[Claiborne, Al. 1829]. Three manuscript documents, totaling pp. Some tanning and moderate toning, minor soiling, small area of loss from removed wax seal on one document, minor ink burn to one document. Good. Item #3317
A manuscript letter and two lists of slaves sold to the Dillet Plantation (later Dillet Park) in Claiborne, Monroe County, Alabama in the early 19th century. All three documents concern the economics of the Monroe County plantation owned by James Dillet, a prominent lawyer, the first Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, and later a U.S. Congressman from Monroe County. The letter was written to Dillet by another prominent Alabama politician and frequent rival of Dillet's named John Murphy, who himself was an Alabama state Congressman, Senator, Alabama governor, and U.S. Congressman. In his letter, dated August 6, 1829, Murphy relates to Dillet that after a pending trip to Tuscaloosa, he is about to be flush with funds "without any or very little application to the Bank." As such, Murphy states that he intends to "pay off" some unstated debt to Dillet very soon. Since both men owned plantations in Monroe County, the debts necessarily relate to the operations at Dillet Park.
Along with the letter to Dillet, there are also two undated manuscript lists of slaves sold ("sent" and "given up" according to the documents) to James Dillet. The first is titled, "List of Negroes sent to James Dillets Plantation." The document lists a total of fifteen slaves sent to Dillet valued at a total of $9180, with thirteen of the slaves listed together at a price of $7200, plus separate listings and prices for "Hardy" ($1050), "Darkey" ($850), and "an old woman sent there named Sarah" ($80). Judging by their names, most of the slaves were women, and the list also includes one unnamed child. The second manuscript list of slaves is a "Memorandum of negroes given up to J Dillet Esq." This document includes a numbered list of seventeen slaves along with two unnamed children. Ages are provided for the first nine slaves listed here, and various comments are made next to some of the other names, such as "old," "dropsical," and a plus sign beside three names. Some of the names here match the slaves listed on the former document, but it is not an exact match between the two documents; it is more likely that some names were simply re-used by slave agents and plantation owners, and that the two documents represent separate instances of human trafficking.
"James Dellet (1788-1848) was an influential lawyer, politician, and plantation owner in early Alabama. He had the distinction of serving as the state's first Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives when he was elected to represent Monroe County in the inaugural session of the state's legislature in 1819. Dellet served four terms in the state legislature between 1819 and 1832 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1838 until 1845.... In 1818, Dellet moved to Alabama, settling in Claiborne, Monroe County, where he resumed his law practice and served briefly as a circuit judge.... Fiercely opposed to candidate Andrew Jackson, Dellet supported John Quincy Adams for the presidency in 1828. He ran as a Whig for Congress in 1833 but was defeated by his former South Carolina College classmate and former Alabama governor, John Murphy. Dellet built a large plantation home, known as Dellet Park, in Claiborne between 1835 and 1845. (The home, numerous outbuildings, and 4,000 acres of surrounding lands are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.).... The 1830 Federal Census records his ownership of 53 slaves, but by 1840 that number had increased to 132" - Encyclopedia of Alabama.
A sobering but important trio of documents relating to the slaves and the plantation business of a prominent early Alabama lawyer and politician.