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Bellamy-Smart Family Papers

Identifier: MSN/EA 5041

Scope and Contents

Fifty-five letters to Amanda Bellamy Smart make up the majority of the collection. In the earliest letters, written in 1825, Amanda is visiting relatives in Virginia. Letters dating from 1830 until early 1833 find her in Warrenton, while most of the later items were addressed to her in Virginia, including those postdating her marriage.

Amanda's suitors occasionally conveyed their affections through poetry, examples of which are found in this collection. Additional materials pertaining to her life include an invitation to a ball and miscellaneous financial records. There are also several letter fragments that appear to be from Amanda herself, including at least two that bear her signature.

The remainder of the collection includes nine letters to Mary Emily (Mollie) Smart, Amanda's daughter, along with several pieces of correspondence between members of the Congdon family of Rhode Island, into which Mollie married. Finally, there are three letters that were exchanged between other members of the Bellamy family, and a series of miscellaneous envelopes, including at least one with a Confederate stamp.

A number of the letters, manuscripts, and other records include handwritten notes about their contents that appear to have been added by a descendant of Amanda Bellamy Smart. Some of the notations bear the name Margaret Congdon Flynn, who identifies herself as Amanda's great-granddaughter and Mary E. (Smart) Congdon's granddaughter.


  • Creation: 1825-1933
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1825-1865


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Amanda M. Bellamy was born around 1810 in Richmond, Virgina, to John Bellamy and his wife. The family subsequently moved to Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont near the Virginia border, Warren County was among the most prosperous areas of antebellum North Carolina, its wealth generated largely from slave labor on tobacco and cotton plantations. Though his profession is unclear, an 1830 U.S. Federal Census record indicates that John Bellamy held 12 slaves, outnumbering the 11 white members of the household listed at that time.

Amanda Bellamy had at least three siblings: including John (m. Ann Pattillo), Eliza (m. Asa Mann), and Adaline (also spelled Adeline, m. Atwell Richardson, later m. Sylvester Pierce). As a young woman in her teens and twenties, Amanda frequently traveled from her family home in North Carolina to visit relatives at their Virginia plantations. In 1825 and 1827, she spent time near Richmond and Petersburg, respectively. She appears to have returned for a time to Warrenton, North Carolina, in the early 1830s, before venturing out again in 1833 for extended stays with her aunt and cousins, the Smith family, near Richmond, as well as with her sister Eliza Mann's family, near Petersburg. During that time, Amanda's correspondents provided her with accounts of everything from disease outbreaks, to the latest marriages among friends, to attendance at religious revivals. Her most frequent correspondents included her friend and Warrenton neighbor, Eliza J.B. Dunnavant (sometimes Dunnavent), and her Richmond cousin, Emily C. Smith. Amanda also received the attentions of a number of suitors throughout her late teens and twenties, chief among them Emily's brother, Jacob Paine Smith. Paine, as he was frequently called, seems to have succumbed to illness in April 1834.

Several gentlemen asked for Amanda's hand in marriage before she ultimately wed W. H. Smart in 1837 or 1838 (a cemetary record lists his name as Henry). They met while Amanda was staying with her sister, Eliza, and the couple settled in Petersburg. They appear to have had their first child in 1839, a son, and their second in 1842, a daughter, Mary Emily, known as Mollie. Amanda's son is not named in the letters, but census records from 1850 five years after Amanda died show that Harvey W. Smart, age 10, along with Mary E. Smart, age 8, resided with Silvester (Sylvester) and Adaline Pearse (Pierce), Amanda's brother-in-law and sister, along with her then 79 year old father (note: a letter to Mary E. Smart dated 1860 is signed "Your affectionate brother, Henry W. Smart," not Harvey).

Amanda Smart died on 24 March 1845; her husband's fate is unclear. She is buried in the Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia. Cemetary records indicate that Amanda died from heart disease; they also show that a three month old child, Sylvester, is buried with his mother, suggesting potential complications during childbirth. Amanda's sisters Adaline and Eliza, and their father John, are also buried in Blandford Cemetary, as are Amanda's daughter, Mary Emily, and her husband, George W. Congdon.


.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



A collection consisting mainly of 55 personal letters, including courtship letters, directed to Amanda Bellamy (later Amanda Smart, ca. 1810-1845) of Warrenton, North Carolina and Petersburg, Virginia. There are also letters received by Amanda's daughter, Mollie Smart, and other family papers.


The collection consists of five series: 1. Letters to Amanda Bellamy Smart; 2. Miscellaneous letter fragments, manuscripts, and records; 3. Letters to Mary Smart Congdon and Congdon family papers; 4. Miscellaneous letters; and 5. Miscellaneous envelopes.

The Bellamy letters are arranged chronologically, with one folder per year except the year 1833, which is divided into four folders of three month periods. The remaining series are arranged by content type, chronologically when possible, with multiple items per folder.

Bellamy-Smart Family Papers
Laura Weis
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556