Reid, Mary Martha Papers 1821-1892



1821 – 1892

MSS  92 – 16


.35 cubic feet

Processed By

Mimi Klug

March 2004


Biographical Note

     Mary Martha Reid was born in St. Mary’s, Georgia on September 19, 1812.  She was the daughter of Captain James and Mary (Thorpe) Smith.  While visiting St. Augustine in 1836, she met Judge Robert Raymond Reid, judge of the U.S. Superior Court for East Florida, subsequently (1839) appointed territorial governor by President Van Buren.  They were married on November 29, 1836.  They had two sons, William Travers

(d. 1842) and Raymond Jenckes (d. 1864).  Governor Reid died on July 1, 1841.  Mrs. Reid opened a school to support herself.  Within a year, her eldest son, William, also died. 

     At the outbreak of the Civil War, her surviving son, Raymond, joined the Confederate Army.  Mrs. Reid traveled to Richmond, Virginia to be near him, where she served with great distinction as a matron of the Florida Hospital.  On May 6, 1864, Raymond died as a result of his wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness.  At the war’s end, Mrs. Reid made her way back to Florida and established a school in Palatka, Florida.  Her last 15 years were spent in the home of her nephew, Judge Samuel Swann, of Fernandina, Florida where she died on June 24, 1894.  The first Florida chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (organized 1897) was named for her.  In 1900, this chapter placed a memorial window in St. Peter’s Church, Fernandina.


Scope and Content

     The collection consists mostly of letters written to Mary Martha Reid during the Civil War.  Mrs. Reid was the Matron of the Florida Hospital in Richmond, VA.  Her friends and family lived in St. Augustine, FL and the surrounding area.  They wrote her many letters about life in that place and time.  They talked about the sadness of losing loved ones, of the hardships in daily living, and of the scarcity of goods.

     There are also twenty letters of condolence t5o Mrs. Reid on the death of her son, Raymond, in the Battle of the Wilderness.  These letters reflect the grief and sorrow felt by all the women, referring to the war as “cruel” and “horrid."  Every letter reinforces their strong belief in God.

     Included in the collection is a thirteen page account, “What I Know of the Travers Family,” written by Mrs. Reid.  Her sister, Rebecca, was married to William Travers and, after his death, became the wife of Joseph Finegan (who later served as a General in the Civil War).  Mrs. Reid had much praise for Travers and contempt for Finegan. 

     Newspaper articles, which have been transcribed, cover the years from 1821 – 1860.  These mention the Swann family business and also contain items of genealogical interest.



     Folders  1 –  2     Biographical information on M.M. Reid and miscellaneous poems and papers written by Judge Raymond Reid.


     Folders  3 – 14    Letters to M.M. Reid from family and friends 1860 – 1864.


     Folders 15 – 20   Miscellaneous letters and papers.  Also biographical information on

                                   William Travers.  The papers in Folder 17 have items of

                                   interest concerning James Smith, William Travers, John Forbes,

                                   Joseph Finegan & Samuel Swann.






     The letters are arranged in groups and then in chronological order.


Related Collections

     The Swann Papers are in bulk at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  (Samuel A. Swann was the nephew of M.M. Reid).


Subject Headings    

     Reid, Mary Martha

     Women – Florida – Civil

     Civil War – Florida – Women

     Civil War – Confederate Army – Personal Narrative

     St/ Augustine (FL) – Social Life & Customs – 1862 – 1864

     Travers, William

     Finegan, Joseph

     Fleming, Francis P.


Biographical Summary




     Autobiography – Typewritten.  Copy

     Newspaper obituary.  Photocopied.

     An account of the death of Raymond Jenckes Reid.  From Confederate Military History.

     Soldier Detail.  A timeline for Raymond Jenckes Reid.


Miscellaneous Papers, Poems Written By Gov. R.R. Reid




     “”Serenade “

     “The Sick May Dream”

     “The Authorized English Version Formed from the ‘Bishop’s Bible’”

      One handwritten item – unsigned and undated with typed transcript.


Letters to Mary Martha Reid from her son, Raymond Jenckes Reid, during the Civil War.




     17 Dec 1862…......Camp near Fredericksburg.  Mentions another victory, enemy dead

                                     and prisoners, town being plundered, and a flag sent to his regiment

                                     by the Gov. of FL and made by the ladies of Tallahassee.

     12 Mar 1864…….Raymond writes concerning parcels of food sent, exchange of

                                     prisoners and family death.

     24 Mar 1864…….Headquarters, 2nd FL Regiment Infantry.  Concerned about mothers

                                     health.  Mentions playing in snow.

     11 Apr 1864……..Headquarters, 2nd FL Regiment.  Signature torn off.  Mentions

                                     Mother’s improved health and her move to Hernando Grove with a

                                     doctor and his wife.

     17 Apr 1864……..Headquarters, 2nd FL Regiment Infantry.  Writes that Sgt. Cummings

                                     will be coming to Richmond and would she send some clothing back

                                     with him.

     Envelope which contained the last letter Mrs. Reid received from her son, containing a

     lock of his hair.




Letters to M.M. Reid 1860 – 1862




     14 Jul 1860............from E.R. Ives, chairman of the Soldier’s Relief Committee.

                                     Re:  travel to Richmond under the protection of Dr. Hunter.

     26 Mar 1861…… from S.R. Mallery U.S. Senator from FL and later, Confederate

                                     Sec. of the Navy.  Re:  military appt. for Raymond Reid.

     07 Jan 1862……...from H.B. Jenckes.  St. Augustine.  Typed transcript.  Speaks of

                                     scarcity of items and financial hard times.  Talks of social life in

                                     St. Augustine and mentions friends and acquaintances of Mrs. Reid.

