A stampless, folded letter from a slave-trader in Georgia discussing the price of cotton and “negro men” and reporting that business has picked up and he is doing well. From William J. Bryan to James Evers.
A stampless, folded letter from a slave-trader in Georgia discussing the price of cotton and “negro men” and reporting that business has picked up and he is doing well
A stampless, folded letter from a slave-trader in Georgia discussing the price of cotton and “negro men” and reporting that business has picked up and he is doing well

A stampless, folded letter from a slave-trader in Georgia discussing the price of cotton and “negro men” and reporting that business has picked up and he is doing well

Forsyth, Monroe County, Georgia to Elizabethtown, Bladen County, North Carolina: 1844. Unbound. This two-page letter measures 15.25” x 10”. It is dated January 30, 1844 and bears a circular red Forsyth, Georgia postmark dated Feb 3. It has some foxing. It was sent from Bryan to his brother-in-law James Evers (known from online genealogical records). There are splits (some near invisibly mended with archival tape/tissue) along some of the mailing folds; one caused by minor insect predation is unrepaired. Transcript included. Good to Very Good. Item #009238

Although there is no on-line record of a slave-trading brokerage at Forsyth, Georgia, the context of the letter strongly implies that Bryan may have been in that business,

“Times are getting much better here than they have been for Some time past Cotton has taken a considerable rise it is now worth from 8 to 9½ cents per lb. Money is quite plenty and property of all kind has risen considerably . . . in particular negro men that a few months ago sold for Six hundred Dollars is worth Seven to Seven hundred and fifty Dollars at present. I am at this time selling good at D. Smiths five miles South of Forsyth and expect to remain at it for some time. . . .”

It is possible, although there is no suggestion in the letter, that William J. Bryan was related to the infamous Savannah slave broker, Joseph Bryan, who, in 1859, conducted the largest slave sale ever held in the United States in which all 439 African-Americans from the Butler plantation were auctioned after its profligate owners went bankrupt after years of gambling and wasteful pending.

Certainly worthy of future research.

Price: $500.00