Page, part of the Jan and Larry Rhodes Family site, updated 14 March 2007

Letter of Miss Jane Compere to her Nephew

Transcribed by Janet Compere Rhodes

Miss Jane Compere was born 29 September 1781 in Northhamptontown, England and died after 3 August 1860, probably in Hinds County, Mississippi. She was the sister of Reverend Lee Compere, and lived most of her adult life in his household. She never married.

I received a copy of Uncle Jack's transcription along with a copy of the original letter several years ago. His transcription was accompanied by this note:

The foregoing letter was written with pen and ink in a blank book which has been kept in our family. The spelling of many of the words is different in the book from that in the above translation. for instance, "his" is almost invaribly written "is" ; "with" is almost invariably written "whith" ; "die" is almost invaribly written "dey" ; "mile" is written "miel" and the figure in many of the dates are transposed in many instances. Some of the words are difficult to make out, but the substance and meaning is very clear. This letter was evidently written about 1850-1851. The above translation was made under the supervision of Ebenezer Lattimore Compere, (aka Jack) the youngest son of Ebenzer Lee Compere, to whom the letter from Jane Compere was written.
Retyped by Lee H. Compere (Jack's son) August 28, 1998
Ebenezer Lee Compere (2/8/1833 - 11/27/1895) Transcribed and originally typed in 1947 under supervision of Ebenzer Lattimore Compere (2/26/1880 - 2/24/1962)
Retyped to clarify reproduction on 8/26/1998 by Lee H. Compere (5/20/1920 -)

I suppose our outlook has changed since my Great-uncle Jack's efforts to modernize it in 1947. Now, sixty years later we prefer to keep valued documents in the style and language of the times and character in which they were written. So in 2006 I decided to transcribe the letter to more closely resemble the way Aunt Jane wrote it. Here it is with its phonetic spelling, some repeated words, almost total lack of punctuation and with no attention for upper or lower case letters, but it has a certain charm. I prefer to keep it real. The changes I made are all enclosed in brackets. Maybe in another sixty years attitudes will change again and then it will be up to future generations to do it their way.

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At the request of my nephew ebb i have seated my Self to give him a short history of my life

well ebb the family record Says i was born September 29 17 & 81 in Northhampton town ingland
of that place i have no recollection my father and mother moved from that place to Market
Harbro Leicester Shire where is father was born and and had always Lived and my Mother was
born in a small village a few miels from Harbro called Littel Bowden in Northhampton Shire She
was the only daughter of Job and Greace fox She had one Brother they lived on a Small farm
and were what the world them times called good livers Strict to the
Church of Ingland as were all our fore fathers

not one of the family ever was known to enter a meeting house it would have been thought a
great crime as Long as they lived for any of the family to leave the beloved Church I had 4 sisters
and 4 Brothers My brother Anthony died in the 8 year of is eage Sister Nancy died in the 12 year
of her eage

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my next 2 brothers and 2 sisters died quite young my Brother Lee your dear father was Born
November the 3 1700 90 your Aunt Betsy was born January 11 1700 94 i have not heard from
her for a long time the last we heard from her she had been very sick i expect she is gone to her
home in Heaven were I expect she and your Dear Mother have meet were partin no more

My dear father died November 28 17 & 90 4 [1794] in the 44 year of is eage My Dear mother
died March 29 1700 and 90 6 [1796] in the 30 9 year of her eage My father was sick but one
week and was not eabl to say eany thing to eany of us at all i never had any trouble in my life till
that time when I saw him lay dead and could not speak to me so thoughtless was i that i wanted
to lay down and dey on the same Bed where he lay how i could live with out my Dear father i
could not tell littel think in how Soon my Dear Mother was to bee teaken from me i had often
hear children speake of there fathers and mothers beein dead and i wondered how they did to
live without them i did not think i could

