Signatures, no. 3.

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

This is the third in a series of posts featuring the signatures of men and women born before 1900, men and women who could not take even a basic education for granted.

  • Levi H. Peacock (1856-), from the Wilson County marriage license of Peter Mercer and Caroline Applewhite.

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  • Charles Battle (ca. 1843-1910), from the Wilson County marriage license of Cain Artis and Margaret Barnes.

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  • Lucy Barnes Bynum (ca. 1882-??), 1911, from the letters of administration for the Wilson County estate of Amos Bynum.

  • Simeon A. Smith (1861-??), 1897, from the affidavit of witness to the will of Esther McGowan.

  • Nestus Bagley (1862-??) and Margaret Coleman Bagley (1866-1934), 1887, from the Wilson County estate file of Squire Coleman.




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