Letters written to Lucy Ann Brown of Owen Hill
“I have hired
out your negroes for this year. Simon
to Pescolt & Cummings for $300. Jerry
to for $300 and Alex to Franklin at $10 pr. month.
Mr. Laws would have taken Charles again
but poor man he died suddenly about Christmas.”
[Abstracted from a letter dated January 15, 1864,
written by Thos. Christian of Columbus, Mississippi to Lucy Ann Brown of Owen Hill Plantation, Bladen County.]
Columbus Mar 17, 1864
Dear Miss Lucy,
Your favor was recd some days since in answer to mine
enclosing check & a/c current. One
letter enclosing Hale & Murdock still unanswered you no doubt have been in
great fear in regard to the _____ invasion of our state, and the conflagation of
the Choctaw Factory. Thanks to
_____ Forrest and his brave men the danger is past for the present, and are fell
as secure as we have ever done since the war began.
It is true we had exciting times and the Prairie County suffered
terribly. Only think of our being
within hearing all one Sunday of the comrading.
I got all your negroes together
except Charles when the enemy were reported marching on Columbus both from
below and above, and were going to send them out to my place, but I could not
find a man to go with them. A horse
or conveyance of any kind could not be found, and I could not go with them
myself. I concluded I would wait
for further developments and dismissed them all for the present, with this
injunction to meet at my office if affairs grew more threatening.
I am satisfied from what Mr. Howard told me about Billy
that he cannot be trusted, and of the Yankys come he will seek an opportunity to
go to them. When the Rail Road is
again in running order my advice would be to send him off and sell him. Must I think would not run away to go to them, but I have no
faith in any negroes being able to prove withstand their persuasion, I think
that all mine would go and be free if they could.
As good luck would have it my auction closed a few days before the excitement.
I think our old _____ sold splendidly.
I published the sale in the Mobile paper, and sent large hand bills far
and near. We had an immense crowd,
and to give you some idea of how things sold, the old scrap & some pieces of
new iron, and different kinds of wrought iron sold for over $2,000. I did not think there were $100 worth of it until I had it
sorted out and put together. I rented a large store on Market Street where I had
room to separate, and put every thing in order to make it show and sell to the
best advantage. I hired Simon and made him put all the plow pieces together making
what was before pieces of plows complete plows. The cotton gins were the only things that would not sell to
advantage, and I stopped the sale of them as they were selling only at about
half old prices. We only sold about
fifteen of them and I think there is about fifteen of them left.
The whole sale amounted to about $11,000, but the expenses in advertising
hauling and auctioneers fees were very heavy.
I suppose after taking off all the expenses and my commissions, the next
____ of the sale will be between nine & ten thousand Dollars.
I am sure I was glad when it was over.
I never worked harder in my life. In
moving the things arranging them in the store, working in the plows selling and
delivering the goods and collecting the money took me in all about a month hard
But the success of the sale made me feel that I was
labor well spirit. Now if we were
only clear of the balance of the old gins I would feel relieved.
I think that after the new currency, I will try our other auctions, or
sell them at private sale. I have on hand about $11,000 of your money.
I think that it will be best to bond about $8000 and have the $3,000 to
be exchanged for new currency. My
opinion is that exchanging for new currency will equal to bonding.
That is that the 4 pr of bonds will not be worth more in the market than
66 2/3 on the dollar in the new currency.
I inclose in this letter the publication of the names of the stock holders in
the Choctaw manufacturing company. By
it-you will see that your 7,200 worth of stock, has increased by the ____
dividend to $32,400 between four & five hundred per cent.
One last legislature increased the capital stock of the company to half a
million, which taken up all the reserved fund, and puts it into the capital
stock. Now if you could sell at
past it would pay you all that your stock _____.
I believe that I wrote you how I had disposed of your negroes for the
coming year. Simon I hired to Pescott & Cummings for $300. found in
everything and taxes paid. Jerry to
the same at $162 and found. Alex
to Franklin as last year. Billy
to Howard at $300. and found. Charles
I hired to a very good place above my plantation in Fayette County, but he ran
away and would not go. He has been
seen by your negroes several times since, but I have been unable to get him.
Lately, he has disappeared entirely, and I cant find out what has become
of him. He may have gone to the
Yankeys, though I should think not. Charles
may be a fool but he acted cunning enough with me. When I told him where I had hired him, he asked me if I did
not think it was rather too far from town, but said he would have everything
ready and be at my house on Saturday morning, and I was to have sent him out in
my wagon, but no Charles came, and
the next I heard of him he had taken to the fields out of town.
I then hired him in town to a man for two weeks
Told Simon to inform him of it, but he would not go there, and lately the
negroes tell me that they have seen nothing of him.
So much for business I told Laura what you said in your letter about her not
writing to you. She replied that
she had written you a long letter since she ____ out from you & hoped that
it had not been lost, but would write again soon.
Last Sunday a week ago we followed your particular friend Mr. Marow to
the tomb, his death was very sudden. He
died with pneumonia. Miss Lizzy ___
was married today to Mr. Barron, the particulars I presume some of your lady
correspondants will give you. Miss
Lucy you are profuse in your thanks to me It is a pleasure to have the good
opinion if any one but I feel that I do not deserve it, as I charge you for all
my services. I am truly a lucky man
to be paid both in money and thanks. Now
Miss Lucy let me say one word, that is, that it would afford me pleasure to do
business for you, were I never paid one cent for it.
Your high appreciation of my services would be ample compensation for all
that I have ever done for you. My
kindred regards to your cousins and friends in North Carolina.
Mrs. Doake has just arrived here, and I was quite disappointed in not
receiving a letter by her. Charlie
is still at home, that is his right is still quartered in Columbus.
He was in pursuit of the Yankeys after Forrest had routed there but was
in no better ___ did not come up with the enemy.
Your friends over the way are in good health.
Bob is with his ____ at Pollard in Ala.
Charlie Mrs. C. Laura & the girls all join in
love to you.
Very truly yours & C
[Abstracted from a letter dated March 17, 1864, written by Thos.
Christian of Columbus, Mississippi to Lucy Ann Brown of Owen Hill Plantation, Bladen County.]
“I have not yet seen Norm, Sukey, or Simon but will see them as soon as I can in relation
to Charles, and I will look about in
regard to the sale of Billy.
It appears you do not intend to return to wife, at least for the present,
Would it not be well for you to give me a full power of atty. for me to act in
your stead. Should an opportunity
occur to sell Billy, I would not be
able to make title for him, without the power to do so from you.
[Abstracted from a letter dated May 2, 1864,
written by Thos. Christian of Columbus, Mississippi
to Lucy Ann Brown of Owen Hill Plantation, Bladen County.]