This Week in History: February 21

This week we have a let­ter to Vir­ginia from her moth­er, Lucy Kyle. Lucy was a Quak­er and an abo­li­tion­ist, and this note fea­tures some dis­cus­sion about how Robert helped trans­port the three slaves she received from her hus­band’s estate to free­dom.  (It looks like a lot of text; it is. Lucy has a ram­bling, chat­ty style of writ­ing and she was not fond of para­graphs or wast­ing a bit of blank paper.….see the images of the orig­i­nal below the transcription.)


Raleigh  Feb­ru­ary 25th 1842
My dear Virginia,
I regret­ted very much that I had not time to write you by Car­o­line and still more that I had noth­ing pret­ty to send you.  I sent about a hun­dred mes­sages by her.  I told her she was to take a week to deliv­er them all.  The cause of my being so busy was to pre­pare Ben & Lin­da for their removal. I could not let them go from under my hands with­out being well clothed and well fixed, and they had all their lit­tle arrange­ments to make after we received Mr. Camp­bel­l’s last let­ters.  They had to sell off all their fur­ni­ture and old things, which was as valu­able to them as ours is to us.  Say to Mr. Camp­bell this was the prin­ci­ple rea­son why I could not get them off soon­er.  And then I had two or three let­ters to write about them which was oblig­ed to be writ­ten.  Did Car­o­line tell you I wrote two let­ters after nine o’clock?  My dear Vir­ginia you cer­tain­ly have one of the best hus­bands in the world and I now think more of him than ever for his kind­ness in tak­ing charge of them from Bal­ti­more to Wheel­ing etc.  I have not heard from them yet but expect sis­ter Mary [Lucy’s old­er sis­ter and wife to Thomas Ter­rell] will write soon after their arrival.  My mind is relieved of a great bur­den since they have left and I do rejoice that they are in a coun­try where they can enjoy reli­gious & civ­il lib­er­ty and I have placed them among those who I know will befriend them in case of neces­si­ty.  It real­ly did my heart good to hear Mr. Litch­ford tell how hap­py they all were on the road.  He says it was remarked by many of the pas­sen­gers that they were the hap­pi­est coloured fam­i­ly they had ever seen, I received your  let­ter of the 13th inst. this morn­ing I am glad to hear you were  so hap­py and con­tent­ed with your friends dur­ing Mr. C’s absence,  though I always knew that you are per­fect­ly at home any­where, you are very dif­fer­ent from me in this respect, I hope I shall hear of your board­ing in some retired pleas­ant board­ing house and that you will not remain at the Planters hotel, Raleigh seems to be in the great­est state of excite­ment I have ever known in,  revivals of reli­gion in the dif­fer­ent church­es, the tem­per­ance cause is still going ahead, the 22 inst. was cel­e­brat­ed by the  tem­per­ance soci­ety and a more glo­ri­ous day Raleigh nev­er saw.   300 mem­bers marched in pro­ces­sion through the town, had a meet­ing in the morn­ing, one in the after­noon and at night, I attend­ed in the after­noon and at night heard many inter­est­ing address­es,  one from Mr. McQueen with his expe­ri­ence, the good that this  soci­ety is doing even in this lit­tle town no tongue can tell,  there is a tem­per­ance paper pub­lished here, sev­er­al mar­riages on  cor­pet, James McPheeters is expect­ed with his bride, the 5th of  March, they are to be mar­ried at six in the morn­ing pro­ceed direct­ly to  Peters­burg remain there one day and then on to Raleigh

Dr. McK­ee & Susan bat­tle are to be mar­ried Tues­day week and report says +  I have no doubt but it is true, that Emma Snow and Mr. Peter Hines are to be mar­ried on the 15th of March it is said that he  has only been court­ing her one week I had it from good author­i­ty,  he is cousin or uncle of Susan Hines, he is said to be a first  rate man in every respect very pious very wealth has set­tled  $50,000 on his lit­tle son about five years old is a young wid­ow­er lives down the coun­try some­where but spends a great deal of his  time in Raleigh. Susan Hines’ father has bought Edmond Free­mans  house, Susan + her sis­ter + Susan Polk + Mor­da­cai and oth­ers were con­firmed a week or two since. Sis­ter Eliz­a­beth is  still in Rich­mond. Moth­er’s health is very del­i­cate and fee­ble she has been very sick is get­ting a lit­tle bet­ter, in con­se­quence of which it is uncer­tain when she will vis­it us.  I must write a  few lines to Mr. C. so will conclude.
As ever your affec­tion­ate mother,
L A Kyle

My dear Son,
I assure you that your last let­ter from Bal­ti­more afford­ed me the great­est plea­sure.  Your kind­ness and atten­tion to Ben, Lin­da & Robert will ever be remem­bered with grat­i­tude, I am sor­ry that you do not seem to under­stand my let­ters instead of me not under­stand­ing you, I think I thanked you for your good advice to me in regard to Eleanor and yet you say that you offend­ed me, I  think this was a wrong inter­pre­ta­tion, and what you said about broth­ers + sis­ters I laughed  hearti­ly and took it as a joke and returned it in the same  spir­it. You need not be afraid to write to me on that score for I can read your heart in your let­ters, and per­haps I am not so dull of appre­hen­sion as you think, how­ev­er I am very will­ing to  try the test of a more per­son­al acquain­tance and hope to do so yet, I  think I shall be the gain­er and you the los­er, Mr. Camp­bell. Will you do me the favour to inform me of the exact amount of Ben, Lin­da & Roberts expens­es from Bal­ti­more to Mount Pleas­ant.  Mr. Litch­ford’s accounts as ren­dered to Mr. McKim­mon for the whole expense of jour­ney and his $2 per day for six days amount­ed to $136.  I hand­ed it to Mr. McKim­mon exact­ly half of the whole, $68 being as near my part as I could well come at.
Your sin­cere friend + moth­er LA Kyle

Mr. Camp­bell the rea­son I sent  you Via mon­ey was there cold be no checks yet on the north, and  I thought that would pass at your par in Bal­ti­more in pref­er­ence  to N.C. but I have heard since that Via mon­ey was at a large  dis­count.  Did you have to lose much on it.  I am going to write you a long let­ter entire­ly on busi­ness some of these days.  Vir­ginia I want you to tell Car­o­line that I keep my room in pri­vate.  I do not allow any­one to come into it except lit­tle Vir­ginia, only on a vis­it.  It is a plea­sure and amuse­ment to me to attend to V. and my own room.   You must tell them all three they must try to do all that I told them.  I think if you are strict with lit­tle Hasz or put him with some­one who will attend to him that he will be more valu­able than Sime­on.  Sime­on has con­tract­ed many bad faults.  Car­o­line’s great­est faults are sloth­ful­ness & slovenny.