Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Old Slave

I apoligize for the significant gap in blog entries.

Today at Brandy Station: February 23, 1864

From a letter sent by Pvt. Joel Molyneux, 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers, to his sister, which can be found in "Quill of the Wild Goose," edited by Kermit Molyneux Bird.

"Our Hq. Qrs is at the plantation of a man by the name of Ririe. He has three slaves.... One old chap is 101 years old, and I have been having a talk with him of old times. He can remember of times before the Revolution. He lived then near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay; says he remembers the big snow storm and that it was so deep that it covered up all the houses; that it began to snow of a Friday and it snowed for a week; that they burned up everything in the houses for wood and then dug up on top and went on the crust and carried the wood. The sheep and cattle died because they could not find them.
He heard the cannons when Lafayette came to this country to fight. I suppose it was at Yorktown, but he did not get to see Lafayette. He said that he was “right smart old” at the time of the War of 1812, and remembered a considerable of what happened then. ...
He says he has had three wives that had been sold and could not tell how many children. He has all his faculties good yet. Is quite smart. Stands up straight. