Padwells Celtic Way Bleadon Weston-Super-Mare Somerset England Jan. 13th 1966
Dear Mr. Meneffe
Thank you for your letter of Jan 6th.I have done so much writing since becoming interested in the family history that I have at last been out this afternoon and bought a typewriter, and to you fall the somewhat doubtful privilege of receiving my first typewritten letter, so I ask you to bear with me. I have particulars of about 56 Minifie wills, practically all of then in the vicinity of Honiton.I have copied out three of them, George, the Honiton tailor, his father, William, and the first George to die in America? They come from the collection of Richard Minifie Pratt, at Exeter Library. With regard to the Marshall's statue, I thought I would send a letter to the French Embassy in London enquiring if they could suggest somewhere in France I make son enquiries. Reverting to the wills, I have been careful to copy the spelling accurately. My genealogist friend, whom I think I have mentioned to you in a previous letter, and who acts as my guide and mentor, will have nothing to do with claim made by some members of the family, to be related to Bishop Wynnifie.Mr. J. E. Minifie of Woodbridge in Suffolk is very attached to this claim, largely I have always felt due to the fact that his grandfather (J.E. M.'s) was born in Sherborne Dorset, as was the good Bishop Wynnifie.I have read somewhere the heraldic details of his coat of arms, which are quite different to those of the Menyfee's who came from Pohill in Kent to Devonshire about 1540. The particulars of the Menyfees who came from Kent are to be found in Vivyan''s "Visitations in Devon" published in 1895. I also have particulars of the purchase of Northcote Manor Honiton in 1540, by John Menyfee of London, yeoman, details furnished by the Public Records Office in London. Thirdly, Prince's "Worthys of Devon" states that a Jerome Menyfee of Burwash in Sussex also came to Devon circa 1540. I feel convinced that these three must have been related (although as yet I cannot prove this theory).Furthermore, I feel that all the Minifies in Devon must have descended from these three families. The Mrs. Gilmore you mention (the owner of "the happy ascetic") was the sister of the grandfather of J. E. Minifie of Woodbridge Suffolk.As yet I am unable to prove any relationship between the Dorset Minifies and the Minifies of Devon, although I am certain it must exist. Mark Minifie was the first cousin of my grandfather Robert. Digressing for a moment, I am intrigued somewhat by the stature of some Minifies.I have seen a reference to the fact that the Rev. Benjamin Minifie of New York is 6 ft. 4 in., and that Mr. Seldon Menefee of California called on him some years ago and that he was a very tall man.The late Mark Minifie was 6 ft. 1 in. as I myself am. I have also seen a reference by Richard Minifie Pratt to the effect that Mark Minifie was almost the exact double of William Minifie of Honiton, although no one has yet been able to prove any relationship between the Broadhembury family and the Honiton family. I hope in the near future to be able to pay another visit to Exeter.Mr. Routledge (my genealogist friend) has suggested that I try the registers of some of the Parishes in the city of Exeter. In the 17th and 18th centuries Devon was swarming with Minifies.There are 120 references in the parish register of Ottery St. Mary alone.As you may imagine, William was a very popular name which does not help matters. However, I certainly hope I can at least get back one more generation as I have been stuck for over a year now on 1621 and it becomes more difficult to keep one's interest alive. To my surprise I find the time is now 1:45am, As I started this at about 9pm, you can guess that I am not likely to carry off any prize for typing speed.
P.S. Have not forgotten my promise to send on a detailed tree.E. M.
Yours very sincerely, (signed) E. R. Minifie (copy of letter sent to FNM.)