Jan 31 - Letter From Freed Slave To Former Master Draws Attention

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 6 years ago '11        #1
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xo xo xo 85 heat pts85
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Jan 31 - Letter From Freed Slave To Former Master Draws Attention
 

 
Letter From Freed Slave To Former Master Draws Attention


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(ca. 1860's, USA. Freed slaves in Southern town shortly after the Civil War. © Bettmann/CORBIS)

A newly discovered letter from a freed former slave to his onetime master is creating a buzz. Letters of Note explains that in August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee wrote to his former slave Jourdan Anderson, requesting that Jourdan return to work on his farm.

In the time since escaping from slavery, Anderson had become emancipated, moved to Ohio where he found paid work and was now supporting his family. The letter turned up in the August 22 edition of the New York Daily Tribune. Some excerpts:

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to k!ll the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.


On the "good chance" offered by the former slave owner:

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

And then Jourdan explains that anything his former master could offer, he's already earned on his own. Other than some back wages:

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.


And after a few more jabs about how his children are now happy and receiving an education, Jourdan concludes his letter with:

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

Source:
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 Letter from freed slave to former master draws attention | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News
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This is very interesting to read...........

96 comments for "Jan 31 - Letter From Freed Slave To Former Master Draws Attention"

 6 years ago '05        #2
Freemind 41 heat pts41
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Wow... excellent read.

I thought there would be a lot more anger in the letter.
 6 years ago '10        #3
quan3106 88 heat pts88
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Dopest of the Dope....
 6 years ago '04        #4
yaobabydaddy 
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so did he ever get paid??
 6 years ago '06        #5
bran 146 heat pts146
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props all around
 6 years ago '05        #6
Based_One 79 heat pts79
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That literally brought a smile to my face nice find
 6 years ago '07        #7
JoeDoe22 50 heat pts50
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Bullsh*t
 02-01-2012, 04:42 AM         #8
Jack.Nappier 
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good read
 6 years ago '08        #9
supervillain 244 heat pts244
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 Supa Mario 910 said:
Don't you have some dogs to go kiss in the mouth or something?


I'm not saying it's fake because idk but he has very good English and writes very well for a former slave. The letter was written in 1865 but gained his freedom in 1864? How did his old master find out where he was, to send him a letter? Something just doesn't add up to me at least.

The reason i say this is because if you have read or heard the ex "slave narratives" that provided an invaluable first-person account of slavery from the 1930s...the grammar, tone, style sentence structure is totally different. Words are spelled correct. Also the lack of racial language is missing. It would be very cool if this is real but from my understanding...this is questionable.

A couple of examples for those who don't know what I'm talking about.

. . . My master let us come and go pretty much as we pleased.* In fact we had much more freedom dan de most of de slaves had in those days.* He let us go to other places to work when we had nothing to do at home and we kept our money we earned, and spent it to suit ourselves.* We had it so much better den other slaves dat our neighbors would not let their slaves a.ssociate with us, for fear we would put devilment in their heads, for we had too much freedom. . . .

Our closest neighbors was de Thorntons.* Ol’ man Thornton did not allow his slaves to go no place.* He was a rough man, a low heavy set fellow, weighed about one hundred and sixty pounds.* He was mean to his slaves.* He whupped dem all de time.* I’ve seen their clothes sticking to their backs, from blood and scabs, being cut up with de cowhide.* He just whupped dem because he could.
I guess Massa Charles what taken us when Massa Kit die, was ‘bout de same as all white folks what owned slaves, some good and some bad.* We has plenty to eat—more’n I has now—and plenty clothes and shoes.* But de overseer was Uncle Big Jake, what’s black like de rest of us, but he so mean I ‘spect de devil done made him overseer down below long time ago.* Dat de bad part of Massa Charles, ‘cause he lets Uncle Jake whip the slaves so much dat some like my papa what had spirit was all de time runnin’ ‘way.* And even does your stomach be full, and does you have plenty clothes, dat bullwhip on your bare hide make you forgit do good part, and da’t de truth.


Last edited by supervillain; 02-01-2012 at 06:11 AM..
 6 years ago '04        #10
HHS 1 heat pts
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 Mathematic said:


I'm not saying it's fake because idk but he has very good English and writes very well for a former slave. The letter was written in 1865 but gained his freedom in 1864? How did his old master find out where he was, to send him a letter? Something just doesn't add up to me at least.

The reason i say this is because if you have read or heard the ex "slave narratives" that provided an invaluable first-person account of slavery from the 1930s...the grammar, tone, style sentence structure is totally different. Words are spelled correct. Also the lack of racial language is missing. It would be very cool if this is real but from my understanding...this is questionable.

A couple of examples for those who don't know what I'm talking about.
Many of the slave narratives were oral interviews. A difference between written and spoken sentence structure would be expected, and of course the interview subjects would have varying levels of education (often none, of course), while maybe the former slave in this case had been educated by his former owner. And the use of eye dialect in the transcribed interviews in the slave narrative is the hand of the transcriber.

