Last night I sat down with my daughter and read a manuscript from 1844. It was a description of the Civil disctricts of Lewis County Tennessee. We marveled at the peculiar hand writing (the two slanted lines that were intended to be a capital M) and the use of words that my daughter never hears (i. e. thence). We had fun picking through the photo copy the manuscript library made for me.
I wanted to know where the people I found in the census actually lived, or at least close enough that I could get a feel for where they lived. Of course, it doesn't always go the way you want it. The map was nearly useless. The boundries were clear, but the was no point of reference. No cities, no rivers, nothing; Just the boundries. So we picked through the descriptions. In truth they were only a little better. "Follow along the old Wayne county line" only works if you knew where the old Wayne county line was. "Then along the road between Thomas' house and the widow's property." I'm sure they still live there.
But the process was fun. I spent an hour or so with my daughter working on a puzzle of sorts. And although I didn't come away with a closer understanding of where these people lived, I came away a little closer to the people who matter.
2 months ago