     10 Mar 1862….....from H. B. Jenckes.  St. Augustine.  Typed transcript.  Says that “the

                                     Blues” are nearby and that St. Augustine may raise a white flag.  Very

                                     newsy letter about their friends’ hardships and their feelings about the

                                     war.  Adds, 2 days later, that the town has surrendered.

     26 May 1862….....from H.B. Jenches.  St. Augustine.  Typed transcript.  Again, talks of

                                     Life and acquaintances in the town.




Letters to M.M. Reid 1863 – 1864




     26 Feb 1863…...from C.M. Hallowes.  Almost illegible, but speaks of the writers’

                                 sorrow over her son’s missing in action.

     22 Mar 1863…..from C.M. Hallowes.  Response to Mrs. Reid’s letter of condolence.

     04 May 1863…..from C.M. Hallowes.  Asks Mrs. Reid’s help in trying to locate her


     29 June 1863…..from C.M. Hallowes.  Hopes her son is a prisoner of war.

     13 July 1863…...from Emmie Wescott.  Mentions some names of battles and son missing

                                           in action.  Gives news of friends.




     30 Oct 1863…..from Anna Dummett.  Talks about family and friends.

     07 Nov 1863….from Mary A. Gould.  News about the war and friends.

     22 Nov 1863….from Flora in Ellisville.

     no date………...from K.P. Calhoun in Orange Springs.  Mrs. Reid’s house has

                                been occupied by the enemy but Mr. Jenckes removed all her





     03 Dec 1863……from Anna Dummett in Monticello.  News about friends.

     92 May 1864…...from Medical Director’s Office, Richmond, VA

     21 May 1864…...from Cary Jones in Richmond.  News of sick sister.

     29 May 1864…...from Mary Jenckes.  Asks Mrs. Reid if she could live with her after the


     28 Sept 1864…...from R.P. Daniel near Petersburg, VA.  Thanks Mrs. Reid for sending a

                                   present and his shirt.




Condolence Letters To M.M. Reid After the Death of Her Son, Raymond Jenckes Reid




     10 May 1864…..from W.L. Perry.  Richmond, VA

     26 May 1864…..from Mary A. Gould.  Lake City

     26 May 1864…..from Fanny Williams.  Sandy Ford.  P.O.Madison

     27 May 1864…..from S.W.W. Gibbs.  Quincy

     27 May 1864…..from Sarah Whitner.  Praitie Acre, FL




     16 Jun 1864…..from C.M. Hallowes.  Bolingbroke

     18 Jun 1864…..from A. Dummett.  Monticello, FL

     19 Jun 1864…..from F. Dancy.  Ellisville

     20 Jun 1864…..from Emma Westcott. Monticello

     24 Jun 1864…..from Fanny Williams.  Sandy Ford. P.O. Madison




     04 Jul 1864…..from S.W.W. Gibbs. Quincy

     11 Jul 1864…..from Maria M. Burtchall.  Lake City

     18 Jul 1864…..from Lizzie H. McNeill.  Fayetteville

     30 Aug 1864…from Anna Dummett.  Monticello, FL

     09 Sep 1864…from Fanny Williams.  Sandy Ford, Madison




     undated…..from Mary C. Reid.

     undated…..from E.H. Brown

     undated…..from Lizzie Thackera.  Monticello

     undated…..from Minnie G.

     undated…..from Mary C. Reid




Letters from Robert Reid, Stepson of M.M. Reid





07 Jun 1862 Sanderson.  Written to his sister.
08 May 1863 Sanderson. With an added note from Robert’s wife, Mary.
12 Jun 1863 Sanderson.  
21 Jul 1863 Sanderson.  
18 Aug 1863 Sanderson.  
27 Oct 1863 Sanderson.

From Mary Reid with an added note from Robert.




04 Nov 1863 Sanderson.  
18 Aug 1863 Sanderson.  
16 Mar 1864 Camp Milton, Army of Florida. Tells about the death of his cousin,  Frank, at the Battle of Ocean Pond
26 May 1864 Sanderson.   
26 Jun 1864 Sanderson.  

Letters from F.P. Fleming to M. M. Reid



08 Aug 1868

Thanks Mrs. Reid for sending some mementoes of Jenckes, his “best and dearest friend”.  Handwritten

 24 Dec 1887 Will provide certain affidavits for Mrs. Reid.  Handwritten
 22 Oct 1890

Now Governor of the State of Florida.  Asks Mrs. Reid for a full sized portrait of Gov. Reid to hang in the Executive Office.  Handwritten.   







26 Jan 1863

Letter to F.C. Barrett fro R.F. Floyd.  re:  estate of Mrs. Carrie F. Butler.

15 Mar 1864

Letter to F.C. Barrett from C.G. Memminger, Secretary of Treasury, C.S.A..

27 Jul 1864

Letter to F.C. Barrett from E.C. Elmore, Treasury of the Confederate States.

27 Mar 1891

Letter to M.M. Reid from Thos. Maxey asking for info on Jenckes’life for book that he is writing.

13 Jun 1892

Letter to Samuel Swann from Thos. Maxey.  Requests a picture of General Finegan for his book.




“What I Know of the Travers Family:”     written by M.M. Reid.  Typewritten copy.

                                                                  16 pages.




These papers have items of interest about James Smith, William Travers, John Forbes, and Joseph Finegan.  Typewritten copies.




Transcribed notices from newspapers:  St. Augustine Herald  1821, 1823, 1832, 1833

                                                               The News  1840

                                                               The Florida News  1855-1856

                                                               The East Floridian  1859-1860 




Miscellaneous papers.




Newspaper tributes to Mary Martha Reid.