in 90 3 [1793] there was a great confirmation took place in Harbro were we lived father and
mother both wished me to be confirmed if the clery man was willing they sent me to his house for
him to talk with me he told me to say the Lord's Prayer and then the ten commandments is
nerely all i can remember that he said to me except easkin me my eage i told him i was all most
13 he looked at me and said i was a littel to young i went home very much pleased and on the
day of confirmation i was there not quite 13 goin to take all my sins on my Self on my left hand
stood an old man seventy 4 on my right an old lady 2 or 3 years older there were about 30
confirmed that day it was a merry day to me the girls were all dressed very fine i beleve weall
thought more of our fine frocks and pretty caps and fine ribbons than eany thing else i know i did

father was a man strict to is church when is father died he left him is house and shop and all that
was in them one old man workin for him when he died that had searved is apprentis ship whith
him and had worked for whith him a bout 20 years

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father's oldest brother name was anthone the next Lee the next thomas anthone was a Dockter
never married Lee and thomas both had wifes and famalies both Merchants well off as to things
of this world father had only 2 sisters Mary and Betsy both married and well of mother had one only
Brother is name was william no sisters grand fathers name was jobe fox grand mother
foxs name was greace both died before my recollection all well off as to the things of this world

parents were more strict with there children them days than they are now about goin into
company you will think so when i tell you that before I was 15 a young man a bout 24 made me
an offer a very respectable young man just goin into Business for him Self about 20 miles from
Harbro, a young man that i thought i could like very well i have no doubt it was agood thing for
him he was what in them days was called a Decenter to that name my friends all had a very
great dislike an nother reason was a girl was never known to marry bee fore she was 20 in
ninety five this took place i never spoke of it to my mother or eany of my friends in ninety six my
mother died on the 29 of March well du i remember her dien look at me when she called me to
her bed and took of her ring and gave it to me and told me that was mine She was so nere gone
that she could say but littel she told me to fere and love god to read my Bibel to bee kind to my

Brother and Sister She died in less than a hour after to discribe my feelings to you on that
morning is more than i can do what was to bee come of me and my Dear littel brother and sister i
felt like i had no friend left but as surely that promis hath been made good to us when thy father
and thy mother for seake thee I the Lord will take thee upe soon after Mother died my brother
and sister were put to board in a family that were Decenters they were as kind to them as if they
had been there owne children there children were all married and gone they staid there till they
went to school

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from that time i was left to Shift for my self that i was very willing to do my friends were all
very kind to me the next six or 8 years i can say but littel a bout my Brother was sent to school
afew miels from Harbro i think famaly were Decenters one of my Aunts married a Decenter we
were getting more and better acquainted whith them i was very found of goin to here them
preache from that time i went but littel to the old church i soon became acquanted with a family
of Baptists that were members of Mr. Sutcliffs' church they were very kind to me and invited me
to go whith them to there prayer meetings and they frequently had prayer meetings at there
house and i think i can say i soon found it was good to be there at that time there were some
young peopel inquirein the way to Sion whitch i was very found of, and they would pray for me
and would invite me to go with them to their prayer meetings i was very fond of readin my Bibel
but from very different motives from what i had ever dun bee fore from that time i was led time I
was led to cry out lord have mercy on me i felt that i loved god and the peopel of god and could
not bee happy in eany other company in my 24 year i joined the Baptist Church where i have had
a name and a place ever since i felt at that time that I loved the peopel of god when i met with
eany of my old friends i wanted to talk to them and tell them how good the Lord had bee unto un
worthy me my dear Brother and Sister lay nere my heart my prayer was that they might seek
the Lord while he might be found and call upon him while he was near O how often have i tryd to
pray for them when i could not pray for my self and i du beleve the Lord herd and answered my
prayer un worthy as it was i must now pass on from this time to the time my Brother joined the
church he was at that time clerk in a store some distance from me

