Filson Historical Society

Some miscellaneous sources about slavery in Kentucky found today at Filson.

Miscellaneous Filson HIstorical Society letters

Letter from L. Lakes to her son, William Lawes, dated at Jefferson County, Ky., May 21, 1812, Mss. C L

Captain Funk has got safe from Orleans about a week ago but your father could not get to see him until last munday which prevented me from writing sooner he sold Gabe but got only 280 dollars for him and Funk says that negroes can be bought at Orleans on better terms then in Kentucky and I have not a doubt but Capt Funk has done the best that he could with him …

Letter from E. Barnard to John T. Burtwell, September 12, 1854, Mss. C B

… allow me to congratulate you on your good fortune in getting your negroes and suffer me to advise you to put them in your pocket as soon as possible. Had conversation with B. [J.?] Adams about them to day he thinks the girl will continue to run away and advises you to sell.

Letter from John Crolis to Mr. Ray Sands, May 25, 1815, Mss. A C799b 5:

I am thinking of going with my family somewhere near the Mississippi, & I beg leave to ask the favor of you to inform me, if Negroes are to be purchased, at St. Mary’s or Cumberland, or elsewhere near you, more advantageously than in the western country, and as you are conversant with both countries, have the goodness to inform me the value of both places, & what is the. Method of selling & purchasing with you, wether [sic] separately or in families. I presume the latter if so how do they average the price. I will thank you for your opinion, and what kind of negroes would be most proper & profitable to carry into that country that would be most likely to be faithfull with good treatment.

Letter to Charles Sterne, dated Stafford County, January 31, 1806, Sterne-Waller Family Papers, Mss. A S839, Folder 1:

Yours of the 3rd ultimo came to hand the 1st Inst. I should have answered it immediately, but for a piece of conduct of your brother, which I was for some time at a loss how to proceed against. To wit, during the Christmas holidays, when the slaves who had been hired out were at your Mothers he went and drove them all to his house, except Frank, Betty, Hampton & two children. I at first thought of indicting him, but found that the proof, of the force used, would be too slender to rely on. I have brought suit in the District Court for the slaves, and have sued him in our county court for articles purchased at the sale & which he took off without giving bond for. I kept possession of the plantation with difficulty. It is now under rent … & I am induced to believe that on this score I shall always manage your brother.

Letter from Henrietta E. Blackburn [prominent central Ky. Family] to “My dear sister,” January 4, 1857, Blackburn Family Papers, Mss. A B628 16:

Ben is hired out in town. Ma has Tom at home. Ma expects to hire a boy from Mack to drive if she does not sell her horses as she wishes. I fear Ma will miss Ben more than she thinks. Roy Chuke [spelling?] hired Martha Ann $70. Phillis is hired in town for $18. Dick not yet hired. The children’s boys all hired well Mack thinks. … I kept Malvina in preference to a free negro. I don’t like free servants. I feared I could not manage her."

Letter from Henrietta E. Blackburn to “My dear brother,” March 5, 1857, Blackburn Family Papers, Mss. A B628 16:

I regret that Dick is hired. He went to Winchester Monday. Mack hired him for $20 a month or $200 the year, to a doubtful man, but he is building for a wealthy man & I hope to get my money that way. Dick went reluctantly & would much preferred going South. He is an excellent boy, but requires, as all other servants do, a manager. Bro. John thinks he is very trifling. I had to send him to Mr. Flood’s to keep Bro. John from whipping him. His wages since Christmas have not exceeded $10. The only time I have spoken cross to him was the day before he left. He came to know if I did not want to sell him. I am particularly unfortunate with servants. Yet I would not be where I could not command them when I wished. I think it probable Dick will return in a month. The gentleman will not keep him unless he pleased him.