South Ormsby, Lincolnshire

Hyrne Family letters 
sent from South Carolina
to  England between 1699 and 1757


Back to London 1707 -1723

In London Edward struggled with the case and argued with his brother-in-law Burrell Massingberd. Although Chancery, Burrell and Sir William Massingberd agreed that Elizabeth’s portion should be paid out upon the plantation and that it should be owned by her and her children, Edward obstructed this move. The courts also required paper proof of the land deal with Smith. The expected return of Edward to South Carolina, therefore, did not happen. Elizabeth wrote on Feb 14th 1707 from Charles Town:

‘I hope before this that my husband is out of England…I would have him take care how he comes or ventures anything for it is believed by many he will never see Carolina again he having done such injuries to this county that many of the planters threaten him very hard if he ever comes here again’

She goes on to write of her children Burrell and Harry:

‘I have sent your nephew Burrell to Latin school and when he has learned as much as he can in this country I intend to send him to England to finish learning and to be bred a lawyer. I thank God that both my children are sensible children as any of their age poor Burry is a little backwards in his learning for want of money to put him to school sooner but what he has been put to he takes to very well little harry could tell all his letters when but two years old. I ask’d Harry what he had to say to his uncle and he told me I must tell you he is a very good boy and then he says ‘my uncle will send me royal ginger cake’ I rite it you just as the child told it me of his own accord without anything being said but what I rite poor Burry is at school so cannot send you word what he says but I hope before long he will write himself. We have had here the coldest driest winter as likewise the summer as was ever known in Carolina which has been a great loss to the inhabitence of this country [the rest of this letter is lost to damage]. (LAO 2MM B/7/27)

This was the last letter from Elizabeth in South Carolina for some time. Matters in England had taken a turn for the worse. When Edward had left England in 1700 he was fleeing creditors as he had ‘misapplied between £1300 and £1400 of the Government’s money which came into his hands as he was a Port collector in the Excise’. As a result of this he was arrested and placed in the Fleet prison for debt. By this time too, much of the money Elizabeth was due to inherit had already been given to them by her brother Burrell in advance of the settlement.

Shortly after, Elizabeth returned to England with her two sons leaving the older step-son Edward, who was established by now on his own plantation, and the two step-daughters behind. The family were shipwrecked and rescued on route home, but Elizabeth still managed to carry the documents relating to the plantation with her. However, the court in London regarded them as invalid. The plantation was abandoned and, as no payments had ever been made, it reverted to Landgrave Thomas Smith in 1711.

Elizabeth set up home in London sharing a house with her sister Anne for a while. Edward Hyrne died in 1711 and the widowed Elizabeth continued to live on in England.

A letter from step-son Edward Hyrne dated 1721 from his plantation at Worlds End, South Carolina, reveals that Elizabeth and her sons had never given up hope of returning. The letter is addressed to her at the Carolina Coffee House, Birching Lane, London.

‘as to your land I have not heard anything about itt no doubt when you are here you may get some though I know of non at present. I have thought of one more way to come by land and I think the very best way which is for my brother to marry a wife that has land, no doubt his personall qualifications with what he is sufficient recommendation on account of bro Harry, a few more years must pass over his head before he is master of land by that means…
When you come here if any of your friends will consign a small cargo to you, I believe itt would turn to good account for there is much money to be got by this trade. Madam your dutiful son Edward Hyrne
My daughter Nancy gives her duty to you and my son Ned is always talking about his grandmother and asking a thousand questions about you’.
(LAO 2MM B/7/66)

In 1723 Elizabeth (then aged 43) and her two sons (Burrell aged 22 and Harry aged19) returned to South Carolina on the ship the True Love with a consignment of merchandise.

Next Chapter

South Carolina ship02

© Pauline M Loven, B.A., 2006

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