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the day after he was baptised he wrote to me he said he knew it would please me better than to
here that he was heir to a throne Soon after he was called upon to exercise is gift and to Study
for the ministry for me to tell you what a happy day that was to me is more than i can du i wept a
loud for joy i wanted all my friends to know what the Lord had dun for me he was my only
Brother i had often tryed to pray to god to take him and make him just what he would have him to
bee i thought i could freely give him up to go eany were were he could do the most good even to
the benighted heathens my prayer to god was that is prayer might bee Lord what wilt thou have
me du i wished him to live and dey in the servise of is god o the Lord hath herd and answered
my prayer and taken my brother to work in is Vineyard o may he bee feath full unto death and at
last receve a crown of life

but tho the Lord had dun so much for me I was ready to cryout Lord hath thou not an nother
blessing i had one only dear sister that lay nere my heart o Lord teach her to pray allso
Shortly after this he and several other young men were placed under the care of Mr Sutcliff to
study for the ministry a missionary was wanted to go to Jamaca your Pa was appointed for that
station and soon as arrangements could bee made at that time he was waitin on a young lady
her name was Marjorie that would have gone whith him but her friends were all oposed to her
going a broad he loved her and she loved him but he loved the cause of god better than eany
earthly treasures and from that time concluded to go a lone if the Lord did not provide one for him
most of his friends thought it would bee better for him to take is wife whith him but where was
she to bee found in so short a time there were meany prayers put up for him on that acount
arrangements were make in for him to leave as soon as possobel he had to attend a meeting in
London, held at Mr. Shenstons church. Spesol prayer was put up for the young missione that was
a bout to go a lone

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After the meeting was over the missionary was introduced to a good meany of the brethern and
sisters one sister was introduced as Sister Susana Viesy [Voysey] she had often requested her
friends to pray for her that she might bee sent as a missionary to the poor benighted heathen littel
did she think that night when she entered that house that night that the question would so soon
be put to her by her paster wilt thou go whith this man her reply was Lord here am i send me her
mind had been for 2 years deeply impressed on the subject of goin as a missionary to the
heathen her mother and 2 of her Brothers and her Sister were all members of Mr. Shenston's
church i need not say to you how much they disliked to give her up they all said she was too
young she was not quite 19 but what was dun was to be dun quick for the Kings Business
required heast there fore they were maryed in a few weeks she then took leave of her beloved
paster and the church were so many prayers had been put up for the spred of that cause she was
so soon to be ingaged in

your pa then brought her to see her new sisters and friends in the country it was a great joy to us
all meany prayers were put up for them in that place, but our joy was of short duration in a few
days we had to take the parting hand, but o my wicked heart how could i give up my dear brother
and sister to go were we could never see them eany more in this world i walked backwards and
forwards a bout half an hour i then felt as tho a voice said to me let them go i the Lord will bee
whith them i then took them both by the hand and tole them to go they did so as quick as they
could the stage was ready to take them to London they had then to take leave of their dear
widowed mother and Brothers and Sister who at that time lay sick in bed they left early the next
morning i have for got were they went on board the ship i was not there

your Aunt Betsy was livein whith me at that time i was keepin a school of small children in
Cranfield, a few miels from ounely the baptist preacher name was Wakefield the friends were all
very kind to us and the young students

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some one or other of them preached there very often we enjoyed it very much as your Aunt
Betsy was a Baptist too but after Mr Sutcliff died and your pa went to Jamaca we did not injoy
ourselves so well your Aunt B wanted to learn to make lace and a good meany of our friends
thought it would sute her well meany at that time were doing well at making lace She concluded
to try it i did not persuade her at all for she could all ways get plenty of sewing our friends were
all very kind to her She niver Marryed

a few days after i received a letter from Mrs Keely sayin that they had seen my brother She said
he preached for Mr Keely and that they were very much pleased with him As they were at that
time keepin a large boardin school for young gentel men in richmond Mrs Keely' s sister had
been livin whith her but just about that time she married a Baptist preacher and had to leave her
She was quite in trouble wounderin where she could find a nother sister that would suply her
place i had just parted with my dear brother and i felt very loenly Mrs Keely sent for me and i
concluded to go tho i was very sorry to leave my friends in cranfield for they were very good to
me but i concluded to go when I arived at Mr. Keely's i was receved with as much kindness as if i had
been an owne sister they both beged me to feel my self as much at home as if i was in my
Brothers house, for whatever the house afforded i was welcome to as i would bee in his house
they were like mother and father to me they always called me compere i lived with them till they
left ingland for this country

i received my first letter from your pa at there house the day it came Mrs Keely and my Self were
very busy Some of the youg gentel men were goin home and i had charge of some of there
trunks Mr Keely was just ready to Start a way to preache a funeral a few miels off wanted to here
the news first for the young gentel men were waiting for there trunks i did not like to leve Mr.
Keely called out Compere

