1849: Martha Elizabeth (Bayne) Tolson to William Briscoe Stone

This 1849 letter [See comments] was written by Martha Elizabeth (who called herself “Bettie”) Bayne (1824-18xx), the daughter of William Granderson Bayne (1768-1825) and Judith Chase Briscoe (1785-1863). She was the wife of (1) Alfred Tolson in 1834, and (2) James L. Addison in 1860.

Bettie wrote the letter to her cousin, William Briscoe Stone (1797-1792) of Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. As an adult he practiced law in Charles County, and at one point was even considered by the U. S. Senate for a judgeship. In 1825 he married Sarah Anne Caroline Brown. William and Sarah had four children: Margaret Wade, Thomas, Mary, and Catherine. The family resided at an estate called “Haber de Venture,” which passed to the children upon William’s death on December 1, 1872. The property remained in the family until 1936, when financial difficulties forced the owner to sell.

Stone came from a long line of influential men who participated actively in public life and politics in the state of Maryland. Stone’s paternal great-great-great-grandfather was William Stone (1603-1660), who served as Maryland’s third Proprietary Governor. The Governor’s son John held various public offices in Charles County, among them Gentleman Justice of the Quorom and Commissioner of the Peace. Michael Jenifer Stone (William Briscoe Stone’s father) served as a lieutenant in the militia and later as a Delegate, a member of the Maryland Constitutional Congress, a Maryland Representative in the First United States Congress, and judge of the First Judicial District.

In the letter, Bettie mentions in her post strict that she is awaiting a letter from “Meggie.” This is probably William’s oldest daughter, Margaret Graham Stone (1825-1913).

Stampless Cover

TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to William B. Stone, Esqr., Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland

Page 1

Apple Grove
Palmer’s Tavern
May 29th [1849]

Many thanks to you dear Cousin William for your kind letter received a few weeks since. It relieved us of much anxiety for we had not heard from our dear mother for a long time. I am happy to tell you we had a letter from her on Saturday. She was well, and to our great surprise, it was dated from Sotterley. How unexpected, for I am sure when she left home she had no idea of going so far. I am delighted to think she is among you all, and sincerely hope the trip may be of service to her. She spoke of her visit with much pleasure, and I know it has been a great gratification to her.

Page 2

Will you, dear cousin William, be so kind as to say to Fred the commission from Marlboro has been sent down to Mr. Bowling, but the illness of his little daughter has prevented him from attending to it. And on last Saturday, William saw George Tolson and he requested him to meet his brothers at his home on Monday. William went over, saw them and they now seem anxious to settle it. Dr. Alexander Tolson who bought the land says if Fred will come up, he will give his note with judgment on it and good securities. Please give me your advice and whatever you and Fred think best, I will agree to. William seems to think if Fred could come up, it could be settled amicably.

In your letter, you did not mention your health. I sincerely hope it is perfectly restored. Please remember me to all and tell them I often think of them with the warmest affection. I am glad to say we are well and each one unites with me in sincere love. Yours sincerely, — Bettie Tolson

P.S. Tell my Meggy I have looked in vain for a letter from her.


4 responses to “1849: Martha Elizabeth (Bayne) Tolson to William Briscoe Stone

  • Rich Garrett

    First, Thanks for posting the material. Am I correct that the page says Elizabeth was married to Alfred Tolson in 1834 and she was born in 1824? Elizabeth seems to be too young.

    • Griff

      Rich, that is what I have posted based on some research I did but it may not be accurate. I can’t recall where I got the dates. If it was from a census record, it may very well have been inaccurate as women often (and men occasionally) stated their ages to be younger that they actually were. If you are able to learn more about Mary and can provide better data please follow-up. — Griff

  • Dennis D

    There is no year on the letter, but from the context, it is 1849, just before the deed was recorded whereby Bettie’s brother Alexander Tolson bought shares of their father’s land from his siblings. Prince George’s Co, Maryland, Deed Book JBB 5, pp. 659 ff, Deed, Henry Tolson, et alia, to Alexander H. Tolson, signed 3 Apr 1849, recorded 4 Jun 1849. The place name in the first paragraph is Sotterley, in Hollywood, St Mary’s Co, Maryland, which was the home of Bettie’s uncle Walter Hanson Stone Briscoe, who was brother of Bettie’s mother Judith Chase Briscoe Bayne. I have not been able to confirm Bettie’s date of birth.

  • Dennis D

    According to her obituary in the 5 Feb 1904 Washington Evening Star, Elizabeth Bayne Addison died in 1904 at the age of 92, which suggests she was born in 1812. That means she would have been 22 when she married Alfred Tolson in 1834. Nearly all records have her first name as Martha, not Mary.

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