In Their Own Words:
Letter from Joseph Wilds
on the occasion of his uncle's death, January, 1820

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In January 1820, George Wilds, son of Abel and Mary (Davis) Wilds, died in Society Hill, South Carolina. He was a bachelor possessed of a small estate of land and slaves. Before his death, George Wilds made a somewhat confusing will which left specific items to several nephews and nieces and provided for the balance to be divided between his nephews and nieces. One nephew, Joseph Wilds, son of George's brother Samuel Wilds (d. 1803), moved to Ouachita Parish, Louisiana about 1812. The question of whether "each of the deceased brothers and sisters draw an equal part" or whether the nephews and nieces would divide equally was ultimately settled in the Cheraw District Equity Court, in a case brought by Joseph and Peter Evans, a great nephew. The following letter is an early indication of Joseph Wilds' interest in his uncle's estate. The equity court records of the subsequent case are voluminous and are valuable in detailing the descendants of Abel Wilds living in 1820 in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Washetaw Parish Louisiana march 28th 182[0]

Dear Brother

I have just received your favor of January and am glad to think that you sti[ll] maintain toward me those Brotherly affections which I hope time will never be able to erase altho fortune seems to have cast our lots in far distant lands to live and posibly to die --, am happy to hear of the health of our family & friends Could wish you had leisure to write oftener as on this road no doubt there is many better lost. In a letter wrighten by Thomas M'Iver to Cousin P. J. Evans at the request Mrs. Owens I heard the first inteligence of the death of Unke George this letter was write the evening after the burial and come to hand near four week ago it signified that his immediate presence with you was absolutely necessary to his interest - his buiseness seemed to interfere with his coming immediately, and I was of oppinion that as there was no Will you would be certn to adhere strictly to the laws of the land, and if you did he would suffer no meterial loss till he heard more particulars from you, neither has sufficient knowledge of your laws to tell whether the family or children of each of the deceased brothers and sisters draw an equal part or whether all of the nephews and [nei]ce divide equally. You will in your next please be explicit on that point. Cousin Peter will likely be to see you some time in the fall season you mentioned in a letter last year something about my advice about Brother Peter. I do assure you that I am lothe to express an opinion while he is with friends whose judgement I had rather depend on than my own, however if the bent of his mind seems to lead towards the farm I would almost mention [?] to advise him to come out here, here the land is good and may be had on reasonable terms and is moderately conventiet to New Orlean market If Brother Peter is not going to school, and not other ways too tightly engaged and you think his judgement is not sufficiently matured to trust his property in his hands that he may move pack and package.

I would persuade him to come on a visit to see me and the country, it would certainly be as good a way as he could employ the last years of his minority -- I would invite you with Mary [ ] I feel it would [ ] a visit I figure would ask for I know it [ ] the age of A Wilds to settle himself inadvertantly in any new country, may be I go too far, but I assure you from my little experience it is no high matter[.] I [ ]since last of all enjoyed good he[alth?] Cousin Peter tolerable, our black family generaly healthy White family exhio as the choctaws say, had a very hard winter last week the hail and snow lay on the ground 3 or 4 inches deep -- [Wh?]hat has become of Cousins [ ] S. B [?] what occupation have they made choice of -- Is unkle John Lide married &c &c Remeber me to them and tell them I request an explanation on these and other subjects that may lay next their heart Give my love and best complements to my sisters and Brothers and accpt of the best wishes afavour [?]

Brother Joseph Wilds

Addressed: Mr. Jesse Wilds, Mechanicsville, Darlington Dist., South Carolina

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Copyright © 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Letters of Joseph Wilds are published here with the permission of John Davidson and transcribed by Scott Wilds. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."