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if you dont come i must open it for i must go and i want to hear the news before i go i left what i
was a bout and went into the parlor and opened it and commenced readin it it was a very long
one i could read but little before my tears fell so fast that i had to give it to Mr. Keely to read it as
he rote as soon as he could after there arivel in Jamaca the letter said but littel more than
anacount of there voige they had a rough voige my sister was Sea Sick for 3 weeks all that time
your pa had to bee both docter and nuers for your ma did not like eany body else to du eany
thing for her they had a kind and good captain he did all he could for them the letter was very in
terestin in deed for us all Mr Keely was very much pleased whith it he read it to meany of our
baptist friends there were meany prayers put up for them in that church

the climate was so hot and unhealthy that they was not abel to live there more than eightteen
months and was not abel to preach more than healf the time the Dockter told him he would dey
in a Short time if he did not move from that place advised him to go back to ingland or to come
to amaraca herein there was a vessel comin to Amarca he concluded to come from the time
they went on board the vessel is health improved every day but o Sad to tell there littel Daughter
eight Months old was taken Sick and died and they had to leve her in her watery greave no doubt
they found it heard at that time to say thy will o Lord bee dun pain ful in deed to them both to see
there dear Babe comited to its watery greave

a few weeks after the vessel landed at Chaerleston were they met whith meany kind friends one
was Dr fermen he then invited them to is house were they were Soon made a quainted whith a
good meany of there Baptist friends Some Baptists from

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gorgetown viseted them they soon became ac quanted whith a good meany baptist preachers the
neams of a good meany of them i have for got one was Dr robberts at that time he lived at the
High Hills of Santee he had been the paster of that church a long time but a bout that time is wife
died and left nine childern and he had never paid any atention to famaly concerns so that which
the death of is wife and the care of is famaly it was more than he could bear up under he gave
up in Dispear lost is reason called him Self the great Decever and said when is friends viseted
him they were goin to take him and have him executed they could not get him to the teabel he
would wander away for

Days to gether Some of is famaly went out one morning and after goin about Some time on there
way home they passed a well nere the school house when o Sad to tell what did they see there
dear fathers hat and a small bottel of laudanum lyin by the well he had throne him Self in he was
taken up dead what we know not now we are told we shall know here after
your pa was well ac quanted whith Brother W B johnston and Brother Botsford formerly from
ingland my memory fails me so much that i cannot remember eany more at this time your pa
preached and lived in Sumpter Destret most of the time that he lived in South carrolinea your
sister Frances was Born there on a place called Vasty branch your sister elisabeth -------- was
Born about 2 Miels from a Town called Manchester in the same Destret Some time in that year
we moved to georgia your sister Nancy jane was born there in clinton when she was about 3
Months old we went to creek neation your pa went as a missinary to the creeks Brother Simons
went whith us as a teacher we were all very found of him he was a real misinary hes whole heart
was in the work he lived whith us a bout 3 years and then left to Study for Burmea

