Ernest B. Bayliss grew up in Pleasantville, NY with his family. His mother had a generous heart, as Bayliss writes "She often had a feeling that others weren't making it & so she ought to put her shoulder to the wheel." She wanted to teach young women a trade to help them make a living and would supplement the James Island project in Charleston Harbor. When she discovered letters describing the women living and dying on the island, she decided to house young women herself in Pleasantville with her family.
The Mary Ame's diary may have been left by one such woman. Bayliss notes in his letter that the author's companion, Emily Bliss, may be distantly related to him. Bayliss's grandfather is Henry Parsons (a lawyer) and the first Parsons to settle in Northampton, Mass in the early 1600s were "Cornet" Joseph Parsons and wife Mary Bliss.
Bayliss has donated items from his estate to Anacostia Community Museum and a museum in Shelbourne, VT. He lived with his wife and worried what would become of historically valuable items in his estate upon his death.
Permanent Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum