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Collection Title: Godman (Harry R.) Letters

Collection Number: M112

Dates: September 15, 1863 - January 29, 1873

Volume: 5 items

Provenance: Donated by Mrs. W.S. Godman of Terry, Mississippi, on April 29, 1968.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Dr. Harry R. Godman was born in Maryland on August 31, 1826 and was married to Emeline Ward Godman (b. August 9, 1830 - d. October 14, 1910). Together, the two had at least one son, E.C. Godman (b. January 15, 1864 - d. December 30, 1920), who also became a doctor in later life. Godman moved to Hinds County, Mississippi, sometime between 1860 and 1863, and resided in Terry, Mississippi. Terry, located in the southeast part of Hinds County, sixteen miles southwest of Jackson, was named for former resident William Terry, affectionately known as "Uncle Bill."

Harry Godman remained in the Hinds County area until his death in 1878 due to yellow fever. The epidemic was the second major outbreak of yellow fever to affect Hinds County since 1855, and during both instances, the residents of Hinds County faced a county-wide quarantine. No detailed information concerning Dr. Godman's career is available. However, records indicate that he had at least two grandchildren, an infant (b. and d. May 1, 1895) and Harry Robinson Godman (b. August 16, 1892 - d. August 22, 1899). No further information concerning the Godman family history is available.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of five letters, four of which were received by Dr. H.R. Godman between September 15, 1863 and January 29, 1873. The fifth letter was received by Emeline Ward, Dr. Godman's wife.

The letter received by Emeline Ward is dated September 11, ____, and is addressed to Emeline Ward at Edgefield Depot in South Carolina, suggesting that the letter was received prior to her marriage to Dr. Godman. Written by Emeline's father, R. Ward, the letter contains instructions for Emeline to make a flag for a future presentation. The end of the letter is interesting in that Mr. Ward tells his daughter exactly what to wear for the forthcoming event.

The four letters received by Dr. Godman contain several points of interest. The first letter, dated September 15, 1863, is from W. Phillips of Demopolis, Alabama, giving Dr. Godman the power of attorney over property and stock left in Mississippi during the American Civil War. Interestingly, Phillips instructs Godman to divide the clothing and cloth amongst the Negroes, and then sell the land and the stock. All "movable" objects are to be sent to Mr. Phillips in Alabama. The correspondence dated April 23, 1870, also involves legal matters, as T.R. Peale replies to a request for legal advice from Godman. The letter is divided into two distinct parts, the first dealing with legal advice about a will, the second discussing mutual family members and friends.

The two remaining letters (dated September 1, 1869 and January 29, 1873) are from Godman's brother-in-law, Clinton Ward, and primarily deal with family matters, business, and the welfare of particular family members. Of note are Ward's feelings about the prospects of a bad cotton harvest in the first letter, and the obvious economic recovery experienced by Ward in the second letter.

Arranged chronologically, the five letters are all handwritten and autographed, and have been encapsulated between two sheets of transparent mylar. A typewritten sheet prepared by Linda Ann Barker accompanies each letter, providing details on the contents. Two of the letters are accompanied by their original handwritten envelopes.

This collection may be of note to those interested in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, or to those interested in the everyday lives of people in the South during the latter half of the nineteenth century.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: November 10, 2004