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we then had a Brother Doty but he did not feel that in terest in the mission as Brother Simons did
he was too much a freaid of is hands brein hert or is cloths beein dirted in fact he had reather bee
waited upon than eany thing else we had a bout fifty indian childern bee sides our owne famaly
we had but littel time to wait on Brother Doty the indians all loved Brother Simons he had meany
friends there when he left it was a weepin time your ma and i felt as if we had lost a Brother we
were all happy in our work the indian childern im provein very fast your sister Susana voisy and
your Brother thomas were both born there when your sister was a few days old a good old
indian chiefe came to viset us he stopped all night he said he wanted to give the babe a name
he called her Muscoge the name of the creek neation we have all ways called her by that name
the same good old chiefe came to stop all night whith us as soon after your Brother was born and
your pa ask him at the Supper tabel what he must call the babe he said the sun was down and
he did not want him to grow up whith out sence the next morning when the sun was up he said is
name was Hechaghe he said if we staid whith them till the children were both grown they should
each of them have a sexcion of land made over to them the school at that time was goin on quite
well the indians all a round us were make in there fields and plant in there corn and potatoes and
all the children were come in on well for a long time a bout that time Macintosh had made a law
that the first man that sold the land Should dey for it a bout one year after that very man sold the
land he was the first to break the law the indians went and surrounded is house and told the
famaly they did not want to hert them but Macintosh had made the law he made it and said him
self the man that broke the law should dey for it and they were come to kill him and so they did

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from that time they gave up and said they had Lost all confidence and took nerely all the children
from the school findin no more good could bee dun for Some time your pa move to Montgomary
County 8 miels from Montgomary where we live some five or six years your Brother William was
Born there and your Brother John ryland died there eage about 8 months he was buried in the
garden Ebenezer Lee Compere was allso Born there du you know him i wish i could see him
your pa was well acquanted whith a good meany Baptis preachers but i cannot call there name
meany of them are dead from there we move to yazoo in 32 we move to that place and all went
on very happily that year but littel think in at that time what the next year would bring to pass how
littel did we think you and your Dear Brothers and sisters would so soon bee left to mourn the loss
of your dear mother yes She was Dear to us all but o how much more so to your dear father She
was sick a bout four weeks and not eabel to say eany thing that we could under Stand hardly
your dear father your sister Muskoge and your Brother william you at that time was a poor littel
helpless Babe your dear mother on her deathbed your pa all the time waitin on the sick black and
all were sick your sisters frances and elisebet were both goin to school o3 [30] miels from home
at that time there was so much sickness in the neighborhood that no body could bee got to go
eany were we were surrounded whith the sick and the deyin meany of them died whith conjestive
chills your Ma and my Self waited on the sick Sat up so much that we were both both [sic] taken
down to geather your ma was in feebel health before i never had a fever in my life till that time
your mother died on the six of september you were not 2 years old till the next februery the next
june your pa sold is place and carried us all to Paires in tennesee were you all went to school we
all boarded at

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Mr fullers your pa was riden about and preachin and attending different meetings o it was hard at
that time to say thy will bee dun your ma died September the 6 o 8 o3 4 [1834] her funeral text
you will find in the one hundred and sixteenth psalm these are the words
precious in the Sight of the Lord is the death of is saints my how often have i herd her sing 19

the heavens declare thy glory Lord in every star thy wisdom shines but when our eyes behold thy
word we read thy name in fairer lines

and a nother that i expect you and Brother Dick are well acquanted whith it is this

grace tis a charming sound
hearmonious to the ear
heaven with the echo shall re sound
and all the earth shall here

in 18 03 6 [1836] your pa was married to Miss Sarah Jane Beck a very pious good woman a
member of the baptist church

how thankfull we ought to bee to our heavenly father for providin such a kind and good friend to
take the place of your dear mother i du not think a better could have been found we have all
ways found her ready and willing at all times by Night or by the day a better nures there never
was i had reather have her whith me in sickness than eany Dockter i ever saw she can hold out
longer in sickness than eany person i ever saw

there first littel daughter was born in o3 8 [1838] but i have for got the month it lived and died
inless than an hour your Sister Sarah Channing was born april 7 18 o4 [1840]
now my dear Ebeneser i have one request to make of you that is that when you get this you will
write it off and Send it to your Brother william

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i have complyed whith your re quest in the best way i could we read in the Bibel that we shall
remember all the way that the Lord thy god hath led thee these o4 [40] years through the
wilderness but you have called upon me to rember all the way for up wards of o7 [70] years
through the wilderness

from your affechionate Aunt

Jane Compere