“Acquainted with the Value of Slaves”: The Commonwealth Invests in an Institution

By Tony Curtis

On April 8, 1863, the Hickman Circuit Court empanelled a grand jury to review an arson case against three enslaved, runaway men—John, Elijah, and James. The jury indicted the three men for, “maliciously willfully and feloniously, set fire to and burn the dwelling house of Wm Poore, the Said Slaves having conspired to-gether. . .with one [gap] Wheeler (a white man).” All pled not guilty to the charges with court appointed attorneys by their side, but the jury found all three “guilty as charged and Say by reason thereof they shall Suffer death, but we recommend that the Governor modify the Same to punishment in the penitentiary for life.”

Not all Hickman County citizens agreed. In a letter to Governor James F. Robinson, twenty-five citizens of the county maintained that “the crime of these negroes was committed with every circumstance of atrocity possible, and simple justice demands their execution under the law.” The petitioners claimed that the three defendants had been seen with the 21st Regiment of Missouri Volunteers while at Clinton (whose commanding officer appeared on their behalf at the trial) and that they are “a scourge and terror to the whole County. They obtain arms—United States muskets—whenever they choose and make nightly excursions into the country, bursting open the houses of citizens, robbing them, putting upon them and their wives & families every kind of indignity and insult short of actual murder and violation.”

Voicing the frustration of Kentucky slave owners in the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, they stated that the military had taken no action to stop the alleged robberies and that the “citizens of this county have no hope except in the civil laws. If these afford them no protection and that immediately society here will be broken up and the negro become supreme.” They wanted a “stern but just” sentence to intimidate their “fellow marauders,” where “imprisonment would strike little terror to the negro.” Governor Robinson agreed, and the Court ordered all three men to be hanged on May 15, 1863.

As interesting as the politics of the case, historians should also pay attention to the procedures demanded by law when slaves were to be executed. The Revised Statutes of Kentucky (1852) specified that slaveowners be compensated for the execution of their slaves convicted of crimes. From Chapter 93, Article 7, Section 24:

§ 24. When the court shall sentence to death a slave, the value of such slave shall be fixed by the court, and entered on record. If the slave be executed, or die in jail, after conviction, before the day of execution, the value, so fixed, shall be paid out of the public treasury to the master or owner, upon a presentation of a copy of the record, and certificate of the sheriff of the fact of the death or execution of such slave. If a slave, imported into this state contrary to law, or passing through this state, by land or water, to any other state, territory, or country, be executed for crime, or die before execution, he shall not be paid for as above.

To obtain a value on each of the slaves, the Hickman Circuit Court reached out to individuals “acquainted with the Value of Slaves”—in this case two physicians (H. O. Earle & C. T. Seay) and a farmer (George B. Moss). Seay and Moss owned slaves, though the record is unclear as to whether Earle owned any slaves. However, it is interesting to note that they consulted two physicians and a farmer—assessing value in terms of both physical ability and skill sets. Was this a standard makeup of court appointed valuators of slaves? Was there a particular set of qualifications to fulfill this requirement? Was there a standard form used to evaluate each enslaved person? Whatever the answers are to these questions, they valued each man as follows, “John (the slave of C S Parrott) at One thousand & Sixty Dollars. James (the Slave of Quirus Beckwith) at One thousand one hundred & forty Dollars and Elijah (the slave of Quirus Beckwith) at Eight hundred dollars.”

The Annual Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts…for fiscal year ending October 10, 1863, confirms the payment of the aforementioned amounts to Beckwith and Parrott:

Excerpt from the Annual Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts…for fiscal year ending October 10, 1863

As the Caroline Chronicles reminds us, money flowed out of the state coffers and in some cases into the state coffers as a direct result of slaves being caught up in the Kentucky legal system. In this case, public funds were used to compensate slaveowners for their loss of human property.

Another twist on the state’s criminal laws and slavery documented in CWG-K collections occurred in 1862, when two enslaved men—Jordan of Scott County, Kentucky, and Abner of Graves County, Kentucky—were convicted of Manslaughter and sentenced to life in the Kentucky State Penitentiary. In these cases legislative action was sought to remove these men from the penitentiary and sell them back into slavery. The men agreed to this pardon and to the stipulation to be returned to slavery—with no say as to who and where they would be sold at public auction. Chapter 93, Article 7, Section 25 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes needed amended in order to give the Governor the power to sell Abner and Jordan back into slavery. This section already granted the governor the power to commute the sentence of a slave, but it did not give him the power to sell said enslaved men into slavery to the financial benefit of the state. The act only stipulated that the slaveowner “shall be paid for him as though he were executed, or take the proceeds of his labor in the penitentiary.” An act passed on March 17, 1862, entitled “An ACT to amend section 25, chapter 93, if Revised Statutes”, amended this section:

An ACT to amend section 25, chapter 93, of Revised Statutes

An advertisement for the sale was placed in the Frankfort newspapers , and Jordan and Abner were returned “to their original condition of servitude” by the governor and the state treasurer by public auction held at the Franklin County Courthouse doors on July 21, 1862. The proceeds were “paid into the public treasury, and the slaves delivered to their purchasers.”

These two documents offer insight into another way in which Kentucky was complicit in the perpetuation of the institution of slavery—by codifying and enforcing slave laws, collecting taxes on enslaved property, just to name a few ways—and in the instance of these two documents, by compensating slaveowners when the enslaved were executed and by collecting payment for enslaved persons sold at public auction from the Kentucky State Penitentiary. This is yet another example of how the entire white population of Kentucky—slaveowner or non-slaveowner, rich and poor—participated in and benefited from the fully integrated slave economy.

Tony Curtis is an Assistant Editor with the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

SOURCES: Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. John a Slave of C. S. Parrott Elijah & James Slaves of Q Beckwith, Indictment, April 11, 1863, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (hereafter KDLA); Thomas G. Poore et al. to James F. Robinson, Correspondence, April 11, 1863, KDLA; For more on the policy of the military and runaway slaves, see Diane Mutti Burke On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small-Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865 (2010), 284-287; Revised Statutes of Kentucky, 627-648; 1860 Federal Slave Schedule, Ancestry.com; Annual Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts…for fiscal year ending October 10, 1863, 18; Tri-Weekly Commonwealth (Frankfort, Ky.), July 4, 1862; Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 243; See also Tim Talbott, “Negroes for Sale,” Random Thoughts on History (blog), June 19, 2013, http://randomthoughtsonhistory.blogspot.com/2013/06/negroes-for-sale.html; and Abner and Jordan, Affidavit, July 21, 1862, KDLA.

“Shall I order from Cuba”?: Kentucky’s Transnational Neutrality

Last week, Matt Hulbert explored the contradictions between the Jeffersonian, states’ rights rhetoric of the provisional Confederate government of Kentucky and its actual record of heavy-handed governance and suppression of civil liberties in the counties under its control in the winter of 1861-62. In his piece, we learned that provisional Confederate Governor George W. Johnson accused the Union party in Kentucky of polluting Kentucky’s declared neutrality (which lasted from May through September, 1861) from the outset, always intending to use neutrality to save the state from secession and deliver it to the Union cause. And they did. The problem was, Matt tells us, that the Confederates had precisely the same game plan going into the summer of 1861, but were politically outmaneuvered and, later, outvoted. The rebels lost the neutrality cold war and convened their rump secession convention when they lost their bid for the legitimate government in Frankfort.

I want to jump back to that cold war, to show just how the rebels used the cover of neutrality to prepare the state for secession and civil war. In the weeks after Fort Sumter, Magoffin rejected Lincoln’s request for troops and called a special session of the legislature to consider considering secession. As Magoffin’s famous exchange with Alabama Secession Commissioner Stephen F. Hale reveals, the governor was a conditional unionist, not an outright secessionist. Lincoln’s call for troops, though, proved the limit of Magoffin’s conditionalism, and like many Upper South politicians after Sumter, he seems to have been in favor of secession. To his credit, though, Magoffin genuinely respected the will of the electorate and knew that if Kentucky were not to devolve into a miniature civil war, it must secede legitimately – through a convention called by the legislature or direct legislative action. The closest he (and all the Kentucky secessionists) could get in the May 1861 special session was neutrality and the hope that the political winds would blow the majority of Kentuckians to their side as the year wore on.

With the special session yet to convene in Frankfort, Magoffin began to set the state’s military house in order for whatever decision – secession, Union, or neutrality – might result. As chief executive and commander in chief, Magofffin could take out loans and expend state funds for arms and ammunition that (theoretically) would be put to any purpose the people of Kentucky demanded. By working through fellow secessionists at home and across the Gulf South, though, Magoffin could covertly ensure that if the cold war between unionists and secessionists turned hot, his party would have the upper hand.

