27 October 2014

A letter from James Jacob and Jane Wall Facundus

I received an email this weekend from my first cousin once removed. Everyone has a person in their family that is a genealogist. My cousin Mark has traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi in search of genealogy related sources for our family. He has a precious collection of family history items, he has taken a DNA test and encouraged me to do so. He also participated in a civil war reenactment and played the part of our confederate ancestor on the same battlefield in Georgia. Mark is a true historian and a great person to share genealogy questions and theories. He currently is Park Manager at Camp Floyd in Fairfield, Utah.
"Used as a strategy by both the Northern and Southern States, Camp Floyd and the Utah War were an attempt to divert the nation's attention from the issue of states rights and slavery, to the Mormon problem and polygamy. Buchanan believed that Democrats and Republicans, northerners and southerners, could unite in an attempt to restore order to Utah, and he could thus divert attention from the crisis over slavery and tensions between the north and south."
The letter was written in 17 Nov 1900 by my 3rd great grandparents James Jacob and Jane Wall Facundus to my 2nd great-grandmother Emma Irene Facundus Trotter. Emma and Samuel Trotter had left Louisiana and taken a train to Utah in June of 1900. The Trotter's had been meeting with LDS missionaries and had converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like other Saints, in the late 19th century, they left their homes to gather in Utah where the fast growing church had set roots.

The family of seven settled in Goshen, Utah where two more children were born into the family. They migrated with infant Arthur Dahl Swenson Trotter, born 12 March 1900, who was named for the two missionaries who helped the family to join the church.

The Letter reads [annotations]:
Magnolia, La.  Nov. 17th 1900

My Dear Children[,]  I write you to day for the first
time and hope you do not think hard of us for not writing sooner but we knew you was hearing from us all the time through Cassie[.] We are all well at this time and hope you are all enjoying the same blessing[.] We still live at same place[,] get and getting along as usual and I guess you no how that is[.] Our crop was short on act of had bad weather and what little we made Lea Jones hogs ruined it so I never gathered a bushel of corn and tore up my potatoe patch[.] Allthough I made good potatoes and have gathered enough of them to last us way in Spring if they sleep well[.]  I hope you ans Sam is doing well there and I no you are from what you write[.] You are among civilized people and a Christian people[.]  While I consider that we are allmost in heathendom and it seems to me that they are getting worse instiad of better and if we could get the rest of the children
to go it would not be long before we would be with you all[.] I Jim would like the best in the world to come to see you all and see the country if I was only able to do so and I have regretted and regret that I was not brought into your church while I had the opportunity to do so[.] My mind has never changed as that being the only true church is the Latter day Saints and I would like so much to see some or all of the Elders that used to visit us so I could have them preach to us on true scripture but I live where they was not allowed to preach but I hope some day and that soon that we can come and see all of you, give our love to all and the children and to all the Elders and tell them to write to me. And may God bless them and you all is my best wishes[.]  Write soon and from now on I will try to write often[.] Tell son & dick and daisy hoddy for us all.

Yours as ever J. J. & Jane Facundus

This letter seems pretty standard. Something that I would write to my son, sans the grammar and spelling mistakes, thanks to modern computers and spell check. What makes this letter something I wanted to blog about was the two pages included with it that contain information about the family history.

It is no secret that Mormons have been gathering family history information for over 160 years. This included information by be in answer to questions about the family genealogy. I am glad to see that the love of family history extends further than myself and my cousin Mark.
No 1.
Jane Wall now Facundus
I was born and raised and married at Gillsburg, Amite county, Miss. My maiden name was Jane Wall[.] My age is from sixty five to sixty seven[.] I don't no exactly. My mother was Patsy Sibley her parents came from North Carolina[.] My father was Charles Wall his parents came from South Carolina when he was small. J.J. Facundus was born in Livingston Parish near Springfield La on March 5th 1837 and was 63 years old last March[.]  My father George Facundus was born and raised in Livingston Parish La but my grandfather Jacob Facundus I cannot tell where he came from or his nationality as I was left an orphan and new nothing of his origone but my mother was Mary Ann Mckie she was born and raised and married in Livingston Parish La her father Ja[me]s. Mckie came from South Carolina[.]
No 2. his mother was Ann Bookter she came from South Carolina but I can't tell you their ages as I have not got any record as to any further information I can't give it.

I can see the echo of this letter in the many family trees and accounts of our family. What a treasure it is to have this 114 year old letter and be able to read it. The account of the corn crop being ruined by rain and hogs, of the missionaries, and the knowledge of our families past being passed from generation to generation.

From the data provided it has confirmed a lot of the information I already had but caused me to have a few questions. How is there a birth date on Jane Wall Facundus' headstone when even she didn't know when her birth date was or how old she was? J. J. Facundus' birth date is also listed as 4th of March instead of the 5th like mentioned in the letter. It looks like I have more investigating to do.