Find her mother and send her Wilmington!
by Lisa Y. Henderson
Fayetteville, No. Carolina, Aug. 21st, 1792
On my way to Charleston, I came across a free girl in this place, by the name of Sally Valentine. Her mother lives, I believe, in Norfolk by the name of Amy Valentine; she was stolen from that place about eight years ago by Jacob Abraham, a Butcher, and one James Bishop, and brought to this place and sold as a slave. I am well acquainted with the girl – having lived with my mother about three years. I apply’d to a Magistrate to get her liberated by my testimony and the testimony of a Lady in this place, who has known the girl ever since her birth, and is also well acquainted with her mother, but the magistrate informed me he could do nothing before Court, which is next October; and as it will not be in my power to be hear then, beg the favour of you to find out her mother if possible, and send her to Wilmington by water – from whence she can easily get to this place, and it will be necessary she should bring credentials of her freedom, and by which means she may recover her child. These people brought of some other young negroes at the same time, which in all probability are either free or stolen from their masters.
The people that have this girl in possession treat her in the most barbarous manner. If you will write to Mr. John Nevison or Doct’r Taylor at Norfolk to this effect, I make no doubt they will interest themselves in the affair, as they know the mother, and I believe the Daughter, and it will, I hope, be a means of bringing the villains to Justice. As soon as you can get any information respecting the matter, please write to Mr. Lee DeKeyson, of this place, who has promised me to see the Girl Justice done. Knowing your humanity and desire to do Justice, makes me trouble you on this occasion.
I am, sir, with Respect, Y’r ob’t Servant, DAVID MILLER
Col. Champion Travis, W’msburg, Va.
From Sherwin McRae, ed., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … from August 11, 1792, to December 31, 1793, v. 6 (1886).
For more on this crime, see http://www.norfolkhistory.com/Abrahams