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Guide to the Bellamy-Smart Family Papers

MSN/EA 5041

 

Collection Summary

Title: Bellamy-Smart family papers
Dates: 1825-1933(bulk 1825-1865)
Collection No.: MSN/EA 5041
Creator: Bellamy, Amanda M., ca. 1810-1845
Extent: 26 folders; 1 container; .5 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A collection consisting mainly of 55 personal letters, including courtship letters, directed to Amanda Bellamy (later Amanda Smart, ca. 1810-1845) of Warrenton, North Carolina and Petersburg, Virginia. There are also letters received by Amanda's daughter, Mollie Smart, and other family papers.

Selected Search Terms

Women -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century
Women -- Virginia -- History -- 19th century
Women -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century
Courtship -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Marriage -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century
Plantation life -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century
Community life -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century
Southern States -- Social conditions -- 19th century
Southern States -- Social life and customs -- 1775-1865

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Bellamy-Smart Family Papers, [collection and folder no.], Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Bellamy-Smart Family Papers were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2016, from Michael Brown Rare Books of Philadelphia. Arranged and described 2017, by Laura Weis. Finding aid 2017, by Laura Weis.

Biographical Note

Amanda M. Bellamy was born around 1810 in Richmond, Virgina, to John Bellamy and his wife. The family subsequently moved to Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont near the Virginia border, Warren County was among the most prosperous areas of antebellum North Carolina, its wealth generated largely from slave labor on tobacco and cotton plantations. Though his profession is unclear, an 1830 U.S. Federal Census record indicates that John Bellamy held 12 slaves, outnumbering the 11 white members of the household listed at that time.

Amanda Bellamy had at least three siblings: including John (m. Ann Pattillo), Eliza (m. Asa Mann), and Adaline (also spelled Adeline, m. Atwell Richardson, later m. Sylvester Pierce). As a young woman in her teens and twenties, Amanda frequently traveled from her family home in North Carolina to visit relatives at their Virginia plantations. In 1825 and 1827, she spent time near Richmond and Petersburg, respectively. She appears to have returned for a time to Warrenton, North Carolina, in the early 1830s, before venturing out again in 1833 for extended stays with her aunt and cousins, the Smith family, near Richmond, as well as with her sister Eliza Mann's family, near Petersburg. During that time, Amanda's correspondents provided her with accounts of everything from disease outbreaks, to the latest marriages among friends, to attendance at religious revivals. Her most frequent correspondents included her friend and Warrenton neighbor, Eliza J.B. Dunnavant (sometimes Dunnavent), and her Richmond cousin, Emily C. Smith. Amanda also received the attentions of a number of suitors throughout her late teens and twenties, chief among them Emily's brother, Jacob Paine Smith. Paine, as he was frequently called, seems to have succumbed to illness in April 1834.

Several gentlemen asked for Amanda's hand in marriage before she ultimately wed W. H. Smart in 1837 or 1838 (a cemetary record lists his name as Henry). They met while Amanda was staying with her sister, Eliza, and the couple settled in Petersburg. They appear to have had their first child in 1839, a son, and their second in 1842, a daughter, Mary Emily, known as Mollie. Amanda's son is not named in the letters, but census records from 1850 five years after Amanda died show that Harvey W. Smart, age 10, along with Mary E. Smart, age 8, resided with Silvester (Sylvester) and Adaline Pearse (Pierce), Amanda's brother-in-law and sister, along with her then 79 year old father (note: a letter to Mary E. Smart dated 1860 is signed "Your affectionate brother, Henry W. Smart," not Harvey).

Amanda Smart died on 24 March 1845; her husband's fate is unclear. She is buried in the Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia. Cemetary records indicate that Amanda died from heart disease; they also show that a three month old child, Sylvester, is buried with his mother, suggesting potential complications during childbirth. Amanda's sisters Adaline and Eliza, and their father John, are also buried in Blandford Cemetary, as are Amanda's daughter, Mary Emily, and her husband, George W. Congdon.

