On his TransylvanianDutch blog, John Newmark defines an amanuensis as “a person employed to write out what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.” For more information about this daily blogging prompt, see John’s post Amanuensis – Why?.
I have amassed quite a collection of scans of handwritten documents related to my ancestors—primarily marriage records, deeds, and wills. As I have been transcribing these documents, it occurred to me that most of these documents were not actually written by my ancestors, but rather dictated to someone else, and then transcribed by a clerk into official records.
Times must have been hard for my 2nd great-grandfather, H. T. Owens, in 1888 and 1889. The following deed represents the sale of property for delinquent taxes for 1888 and costs associated with the sale by the parish sheriff and tax collector.
“State of Louisiana )
Parish of Bienville )
Be it known that this day before me J W Tooke Clerk & Ex officio Recorder & Notary Public in and for said Parish duly qualified came and appeared J A Mays Sheriff and Ex officio Tax collector of State and Parish taxes in & for said Parish, acting herein by virtue of the authority visited him by the constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana in such case made and provided and in the name of the State of Louisiana who declared that he does by these presents sell convey and deliver unto Southern land and improvement company the following described property assessed to H. T. Owens upon the tablet of taxes in & for said Parish for the year 1888 to wit. North West qua[r]ter of section Eight (8) south West qua[r]ter of south East qua[r]ter and North East qua[r]ter of South West qua[r]ter of Section Five (5) Township Eight (18) Range Five (5) The said property was advertised in the Louisiana Advance, a news paper published in said Parish from the 17th day of May 1889 to the 22nd day of June 1889 making full thirty [?] days from the date of first mention to the day of sale, announcing said sale to take place at the front door of the civil District court house of said Parish within the legal hours of sale on the 22nd day of June 1889.
When on said sale day between the said legal hours of sale and at said courthouse
front door after first having read the
advertisement announcing the amount of Taxes interest and cost due on said
property for the year 1888 he proceeded to offer said described property for
sale for cash without appraisment[?] in legal tender money of the United States
to pay and satisfy said taxes interest and cost.
When at said offering the said Southern Land and improvement company having big the sum of sixteen & 30/100 Dollars for said property they became the purchasers thereof for that price subject to redemption as provided by law.
This sale is therefore made for the consideration of sixteen & 30/100 Dollars cash in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, the said sale being for
Making said sum of 16.35
Done and passed in said Parish of Bienville in the presence of the attesting competent witnesses, on this the 31st day of July AD 1889.
Attest. J. A. Mays
F. L. Mayfield Shff & Tax Coll
J. C. Thens
J. W. Tooke
CDC & Ex Of NP
Attest: a true record this August 2nd 1889.
J. C. Thens Dy CDC
& Ex Of Recorder”
© 2012 Denise Spurlock