Magoffin tapped Luke Blackburn to coordinate buying the weapons. Blackburn, a postwar governor of Kentucky, is most famous for his unsuccessful 1864 plot to blight northern cities with yellow fever with infected blankets from Bermuda routed through Canada. Yet secret missions involving Britain, the Caribbean, and the Gulf South had been Blackburn’s forte since the very outset of the war.

Things began promisingly. On April 26, Blackburn wired that he had “purchased two pieces heavy Ordnance two thousand muskets six hundred Kegs powder” and asked for $30,000 to be transferred from a Kentucky bank to his credit. Blackburn’s preferred shipping company, commission merchants Hewitt, Norton, & Co., whose antebellum business had brokered southern cotton between New Orleans and Liverpool, put 1,500 guns costing approximately $14,000 on rail cars bound for Louisville on May 1, but warned that the frenzied buying from agents of other southern states meant that other supplies were drying up quickly. The firm had only secured $15 worth of percussion caps and could find no more powder. “Shall I order from Cuba”? asked Louisiana Secession Convention member M. O. H. Norton? “Blackburn cant be found.”

MOHN

KYR-0001-019-0023

No one knew where Luke Blackburn had gone, and no one could act on Magoffin’s behalf as the available supplies in the Gulf South dwindled. When Norton requested new instructions on May 2, Magoffin was more than happy to turn the operation over from Blackburn to Norton, with additional funding secured by Louisville pork merchant Benjamin J. Adams. Fellow Kentuckian and cotton broker in the Louisville-New Orleans firm of William T. Bartley & Co. Robert A. Johnson had notified Magoffin the day before in a private cable that “Luke Blackburn [was] intoxicated Since Saturday” and urged the Governor to “Withdraw powers authorize another Agent”.

LPB

KYR-0001-019-0029

Luke Blackburn was certainly neither the first nor the last Kentuckian to let the French Quarter get the better of him. But why had Magoffin trusted him for the mission?

Though a Kentucky native, Blackburn was living and practicing medicine in New Orleans in 1861. In fact, he had lived his adult life in the cotton kingdom along the banks of the Mississippi River. Blackburn had lived in Natchez, Mississippi, as a young man and had family ties to Helena, Arkansas, where his interests and kin overlapped with “The Family,” an early Arkansas Democratic political dynasty built on Kentucky connections to  provisional Confederate Governor George W. Johnson. Taken alongside Blackburn’s later experiments in biological warfare, the New Orleans arms deal raises important questions about how elite antebellum Kentuckians participated in a complex – yet surprisingly intimate and personal – international economy of slaves, cotton, liquid capital, and thoroughbred horses and how those economic connections encouraged them to address the question of secession. These kinship-political-business relationships are precisely the sorts of interconnections that the future social networking capability of  CWG-K is designed to document.

Little wonder, then, that when Magoffin needed arms for Kentucky, he tapped into the networks that funneled cotton, slaves, and capital up and down the river from Kentucky to New Orleans and out to the world. Magoffin’s fallback agents at Hewitt, Norton, & Co. fit precisely the same profile. Kentucky’s 1861 neutrality was not an inward facing, isolationist political posture. The way Magoffin managed arms procurement demonstrates that he understood the Civil War as a conflict over global agricultural and industrial markets, a war fought for the interests of the southern states in and on an international stage.

Patrick A. Lewis is project director of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

Translation: William Brockman

“William Brockman says that at the present term of the Jefferson Circuit Court he was tried on an Indictment for the murder of one Adolph Logel”

Two German immigrants got into a deadly fight over a pile of animal carcasses in the suburbs of Louisville. Read the full transcription of Brockman’s pardon petition here, or browse the highlights to see why this is one of the most fascinating documents in the Civil War Governors of Kentucky collection.

“[Brockman] lives in the suburbs of Louisville not far from the old Oakland Race Course at which point the general government Keeps stabled a large number of horses and mules &c the chief part of which have been worn out in the military service of the government”

Though Oakland, one of thoroughbred racing’s popular early venues, had ceased to hold meets by the beginning of the war, its old stable facilities were perfect for the U.S. Army’s program to refit broken down cavalry, artillery, and draft animals. As the map of the southern suburbs of Louisville shows, the course sat astride the Louisville & Nashville Railroad line, affording military transport trains easy access to the large complex of stables and corrals around the old track. LouisvilleDefenses1865Brockman zoom

“considerable numbers of these animals die daily and the persons having them in charge were in the habit of hauling them to a strip of woods near petitioner’s House and there leaving them to rot”

Using the 1860 census and city directories, we can determine that Brockman lived in the circled suburb near South Gate Street, just barely inside the expanded Louisville city limits. The carcass pile (understandably not marked on the map) was nearby, perhaps in the lot behind Fort St. Clair Morton or the stretch where the military road runs next to the creek near the Salt River Turnpike.

“Your Petitioner had obtained leave to take the skins off of these carcasses on the condition he would remove or burn the carcasses to avoid having a nusance to the detriment of the health of the neighborhood The deceased Logel without having obtained leave as petitioner did, to take the skins, was in the habit of taking the skins and leaving the carcasses on the ground neither removing or burning them This created a nusance for which petitioner was indicted and fined”

This tells us some important things about Civil War Louisville, specifically how it was a city spatially, demographically, and economically dominated by the war. Waves of German and Irish immigrants — presumably including  Brockman and Logel — had settled in suburban rings outside the core of the old river town in the decade before the war. So when the war brought U.S. soldiers posted to garrison duty and, later, African American refugees fleeing slavery, the human geography of the city pushed out to and beyond the ring of forts on the map.

Sanitary conditions, we might well expect, were horrible as tens of thousands of soldiers and freedpeople crowded together into hastily built barracks, tents, and improvised shelters on poorly drained stretches of Jefferson County farmland. As with laws concerning fugitive slaves, the Louisville civil authorities applied existing public health laws to a human crisis far beyond the reach of local and state legislation to manage. Brockman had been fined for Logel leaving the carcasses to rot, but could Brockman really be blamed for a pile of dead animals the army dumped on near a creek? Bringing charges shows that the city was aware and concerned about the water supply but had no way to do much about the situation.

But what about Brockman’s agreement with the army itself? Other documents in the CWG-K collection suggest that Brockman may have been related to a family of German tanners in the city, which explains his job skinning the dead animals. His “contract” was one of the smallest interactions between the army and merchants, railroad corporations, and river men in the boom-town military micro-economy that sprung up in wartime Louisville. Brockman got horse carcasses, while the L&N — which shipped the poor animals to their final stop — raked in millions in wartime profit and limitless infrastructure work on bridges and tunnels paid for at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

KYR-0001-004-0787 WB sig“All of which your petitioner would respectfully submit and implore the exercise in his behalf of your Excellency’s clemency
[signed]
translation William Brockman”

Even Brockman’s name needed to be translated and anglicized from its German fraktur script. Only at the end are we clued into the fact that while the petition is written in Brockman’s voice, these are far from his own words.

Moreover, while he is fascinating for scholars today, Brockman’s was probably one of the least important signatures on this petition to Governor Bramlette. William Brockman’s petition carried the weight of some of the leading former Whigs — and, therefore, former anti-immigrant Know Nothings — in Louisville politics and society. Stay tuned for a later post which will explore some of these men and why they would write on behalf of a German tanner’s assistant.

Patrick A. Lewis is Project Director of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

CWG-K’s “Best of” – 2015 Edition

2015 was an eventful year for the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition. Numerous fellows utilized the power of the ever-growing database (you can apply to be one here), we are steadily approaching the launch of an Early Access edition of 10,000 documents and transcriptions and a Beta prototype. Governor’s Day — an interactive open house introducing the project to other departments at the Kentucky Historical Society — was a major success.

To recap the year, we’ve organized a series of “Best of” lists that chronicle everything from our individual takes on the most powerful people of Civil War Kentucky to the most memorable deaths to time travel (more on this anon). We hope you’ll enjoy reading these lists these as much as we enjoyed creating them.

POWER RANKINGS: Based on their own criteria, each member of the CWG-K editorial staff was asked to rank a “Power 5” group of figures found in the database.

