Mobile: January 26, 1840. pp., written on a bifolium. Previously folded, with separations along old fold lines. Addressed and docketed on second leaf verso. Light tanning and dampstaining. Good. Item #646
A detailed letter by an Englishman named William Dixon, addressed to his brother Thomas at home in Cumberland, that describes life and culture in Mobile, Alabama in January 1840. Dixon travelled South rather reluctantly to settle the estate of a recently deceased uncle, initially saying, "I find it a very trublesome & dificalt afair to sift out but it is no more than I expected when I undertook it but I expect to suckseed." Interspersed in his enumerations of his encounters with local business are many observations regarding his experiences and interactions, such as the following:
"I have hard so many difrant storeys for every one that I see almost tels me difrant stores upon the same subject. Sum tels me that this man gave Unkel they money to buye the land & to enter it in his name for a Negro is not alowed to hold property in this state. Others say that Unkel & this man paide half each & the longest liver to have the whole but the truth I cannot tell until I go up thair."
Other passages fall into the category of strictly social observation:
"He youst to board with a man the name of Brown that kept a grog shop. This Brown was not married the facket it that non of them is married over the Bay [i.e., in Mobile]. They have what they call Crehols [i.e., Creoles] or yalow Women that are slaves that they live with but they are not alowed to asociate with the White Men. They eate & asiate with the Blacks in houses bult behind the other on purpos for them."
Despite numerous orthographical oddities, Dixon's script is quite neat and legible. Overall, an interesting account of a foreigner's experience in antebellum Mobile.