Plantation America

The Work of Slaves

9. James Martin Gibbons his [Receipt] Book." 17 July 1780. William Gibbons, Jr. Papers. (Georgia) Special Collections Library, Duke University.

Description: Towards the middle of the very small, fragile receipt book are pages that read "Things that Bristol has carried to Market." Among the items enumerated are potatoes, peas, and fennel. The listing is dated for trucking on April 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, et cetera. Was this Bristol a slave? Yes. In the document "Negroes...Shoes..." 1789 in the William Gibbons, Jr. Papers a receipt shows that Tom--whom previous receipts show delivering rice to Savannah--and Bristol--whom previous receipts show trucking goods to market--were Gibbons' slaves. [Click on the image for a larger version.]

10. "Ballard's Valley Increase and Decrease of Stock..." 1793. Ballard's Valley Plantation. (St. Mary's Parish, Jamaica) Special Collections Library, Duke University.

Description: Details the number and condition of slaves.

11. Channing, John. 26 June 1770. William Gibbons, Jr. Papers. (Georgia) Special Collections Library, Duke University.

Description: Letter Channing writes to Gibbons. Gibbons will be looking after Channing's slaves while Channing is away. The letter offers insights into the lives of blacks.

"I am going out of Town for a fortnight or more and am Apprehensive Cap[tain] W...son may sail before my return have givien him directions for 5 pieces of Negro Cloth to be shiped on board him which I believe will be more than wanted, one piece is coarser the the rest which I intend for the Children. Amey, I believe can cut them out without any difficulty, indeed most of the Country born and some of the others have always chose to have the Cloth given them and their Wives and Sisters to cut it out and make them up for them and as they are better satisfyed and a matter of indifference you'll please still indluge as many as desire it the same."

He goes on to express his desire that the new settlement is soon finished and the slaves divided between both holdings. He thinks their being congregated as they are is the reason why their general health is not so good.

12. "A Return of all the Slaves liable to Work on the Newington Road." 1770[?]. William Gibbons, Jr. Papers. (Georgia) Special Collections Library, Duke University.

Description: Document illustrates how slaves were used for public works projects.

13. Carter, Robert. Letter to Clement Brooke of the Baltimore Iron Works. 11 November 1776. Robert Carter Papers (Vol. III). (Virginia) Special Collections Library, Duke University.

Description: Item is a letter and an invoice. Of interest is reference made to Jenny. The "Negroe Woman" is on board the sloop Atwell along with a host of other goods. The abstract below is from notations in the invoice and letter.

220 bushels of Indian Corn and one Negroe Woman named Jenny are no on board the Sloop Atwell the cargo mentioned abov to be delivered to you for the use of the Baltimoe [sic] Comp[any]--Pray send me a Copy of the Proceedings of the B-C[ompany] when they resolve that there Shall be an Addition of five negroe Women, to their Stock--
It is customary for me to engage my Negroes from new years day to the 31st of December following--however Geo. Wilkerson, Wool Comber, has relinquished Jenny, who is a good Spinster--Jenny is young & Stout, She has fits, accasionally, [sic] I say Accasionally, becuase her fits never happen but upon her being reprimanded for neglects; nor do those Fits leave behind any visible Effects If Jenny Should prove not to be sound, I will at a future date Send a negroe woman in her Stead--...

14. A map of the Parish of St. Stephen, in Craven County: exhibiting a view of the several places practicable for making a navigable canal, between Santee and Cooper Rivers. Henry Mouzon, Jr. & John Lodge. Surveyor or engraver. London: 1773.

Description: Map with a corner detail depicting slave labor on an indigo plantation. [Click on the image for a larger version.]

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