Tony

  1. George W. Johnston – Powerful Judge of the Louisville City Court, a Louisville/Jefferson County pardon application was never complete and rarely received a positive reply without his signature.
  2. John B. Huston – Besides competing for the worst handwriting award for Civil War Kentucky—stiff competition from James F. Robinson and James Guthrie—Huston was a power broker, attorney and state legislator from central Kentucky, whose endorsement of a pardon application carried a lot of weight with multiple Kentucky governors.
  3. John B. Temple – Attorney, banker, and president of the Kentucky Military Board—Temple exerted a lot of power in all Kentucky military matters. He and the Military Board of Kentucky were de facto Commander-in-chief of Kentucky, slowly whittling away Beriah Magoffin’s military authority with the aid of the Kentucky General Assembly.
  4. George W. Norton – President of the Southern Bank of Kentucky, he was a Magoffin ally, made sizable loans the Commonwealth of Kentucky to support Magoffin in his efforts to purchase arms early in the war. Other banks made similar investments, yet Norton appeared to have the ear of the governor.
  5. C. D. Pennebaker – Lawyer, politician, Colonel of the 27th Kentucky Infantry, and Kentucky Military Agent in Washington, DC. He served in the legislature, commanded troops in battle, and served in a civilian military post for Kentucky in DC. In addition to this he wrote the more thorough letters and reports. Kudos Mr. Pennebaker!

Matt

  1. W. T. Samuels – Not unlike Matt Damon’s character in The Good Shepherd, Samuels had the dirt on everyone following his stint as state auditory. Given his knowledge of everyone’s finances and his legal prowess, he was a potential kingmaker in the Blue Grass. (In other words, there’s a reason he’s one of the few through-and-through Unionists to remain powerful in state government post-1865.)
  2. D. W. Lindsay – He commanded a crew of paid guerrilla hunters under the heading of “secret police”; these men, like Edwin “Bad Ed’ Terrell, were paid to track down and kill Kentucky’s most notorious bushwhackers.
  3. Stephen Burbridge – Though he technically fell under the authority of Thomas Bramlette in Kentucky, Burbridge more or less did as he pleased, which included deeming other powerful Union officers (like Gen. John B. Huston) disloyal and having them arrested on behalf of President Lincoln.
  4. Thomas Bramlette – As governor he oversaw nearly all of the state’s wartime activities—and was still expected to keep civil government afloat.
  5. E. H. Taylor, Sr. – Taylor was a member of the influential Military Board (which oversaw military purchases for the state) at the same time he helped run one of the state’s major money-lenders. If you needed a loan—and Kentucky always needed a loan—this was the man to see.

Whitney

  1. Thomas Bramlette – He takes first place by virtue of holding the highest office for the longest amount of time, evidenced by almost 3,000 documents.
  2. John W. Finnell – As Adjutant General, principal military advisor to Gov. Bramlette while a war was raging, he was in a very influential role.
  3. Samuel Suddarth – Serving as Quarter Master General, Suddarth was tasked with keeping the troops supplied by managing the ordering & distributing of supplies essential to the war effort.
  4. James F. Robinson – Though he served as Governor for a short time, he was part of a compromise wherein the Confederate-leaning Magoffin agreed to step down and let Robinson, a moderate, take over. Interestingly, since he never resigned his Senate seat, he technically filled both rolls simultaneously.
  5. James Garrard – He served as State Treasurer throughout the war, and as Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly said, “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.”

Patrick

  1. James F. Robinson – Don’t let his one-year term as Governor fool you, Robinson played state politics as adeptly as Frank Underwood could have done. While we can’t know if he pushed anyone in front of a train, Robinson adeptly turned down the senate speakership before having a cabal of Lexington friends arrange Magoffin’s resignation and his convoluted ascension to the Executive Mansion. As George Washington showed, the best way to accrue power is to look like you don’t want it. More astonishingly, Robinson refused to vacate his senate seat, leaving him free to return to harassing the Lincoln administration via the Committee on Federal Relations after Bramlette took office.
  2. Hamilton Pope – Louisville politics ran through Hamilton Pope. An old-Whig and former Know-Nothing, Pope was undoubtedly part of the closed-door decision that cut Louisville German and Irish immigrants out of independent regiments and elevated his brother, Curran Pope, to a Colonelcy. In addition to being an invaluable petition signature for anyone hoping for a pardon out of the Jefferson Circuit Court, Pope also runs point on using city government and the police department to enforce (increasingly irrelevant) fugitive slave laws.
  3. Rufus K. Williams – A fiercely Unionist circuit judge from the overwhelmingly Confederate Jackson Purchase, Williams raised a military unit and used his recruits to broker a deal for himself. When the time came to muster his troops into federal service, Williams traded a permanent military commission for a seat on the Kentucky Court of Appeals (the forerunner of the state supreme court) vacated by rebel sympathizer Alvin Duvall—ditching a hostile local electorate for a secure post backed by the statewide Unionist majority.
  4. Madison C. Johnson – His brother, rebel governor George W. Johnson, gets all the headlines in the family, but Madison Johnson controlled most of the available credit in the Bluegrass via the Northern Bank of Kentucky in Lexington. Johnson arranged hundreds of thousands of dollars in military loans to the Commonwealth in 1861-62—and was never hesitant to hold up the next installment to ease along a friend’s military commission. His loans to the state, backed by eventual federal repayment, helped his bank weather the collapse of many borrowers’ fortunes after slavery ended in 1865.
  5. Sherley & Woolfolk – This Louisville corporate duo of Zachariah M. Sherley and Richard H. Woolfolk often appear together in documents. Their firm ran a number of steamboats along the Ohio River and operated an outfitting business that sold supplies to others. Consequently, whether the state needed to move a battalion from Maysville to Paducah or buy a few barrels of ships biscuit to feed a hungry regiment, Sherley & Woolfolk were ready and willing to profit. That they signed insider political petitions under their corporate name shows an awareness of the importance of their business to the management of the war and, perhaps, some intuition for hammering home a branding message.

MOST MEMORABLE NAMES: Our editors have compiled a list of the most memorable names encountered in the CWG-K database in 2015.

  • Greenberry Tingle
  • Swift Raper
  • Wam Timbar (involved in a hatchet-throwing case, if you can believe it)
  • Green Forrest
  • August Worms

MOST MEMORABLE DEMISE: If you’ve followed the CWG-K blog over the past few months, it’s readily apparent that the database has no paucity of unusual and/or gruesome deaths. Each editor has selected the most memorable demise.

Tony

  • Jane Doe Murder Victim – In October 1865, evidence was presented concerning the corpse of a woman, approximately twenty-five years old, found on the outskirts of Louisville. The following is a description of her condition: “Her wounds are as follows a cut over each Eye one on forehand Forehead one just in front of Right Ear. Several Bruises on inside of right thigh and a wound which looked as though the flesh was twisted out her intestines was puled from her body through the Fundament Showing an act of the moste Diabolical rufianian the intestines cut or pulled loose from her body. Her cloths were all torn off of her not a Partickel remaining on her except one garter. Her right arm had been amputated just below the shoulder. the Evidences was plain of a sever strugle with some one from all I can learn I think a Negro did it.”

Matt

  • Ewing Litterell – An uninvited Litterell drunkenly barged into the home of James Savage, proclaimed himself “a stud horse” and boasted that he’d had sexual relations with all of the women in the house (and that he would do it again whenever he pleased). Savage let a full load of buckshot — which he fired into Litterell’s chest — serve as a “no you won’t.”

Whitney

  • Philip Medard – In January 1864, Philip Medard of Jefferson County died of cold and starvation after his son, Jacob Medard, “did confine & Starve his said father in an out house & kitchen & did starve and freeze him the said Philip by refusing to provide meat & food & clothing for him, & by thus exposing him to the weather.” There are definitely more violent deaths in the CWG-K database, but to date, only one happened in the out house.

Patrick

  • Colonel Francis M. Alexander – In what seems to have been an un-diagnosed case of post-traumatic stress disorder, Alexander drew a pistol on and killed a good friend without any motive or memory of the incident. His pardon petition is a moving account of a man coming to grips with his actions and his state of mind. “The exciting circumstances of the rebellion and its fearful consequences…which in rapid and mournful succession swept over his native, and beloved State, have Come upon his anxious and troubled mind with such force, that many events have transpired in his history during the last four years of his country’s trial, which appear to him almost as a dream.”

MOST OUTRAGEOUS PARDON: A major component of the CWG-K archive is requests for executive clemency. Each member of the editorial staff was tasked with identifying the most memorable pardon of 2015.

Tony

  • Otha Reynolds – In May 1862, Peter Gastell jumped bail and caused his bondholder, Reynolds, to forfeit $1000 to the court. That is, until Reynolds petitioned Governor Thomas Bramlette for clemency. Bramlette gave no legal justification for issuing Reynolds a remission, but said this: “Being in a merciful mood Ordered that this forfeiture except costs & fees be remitted.”

Matt

  • Michael Foley – An Irish rail worker and former Union vet, Foley believed that Merritt and Vardiman Dicken were pro-Confederate guerrillas on the run. In reality, the Dicken brothers were themselves fleeing from an attack by pro-Confederate bushwhackers. Foley attempted to detain the brothers and killed Merritt in the process. Governor Thomas E. Bramlette granted Foley a full pardon on the logic that it was better to accidentally kill men who might not have been guerrillas than to let any potential guerrillas escape unharmed.

