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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Sep 12 01:38 AM

Sept 12, 2009: Lester Letter

This letter, written in 1857 by a slave, Vilet Lester, to her former owner, Patsey Patterson.
Vilet writes, her new owners have agreed to buy Vilet's daughter, if Patsey is willing to sell her.



Duke University notes, "This is a literal transcription. Some punctuation has been added for ease of reading and understanding."

Quote:
Georgia Bullock Co August 29th 1857

My Loving Miss Patsy


I hav long bin wishing to imbrace this presant and pleasant opertunity of unfolding my Seans and fealings Since I was constrained to leav my Long Loved home and friends which I cannot never gave my Self the Least promis of returning to. I am well and this is Injoying good hlth and has ever Since I Left Randolph. whend I left Randolf I went to Rockingham and Stad there five weaks and then I left there and went to Richmon virgina to be Sold and I Stade there three days and was bought by a man by the name of Groover and braught to Georgia and he kept me about Nine months and he being a trader Sold me to a man by the name of Rimes and he Sold me to a man by the name of Lester and he has owned me four years and Says that he will keep me til death Siperates us without Some of my old north Caroliner friends wants to buy me again. my Dear Mistress I cannot tell my fealings nor how bad I wish to See youand old Boss and Mss Rahol and Mother. I do not [k]now which I want to See the worst Miss Rahol or mother I have thaugh[t] that I wanted to See mother but never befour did I [k]no[w] what it was to want to See a parent and could not. I wish you to gave my love to old Boss Miss Rahol and bailum and gave my manafold love to mother brothers and sister and pleas to tell them to Right to me So I may here from them if I cannot See them and also I wish you to right to me and Right me all the nuse. I do want to now whether old Boss is Still Living or now and all the rest of them and I want to [k]now whether balium is maried or no. I wish to [k]now what has Ever become of my Presus little girl. I left her in goldsborough with Mr. Walker and I have not herd from her Since and Walker Said that he was going to Carry her to Rockingham and gave her to his Sister and I want to [k]no[w] whether he did or no as I do wish to See her very mutch and Boss Says he wishes to [k]now whether he will Sell her or now and the least that can buy her and that he wishes a answer as Soon as he can get one as I wis himto buy her an my Boss being a man of Reason and fealing wishes to grant my trubled breast that mutch gratification and wishes to [k]now whether he will Sell her now. So I must come to a close by Escribing my Self you long loved and well wishing play mate as a Servant until death


Vilet Lester
of Georgia
to Miss Patsey Padison
of North Caroliner


My Bosses Name is James B Lester and if you Should think a nuff of me to right me which I do beg the faver of you as a Sevant direct your letter to Millray Bullock County Georgia. Pleas to right me So fare you well in love.
link
via


DanaC  Saturday Sep 12 07:45 AM

Fascinating. Thanks for that Bruce.



glatt  Saturday Sep 12 07:50 AM

Makes you wonder what happened next.



Spexxvet  Saturday Sep 12 09:16 AM

It has the same style as some posts I've read. :p



wolf  Saturday Sep 12 09:50 AM

Except that this semi-literate slave has much better handwriting than txtkids today.

Assuming that she wrote the letter for herself. Her master, the gentleman of reason, could have written it for her.



capnhowdy  Saturday Sep 12 10:01 AM

Amazing.
How can one have such artful handwriting skills and be so terrible with grammar? Just doesn't make sense to me.



Cloud  Saturday Sep 12 11:29 AM

I think it's unlikely she wrote it herself; someone probably wrote it for her.



newtimer  Saturday Sep 12 11:51 AM

Written by a slave who never had a chance at any formal education. I can easily overlook the spelling/grammatical errors; she has an excuse.

So why do graduates of American high schools write like this today? Or university graduates who claim to be educated? Or university employees of MBA programs? (Yes, I'm looking at you, Texas A&M! Your master's program staff have all the education of a slave.)



lumberjim  Saturday Sep 12 12:43 PM

they had blue lined paper back then?



Gravdigr  Saturday Sep 12 04:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by newtimer View Post
So why do graduates of American high schools write like this today?
IDK. Why don't you axe one of them?


monster  Saturday Sep 12 04:21 PM

Had spelling been completely formalised way back then? It used to be that as long as you could understand the word, the actual letters used were not so important.



BobT  Saturday Sep 12 04:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberjim View Post
they had blue lined paper back then?
http://answers.google.com/answers/th...w/id/2170.html

And in answer to when blue-lined paper started, Jane Brown of the
Waring Historical Library wrote:

"I know blue lined paper goes back before 1860. The Waring Library has
Theses of graduates of the Medical College of the State of South Carolina
between 1825 and 1860 and a fair number of them are written on paper
with blue lines."


Glinda  Sunday Sep 13 12:21 PM

Items like this is why I love my chosen profession (even though there's no work right now) - I'm a research historian/cataloger. I do contract work for auction houses, researching and writing scholarly descriptions of items for auction catalogs and for insurance purposes.

Now, all you people with something historical and interesting and worth a few ducats, please bring them to an auction house near you, so I can get some damned work!

:p



BobT  Sunday Sep 13 12:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glinda View Post
Items like this is why I love my chosen profession (even though there's no work right now) - I'm a research historian/cataloger. I do contract work for auction houses, researching and writing scholarly descriptions of items for auction catalogs and for insurance purposes.

Now, all you people with something historical and interesting and worth a few ducats, please bring them to an auction house near you, so I can get some damned work!

:p
Do you find my research correct? I only found it on Google !


Glinda  Monday Sep 14 01:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobT View Post
Do you find my research correct? I only found it on Google !
Absolutely! In fact, mass-produced ruled paper goes back to 1770, with an English patent for a "ruling machine" that prints lines onto paper. Prior to this people often used a line guide (a separate sheet of heavy paper/cardboard with dark lines that show up through a blank sheet of stationery placed on top).

Well done!


Diaphone Jim  Monday Sep 14 02:46 PM

I am afraid I can't figure out the meaning of
"Seans" in "unfolding my Seans and fealings".



Cloud  Monday Sep 14 03:18 PM

"sense"?



Clodfobble  Monday Sep 14 05:35 PM

Especially when you put sense in a Southern accent: "seh-yunce" = seans



barefoot serpent  Tuesday Sep 15 02:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glinda View Post
Absolutely! In fact, mass-produced ruled paper goes back to 1770, with an English patent for a "ruling machine" that prints lines onto paper. Prior to this people often used a line guide (a separate sheet of heavy paper/cardboard with dark lines that show up through a blank sheet of stationery placed on top).

Well done!
It appears we've got our own History Detectives!


Glinda  Tuesday Sep 15 02:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by barefoot serpent View Post
It appears we've got our own History Detectives!
I love that show, and if it wasn't for all the gossip I've heard through various people who oughta know, I'd kill to be one of their detectives.

Alas, I'm told there is a lot of infighting among the bunch (I've met Wes - seemed like a nice guy, but I've never worked with him), and a fair amount of snarky asshattery on his part, behind the scenes.

No thanks!


xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Sep 16 12:14 AM

Since I don't hear the gossip, I still love the show.



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