Scope and Content Note

Fifty-five letters to Amanda Bellamy Smart make up the majority of the collection. In the earliest letters, written in 1825, Amanda is visiting relatives in Virginia. Letters dating from 1830 until early 1833 find her in Warrenton, while most of the later items were addressed to her in Virginia, including those postdating her marriage.

Amanda's suitors occasionally conveyed their affections through poetry, examples of which are found in this collection. Additional materials pertaining to her life include an invitation to a ball and miscellaneous financial records. There are also several letter fragments that appear to be from Amanda herself, including at least two that bear her signature.

The remainder of the collection includes nine letters to Mary Emily (Mollie) Smart, Amanda's daughter, along with several pieces of correspondence between members of the Congdon family of Rhode Island, into which Mollie married. Finally, there are three letters that were exchanged between other members of the Bellamy family, and a series of miscellaneous envelopes, including at least one with a Confederate stamp.

A number of the letters, manuscripts, and other records include handwritten notes about their contents that appear to have been added by a descendant of Amanda Bellamy Smart. Some of the notations bear the name Margaret Congdon Flynn, who identifies herself as Amanda's great-granddaughter and Mary E. (Smart) Congdon's granddaughter.

Arrangement Note

The collection consists of five series: 1. Letters to Amanda Bellamy Smart; 2. Miscellaneous letter fragments, manuscripts, and records; 3. Letters to Mary Smart Congdon and Congdon family papers; 4. Miscellaneous letters; and 5. Miscellaneous envelopes.

The Bellamy letters are arranged chronologically, with one folder per year except the year 1833, which is divided into four folders of three month periods. The remaining series are arranged by content type, chronologically when possible, with multiple items per folder.