Whitney

  • Garrett Whitson – Supporters of Garrett Whitson successfully requested his pardon for murdering violent melon thief, John Spikard. In the petition, they do not claim his innocence, but rather report that Whitson was convicted on the flimsy evidence of two notorious prostitutes, relatives of the deceased. That, combined with his ill health and large family, was enough to procure his release.

Patrick

  • Lawrence County Lynch Mob – In KYR-0001-004-3193, the members of a lynch mob on the Kentucky-West Virginia border preemptively write to Governor Bramlette late in 1865 after they have caught and summarily executed members of a pro-Confederate guerrilla band which had murdered many men in their community. “In getting Rid of them People Did not think that the act was unlawful & might get those Engaged in it in Trouble They only felt that Each man woman and child in our Valley was safer than before.”

TIME TRAVEL MEETING: Finally, we’ve asked each editor to select one character from the CWG-K archive that they would most like to spend an hour with when the Flux Capacitor becomes a reality.

Tony

  • Richard Hawes – Mostly to ask, where were you? What did you do for three years after you were installed as Provisional Governor of Kentucky?

Matt

  • Joseph Swigert – In a word: bourbon. The Swigert family owned the Leestown Distillery (which would later become E. H. Taylor’s O. F. C. Plant, then the George T. Stagg Distillery, and today Buffalo Trace).

Whitney

  • Sarah Bingham – It’s safe to say that upon moving to Grant County in 1866, Ms. Bingham did not receive a warm welcome from the neighbors. The women of the area “were of the opinion that the morals of the neighborhood would not be improved by having in their midst a common prostitute.”  When her cabin burned down, nine local men indicted for arson. The petitioners claim these men were honorable, respectable citizens who would never commit such a common crime and accuse Sarah Bingham of burning her own house down with the intent to disgrace these men. Their petition was refused by Bramlette, who, like myself, must have realized there was more to this story.

Patrick

 

 

Subject Guides: Military History

Click here to view this Subject Guide in the new Civil War Governors interface.


KYR-0001-003-0003William L. Hurst to Thomas E. Bramlette, Oct. 6, 1863
[W]e have just received information at this office that the military forces known as the 40th Kentucky Regt now Stationed at the Town of Grayson in Carter County, (distant about 25 miles from this place) are ordered to move immediately & Station at Mountsterling Ky, which when they are thus removed will leave this part of the Country exposed to the Raids of Rebel Guerrillas…. I find that they eighth & ninth Congressional Districts of Ky have furnished more Volunteers than any other part of the state & have received less Protection than any other part in fact a large section of each District have received no protection at all but the Government through an erroneous disposition of the forces intended for the protection of that part of the state have suffered those people to be robbed murdered and the Country almost desolated by the Rebel Guerrillas East Tennessee has not suffered worse than the People of Morgan, Wolfe Breathitt and adjoining Counties

KYR-0001-003-0050Brutus J. Clay to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jan. 15, 1864
The subject of recruiting Negro soldiers for U S service, in Kentucky. It is rumored here that Agents have been sent from other states for that purpose. This thing of plundering our people ought & should be stopped if possible, even recruiting for our own quota would be injurious & demoralizing to our Slave population by the consent and approval of the owner himself I think a firm stand taken by you against it, would have a good effect and even prevent the U. S. Government, from attempting it in our State.

KYR-0001-003-0077William S. King to Thomas E. Bramlette, Feb. 21, 1864
In view of the frequent applications made at this office, by the destitute families of volunteers in Kentucky regiments, for relief which the Federal Military Commanders have no authority to provide; and in asmuch as this destitution is caused by the neglect of soldiers to transmit much,—or, in most cases any part,—of their pay to their families for their support; I venture to suggest to Your Excellency, that enquiry be made whether the allotment system; whereby each soldier devotes a stated portion of his pay for the support of those dependent upon him, is carried out in the various regiments; or that such other action may be had, to prevent this needless pauperism and distress, as to Your Excellency may seem meet and proper.

KYR-0001-003-0083Volney Baker to Cicero Maxwell, Apr. 5, 1864
During last court, all the Judges presented to the Grand jury, which was Entirely secession; and two of the men, who presented the Judges were the, Circuit Judge, and the County Judge—The entire Court was one of treason, and numberd out with traitors; … The meanest set of secessionists that ever existed under the canopy of Heaven, live in this immediate section of Ky; and we must adopt means, & severe ones too, to prevent a resistance which is almost sure to take place sooner or later, unless prevented

KYR-0001-018-0019N. Wickliffe to Beriah Magoffin, Jun. 11, 1861
I have just resigned my position as an officer in the United States Army. I am impelled to this course for the reason that that army is being concentrated and used for the subjugation of the Southern people who have my entire sympathy. I believe it is proper for me, here, to add that the time has come to pass when Southern blood is sufficient to attaint officers of the army; and unless they subscribe to new oaths, join bond in denouncing their late comrades of the south (who were the best men of the Army) as traitors, and invoke a war of extermination on their own people, and kindred suspicion and proscription are put upon them. I am unable at this distance to understand the exact position that Kentucky occupies in the great struggle between the
two sections, but I cannot believe that she can or will remain long a neutral spectator

KYR-0001-028-0015 E. W. Hawkins to James F. Robinson, Aug. 23, 1862
At the time of the first call of the President for volunteers, several citizens of this city immediately volunteered in the famous Ninth Ohio Regiment under the lamented Robert L. McCook, there being no Kentucky regiments then in the field. … These men have shared all the dangers of the severe campaign of Western Virginia, and partook in the splendid Bayonet Charge, which decided the day at Mill Springs, where Kentuckians participated in the glory. They are “Military Men.”, the Lieutenant having served in Germany for a number of years, and the other two having acquired their knowledge during the present war. … The regiment would be exclusively German, who would flock under the banner of these well tried men with alacrity from all parts of our state.

KYR-0001-028-0040Rob Morris and S. W. Hunt to James F. Robinson, Sep. 9, 1862
The Undersigned have enjoyed many military opportunities for military experiences—the former in Texas during the guerilla warfare of 18436-40, the latter for more than 30 years in the organizing and governing militia corps in this Kentucky. … They therefore propose to raise a Regiment of militia for 3. months service … We will go wherever your Excellency directs and subsist on the country trusting on the bounty of Union men and the fears of disloyal men to feed us. If allowed to operate in the section above indicated we will guarantee to afford an efficient military police there—to restore the respect for State and Federal authority now so sadly shaken,—preserve the publlic records, overawe the disloyal and in all the hearts of true men.

KYR-0002-020-0022Julius H. Alexander to James F. Robinson, Apr. 24, 1863
Theare is a memorial sent to you by a few Officers of this Regt recomending Major Bradley to Lieut Colonel of this Regt permit me to say in this note to your Excellency that Major Bradly is not qualified to fill the office that he no hoalds, … and again he doo not know the first Lesson of a Trooper I have Privats in my Comp. that understands Military Tastics then the proposed Lieut Colonel. I have noting to say about myself & non have to say abut me as I am only a Foreigner by Birth, & have to du all the duty, & keept in the Dark.

KYR-0002-022-0077Isaac Fitzpatrick et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jun. 27, 1864
Dear Sir we the undersigned citizens of Johnson County State of Ky Between the ages of eighteen and forty five and now in the Military service of Ky camped at Louisa Ky Respectfuly represents and showeth that we are not satisfied with our present colonel Burgess Preston who was appointed to said position we therefore ask that we have the privilege of exercising our Election Franchise and choosing from among our ranks at our next august Election a Colonel and Lieutenat Colonel … If these are our rights we Respectfully ask them If not we humbly acquiesse as loyal citizens to the laws of our country

KYR-0002-022-0121C. Brock to Thomas E. Bramlette, Aug. 16, 1864
Being Judge of this County, the people think it is proper & right that I should make inquiry & endevor to ascertain the number of negroes who are credited to this (Montgomery) County on the rolls in the state Military department at Frankfort. There ^were^ recruited here during the spring from 125 to perhaps 175 negroes, by the U. S. Military Authorities. Now I desire to know how many we have credit for.

KYR-0002-024-0065Curran Pope to James F. Robinson, Oct. 9, 1862
In consideration of the unanimous and strongly expressed wishes of the officers of this Regt who took part in the late battle of Chaplin Hills and of the very gallant conduct on that occasion of Capts Joseph. R. Snider Co “B” and Henry F Kalfus Co “D,” I earnestly recommend that the former be commissioned as Lieut Col and the latter as Major of the Regt, and urge that commissions be immediately forwarded to them to date from Oct 9. 1862, and withdraw any other recommendation made by me, and advise that if any other appointments have been made, they be immediately cancelled.

