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Dear Annie,
Sorry to hear about you and Simon. What’s the deal with this Chester guy? Are you interested, trying to get Simon ticked off, or really just friends? I feel like I’m watching a soap opera. No offense. My advise –not that you asked this time, smart girl- is to have it out with old S. one more time. If he’s moving on, at least you’ll know…of course, that does leave you an enormous house to deal with...

Well, I got a report from Tia. She’s done more research on this Stoney Grove stuff than I have on my dissertation…Here’s the scoop. In the 1690s, Edmund Rawlins, an Englishman, created a sugar plantation on Nevis, just outside of Charleston (on the Caribbean side of the island). He died in 1703 and left the estate to his son, Edmund, who built a house there and visited periodically while maintaining an estate somewhere in England. When he died in 1719, his son George inherited the West Indian property and moved in, marrying a local planter’s daughter named Priscilla Worthington. They lived at Stoney Grove until 1750, when he and his family moved back to England. His son, whose name was —you guessed it, Edmund— was raised on the island and as an adult went back and forth between England and Nevis until he moved permanently to Stoney Grove in 1771. He’s buried at St. John’s church in Fig Tree. His son George inherited the property in 1780. He lived in England, never married and apparently didn’t come out to check on the place very often. At his death in 1800, he left the estate to his younger brother James, who ran it from England until 1833, when he died.  One of his sons, Henry, kept the property for a decade or so, then sold it to an American businessman. Apparently the sugar market dissolved after emancipation in the 1830s and Rawlins was lucky to find a buyer. The American, Francis Matthews, lost his shirt and basically abandoned the place.  The government took it over during the later 19th century and it is still owned by them today.   The sugar works are still visible, but the rest of it is gone.

Tia sent me a bunch of dates and lists of children and such, but that’s essentially the story.

I’ve made it through yet another jar of olives, and have given three away. I’m now craving those little after-dinner mints—you know, the chocolate ones with the green stuff inside. They’d all melt long before they got here, so I won’t ask you to send me any. Maybe when I come in the fall I’ll feast on beer and mints…I’m thinking about sometime in October. Is that good for you?

Hope all is well. If it is, give my love to Simon. If not, kick him for me.