote to him asking if he would receive cotton through the blockade and arrange to send us in return many necessary things. We were without shoes, and were wearing clothes made from our gay silk dresses carded up and spun with cotton, thus woven into cloth by our own people. We then had an abundance of food, but other things were not to be bought. In reply he said: "Do not send your cotton, you will run a double risk; I will send you all you need, for I have more than enough for my family and yours."

Never dreaming we would ever be in a position where we could not repay Mr. Saunders, I wrote to him and sent a list of needed articles, pieces of linen, merino, and silk, and stockings and shoes for us all.

He sent us two thousand dollars worth of goods in gold value, thus generously supplying every child and grandchild in our family with clothes.

Alas for us, the war ended disastrously, and forgetting all he had previously done for me and mine, he now sent money and provisions to aid us, which help arrived in our darkest hour.

I am glad to tell you that these debts were paid, though it took us years to do it.

Until Mr. Saunders's death, we corresponded regularly, and fifteen years after the war he came to see me at Va.s.sar College, for after your grandfather's death, I came North with your darling mother who was fifteen years of age, and went first to Philadelphia, placing her in the same school where I had been educated, with the same princ.i.p.als still in charge, the Misses Bonney and Dillaye. I kept house in Philadelphia in a quiet way in two rooms, and had been there two years when I learned that the gentleman whom your grandfather had left in charge of my affairs had speculated and lost every cent I had in the world.

Immediately I tried to find some work by which I could support your mother and myself, and through one of my former teachers, Miss Morse, who was then a.s.sistant to Dr. Raymond of Va.s.sar College, I was offered the position of a.s.sistant princ.i.p.al. There I remained for five years.

While at Va.s.sar your mother took up a special course at the College and graduated from the Art Department.

One day my dear old friend Mr. Saunders was announced. The last time we met, I was fifteen and he forty-five years old. This latter meeting took place twenty-five years later. It was a sad meeting for both of us. He had lost most of his property, and was comparatively poor. He took me in his arms and said; "My child, if I were able to take care of you and your daughter you would not be here one minute, for I would take you home with me and take care of you both." The last letter I received from him said: "I am nearly home and when I get there I shall watch for your coming."

ADDENDUM

BEAUFORT, S. C., January 8, 1906.

MY DEAR AUNT NANNIE:

I fear you have by this time lost all hope of hearing from me, but I have not forgotten my promise. I am afraid, however, you will be very much disappointed, as I have so little information to give about family history, and that little is very sc.r.a.ppy. Our branch of the family have been criminally careless about preserving records.

While I have not what we lawyers would consider strict evidence of the fact, still I am quite satisfied from circ.u.mstances and inferences, which I shall not undertake in this letter to detail, that our family and the Northern family of Bostick were one and the same. Our American progenitor landed in Plymouth, Ma.s.s., sometime about the middle of the seventeenth century, coming from Chester County, England, and being probably a political refugee. His wife also came with him from England. In England the family history was both ancient and distinguished, the founder landing on English soil with William the Conqueror, in whose service he was of distinguished rank, both military and social. In England he became one of the barons of the realm. The t.i.tle remained for centuries in the family, and may be still in existence, and has been adorned by many distinguished representatives in the English wars especially. The original stock in Ma.s.sachusetts seems to have migrated, mine northward and some gradually drifting southward. The intermediate links I cannot supply, but finally these brothers settled, two in Carolina, the youngest being our great-grandfather Richard, and one in Georgia. In Jones's history of Georgia mention is made of Captain Littlebury Bostick, a wealthy rice planter near Savannah. He, I think, was the brother, or son of the brother who settled in Georgia. Richard was the youngest of the three. The other brother, John, bought a large landed estate near Columbia on which he lived and died quite an old man. During his life he maintained the style and reputation of a man of great wealth, but at his death it was found that his affairs were financially involved.

He never married, but was known as a cultured man of decidedly literary tastes, and was a leading figure in the social life of his section. His most intimate friend was General Hampton, father of the Confederate general of same name.

Richard settled in old Blackswamp, where he married three times, the last two wives being sisters, both Roberts. The last, first married Singleton, and at his death our ancestor. By the last marriage there were no children; by the second marriage to Miss Robert, we are descended through your father Benjamin Robert Bostick; by the first marriage the other Blackswamp Bosticks are descended.

I have not a copy of the Bostick coat of arms, but the motto is "Always ready to serve," bestowed, or adopted, I presume, in recognition of their martial spirit exhibited on many great battlefields. The Robert family, of whom your grandmother was a member, settled in Sumter. The progenitor, Rev. Pierre Robert, led a colony of Huguenot refugees from France. Many other Huguenot families in the State claim descent on maternal lines from him. He seems to have been a man of wealth and ancient lineage. I have a copy of the French coat of arms.

Your mother, who was a Maner, came of no less distinguished line. They were of Welsh descent, and probably more remotely of Norman French descent, as the progenitor was Lord de Maner.

Grandma's mother was a May from an old Dutch family. The original May came to Charleston, and founded the first large importing house (tea chiefly) in copartnership with the famous Dutchman, Admiral Gillon.

I presume you know, of course, that your great-grandfather, William Maner, and his brother Samuel were both captains in the famous Marion Brigade in the Revolution. Your grandfather was a captain at eighteen years of age.

I may mention also, that grandma's mother, who was a May, was on her maternal side a daughter of an English Colonel Stafford. The English Staffords are also of ancient stock, I believe.

I am afraid the foregoing very meager account of the family connections will give you very little that you do not know already.

While I have stated the main features of the family history, as I know them, the statement is very general. If you desire more of detail with reference to any individual or any part of the family history, I may be able to give you a little more, and will take pleasure in answering any inquiries on this line. I have had to write this very hastily.

With love from us all, I remain,

Affectionately,

A. MCIVER BOSTICK.

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