• Judge Bryan Seeks Overseer from Slave Owner in Rocky Mountain, NC, on Eve of Civil War

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    HENRY RAVENSCROFT BYRAN (1836-1919) was born at New Bern, NC.   Bryan attended Lovejoy’s Military Academy, and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1852 with distinction. In 1857, he was licensed to practice law. In 1860, he served as clerk of the United States Circuit Court of Raleigh. In 1882, he was a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket when Gen. W.S. Hancock was the nominee. In 1892, Byran was elected judge of the Second Judicial Circuit and served for 16 years. He also served as mayor of New Bern. Bryan’s ancestors were of high standing with the crown of England.  A number of them came to America with large land grants.  Bryan’s great grandfather, John, was a member of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina and served as an officer in the Patriot Army during the American Revolution.   (Research and copied image of Byran included)


    In this one-page ALS, approximately 5 x 8, Bryan writes to K.H. Lewis, who owned 60 slaves, in Rocky Mountain, NC, about the need for an overseer for his slaves. (Very fine cover with original stamp and beautiful New Bern postmark included) “I am anxious to secure the services of a number one overseer for next year. I need one of enlarged experience and very steady habits and very good work management of negroes.  If you can assist me in getting one of the above description I will be very much obliged to you. I am willing to pay a fair price. Please do what you can for me. Let them address me here if you think they are suitable persons. Love to Bettie—Very Truly Yours, Henry R. Byran”


    Letter and cover are in excellent condition.  Image of Bryan is from the internet and not original.


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