Letter to Michael Valentine from Hannah Valentine (January 30, 1838)

Daguerreotype of Sally Boles GladmanWooden child's chair and a play cradle for a doll made by an enslaved woodworker named BenDaguerreotype of enslaved Black woman posing with a white childNursemaid in Jefferson Davis's Household

Hannah Valentine was an enslaved woman owned by Virginia governor David Campbell. She cared for the Campbell family homestead, Montcalm, in Abingdon, while Campbell and his family lived at the governor’s mansion in Richmond. In this letter she writes of a measles outbreak in the area that affected the family.




Abingdon January 30, 1838

My dear husband

I begin to feel so anxious to hear from you and my children, and indeed from all the family that I have concluded to write to you altho you have treated me badly in not answering my last letter. I heard through Mr Gibson last week that you were all well, but hearing from you in that way does not satisfy me. I want a letter to tell me what you are doing and all about yourself and Eliza & David. Mr Nat Barker sent to let me know that he would set off to Richmond in the stage to day, but I could not get my letter ready in time for home this morning, but if he has put it off until the next stage, as I think he probably has I can still send it by him, or if he is gone, by mail. Mr Watson’s Father, Mother, and sister have been staying with them for some time. His Father & Mother set off this morning for Charlottesville. Miss Ellen I believe intends staying with Mrs Railey until the spring. She has been up to see me several times. Tell Miss Virginia I wish she was here that she might become acquainted with her. We have had

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a very sick family. Mr Lathum and all the children had the measles at the same time. They were all very sick for a few weeks, but not all enough to call in a physician. Mr Lathum’s Father came up and attended to his son’s business while he was sick. There is now a great deal of sickness in town & country. the measles are still spreading, and some that have taken cold after having had them are very sick. Our children are very well and are free from the cough which usually succeeds the measles. Tell Eliza her children grow very fast. They do not talk much about her now, but seem to be very well satisfied without her. I begin to feel anxious to see you all. I am afraid my patience will be quite worn out if you do not come back soon. You must write and tell me when Master talks of returning, and when you write tell me particularly about Master & Mistress how they look and if Mistress is as much pleased with Richmond as at first. Let me hear also how Miss Virginia looks and if she likes Richmond as well as Abingdon. I have not heard of any of her friends receiving a letter from her. Whenever I see any of them they make particular enqueries about her, and some of them complain of her not writing to them. Mrs Watson says she is tired of waiting for a letter from her or Mistress, so she intends writing to them soon. Tell Richard I have not heard from his wife since she left here. She promised to write as soon as she was settled. I do not think that Mrs Mayo’s friends have heard from her, but we thing they must be in Mississippi by this time. Tell Miss Virginia her friends are all well. 

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Miss Ellen White has been very sick. But she is now well and has gone to Smythe to stay a short time. Tell David I am much pleased to hear that he has been a good boy. he must continue to be so, and tell him he must send me a message in you next letter. Give my love to Eliza and tell her she must write to me. I want o hear hoe she gets along without her Mammy to help her. Give my best love to Master & Mistress and to Miss Virginia, Give my love to Richard & David, and believe me always you affectionate wife

Hannah Valentine

Please give my love to your brothers & sisters and to their wives & husbands. I forgot to tell you that Mrs McVicar left a beautiful Bible as a present for you. I have put in away safely for you until you come. Aunt Lethe & Lucy sent their love to you all.

Hannah Valentine

APA Citation:
Valentine, Hannah. Letter to Michael Valentine from Hannah Valentine (January 30, 1838). (2021, April 28). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Valentine, Hannah. "Letter to Michael Valentine from Hannah Valentine (January 30, 1838)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (28 Apr. 2021). Web. 22 Apr. 2024
Last updated: 2021, April 28
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