I have a copy of a letter written in Greenwood in 1858. The handwriting is very beautiful, but we do not believe it will reproduce very well on newsprint, so we are giving you a typed copy. Please pay close attention to the grammar and phraseology.
Greenwood Jackson Co. Fla. Nov. 1st, 1858
Dear Brother Willis,
I wrote to Sister Emily Saturday telling of our journey, and arrival in Florida; but Father insists on having a letter written directly to you.
I have no doubt but you are quite lonesome; perhaps a letter will do no harm. Monday morning finds us all quite well; we have been here just one week tonight, and although it has been raining nearly all the time, we have spent the week pleasantly. Three of our horses, Tobe, Nelly Bly, and Clem, foundered at different times after we left Uncle Jims; they were hardly able to travel, but Father & Brother coaxed them along, so that we made the trip in seven days as we expected. I believe they are perfectly sound again; I saw them running around this morning at 240 rate*. Mother's health has improved very much, her leg appears to be nearly well. Alley looks well and fleshy as you ever saw her; she came very near killing herself eating Sugar Cane & Goobers Saturday. There is such a quantity here, that we all eat from morning 'til night. I often wish the children at Home had some. Uncle Billie expects to grind his cane as soon as there comes a light frost. We will have a grand time boiling syrup and eating candy. I think I will carry some home for you. There are more Goobers in one field here than I ever saw before. The Hogs are fattening on them now. Cousin Charles has given me permission to go down and eat with his hogs, whenever I feel like it.
We had a fishing party on Chipola River Saturday. There were fifty persons present, and fish enough for all, of course it was very pleasant. We had wine plenty, a pack of cards and a Banjo, but no Bran to dance on. Something new to me, you know I did not play there.
Father tells me to say to you that Uncle Billie has more cotton than he can pick before Christmas. He is gathering corn now; has enough to fill every crib and two or three bins. On the whole he has an excellent crop.
Uncle Billie, Father, Cousin Charles, & Brother have gone to Marianna this morning. They have been there once before to look at Negroes for sale. Brother finds plenty in the market, but has yet purchased any. From along so many he will doubtless find some to please him.
Little Pellie has grown so much you would hardly know her. She and Cousin Charles'es little boys go to school to Miss Lizzie Bangs, who boards here. Their teacher has been sick and is not yet able to teach, so that they have been out of school several weeks. Pellie is taking music lessons; plays right well for one of her size. If we go to the Bay I hope we will be able to bring you all as much fish as you can eat. I know you will have no objection to that. Brother promised a young lady in the Valley, to send her a Barrel of fish from Florida. He says he will certainly do so if he has any success in catching. I could write you much more but haven't time just now. I hope you will get on smoothly at home. Since Father is compelled to be at home the 6th of Dec. be expects to start the 22nd of Nov.
Much Love to all. Your aff Sister Lizzie.
* 240 rate refers to a mile in two minutes and forty seconds at the trot, or 22.5 mph. This is a good speed and suggests the horse should be a Standardbred. "Jingle Bells" was written in 1857 and in one verse the bob tailed bay's speed was two forty.
After Elijah Bryan died his assets were listed. Here's page one of three. This lists his slaves and their values.
Here is an excerpt from our Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Our founders did not all practice what they preached. Even the scribe, Thomas Jefferson, fathered mixed race children.