Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 6: No 2) >> Simms and the Ayer Family of Barnwell County >> Page 27

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Page 27

Secondary Scholarship | 1998
Transcription Ayer family held about 8,000 acres of land. In addition to "Patmos,""Harmony," and "Runnymede," the Ayer plantations included " Pineland" and
"Campfield" (1821-1864).
As an indication of the social life of the family, I have transcribed a
manuscript letter written by Mrs. Sarah Ayer Childs, Lewis Jr.'s sister, to her
brother, then age fourteen, and away at school. This was written the year befor
Simms married and came to live at "Woodlands."
Harmony September 15th 1835
Dear Brother
Once more I am permitted, after a long silence, to address
you by letter. Indisposition has been the cause of my not writing
before. I have a sweet little Nephew here for you, he was three
weeks old last Saturday. I wish you could see him, he is the
prettyest baby I ever saw; he favours his father very much. His
name is Lewis Malone Ayer. I suppose you will have no objection
to the name. We received your letter to Mr. Chiles last Thursday,
and were much gratified to hear that you were well, and continued
to get on in peace with your teacher and companions. Mother says
she is very much pleased to hear that you do not use tobacco in any
way whatever and she hopes you never will. Mr. C left us
yesterday morning. He expects to remain up the country a month,
and then return and take me up. It will be the last of October
before I leave here, and I wish to return in December, while you
are at home so that you may see the little boy and that we may
again see each other. The sickness of the family is not so great as
when Mr. C wrote to you, though Mother and sister still have the
feaver. It is however much lighter than it has been. In all the
sickness we have had there has been but one death; Ben, lost his
little boy Alfred about two weeks ago. The neighbourhood has
generally been quite sickly but I have not heard of any deaths.
Cousin William Duncan has been very sick, he was given out by
the Doctor at one time, but he is now pretty well recovered.
Mother says she has some clothes to make for you, and she wishes
you to send her word whether the size of the wescoat she last sent
you will do to make by and how much longer she must make the
pantaloons and in the same fashion that those you have are made
by, will do. Father says you must ask Mr. Sanders if the money for
the second session is required now or at the end of the session. He
wishes to know when you write next. You must write to me before
I leave here. Father Mother & Sister join me in love to you
believe me ever your affectionate
Sister Sarah

The Barnwell town residence of Ayer Jr. while he practiced law there,
escaped burning in 1865. The address today is 1906 Main Street, the current
home of Joel Patrick. The home was inherited by Lewis Ayer Jr.'s oldest son
Frank. The home is pictured below in a photograph taken in August 1998.