Henry "Harry" Ayer Raysor and Rachel Treutlen Wannamaker family, c. 1903
St. Matthews, South Carolina
Left to right, Seated: Harry Raysor holding Emmie Pou, Rachel W. Raysor
Standing, L to R:  Harry, 13 1/2, Sadie, 15, and Frank, 8



 
 

This is a quote from Frank Wannamaker Raysor's book, privately printed in the early 1970's.  I am including it because I  think Frank would want his family's story shared here. 

     "Henry Ayer Raysor was called Harry all his life by friends and family.  Most of his nieces and nephews never knew him by any other name than 'Uncle Harry.'

     "He was born in Laurensville, South Carolina (now Laurens, South Carolina) on October 5, 1856, and was baptized by Rev. W. A. McSwain, according to the old family Bible.  He died April 25, 1921.  He married November 12, 1884, Rachel Treutlen Wannamaker in St. Matthews, South Carolina.  She was the daughter of Captain Francis Marion Wannamaker and Eleanor Margaret Bellinger.  She was born November 12, 1862 and died March 22, 1935. 

     "When quite young men Henry and his younger brother Cornelius, while living at home on the farm in Barnwell County, were told by their father that they would have to work regular hours on the farm and be paid like other hired hands or they could get jobs elsewhere.  They tried farming for a while but soon tired of working from sunrise till sunset, so they each found other jobs.  Cornelius clerked in a drug store and Henry tried teaching school.  Cornelius never gave up the drug business, finally owning one of the lagest independent drug companies in North Carolina at Asheville until his retirement.

     "A dentist, Dr. Ben Bruce of St. Matthews, South Carolina was working on my teeth one day and casually asked me if Father ever told me that he taught him in school.  I said, 'No, how could that be?  You are as old as he.'  He then told me that a lot of students were much older than the teacher in those days.  I asked Father about it and he said, 'yes.'  He said there were a lot of older boys in that school and that one day he tried to punish a boy, and the others ganged up on him and threw him out of the window.  He said that was when he decided to quit teaching.  He then found a job with the W. F. Buyck Company, a general store in St. Matthews, South Carolina.

     "This first job was not only clerking, but nightwatching as well.  He was paid five dollars per month, but he saved on board by sleeping on the cloth counter at night and eating whatever he wanted in the store.  He liked this job and was particularly fond of Mr. Buyck.  He practically lived on crackers, cheese, milk and canned meats.

     "He married his sweetheart as soon as he had saved up one hundred dollars, plus one month's rent of a home.  He worked for Mr. Buyck until he decided to go into business himself.  He then formed a partnership with a Mr. Whaley.  Later he bought Mr. Whaley's interest and then bought the business and store building of Mr. Box Robinson on West Bridge Street, in St. Matthews, South Carolina, where he conducted his general mercantile business and bought cotton for Alexander Sprunt & Sons, of Wilmington, North Carolina.  He sold his business in 1918, while I was in France, in the first World War, and retired.

     "He had several heart attacks but actually died quite suddenly one evening while reading his newspaper. 

     They had four (4) children, but one daughter Ruth, died in infancy.  They also took into their home, Rachel's niece, Emmie Pou Henagan, as a baby several weeks old when her mother died.  They raised and educated her along with their own children, and she owns and lives in the home place."

This narrative was written by Frank Wannamaker Raysor

 

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