Winsmith Letter Published

The most recent issue of the magazine America’s Civil War (Sept. 2006, pp. 11-14) includes a sample from the John C. Winsmith Letters that I am currently editing for publication.  This specific letter was written from Spotsylvania Court House on May 15, 1864.  I think you will understand, based on the content, as to why I am so excited about this project.  There are roughly 260 letters of this quality.  While I’ve completed the transcription of the letters I still have a great deal of research to do on the family.  This explains the scant amount of information in the introduction, and I still do not have an image of Winsmith.  I had hoped to travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina this summer to do the necessary research, but at this point it looks like it will have to be pushed back. 

1 comment… add one
  • Liz Rock Aug 13, 2006 @ 22:38

    I am excited to hear of your project transcribing the Winsmith letters! I do genealogical research and recently discovered a family link to John Christopher Winsmith. I am researching him now and have found the following info which may be of interest to you:
    Item 1. “On the 21st inst., at the residence of the Hon. W.R. Robertson in Winsboro, S.C., by Rev. W.P. DuBose, Gen. J.C. Winsmith of Spartanburg, S.C., to Miss Mary Virginia Ross, of DeSoto Parish, LA.” (Source: The Carolina Spartan newspaper, December 5, 1867 issue)
    Item 2. The 1870 US Census for Spartanburg County, S.C.,Post Office: Glenn Springs, enumeration date August 19, 1870,page 30, lists “Christopher Winsmith, age 35, white, male, lawyer, $3000 value of real estate, $800 value of personal estate, born South Carolina and wife, Mary Winsmith, age 22, white, female, keeping house, born Alabama.” The household also includes “Lucinda Preston, age 27, mulatto, female, domestic servant, born S.C.; Patsey Preston, age 9, black, female, domestic servant, born S.C.; Lavina Preston, age 5, black, female, born S.C.; and Johnson Preston, age 11, black, male, born S.C.”
    Item 3. The 1880 US Census for Richland County, S.C., enumeration date June 8, 1880, page 15,lists “Mary Winsmith, white, female, age 37, niece, widowed, born Alabama, father born S.C., mother born S.C.” I believe her age is incorrect on the 1880 census, as the 1900 Census lists her birthdate as “August 1847.”
    Item 4. “Senator Giles J. Patterson, of Chester (S.C.) and Mrs. M.V. Winsmith of this county (were married) November 14, 1883.” (Source: Spartanburg County, S.C. Marriage Records, Grooms Surnames O,P & Q)
    Giles J. Patterson was my great-great uncle. Mary Winsmith was his second wife and they had three children.

    I live in Birmingham, AL, and do a lot of research on-line at and other genealogy websites that document first-hand sources. But I prefer studying original documents, tombstones and old family homes and other sites. I wish I could get up to Spartanburg, too. How lucky you are to be a historian and do this kind of research for a living!

    I would be very interested in reading the Winsmith letters someday. When do you think you will finish the project? Do any of the letters refer to Mary Virginia Ross? Do you know if Winsmith had any children,when he died and where he is buried?

    with best wishes from a fellow researcher,

    Liz Rock

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