Container List

  • Series 1: Letters to Amanda Bellamy Smart 
    • Folder 1 (MSN/EA 5041-1) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1825. ALsS; 2 items (4 pages).
      • Folder 2 (MSN/EA 5041-2) Letter: Edmd. W. Wills and W.C. Jackson to Amanda Bellamy, 1827 December 3. ALS; 1 item (4 pages).
        • Folder 3 (MSN/EA 5041-3) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1830. ALsS; 2 items (4 pages).
          This folder includes the first of several letters to Amanda from Jacob P. Smith. Many of his subsequent letters are signed Paine Smith; Amanda's other correspondents also tend to refer to him as Paine.
          • Folder 4 (MSN/EA 5041-4) Letters: Paine Smith to Amanda Bellamy, 1832. ALsS; 2 items (7 pages).
            • Folder 5 (MSN/EA 5041-5) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1833 January-March. ALsS; 5 items (14 pages).
              In early 1833, Amanda traveled from Warrenton, NC, with plans to stay with relatives in Virginia for at least 12 months.
              • Folder 6 (MSN/EA 5041-6) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1833 April-June. ALsS; 3 items (11 pages) and 1 enclosure.
                Paine Smith declared his affections for Amanda in a letter dated 19 June 1833. He included an acrostic, dated 17 June, using the letters from her full name: Amanda Malvina Bellamy.
                • Folder 7 (MSN/EA 5041-7) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1833 August-September. ALsS; 6 items (16 pages).
                  • Folder 8 (MSN/EA 5041-8) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1833 October-December. ALsS; 6 items (12 pages).
                    Amanda's aunt, Elizabeth Clarke, writes that "Paine [Smith] has been quite sick since you left here and is still under the directions of the Doctor at his mother's," adding "I think he is more lovesick than anything else. . . ."
                    • Folder 9 (MSN/EA 5041-9) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1834 February-September. ALsS; 5 items (7 pages).
                      In a letter dated 28 April 1834, Emily Smith warned Amanda that Paine was on the brink of death. Records show Jacob Paine Smith died that very day.
                      • Folder 10 (MSN/EA 5041-10) Letter: Mildred M. Owen to Amanda Bellamy, 1835 June 15. ALS; 1 item (1 page).
                        • Folder 11 (MSN/EA 5041-11) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1836 March-December. ALsS; 5 items (8 pages).
                          • Folder 12 (MSN/EA 5041-12) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, 1837. ALsS; 2 items (4 pages).
                            This folder includes the only letter from Amanda's future husband, dated January 1837, and signed "Your most devoted lover, W.H. Smart."
                            • Folder 13 (MSN/EA 5041-13) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Smart, 1838. ALsS; 2 items (2 pages).
                              Amanda's aunt writes to her in February 1838: "it greatly delights me that you are so agreeably united to one with whom you think your life will be pleasantly spent," indicating Amanda married W.H. Smart between January 1837 and February 1838.
                              • Folder 14 (MSN/EA 5041-14) Letter: Eliza J. B. Dunnavent to Amanda Smart, 1839 November 24. ALS; 1 item (3 pages).
                                Eliza J. B. Dunnavent writes, "I should love to see you with your little son[,] what have you named him [?]", suggesting Amanda's son was born in 1839, not 1840, as indicated in some census records.
                                • Folder 15 (MSN/EA 5041-15) Letter: Eliza A. Mann to Amanda Smart, 1840 December 13. ALS; 1 item (3 pages).
                                  • Folder 16 (MSN/EA 5041-16) Letter: [?] Vreeland and "Fanny" to Amanda Smart, 1843 February 26-March 12. ALS; 1 item (3 pages).
                                    • Folder 17 (MSN/EA 5041-17) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Smart, 1844. ALsS; 2 items (3 pages).
                                      • Folder 18 (MSN/EA 5041-18) Letter: [?] Vreeland to Amanda Smart, 1845 February 23. ALS; 1 item (2 pages).
                                        • Folder 19 (MSN/EA 5041-19) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Amanda Bellamy, n. d. (before 1838). ALsS; 5 items (10 pages).
                                        • Series 2: Miscellaneous Letter Fragments, Manuscripts, and Records 
                                          • Folder 20 (MSN/EA 5041-20) Miscellaneous letter fragments, 1827-1844. 4 items.
                                            The folder includes letter fragments with Amanda Bellamy's signature.
                                            • Folder 21 (MSN/EA 5041-21) Miscellaneous poetry and other manuscripts, 1831, 1849, and n.d. 10 items.
                                              • Folder 22 (MSN/EA 5041-22) Miscellaneous financial records, 1836-1843 and n.d. 6 items.
                                                The folder includes receipts bearing the names of Amanda Bellamy and W.H. Smart.
                                              • Series 3: Letters to Mary Emily (Mollie) Smart and Congdon Family Papers 
                                                • Folder 23 (MSN/EA 5041-23) Letters: Miscellaneous correspondents to Mary Emily (Mollie) Smart, 1858-1864 and n. d. 9 items (25 pages).
                                                  • Folder 24 (MSN/EA 5041-24) Miscellaneous Congdon family papers, 1872-1933 and n. d. 6 letters, 1 record, and 2 envelopes.
                                                  • Series 4: Miscellaneous Correspondence 
                                                    • Folder 25 (MSN/EA 5041-25) Letters: Miscellaneous Bellamy family correspondence, 1827, 1833, and n.d. ALsS; 3 items (5 pages).
                                                      A common link in these letters is Adaline Bellamy Richardson. The first is from Adaline to her father, John Bellamy. The second includes a handwritten note identifying Atwell as "the husband of Adeline Bellamy Richardson (she later married Sylvester Pierce)." The third is written to "Little Sy," and includes a handwritten note identifying Little Sy as Sylvester Pierce.
                                                    • Series 5: Envelopes 
                                                      • Folder 26 (MSN/EA 5041-26) Miscellaneous envelopes, 1820s-1860s and n. d. 24 items.
                                                        The folder contains at least one envelope bearing a Confederate stamp. The majority of the envelopes are addressed to Mary Smart in Petersburg, Virginia, often in care of Sylvester Pierce, Esq., which complements census records showing that Amanda's children lived with her sister Adaline's family after her death in 1845.