folder 156: Correspondence, January–May 1839

January 4, a letter about Rachel, an enslaved woman who had self-emancipated to Raleigh, N.C. The letter is from Joseph I. Dillard, Hinds City, Miss., to William Hutchins (folder 156). March 17, a letter in which Henry, an enslaved person, was offered as security against a claim, with the possibility of selling him, in a letter from John S. Haywood in Greensboro, Ala., to George W. Haywood in Raleigh. Charlotte, an enslaved woman who had a young child still breastfeeding; Sarah Ann, an enslaved woman who was pregnant; Maria, an enslaved woman; Abner, an enslaved man who was disabled by Scrofula, a type of tuberculosis infection, and hip joint disease; Weston, an enslaved man; Catharine, an enslaved woman; and an unnamed enslaved child referred to as "Mrs. Pasteur's boy" are also mentioned in the letter that describes strained finances and management of the Alabama plantation, including predictions of how much cotton could be harvested by enslaved people, the considerations of health and skill in hiring out enslaved people (folder 156) May 3, letter in which Weston; Zepha; Mary, who was falsely rumored to have self-emancipated; Sylvia, who was resistant to the idea of being hired out; Catharine; Lucy; and Alex, all may have been members of a group of enslaved people who recently had been removed from Raleigh on 32 day trip to Greensboro, Ala. John S. Haywood in Greensboro, Ala., described the enslaved people, including his concerns for their acclimation to the Alabama weather in a letter to his sister Eliza E. Haywood in Raleigh (folder 156). Other materials include: January 3, letters from Eliza E. Haywood to her brothers Fabius and George thanking them for enabling her to keep the family home; November 16, Joseph B. Hinton, Raleigh, to George W. Haywood; February 12, 1842, same to same. There are several letters from Rebecca Jane Haywood Hall to Eliza E. Haywood, and scattered letters 1839-41 from Reverdy Johnson to George W. Haywood.


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My dear Brother,

A thousand thousand thanks for your Kindness! Would to heaven I had some richer boon to bestow, but Alas! I am powerless: and regret ah! bitterly regret, my inability to make a suitable return either in words or deeds, for the unexpected and liberal offer of assistance so promptly rendered in my hour of gloom and despondency.

Can I cease to remember that through the liberality of my brothers I am enabled to remain in the home of my childhood! A scene endeared to me by a thousand tender yet painful recollections, but I shall be wiser & better than elsewhere. I venerate the very oaks which sheltered me in my infantine gambols; every tree, shrub and plant, is associated with images of the past, the whole place breathes of my parents. The garden I have long regarded as holy ground, nor have I been able to look upon it of late but with the deepest sorrow: every object seemed eloquent with grief: and such were the irresistible appeals made to my feelings that I left it oppressed almost to suffocation by the harrowing thought, that this hallowed spot might soon become the property of strangers.

Yours my brother was the soothing voice and the helping hand which administered the balm of consolation to my wounded spirit: the dark clouds of adversity had gathered around me, and I was rapidly sinking under their pressure when your noble nature and benevolent heart brought you to

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