KYR-0002-036-0039Robert Brown, Affidavit, Aug. 12, 1865
Capt Bridgewater made the promise that when the men captured anything it should belong to them. The promise was made by the then Cap B that all money arising from the sale of these guns ^(some three or four)^ and pistols should be placed to the credit of the Battalion to be equally divided at a future time. states that he saw Capt B. take about $70 in money from a man killed by the command.

KYR-0002-038-0024George H. Travis to Thomas E. Bramlette, Aug. 22, 1864
I went to the “front.”—joined my Command, the 2nd Ky. Battery, and was wounded last April, in a skirmish, in the left arm. My arm was amputated. … Disiring my discharge, I made application for Commission in Colored Troops. in order to get out of the service as a Com. Officer, by resignation. Yet I do not approve the arming of negroes. … I request you to Commission me in some Ky. Regt. to enable me to resign—to get out of service. Will you do so? Having the gift of oratory, I desire to stump the States of Ill. and Ind. for the Candidate of the Chicago Convention. But I cannot do so, as I am now situated. You can enable me to do so. Will you? You can see what influence a Private soldier can have on the Stump who has lost a limb in the service.

KYR-0002-042-0023Daniel W. Lindsey to Edwin M. Stanton, Jul. 11, 1864
Owing to the unsettled state of affairs in Kentucky, his Excellency Gov. Bramlette, proposes to organize a State force to consist of three Battalions; one to be assigned to duty in East Ky, one in the vicinity of Paducah, and one at Frankfort. These forces are intended to aid and assist the Federal troops, and shall be held subject to the call of the District Commander for any service in the State. The Governor proposes to sustain this force at the expense of the State, but to avoid competition with the General Government in the market for supplies, he requests me to ask that you will order the proper United States officers in Kentucky to issue both Commissary and Quartermaster supplies to this force upon requisition, approved by him, to be paid for by the State in General Settlement.

KYR-0002-042-0087John W. Finnell, Receipt to William E. Cox, Sep. 4, 1862
Sept. 4.  To hire of men, drayage & c. & c., in in removing Books & furniture from Adjutant General, Military Boards & Quartermasters Department  $15 50

KYR-0002-042-0091 – Daniel W. Lindsey to John Boyle, Jun. 18, 1864
General: I have the honor to submit the following report, of the defense of the State Capital, against the recent attack of a detachment of Genl. John H. Morgan’s guerilla forces—… On the morning of the 9th the train containing the public property, with a guard composed of the clerks of the various offices, and volunteers from the Militia, and strangers in the City…started for Louisville. When nearing Pleasureville the road was discovered to be on fire. The engine was immediately reversed, and the train attacked by guerillas. … The enemy were found to be occupying all the roads leading into the city. Several attempts were made by them to approach the Arsenal through the Cemetery and by the Railroad, but the shells thrown from the guns at the Fort and a gun at the Arsenal kept them back. … The presence of his Excellency the Governor and Attorney General Harlan animated the men and contributed very materially to the defence of the Fort.

KYR-0002-042-0102Joshua F. Speed to Salmon P. Chase, Mar. 22, 1862
I have filed with the 3d Auditor, in the Treasury Department,—vouchers for money expended by the State of Kentucky, in and of the Govt. in suppressing the rebellion, amounting to Seven Hundred and Eighty six thousand, one Hundred and Ninety three 11/100 Dollars….I am also furnished, with a balance sheet, by our Military Board, showing that they have up to this time, expended in paying, subsisting, arming and equipping, the Kentucky Volunteers.— One Million Seven Hundred and Seventy-two thousand, Six hundred & Seventy-nine 55/100 Dollars…. What I desire, in behalf of the State, whose agent I am, is — that the Government will pay us forty per. cent. of our expenditures. — Out of the remainder, we desire to settle Kentucky’s proportion of the War tax:

KYR-0002-211-0027Samuel G. Suddarth, Receipt to Rutha R. Manion, Apr. 27, 1865
To Cooking and Washing for the State Military Hospital for the Month of December 1863 and month of January 1864 $24 00

KYR-0002-218-0266Thomas E. Bramlette to Daniel W. Lindsey, Nov. 5, 1864
It is of the utmost vital importance to the cause of our Country, that peace be preserved in Kentucky; and that there should be no semblance of Collision between the Civil and military authorities of the State and those of the Federal Government. … To my utter surprise Genl Burbridge without my being able to get a line from him in explanation or otherwise of his intentions has assumed a hostile position—menacing towards the State authorities and forces; and with no shadow of authority or just pretence has been threatening to disband them; and in various ^ways^ apparently sought to provoke collision. A collision with him would be a matter of small moment but I cannot and will not have a collision with the federal forces under his command…and for the additional reason that no folly of others shall make me collide with my Government.

KYR-0002-219-0010Madison C. Johnson to John B. Temple, Oct. 1, 1861
We have placed to the Credit of the Treasurer of Ky for the use of the Military Board the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars—for which we received your certificate according to Law. At this time we have not more than about one hundred thousand dollars in Bank notes, having burnt our notes for safety. … Will you please advise me in what time & manner you expect to draw it out. I presume it will remain on deposit here until your Board disburses it.

KYR-0002-225-0041William R. Thompson to Thomas E. Bramlette, May 28, 1864
My son Lt John V. Thompson, has been trying to raise a company for the ten thousand troops you called for, but there seems not to be much disposition to volunteer the rebels & their sympathies do every thing they can to discourage it; & you have taken the right course, just make them walk right in, a man that wont fight for his country ought not to live in it. I have greatly more respect for the men who are in the field with Jeff. Davis, than for those who are among us plotting the overthrow and destruction of the Government that protects them & all they possess, for them I have no respect, they have been handled with gloves too long.


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Subject Guides: Slavery and Capitalism

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KYR-0001-004-0638Alanson Trigg to Thomas E. Bramlette, Mar. 1864
[Petitioner] could not owing to the condition of the County well bring these negroes from Warren to Barren County, in ^which^ your petitioner resides. Both ^Each^ of them had wives ^a wife^ in Warren County near a farm owned by this Petitioner for many years & on which he had kept his slaves. On selling his farm he did not want to sell his slaves & allowed them to remain in Warren out of humanity. But he placed them in the care & control of John Petty and Wm G Hendrick who promised to take care of & manage them as their own & if the law has been violated your Petitioner says others & not he violated it. Your Petitioner avers that there are not better behaved & more honest slaves any where to be found than the two mentioned in the Indictment & he humbly asks your Excellency to remit the fine imposed upon him

KYR-0001-004-1722 C. A. Wandelhor et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Apr. 28, 1865
Polly Southgate is a free woman of Color and the slave so permitted to go at large is by the name of Caleb and both her husband and Slave. He makes a living for himself and family be engaging in Such jobs of work as he can get to do in and around Falmouth and the earnings of his labor so performed are the only means of Support for himself and family … Should she be required to pay the full amount of said fine. She will be compelled to sell her Slave and husband to do so. and will then be without any means of Support whatever for herself and children…

KYR-0001-005-0040Benjamin P. Cissell, Affidavit, Jun. 8, 1864
The affiant B P Cissell states that in the year 1856 he qualified as the Guardian for Samuel, William, Sarah, Carrie & Angeline Ten, that Samuel, William & Sarah has arrived at Majority he has divided the property & settled with said parties Carrie & Angiline are girl of quite tender years, & own under said division two slaves each, one owns a small girl & Phil, a man about 26 or 27 yrs old, the other a girl a boy named Dick about 14 years old. That these slaves are all the property said Children own that yield any income to raise & educate them. That for the year 1864 he had hired Phil to D R Burbank for 240$ Dick to same for $225. That neither of said slaves as he verily believes was fit for military duty, one of them, Dick was not even enrolled. That During the late raid of one Col Cunningham ^of the U S Army^ with an armed force of slaves in Union County said two slaves were captured on the farm of said D R Burbank in Union County & carried to Paducah or some part to affiant unknown and have never been returned and affiant has been informed that Said Cunningham insists that all said slaves are now forever free & refuses to allow any of them to return—

KYR-0001-008-0003 Thomas E. Bramlette to Kentucky General Assembly, Feb. 13, 1864
Since the commencement of the rebellion large numbers of fugitive slaves have been arrested and committed to jail, under the provisions of chapter 93, article 6, Revised Statutes.

This statute was framed in reference to peaceful relations, and to ensure those acts of comity, due from one State to another, of the same government.

The law was intended to secure to the owner the return of his slave.

This purpose of the law can not now be accomplished.

