Thursday, September 25, 2014

Southern Studies Showcase-John Lewis Gervais’ Old Edgefield Plantation and How it Solved a Major Mystery from 1775

This was the second time I have heard Dr. Robert Scott Davis speak and I wasn’t disappointed. Dr. Davis solved a brick wall that no one else had been able to crack since 1775. 

In a nutshell, some anonymous letters were published in the book American Husbandry (also anonymous).  Researchers have been trying to figure out who wrote the book since it was published in 1775.  Dr. Davis first identified the writer of the letters which gave him the clue he needed to identify the writer of the book.  This was not so easy because the writer of the book altered the letters a bit to fit his purpose.  Dr. Davis is able to explain the reason why the author did this.  The process Dr. Davis went through to uncover the story is fascinating. 

John Lewis Gervais (the writer of the letters) and the man that wrote the book (I won’t tell you his name) were both important figures not only in the history of the Old Edgefield and Ninety-Six Districts but of all of South Carolina.  You can read Dr. Davis’ article, “Mystery Book and the Forgotten Founding Father” published in the Journal of the American Revolution HERE for a condensed version of the story. 


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

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