As for how his former master found him, once he felt secure in the north the former slave may have contacted relatives still in the south.


Last edited by HHS; 02-01-2012 at 07:47 AM..
 6 years ago '08        #11
supervillain 244 heat pts244
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 HHS said:
Many of the slave narratives were oral interviews. A difference between written and spoken sentence structure would be expected, and of course the interview subjects would have varying levels of education (often none, of course), while maybe the former slave in this case had been educated by his former owner. And the use of eye dialect in the transcribed interviews in the slave narrative is the hand of the transcriber.

As for how his former master found him, once he felt secure in the north the former slave may have contacted relatives still in the south.
valid points taken..


And the use of eye dialect in the transcribed interviews in the slave narrative is the hand of the transcriber.
to point out tho. They wrote down exactly how the slaves spoke..so its not the fault of the transcriber...if they would have corrected the translation then i can see what you'/re saying.
 6 years ago '10        #12
vuser88 28 heat pts28
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Dope read
 6 years ago '11        #13
GetuOne 73 heat pts73
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1.) They were both pretty cordial considering the circumstances.
2.) He said Darkeys :laughing9: I always thought that was a modern term.
3.) I have a feeling that he would have gotten k!lled if he came back. Something fishy about him shooting at him as he escaped and now asking him to come back.
4.) I don't think he got his money. I think the "master" would have prob paid them for their services from that point moving forward but to ask the man to cough up 30 years worth of wage to have his old slaves back?......

Good read though
 6 years ago '06        #14
hood135 2 heat pts
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Translation: Let's see, I worked for you and your family for 32 years, you didn't pay me, you treated me like an animal, you shot at me as soon as you found out that you had to let me go free, and your homeboy is telling people that he k!lling me on sight.

Man you must be out your rabid a.ss. I don't trust ya so fu*k ya. Matter of fact, send me them 11 racks you owe me as*hole.



Thank you Jourdan for telling that piece of sh*t like it is. I don't know how your story ended but its refreshing to know that even in the worst of times and circumstances you were strong enough to k!ll a muthafu*ka with kindness. He deserved what he was owed and his descendants deserve a piece of that too.
 02-01-2012, 03:13 PM         #15
drumgangP 
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 hood135 said:
Translation: Let's see, I worked for you and your family for 32 years, you didn't pay me, you treated me like an animal, you shot at me as soon as you found out that you had to let me go free, and your homeboy is telling people that he k!lling me on sight.

Man you must be out your rabid a.ss. I don't trust ya so fu*k ya. Matter of fact, send me them 11 racks you owe me as*hole.



Thank you Jourdan for telling that piece of sh*t like it is. I don't know how your story ended but its refreshing to know that even in the worst of times and circumstances you were strong enough to k!ll a muthafu*ka with kindness. He deserved what he was owed and his descendants deserve a piece of that too.
Pretty much.


This letter can be summed up pretty easy. "Go Home? bi*ch please!
 6 years ago '08        #16
_JAY_ 3 heat pts
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as great as it sounds, ima hafta call bullsh*t. it really was a wonderful read, but in my opinion, it seemed more like fiction. are we forgetting that it's black history month now? what better way to subversively coax black americans into a state of tranquility or pride. or perhaps merely give them a fable that says, "40 acres? nah, be happy you can be regular americans." or maybe it's true. who knows?

either way, everyone except for sandy and a bunch of other morons knows that slavery was f**ked up.
 6 years ago '05        #17
Greece 8 heat pts
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Good read...
 6 years ago '07        #18
Pistol Peter 33 heat pts33
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wowwww...slaves had stockholm syndrome..the man slaved you and your whole bloodline and probably r*ped the sh*t out of your mother and sisters AND he shot at you when he found out he had to release you and treat you like a human being but yet you still wanted to go back?...i know that was the only life they knew back then but for crying out loud man i hope all slaves weren't like this and he was just one of the house negroes





 xo xo xo said:
We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers,[/I]

oh this poor poor naive man
 6 years ago '10        #19
Trilluminati GA 433 heat pts433
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 hood135 said:
Translation: Let's see, I worked for you and your family for 32 years, you didn't pay me, you treated me like an animal, you shot at me as soon as you found out that you had to let me go free, and your homeboy is telling people that he k!lling me on sight.

Man you must be out your rabid a.ss. I don't trust ya so fu*k ya. Matter of fact, send me them 11 racks you owe me as*hole.



Thank you Jourdan for telling that piece of sh*t like it is. I don't know how your story ended but its refreshing to know that even in the worst of times and circumstances you were strong enough to k!ll a muthafu*ka with kindness. He deserved what he was owed and his descendants deserve a piece of that too.


I'm saying. I'm calling bullsh*t. White ppl gonna eat this up. Sounds like pea party propaganda. Nice try tho. Especially considering them rewanting to rewrite history to paint slave masters in a more positive light. And if by some astronomical reason this is true, it just goes to show you uncle toms/sell out been in effect for decades.
 6 years ago '11        #20
Kadillac87 225 heat pts225
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