Letters may be coming home

Channa Carsey, of Enumclaw, Wash., found a stack of letters written by a woman from Camak, Ga., to her sister in the 1880s.

A group of Warren County residents hopes to raise enough money to enable a Washington state woman to fly to Georgia to return a bundle of letters to the descendants of the two sisters who exchanged them more than a century ago.


Channa Carsey, of Enumclaw, Wash., purchased the letters at a yard sale last summer and launched a search for the family of Sallie and Anna Holliman, who wrote the letters to each other in the 1880s, often describing life in the rural South. Her story, published in March in The Augusta Chronicle , enabled her to find relatives of the women.

James Newsome of Warrenton, who is spearheading the fundraising drive, said the story touched many people in the community who want to help the single mother and nursing student make the trip to Georgia.

Ms. Carsey said she bought the letters on a whim at an estate sale last summer.

Sallie Holliman wrote on topics ranging from weddings and babies to crops and cattle. Anna Holliman moved from place to place but took great care to fold and stack the letters together.

The correspondence -- dated from 1879 to 1885 -- offers an intimate glimpse into life in the post-Civil War South.

For instance, on Dec. 9, 1884, Sallie Holliman wrote that an outbreak of whooping cough and rough weather had taken a huge toll:

"Charlie Lowe's mother is dead and Sam Swint, too. Lib Kelley's baby and Marie Williford's baby. There is more babys buried out here than I can write -- for I haven't the paper. Lizzie Dixon's was buried at 4 o'clock."

Contributions can be sent to the Warren County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 27, Warrenton, GA 30828. Checks should be marked "Help Bring the Letters Home."

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.