Thursday, August 29, 2013

Christian County Citizens Petition Governor Bramlette about Runaway Slaves

In January 1864, a group of Christian County, Kentucky, citizens wrote to Governor Thomas E. Bramlette vexed over their runaway slaves and asking him to help "arrest the evil." Included in the signers were some of the most prominent citizens of the county, including Albert Wallace, the husband of noted diarist Ellen Wallace.

Enslaved people made up about 45% of Christian County's population in the 1860 census, so it is easy to see their concern.  I found it interesting the number of times the authors included the word "citizen" in the letter. It is as if they wanted to beat that word into the governor's head as a reminder that the state's executive worked for them.

The document reads:

Hopkinsville Ky
Janury 23rd 1864

To his Excellency
Gov Bramlette

The undersigned loyal Citizens of Christian County who have always been and expect ever to be for putting down the rebellion represent, That our County is suffering evils ruinous to our Citizens and incalculable in their consequences, some time since two of our Citizens were sent to represent to your Excellency the serious loses of our Citizens from slaves leaving & going to Clarksville [Tennessee] & Fort Donelson.  No relief had been obtained but the evil is rapidly on the increase.  Some of our largest farmers & best Citizens (loyal men) are losing all except the helpless ones.  In a word our County is ruined if the evil is not stopped.

Ruin drives to desperation, Shall we take the law in our own hands; or can the Executive of our state do anything to arrest the evil.  We feel that loyalty & protection should be inseparable & hope his authority will be used for our relief.
E. H. Hopper
A. Palmer
G. B. Long
P.W. Dryden
I. F. Ellis
John M. Ginan
R. S. M. Reynolds
A. V. Long
John C. Durett
Lucius Jones
E. L. Foulks
James F. Buckner
E. R. Cook
A. Wallace
James Casky  
Chad McKee
 T. L. Starling
W. B. Jones
Rich Durrett
Geor. Poindexter
V. W. Crabb
H. J. Wyatt
Edmund B. Younglove
D.J. Hooser

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