Photograph Album
Anna Murray Gavin (Raysor)
Annie Gavin

Wife of William Moss Raysor

Annie Raysor was born in St. George, South Carolina, May 8th, 1856,  the daughter of Charles Gavin of St. George, South Carolina, and Martha Louise Tatum of Orangeburg County, South Carolina.    Around 1858 Charles Gavin moved his family to Alachua, Florida, where his second child, Jane, was born September 5, 1859. By  the end of the year, both mother and baby had died. 

Annie was returned to South Carolina to be raised by her aunt and uncle, James D. Sheider and Ann Murray Tatum Sheider in Colleton County.  After the Civil War ended, Charles Gavin was urged by his brother, David, to travel to Brazil to scout out prospects in farmland.  The initial plan was for the entire Gavin family to migrate to Brazil, along with hundreds of other Southern families.  Although Charles's nephew joined him in Brazil for a year, Charles was the only member of the family to remain in Brazil, where he died around 1886.

Upon learning of Annie's engagement to William Moss Raysor, Charles Gavin wrote the following letter from Brazil to his daughter, Annie:

Linharis July 20, 1880(?) Dear Annie

    Yours of the 4th of May came to hand last mail.  I am glad to hear that you is ingaged to be married, of course I did not know the man you are engaged to as he like yourself was quite a boy when I left.  I knew his father Rev. Dr. Thomas Raysor.  I think the family a good one & My father often said "if you wanted a good dog get a pup of a good breed".   I have often thought of that & it is a very wise adage.

    I am sorry to hear of Mattie's misfortune as I think she was diserving a good man.  I looked on her as a No. one, and any man to misuse a woman & particularly such an one as she was is not diserving a place in society;  I look on a man who will miss use a woman as mean, low & cowardly & not worth the notice of any decent & respectable man although some women are very mean & deserved correction.  I have in my lifetime heard men say what they would do if they had such a man's wife;  but it appears that every person knows better how to tame a ------ than those who have them.

    I must confess if it had have been my unhappy lot to have married a mean woman I do not know what I would have done, but I thank God that I had as good a wife as any man, there was no use of any better;  & when I can look and see some many much worse than her, & disagreeing with their families & cannot see why she was taken from me & others to be left, it may be for the best.  The bible says "everything happens for the best for those who love & fear the Lord".  I had an uncle who believed very strong in that passage & scripture, Uncle George Sistrunk, the father of Eve Ann McAlhaney.  It is at least consoling.   I think he was a very good man.

    I hope you will live agreeable & happy with your Miller.  I again instructed John to return over everything I left with Brother Dave to you, there is a piece of land near Rosses Station.  I do not know  how many acres- as Bro Dave sold off some I think about 300 acres- if your man prefer, he can make sale & if the title he or John can give will not be good I will sign a blank title here & send back.

    What brother Dave left you cannot sell - you only get the income of that from John, I suppose if there is danger of him spending it there is a way to take it out of his hands.  From what you write I am afraid John's wife will injure, if not, ruin him;  he is a good easy man & will suffer himself ruled by his wife & if she is not a proper ruler will injure if not ruin him.

    His father also the same, but his wife was a good, industrious, & frugal & business women & always directed right, worked herself,  & made every thing about his worth, his Uncle Charles was the same, but he had no difficulty with his wife.  She managed the business of the house and yard and he the field.

    She like yourself had no desire to manage the farm & I had none to manage the house as it appears that Providence has so ordered it.  "It is not good for man to be alone."  The field is enough for him & the house enough for the woman, so it is necessary for both to be together to manage well.

    My land near Rosses has a good deal of oak timber, & some pine, & some poplar, it may be profitable to cut it for market.  The furtherest piece, about 1-1/2 miles from the Station.   Brother Dave had a piece that come up to the Station & had two houses built on it but the Negroes burned them down.  He had had several lots run off & if John ever divides the land I expect he will run off a lot a piece for each heir.  I recommended him to do so & the will gives me choice of the lots of land.  There was a little field & a little house on my land when I left the states.

    I hope you will not disagree with your husband, you must not both get vexed at once if you see him vexed or displeased wait until he gets in a good humor.

("The above information was copied from pages in the court house of Walterboro, S. Carolina, Gavin File pages 18 & 19 but seemingly the ending page of this letter waS not included for page 20 was an inventory."  Arnold Gavin).

Transcribed by and used here with the kind permission of Arnold  & Joan Gavin.

To my knowledge, this is the only existing photograph of Annie Gavin Raysor.  She is conspicuously absent from family photographs, and it is my impression that she may have suffered from some chronic illness for years before her death at age 52. My grandmother, Maud Raysor, attended high school in Orangeburg, staying with Gavin cousins in St. George.  Later, she attended Winthrop College.  Both sons left South Carolina as young men, and only returned for rare visits.  Katie Lou Raysor married Jim King from Sullivan County, Tennessee, and they later made their home there.

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