January 30, 2020 12:00 PM EST Cincinnati
Ends February 10, 2020


18

1836 Letter Regarding a Family Slave that Traveled to New Orleans

Lot of 4 letters, spanning 1835-1838, all related to George Chrisman Kring (ca 1809-1837), a Virginia-born land speculator and postmaster.  Kring served in the post office at Alexandria, VA, in the late 1820s and went on to serve as Assistant Postmaster in New Orleans. 

In a fascinating 3pp letter to his sister dated July 7, 1836, Kring describes his circumstances in New Orleans. He notes that he and "a Virginia friend" have engaged in buying land inside and outside of the city and which is rapidly increasing in value. He tells his sister that a struggling relative "had better start for the west as soon as he gets his money the sooner he goes the better bargains he can get in land...the people are taking up the land here very fast."

Most interestingly, Kring details the circumstances of one of his slaves, "Old Simon," who traveled with him to New Orleans from Missouri: "Old Simon is well and you will no doubt be astonished when I tell you that I have sold him - for every day he could work I got one dollar & a half per day but he was sick so much, that he was an expense to me...I told him I would either get him a good master & sell him or he must go back to Missouri. I gave him his choice he preferred remaining here he said Missouri was too cold & he liked this place very much...I got $350 for him & sold him to a man who will treat him kindly & has hardly anything for him to do...I saw Simon yesterday & he is delighted with his new home...." Kring continues describing Simon's new duties, and explaining how he could have sold the slave for $450 at a public sale though he "would not sell him to anyone who would not use him well."

Kring's letter to his sister also foreshadows his own demise, writing about the "insufferable" mosquitoes which plagued him at all hours of day and night. Kring would succumb to the terrible disease which was the scourge of the inhabitants of New Orleans, dying of a particularly virulent yellow fever epidemic just one year after this letter was written.

Accompanying the letter of July 7, 1836, are a letter from Kring to his mother dated December 17, 1836, which contains details about his duties in the postmaster office as well as his generous pay; a brief 1835 letter written to George Kring regarding business matters; and a July 16, 1838, letter written to Kring's father from a New Orleans post office clerk describing the particulars of his son's death from yellow fever. 

Condition:

Letters generally in good condition with expected folds, some toning, and minimal soil in places. Note that author uses cross-writing on letter of July 7, 1836, making letter difficult to read though it remains entirely legible.

Estimate: $400 - $600
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$500
01/30/2020

 

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