• Search for Missing Kentucky Slaves, Land Sale Aided By War of 1812, William Henry Harrison Supporter

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    Offering a three page, three letters, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾, written from Lexington, Kentucky, by three different people, various dates in September 1828, detailing the searching for missing slaves and the selling of slaves and tracts of land for Alexander Nelson near Staunton, Virginia.  Wonderful integral address leaf.  The writers were LESLIE COMBS, THOMAS OUTEN, WILLIAM F. BULLOCK. The lead writer, Combs, has a fine history, dating back to the War of 1812 and the election of William Henry Harrison. 


    COMBS (November 28, 1793 – August 22, 1881) was a lawyer, politician and a soldier from Kentucky.  He served under William Henry Harrison and Green Clay during the War of 1812 and was captured in 1813.  After his release, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1818. In 1827, he was elected as a Whig to the first of several non-consecutive terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He lost a bid to the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrat John C. Breckinridge in 1851. His last political office was clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.  


    During the War of 1812, on May 1, 1813, Combs and six men canoed down the Maumee River. They were ambushed by Potawatomi and two of Combs’ men were killed.  He quickly returned to Gen. Green Clay at Fort Defiance to report that Fort Meigs was under siege.  After two days, he arrived back at Fort Defiance to find Clay already preparing to march to Fort Meigs.  Badly injured, Combs was ordered to bed but upon finding two companies of spies ready to operate, he secured new clothes and joined Clay’s march.  He was wounded and captured by the enemy on May 5, 1813. After his parole, he relocated to Lexington, KY, where he was admitted to the bar in 1818. 


    As a delegate to the Whig National Convention in 1840, he worked to nominate Henry Clay for the presidency. When Clay failed to win the nomination, he campaigned for William Henry Harrison. 


    The Combs’ letter states, “Your executors agent Brooks, heirs, & Evers & Crist continue to give me much trouble, uneasiness as well as cost. Your interests could only be subserved by the employment of a special agent & bidder to go into the neighborhood on a spying expedition before the sale & then force a sale. I employed & sent down a man (Mr. Outen) altogether capable & armed, an extract from his report to me. No. 1.  He says a bill might elicit other discoveries by the oath of the debts sufficient to secure your debt, but much delays, trouble, expense would be the consequence.  I shall make another effort according to my Louisville attorneys, No. 2 suggestion may they be compelled to file a bill – the Brooks agent offered to pay or secure their half, if you will look to Crist for his half & release them – will you do this?


    “Respy you O.S. Leslie Combs”


    “Sept. 3rd, 1828


    “No. 1


    “I returned from Louisville yesterday, sales of several tracts took place and were bid in as directed. I spent several days in the county inquiring for the dower slaves and was informed that early in the summer they were all removed from Standifords where old Mrs. Brooks lives.  I found out where Captain Jack and another negro by the name of Joseph may be had by a judicious hand.  I insisted upon Loughery for Marshall going with me but his excuse was that the execution had run out. I think if you were to file another bill under the provisions of the new execution Lae that 7 out of the 8 slaves might be had. From information I have record that there can be no doubt but that your dower slaves are at Jo’s Brooks’s.


    “Your & c, Thos. Outen”


    “No. 2


    “Dear Sir


    “The sale of Brooks estate to satisfy Nelson’s execution took place today. The several tracts of land were purchased by Outen at very reduced prices. The plan suggested by yourself was followed, and twenty five dollars was the usual price for a track to land; indeed the whole sale would not exceed several hundred dollars. It was the opinion of Nicholas with whom I conferred on the subject that the plan adopted was the proper mode of reaching the debt. The estate of Jos Brooks is amply sufficient for the debt. As soon as therefore a sale of his property can be made, the money will be made.


    “Yours respectfully,


    “Wm. F. Bullock”


    Folds, toning, one fold tear reinforced with archival tape. Seal tear. Very fine integral address leaf with early Lexington postmark.


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