Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson
Slave Letters in the Campbell Family Papers

Letter to Mary Campbell from Hannah Valentine, May 2, 1838


Letter relating concern about her mistress's health as well as describing the state of affairs at the house and general news about friends and other slaves.


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Abingdon May 2d 1838

My dear Mistress

I was very much gratified at receiving a letter from you last monday. When I was writing to Richard I thought you would like to hear particularly about every thing at home and as it gave you pleasure I am very glad that I did mention something about it. We were all very uneasy about you when we heard you were confined to your bed, for we knew that you must be very sick if that was the case. I cannot tell you how much pleased I was to hear that you were well enough to walk about your room, and I shall be still more so when I hear you are riding out for I think that will be of more service to you than anything else. I hope by this time you are well enough to be preparing for your trip to the north, and I long for the time to come when I shall see you & my dear master & miss Virginia at home once more, not to speak of Michael and my children.

Miss Ellen White received Miss Virginia's letter, and told me she had answered it some time ago. I expect it will not be long before Miss Ellen and Master Thomas will be in Richmond. I heard that they will set off on Tuesday next. Mr Humes set off to the North yesterday. I heard that Miss Mitchel & Melville were at Col. Whites, and went down to see them, but they had gone to Mr. Clapp's. Miss Ellen White told me all that they said about you all, how you my Mistress


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was sitting rocking yourself in the middle of the floor, and how pleased you were to see them. I was on my way to Mr Clapps to see them when I heard that they had gone to Jonesboro I believe they did not stay here so long as they intended when they came. The trustees of the academy in Jonesboro I understood wrote to them urging their immediate return. Well now my hear Mistress I must begin to tell you all about home. The house looks exactly as it did when you left it. It has been aired regularly, and every part attended to after a rain or snow. The yard looks very well and has not been injured at all except some of the peach trees in the part of the yard next to the mill dam were some what injured by a deep snow which fell the last of March or the first of April. Mr Lathim & Page went as quickly as they could and shook the snow from all the trees or I think they would have been very much injured. It was the deepest snow I have ever seen in this country. We have had a cold and dry spring, and I was afraid that all the fruit was killed, but I hope it is not. I am not a very good judge of such things, but I examined some of the peach blossoms, and I think that some of the fruit is safe unless we have more hard frosts. The pine, and all the other trees look well. In the garden aunt Lethe has sowed all the different kinds of vegetable seed she normally puts in when you are at home. The strawberry vines are in full bloom, and a promise a good crop of fruit. I should like to know what you would wish done with them. If you wish any preserved, and how many. If you do I will endeavour to do them as nicely as possible. If you have no objection I will sell the ballance, and see how profitable I can make them for you. Aunt Lethe was somewhat annoyed by persons from town, schoolchildren & who crossed the garden, so she put a lock on the gate, and we have determined not to let any one go in it again, unless some lady that we know would not molest any thing. The currants and gooseberries look well, and are tolerably full of fruit. Please let me know if you would wish me to make any currant jelly, and if you would like me to bottle the gooseberries. I would u my dear Mistress to give me especial directions about every thing that you want done, and I will if I am spared do as exactly as you wish

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me as I can. Aunt Lethe says she will try to have what she can in the garden for you when you come, and I will try to have plenty of chickens ready. The old hens you left are still here, and some chickens hatched since you left here we raised in the cellar. I wish you could have seen them. they were all as white as milk and all except one or two that the old cat caught are now laying. I have not very good news to tell about the cows. We have as yet but one young calf, but Aunt Lethe expects several more very soon. She now milks but three cows, but she churns regularly once, sometimes twice a week. You Florence has a fine beautiful female colt, only a day old, and when I write next I shall tell you I expect of some other addition to the number of colts. Mr Lathim is the most industrious man I ever saw and is so amiable and quiet a young man as ever was. seldom leaves the house. never has left in the sabbath. He seems perfectly contented tho he has no company, but his books on sunday, and during the winter nights he had a fire in the living room, but always went early to bed, as he worked hard all day. he is very careful and seems to consider your interest in every thing. The whole of Gibsons field even the carriage road is now in corn, and the gate by Mrs Waterson's locked up. The meadow next to the town entirely to the bars is sowed in oats, which are growing prettily. The greater part of the field at the bottom of the garden is in corn the remainder in potatoes. He has sowed clover in the field next [to] the woods called the well field. The corn is not up but is sprouting. Jefferson Washington and even William assisted in planting the corn, and Mr Lathim said they worked as well as Page. I never saw the horses look as fat and well. Mr Lathim feeds and attends to them himself. He rises by day every morning, and stays at the stable until breakfast is ready. Jefferson is becoming quite useful. He assists about the stable, and any other work that Mr L has for him to do. The children are all well except Margaret. She has been quite sick but is now much better. Lucy's youngest is a fine child, not very large, but quite plump. It is the colour of the others. Please tell Eliza that her children look very well. I have not found Mary eating dirt since she got her mothers letter. Aunt Lethe & Lucy send their love to you & master & miss Virginia & to all the servants. Please

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give my love to them too. Tell Michael I sent home a letter and his Bible to Theodore who promised to see home and tell him all about us. Mrs Smith set off to Richmond yesterday. Please give my best love to Miss Virginia. I do long to see her more than ever since you told me how she looked. I have almost filled my paper about ourselves and all at home, but as you desired I must tell you something about your neighbours. Col. Whites family is well. Miss Ellen has been very busy fixing for her trip. Mr Raileys family is well. Mr R is sick in Philadelphia for some time, but is expected home today. At Mr Watson's they are al well. Mr Watson does not stay home much now, and Mrs Watson is very lonely since Miss Lucy left her. She has several spells of illness since you left here, has not yet entirely recovered from one she had some weeks ago. There has been a great deal of sickness in the country. Mr James Cummings & his son Robert have been ill but are better now. I hope sight of Miss Ellen White will be of service to you. I am anxious to hear which of the servants you intend taking with you to the north. I hope you will not leave them in Richmond, particularly David. Aunt Lethe says she hopes soon to get the letter you promised her. She was very proud of the one Miss V wrote to her. I believe I have told you all that you would care about hearing so I must conclude. I hope I shall see you in August looking as well as ever such is the sincere wish of your affectionate servant.

Hannah

[Addressed in center of page:]

Mrs. Mary H. Campbell
Richmond Va

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