The hostile attitude of the other slave States to the position and relations of Kentucky, wholly precludes the owner, in hostile States, from the benefits of the law. He can not come here to prove ownership and reclaim his property. …

For whose benefit is the arrest and committall to be made? The owner can not be profited by it; and no Kentuckian desires to appropriate these fugitives to the public use; nor is it desirable in this questionable mode to increase that population, at this time, with its cumulative evils upon our people, in violation of the spirit of our constitution and the laws pursuant thereto, prohibiting the importation of slaves into this State, as merchandize. No one derives benefit from the law except the captors, who obtain the reward, and speculators, who buy at nominal rates, and by selling, shift the loss upon others.

KYR-0001-020-0438 W. H. Calvert to Beriah Magoffin, Jan. 14, 1861
I therefore beg your Excellency to give me further indulgence on the debts first respited by you until times grow better and money can be come at or until I can get a judgment to sell the land and slaves of James & John Williams for the payment of their debts. There was a division of the slaves of the Estate of Jesse Williams among his children on the 1st of January 1861 and five slaves were alloted to James & John Williams which are in my possession except a man who is in Jail under an indictment for Murder, with $900.00 a Boy aged 16 worth $900.00 a woman aged 40 years worth $700.00 A Boy aged 10 years worth $700.00 a girl aged 14 years worth $700.00 There will be about 160 acres of land coming from said Estate to James & John which will be worth $8.00 an acr all of which which will be sold for their debts to the commonwealth & others—the above is all the property that will be coming to James and John from their Fathers Estate, and I have already as above stated paid out for them nearly five thousand dollars, and am still indebted for them to the Commonwealth nearly four thousand dollars as the representative of their father who was their surety—.

KYR-0001-020-1206 Sparke & Gallagher to Beriah Magoffin, Jul. 23, 1861
Particular attention given to the purchase of Plantation and Levee Supplies
Wm. H. Sparke,
John T. Gallagher.
Office Sparke & Gallagher
Grocers and Commission Merchants.
No. 207 Main Street, between Second and Third
Louisville, July 23rd 1861
Hon. B. Magoffin
Dear Sir

The barer D. C. Kelley we are assured is worthy of the favor he asks at your hands and we hope you may do him the favor of remitting the fine as the party for whome he is bound has enlisted in the Southern armey and it would ruin him pecuniarly to pay the bond.

Very respectfully we remain Your frieneds
Sparke, &, Gallagher

KYR-0001-020-2183 Hiram McElroy et al. to Beriah Magoffin, date unknown
[Petitioners] will State that they verily believe that the death of Said Slave was owing to accident & a want of desertion of said Leonard, and free from any design on his part to take life—That said negro was notoriously vicious headstrong and ungovernable—had been hired out year after year, and was all ways returned to the owner, as soon as his character was ascertained—that Clements had hired him: and he chastisied him with the sole view of making him perform his duty; & not to take life but, said negro afterwards died either from the correction, or from some disease in his system that was superinduced by said correction to produce death

Clements has paid the owner of said negro $1600 for said negro—that he is a young man of fine family, Steady habits & moral character, we therefore pray for your Excellency to grant him a pardon & restore him to the bosom of his family & country & in duty bound they will ever pray &c

KYR-0001-023-0022 James G. Seach to Beriah Magoffin, Feb. 18, 1861
I have recd from Mr. Yancey a copy of his speech in the African Slave trade, delivered in the Alabama Convention the 18th Oct. He takes ground against it viewing it as a question of political economy, contending that the states Composing the Confederacy will have as much slave labor as will be profitable, and he therefore recommends the adoption of a provision in the Constitution prohibiting the introduction of Slaves as merchandize from any foreign source whatever. This will prevent Ky & other slave states that refuse to join the Southern Confederacy from sending their slaves for sale.

From what I can learn since my return this County is largely for Convention. Mr. Wright will have an Editorial in this weeks paper, severely, but I think justly, Commenting on the proceedings of the recent session of the Legislature.

KYR-0003-092-0084 W. H. Johnson to George W. Johnson, Dec. 2, 1860
I have not as yet been able to sell Harriett nor do I believe I shall be able to do ^so^ in the present condition of financial affairs in the country. The negro traders tell me they have not sold one this fall. I offered 2 negro men for sale, at public auction, belonging to the Black estate and did not get a bid on them. The rate of interest on money is so great, that every one who has it prefers it loaning, to investing in negroes or any other description of property. I have known the paper of the best paper houses in Vicksburg to sell for 4 per cent, per month discount. Under these circumstances would it not be better to send Harriett up to Miller’s place? She is doing nothing in Vicksburg. But if you still desire her to remain I will do the best I can, and in this event you must let me know the lowest price you will take for her.

Political affairs in this section are in a most critical condition. All of the Cotton States as they are called with the exception of Texas and Arkansas have called Conventions of their citizens or are preparing to do so. A great desire exists to establish a Southern Confederacy, the only question being how shall it be accomplished? Some are in favour of the immediate secession of each state, and then consult with the other ^slave^ states in regard to forming a Union amongst themselves— Others, and amongst them myself, are in favour of having a general consultation with all the Southern States, before either acts seperately. Having the same rights and interests at stake, I think it would be wrong in any one state to take such a position as would ^force^ others against their wishes to join her, without at least first consulting them on the propriety of the course. What will be the result of this movement, it is impossible to conjecture— It has already depreciated property to a most alarming extent, deranged financial ^matters^ beyond all precedent, and created distrust where good feeling should exist. A few months and these grave questions will all be settled.


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Subject Guides: Coal, Gas, and Petroluem

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KYR-0001-004-2605 E. B. Treadway et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Oct. 10, 1865
[A]t the June Term ^1864^ of the Owsley Circuit Court McKinley Maloney was tried & fined $60—& cost for Keeping a Tipling house Maloney is a very poor man with a family and not able to pay the debt and unless it is remitted his securities will have to pay the it debt and they are very poor and their Coal which they have raised for market is now levied upon to satisfy it—

KYR-0001-004-2127D. R. Haggard to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jul. 10, 1865
Mr. Gilbert was Employed by myself to go to Tennessee to lease oil lands for a Company of us organized in this City, and it was not because He wanted to Evade Any responsibility. But to make $100—per month, and have 1/8, of the proffits arising from the yeald of the oil, This was the Cause of his absence, from Ky—His family needed Bread, & He wanted to make it as I think honestly,

KYR-0001-007-0332 William V. Archer, Oath, Nov. 19, 1864
Name. 1. The corporate name of said Company shall be “The Hardwick Oil Company.”
Objects. 2. The objects of the formation of the said company are the searching and mining for Petroleum and other minerals, and producing, refining and vending the same.
Capital Stock. 3. The Capital Stock of the said Company shall be the sum of One million dollars divided into Forty thousand Shares of Twenty five Dollars each.
Directors. 4. The affairs of the said company shall be managed by a Board of seven Directors to be chosen annually at the time and place specified in the By Laws. The Board for the first year shall consist of the following stockholders viz—J. Edgar Thompson Joseph Pancoast Marmaduke Moore Stephen Benton Nelson Yocum Geoge L Crawford and H. C. Yarrow
Operations. 5. The Operations of the said Company are to be carried on in ^Clarke^ Estill and Powell Counties Kentucky in the town of Irvine in said Estill County in the State aforesaid

KYR-0001-007-0350D. H. Hazen to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jan. 26, 1865
[I] would respectfully solicit the appointment of Chatham T. Ewing of this City as Commissioner of Kentucky for the State of Pennsylvania.

The oil Excitment among our people has led many of them to invest largely in your state and to facilitate exchanges and transfers of territory located there Some of us are desirous to have a Commissioner of Kentucky in our midst…

KYR-0001-007-0372John Francis to Thomas E. Bramlette, Feb. 7, 1865
[T]here are a few persons here who contemplate assisting to develop one of the almost wholly latent sources of wealth in your state as soon as the arm of Justice can destroy the bands of Gurrillas by which it is infested

We sent down some men the other day & after spending nearly a thousand dollars at Louisville for tools, they were obliged to leave on account of the murders & robberies committed in the neighborhood—Allen County

Could your Excellency adopt some plan or station a force there it would add vastly to the resources of the State as it has already in Pennsylvania. If I mistake the value & export of Oil from that State well nigh competes with that of Cotton in its palmier days & is at any rate in a high degree worthy of the forstering care of your Excellency, and the National Government.

KYR-0001-009-0047R. M. Bradley and William O. Bradley to Ephraim L. Van Winkle, Oct. 8, 1865
Sir, you will please answer the following questions—sending your letter to Lancaster
1. Whether or not you are engaged with a Northern Co for the purchase of land on the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River?
2. What is the amt Cap Stock of said Co?
3. Do you or not own the Beaty Oil well? and a large quantity of land connected with the same above ^both^ the pumps on said river?
4. Is it or not your intention to shortly proceed to remove those pumps? and will or not that be absolutely nescessary to render your property above that place of value.

