• 1861 Hire Of Enslaved Person In Texas On Eve Of Civil War

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    One-page, ALS, 8 x 9, THOMAS TAYLOR, January 7th, 1861, writing to a friend, illustrating the practice of slave owners hiring out their slaves on the eve of the Civil War.  Taylor writes that “Mr. Shropshire requested me to let you know that he wishes the negro hire settled. I am in a worse condition in many matters than I was ever before without one dollar to pay my liabilities. I wish you would come down soon. There was no hogs delivered...Dr. Taylor is here and will be for a few days. He is probably in LaGrange today...I told him to see you...to let you know the prospects in the South for your profession...”

     

    There is a town named La Grange in Texas and there was a Samuel Shropshire, who moved to Texas in 1854 and settled in Columbus, Colorado County. In 1860, Shopshire owned sixty-one slaves and operated a 750-acre plantation [Handbook of Texas]. It was common for slave owners to hire out enslaved persons as shown in this letter. The Civil War began in January 1861, a few months after this letter was written.

     

    The letter is written in brown ink on blue lined paper.  Folds and a little light but readable.

     

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