Servant Until Death

Shaun Usher of deputy dog has a new blog called Letters of Note which shares classic correspondence of all kinds. One that stands out is from a slave named Vilet Lester to a member of her former owner’s family, written in 1857. Here is an excerpt.
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 now which I want to See the worst Miss Rahol or mother I have thaugh that I wanted to See mother but never befour did I no what it was to want to See a parent and could not.

The post contains a transcript of the entire letter and a photograph of the handwriting. Link

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I agree, with GQ. The casual nature of the letter is striking. It's so foreign to us in present-day to think about being bought and sold, which is a good thing!

I bet if we didn't have spell check on every application we'd see how bad people spell presently.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
If you'd like to read a more uplifting (and comical) letter from a former slave to his master, read this:

http://www.ridgway.k12.co.us/uploads/h7/GM/h7GMpPmbvq6aASekdjWX9Q/anderson_letter.pdf
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It seems Vilet is not just talking about her former slave-owners as family but about her separation from her actual Mother and child, who Vilet has been sold away from. Very very interesting, but incredibly sad letter. Thanks for sharing this.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.


Email This Post to a Friend
"Servant Until Death"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window
X

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More