KYR-0001-020-0500Elizabeth Palmer to Beriah Magoffin, Jan. 12, 1861
Elizabeth Palmer would respectfully represent that on the 5th day of this month she was tried for adultey under the following circumstances and fined $20 & cost— she says her husband is a poor man and labours in the Coal mines for a living. That he has been for several months labouring in coal diging for one J. H. Kemper and was living duing the time in one of Kempers houses— all Kempers boats being loaded with coal he desired to get rid of her and her husband and wanted the posession of his house her husband left home on business and sd Kemper made improper advances to her which she promptly regected. Kemper got seemingly verry mad & procured one of his hands a dependent of his to watch her house in the night time who did so and climbed up on the chimney for the purpose of so doing and then swore he saw a man in her Room and heard her bed making a noise She says as she lives she is not Guilty— nor never has been of such an offense

KYR-0001-020-1503William Gross, Affidavit, Nov. 22, 1861
William Gross states that he lives in Cloverport Kentucky and whilst Margolyes kept his tavern, he was employed by the coal & oil company on there road and the said Tavern being on the immediate side of the road makes me well acquanited with said Margolyes and his tavern.


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Subject Guides: Food

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KYR-0001-002-0010 T. J. McGibben to J. G. Foster, Jan. 26, 1864.
I am a loyal citizen of the state of Kentucky, residing in Harrison County, five miles from Cynthiana in said county. I am a farmer having about three hundred and seventy acres of land. I have a distillery and have for several years past distilled the grain of my own product on my farm, and fed and fatted my stock hogs upon the swill. I have about 400 barrels of Corn and 5000 bushels of wheat on hand. I produced most of this grain on my farm, and purchased a part of it, before any military order was issued restricting distillation. I have 900 hogs purchased and raised by me before any order was issued against distilling grain. It will require more grain than I have on hand to feed and keep said hogs. I will ^suffer^ great loss, almost total loss of my hogs if the grain is taken from me. The swill from the corn, in distilling it, will feed and fatten the same ^or greater^ number of hogs, being fed when warm, than the grain itself would feed and keep.

KYR-0001-003-0116William DeB. Morrill to Unknown, Aug. 8, 1865.
At this place there came into the Coach a woman with four small children. The children were crying with hunger. The Mother said that neither she nor her children had tasted a mouthful of food that day (past noon) I bought some food before we started, when we got to the hotel, had them stop & gave them all a dinner, I gave her ten dollars in money. She was entirely destitute. This woman was the widow of John White of the 3d Ky,, Cavly,, Govr Bramlette’s regiment. He, White died in the Service. The rebels had destroyed evrything at Mt Vernon, her home & even shot her cow, while she was milking it. some of the balls passing through her dress, & one wounding her little girl in the shoulder as I could see by the scar.

KYR-0001-004-0131James R. Dupuy, Affidavit, date unknown.
About two months before the death of the child (which occurred sometime in Feb 1863.) Levis who had purchased some strychnine for the purpose of killing some cats and pigeons that had been annoying him asked his wife for the poison…. He called Caroline & had her to bring him some beef which he took & cut into three peices, small peices, about 1 1/2 inches square & on each peice put some of the poison saying at the time that “here is enough strychnine (or poison) to kill a regiment of men”. Caroline standing near by with the remainder of the beef in her hand & hearing the remark Levi put these peices of meat under the house (the adjacent house) of a neighbor (a plank being off next the ground), placing the beef as far under the house as he could reach with his arm

KYR-0001-004-0441Merie G. Banks to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jan. 25, 1864.
my Husband was only a common Soldier his pay as you know was only $13, per month— which was not enough to support us. the duties which he had to perform were that of being guard at Barracks no 1. So his times was not occupied all the time, So he would Sell various articles of necesities to Soldiers at the Barrack and Hospitals, Such as fruits tobacco and cigars the profits of which in addition to his regular pay enabled us to live tolerably comfortable, But when he got these two packages of tobacco from the Boys, he though he would Sell it at wholesale. hence he offered it ^to^ the grocerymen Saying to the groceryman to Say nothing about it, the reason that he wished him to keep it a Secrect was that he knew that the Police would arrest him for Pedling without licens if they became conizant of the fact, So doing Such a small business he could not afford to take out license hence they requested Secrecy.

KYR-0001-004-0544 John G. Brookover to Maggie, Mar. 15, 1864.
I have had to Spend Some money in buying butter and vetetables that we cannot draw from the commissary department. These things are all very high in the army butter is worth 75cts and and one dollar per pound Green apples have been worth twenty and twenty five dollars per Bbl and have been Since last fall, and other things as high in proportion Whisky Sells for fifty cents a drink and from eight to twenty five dollars per gallon. I have not bot any of it in no form Since our army left Helena We could ^get^ a little there from the commisary department for Sixty cents per gal= Potatoes are worth ten and twelve dollars per Bushel and none Scarcly to be had at that price. We have had a little fight at South bend bend forty mile below us on this river the Rebels captured one of our boats loaded with commisary supplies: but our forces recaptured the boat and took one one hundred Rebel Prisoners

KYR-0001-004-2416 David Schroeder to Thomas E. Bramlette, Sep. 7, 1865.
I David Shroeder would respectfully state that in the month of November 1861 I purchased a cow of Joseph Nicholas on Market streret near 6th ^street^ in Louisville Ky in open market & in presence of Joseph Kramer & my son John then about 13 years old. On the following day I killed the cow and sent the hide to a tanner. One Geo F. Huber on the same day having lost his cow as he said, went to the tanner and there among about 20 green skins found one which he claimed as the hide of his cow. I was arrested & gave bail for my appearance at the next term of the Jefferson Circuit Court.

KYR-0001-004-2738 John Rice to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jun. 14, 1865.
The Grand Jury at that Term Indicted him for Tipling (that is for two acts of selling sprituous Liquor. …we have been Living for several years without Courts or Law & it was a very hard matter for Union men who remained her to sell any way—I am no Grocer or Tavern Keeper I had a small quantity of Apples which I distilled & had some little apple Brandy on hand this selling that I have Confessed is all that I Sold by the Small have no more on hand—& will not again be caught I am a Poor man & have a wife & several children to support a small mountain farm to make a Living on for them & if I am Compelled to pay the Judmt it will deprive my family of actual Comforts of Life & it will not be felt by the State hence I verry Respectfully ask your Excellency to Remit said Fine

KYR-0001-004-3439 John S. McGrew to Unknown, date unknown.
I beg leave to report that I have made a thorough examination of the Western Military Asylum at Harrodsburg Ky and found the grounds & buildings greatly delapidated, Yet they are intrinsically very valuable to the Government & it can be made one of the most beautiful and delightful Soldiers Homes in the United States. … there are ample out buildings of every kind including also fine green houses full of flowers grasseries & vineyards. and especially a very large amount of valuable fruit trees of every new and improved vaieties. There are two large vegetable gardens of about five acres each in a high state of cultivation handsomely laid out one of which alone was sold, last Year about $1000 of marketing after supplying the large family of the occupant. The vineyards are now yielding their crops and a good many barrels of wine are made from them annually … The tillable land would raise all the Corn Oats Hay &c necessary for the Establishment. The grass lands would sustain all the stock necessary to carry it on indeed all the necessary Beef & Pork could be raised upon it and the “House” could be made in a few years self sustaining from the labor of the Soldiers which could be performed by them merely as a healthy recreation

KYR-0001-009-0065 J. A. Cook et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, date unknown.
[Your Petitioners] state that they grain they have is nearly all of their own product, and that it is necessary to feed the stock they have on hand. Beside a large number of hogs to be fed by them, there cattle and some mules are kept and fed upon the swill. The grain is absolutely necessary to sustain and keep their stock. The hogs, mules and cattle are necessary for the country and for the army and the use they make of it must inure to the general and public benefit. And the taking the grain from them will inflict a serious and unpardonable loss and injury to them
and to their families, and they ask to be allowed to distil their grain—grain of their own product and that your Excellency procur permission to this effect and protectiion to them against molestation in distilling—They state that they are licensed distillers, have paid to the Collector of Internal Revnew the tax or license fees, as required by act of Congress.

KYR-0001-017-0163 John B. McIlvain & Son et al. to Beriah Magoffin, May 1861.
We the undersigned Manufacturers and dealers in flour in this City, have pititioned the Legislature. to pass a Law giving your honor the power to appoint an Inspector of flour in our City independent of the two that is appointed by our City Council, the cause which leads to this is set forth in our petition to the Legislature to which we refer you, Having a deep interest in the Commercial prosperity of our City, and knowing that the flour trade is rapidly increasing this point becoming one of vast importance and having had the benefit of W.G. Timberlakes services as an Inspector of Flour for the last three Years and having entire Confidence in his Judgment capacity and Integrity most earnestly recommend him to your Excellency for the appointment as Flour Inspector.

