Lot 4: Letter of Virgini slave-holder barred from taking slaves to Ohio
23rd February 2017
Letter of Virgini slave-holder barred from taking slaves to Ohio. Heading: (African-American, 1822). Author: Withers, William. Title: Letter of Virginia slave-holder barred from taking slaves to Ohio. Place Published: Culpepper County, Virginia. Date Published: 1822. Description: Autograph Letter Signed. Culpepper County, Virginia, April 12, 1822. 1pg.+stampless address leaf. To Mr. Sawyer, Frankford, Kentucky, about selling land given him as a government grant in Ohio. "I am an old a very infirm man of the Revolution. My Country for services Rendered to the close of the War as a Lieut. in the Virginia Line...has lately rewarded me with a Land Warrant for 2,666 Acres...in the State of Ohio between the Scioto and Little Miama Rivers and as I am very infirm and have no son to attend to its Location, Besides I am not able to live unless assisted by slaves and that state not allowing Slavery, I am...induced to offer the warrant for sale. I was informed that you wished to purchase warrants of this description. If so, you may have mine for One Dollar per Acre and I will take in part payment, four or five young horses at a fair price..." William Ramlin Withers enlisted as a Sergeant in the Continental Army at the start of the Revolution; promoted, after Valley Forge, to Lt. in a new Virginia company, he helped build the first Fort in Ohio, fought at Yorktown and, under General Nathaniel Greene, in South Carolina. At the end of the War, he returned to Virginia with a leg injury which left him lame for the rest of his life. Living on a government pension, he married a 16 year-old girl from Tennessee, with whom he had four children, served as county Sheriff and Magistrate, and owned 600 acres of Virginia land. When he wrote this letter, at age 65, he was not only "infirm" but in debt, his estranged wife suing him for unpaid alimony. To avoid paying it, he thought of moving to Ohio, but since he could not bring his Negro servants with him, he sold that property, and four years later, deeded his carriage, horses - and only two slaves - to his son, his other Blacks being sold to pay off his debts. He died ten years later. Condition: Very good.
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