I know what you mean David when you wrote, " I was beginning to think I'd never hear from anyone!" <GRIN> I imagine we have all had that feeling one time or another! Never give up though! I once had a magazine query for which I had never had in response for more than 15 years, when suddenly one day, one came in the mail! I myself have responded a few times to some really old queries I'd seen too. One of these was 30 years old! I checked with telephone information and found that name in query was still listed at the address and so I gave the lady a call. To say she was stunned would be an understatement. She too said she had never gotten any response in all those years. She added that it was even more amazing because the day I was calling was her birthday! I think she said it was her 88th, or something like that. I forget now the exact age, I do remember she was well into her eighties.
After we exchanged letters I thought it must be my birthday as she turned over all of her research papers to me. She said she had lost her two sons and none of her nephews or nieces were interested in continuing the work. And what a gold mine! She even sent me very old photographs including one of a church our common ancestor had attended in the 1840's, but which had burned down in the 1950's. Some of the tin types were of course over 100 years old. In return I was at least able to fill in for her a few of the "blanks" she had in her chart. She passed on about a year later and one of her nieces wrote me and said that the whole family wanted to especially thank me as she said my letters had really brightened up the lady's last year. She added that they all adored their aunt and that they were all very glad that her papers had gone to some one who would appreciate them as I did and that it really gave their aunt a good feeling that her papers wouldn't be lost. This was one of those special bonuses that come from this hobby that few of us can imagine when we got started!
As to Sumter county, the towns of Epes and Bluff Port are near where my Curtis ancestors had lived. My direct lines all left though around 1854.
I'll file your information in my files and I'll try to keep you in mind if I come across anything that might help in the future. If our Smith lines are connected, it is probably back a few generations, but I've known families to diverge and then come back together.
My grandparents were 4th cousins. My grandfather's Curtis family left North Carolina in 1808 whereas my grandmother's Curtis line didn't leave until the 1840's. Grandfather's line went to Tennessee, then made a few moves in Alabama, before finally settling in Mississippi. Grandmother's line came straight from North Carolina to Mississippi. Even though the two oldest members of the Curtis family in Mississippi for each lineage, respectively, were first cousins, they were considerable different in age as one cousin was 28 years older than the other cousin and even had children older than the younger cousin. Yet they still knew how they were kin when they met up again in Mississippi. The younger of the two first cousins was only 4 years old when the older cousin moved to Tennessee.
Well, best wishes on your research in the future! --- Jay
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