KYR-0001-020-0190John G. Carlisle and Joe G. Kennedy to Beriah Magoffin, Jul. 27, 1860.
Baker was tried for stealing a parcel of fruit trees; the evidence was altogether circumstantial, and it was the prevailing opinion among those who heard it the evidence, that he was innocent- He was himself a dealer in fruit trees and had on hand a large number at the time of his arrest-The owner of the lost trees examined those of Baker, and thought he identified some of his among them- Baker proved that he had for some time been purchasing trees in the Cincinnati market, but he could not prove that these identical trees had been bought there.

KYR-0001-020-1423H. Berlin to Beriah Magoffin, Jan. 20, 1860.
Now your petitoner Solemly avers that the true facts of the Case and these, He says that he Keeps a Tavern, near the Pork house of A. S. White & Co, at the head of Jefferson Street in the City of Louisville Ky, and that said slave was hired by his owner to work at sd pork house, and that on the day named in said in said indictment a white man came into the Tavern of the undersigned, with said slave, and represented that he was one of the managers of said pork house—that the slave was in his Employ & directed me to let him have a Dram of whisky, I done so, never thinking but that the white man was authorized to Call for the Drink

KYR-0001-029-0179 E. B. Davis et al. to James F. Robinson, date unknown.
Rebels passed through this county and stoled all of the horses he had which was one in number they took and destroyed all of his beading and clothes for himself and family destroyed all of his cupboard ware such as tea cups saucers plates knives and forks and all of his cooking utencels besides salt Bacon & Beef and fed out a quantity of corn &c and upon the whole he was Litterally destroyed as a house Keeper; and he was taken a prisoner by the Rebels and taken away from home at the same time.

KYR-0002-204-0044Military Board, Receipt to Foster Ray, Dec. 16, 1861.
The State of Kentucky
To Foster Ray Dr

Date of Purchase                                                                                             Dollars Cents
Oct 30th 1861 to Nov. 20

To 21107 lbs of Beef at 3½ cts pr. lb                           738      74
To 1199 lbs of Bacon 10 cts pr. lb                              119      90
” 66 Bushels potatoes at 25 cts pr. b                           16        50
” 2 Bags ground coffee at 22½ pr. lb                          51        75
” 500 loaves bread (of Shirley & Woolfork 3½          17        50
Louisville Ky) Freight on same                                   2          50
” 19 lbs ground coffee sent from home 22½                4          28
” 191 lbs green Coffee @ 19c                                      36        29
” 10 Chickens, 12½ Qts butter                                     1          50
” ½ Bushl Red Pepper in pods –                                 1          00
” 107 lb Sugar 13 cts                                                    13        91
” 1 Barrell Vinegar 5. 50                                             5          50
1009    37
for one thousand and nine Dollars & 37 cents –

I certify that the above account is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the [gap] ending the [gap] of [gap] 186[gap].

Jno M Harlan Col Ky Vols


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Understanding the Complexities of Slavery in Kentucky

Aside

By Tony Curtis

The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA), in Frankfort, Kentucky, houses the largest collection of papers concerning Kentucky’s Civil War-era governors. Comprising a large portion of this collection are “Official correspondence and petitions related to appeals for pardons, remissions, and respites.” Each appeal for executive clemency provides historians with new glimpses into the complexities of Civil War-era Kentucky. One particular document, from the papers of Governor Thomas E. Bramlette, opens a window on two relatively unknown aspects of slavery in Kentucky: slave hiring and slave marriages.

Slave hiring was a common practice across the commonwealth of Kentucky, throughout the larger Border South, and in many other slave states. While plantations did not comprise the majority of farms across Kentucky, slavery lay at the foundation of every aspect of the economy, society, and culture of the state. Many farmers, from small farmers to the urban businessmen, hired or hired out the enslaved on contract. In a March 1864 letter,[1] Alanson Trigg, a plantation owner, merchant, and banker from Western Kentucky, petitioned Governor Bramlette to “remit the fine imposed upon him” by the Warren Equity & Criminal Court “for permitting as was alledged [sic] two negro men slaves to go at large & to hire themselves.” “Owing to the condition of the County will,” he wrote, he was unable to “bring these negroes from Warren to Barren County, in which your petitioner resides.” As Trigg further states, “he placed them in the care & control of John Pelty and Wm G. Hendrick who promised to take care of & manage them as his own & if the law has been violated your Petitioner says others & not he violated it” and that “there are not better behaved & more honest slaves any where to be found than the two mentioned in the Indictment.” Not only did Trigg shift the blame from himself, he shifted the blame away from the two enslaved men and toward the two individuals who promised to “take care of & manage them.” According to an endorsement written by Trigg’s lawyer, J. B. Underwood, the two men accepted blame at the court hearing. However, Trigg was convicted and fined. Another endorsement by R. B. Hawkins supported Trigg’s claims and added, “The same privileges are given many other negroes in the town & country.”

Little is known about slave hiring across Kentucky, both in the urban and rural setting. Historians have noted that approximately 12 percent of the slave population in Lexington and 16 percent of the Louisville slave population were hired out in 1860, which is higher than Eugene Genovese’s estimate of 5 to 10 percent across the entire South.[2]

Alanson Trigg’s letter to Bramlette also includes a discussion of slave marriages—another important subject, about which historians continue to learn. Trigg states that he left his two enslaved men in Warren County under the auspices of supervision, and due to the fact that, “Each of them had a wife in Warren County near a farm owned by this Petitioner for many years & on which he had kept his slaves. On selling his farm he did not wish to sell his slaves & allowed them to remain in Warren out of humanity.” Why might historians and other researchers find this statement valuable? We still do not know enough about the prevalence of slave marriages and unions in Kentucky. Yet, while not supported by Kentucky law, marriages were often recognized by slave-owners on the same plantation or farm, or across property boundaries. Slaveowners engaged in this practice for several reasons, as a method to sustain the institution of slavery, as a means to increase their personal value, and as an avenue for increased connectivity of the slave economy. In short, more slaves, more slaveowner capital, more interconnectedness —the more sustained and entrenched the slave economy in Kentucky.

This document suggests several questions for future research on slavery in Kentucky: How common were cross-plantation or cross-farm marriages in Kentucky? What structures and networks sustained slave communities? What kinship ties existed among nuclear families and larger kinship networks, including enslaved women, and perhaps free blacks as well? Were enslaved men and women allowed to negotiate their own hiring out, or was this a relatively isolated incident that occurred within the context of black enlistment and the ultimate destruction of slavery? To answer questions like these, many more documents of this type will need to be found! But Trigg’s letter suggests we have more to learn about slavery in Kentucky.

[1] Alanson Trigg, et al., to Thomas E. Bramlette, March 1864, Office of the Governor, Thomas E. Bramlette: Governor’s Official Correspondence file, Petitions for Pardons, Remissions, and Respites 1863-1867, Box 9, BR9-508 to BR9-509, Kentucky Department of Library and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

[2] Aaron Astor, Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2012); Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York: Vintage, 1974); and Jonathan D. Martin, Divided Mastery: Slave Hiring in the American South (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004)

For Reading:

Barton, Keith C. “‘Good Cooks and Washers’: Slave Hiring, Domestic Labor, and the Market in Bourbon
County, Kentucky.” Journal of American History 84 (September 1997): 436-60.

Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Burke, Diane Mutti. On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small-Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

Glymph, Thavolia. Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Kaye, Anthony. Joining Places: Slave Neighborhoods in the Old South. Chapel Hill: North Carolina, 2007.

Lucas, Marion B. A History of Blacks in Kentucky: From Slavery to Segregation. Frankfort: Kentucky
Historical Society, 2003.

Martin, Jonathan D. Divided Mastery: Slave Hiring in the American South. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
Harvard University Press, 2004.

O’Neil, Patrick. “Posses and Broomsticks: Ritual and Authority in Antebellum Slave Weddings,” Journal of Southern History 75 (February 2009): 29-48.

West, Emily. Family or Freedom: People of Color in the Antebellum South. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2012.

—. Chains of Love: Slave Couples in Antebellum South Carolina. Urbana: University of Illinois
Press, 2004.

—. “Debate on the Strength of Slave Families.” Journal of American Studies 33 (August 1999): 221-41.

—. “Surviving Separate: Cross-Plantation Marriages and the Slave Trade in Antebellum South Carolina.”
Journal of Family History 24 (April 1999): 212-31.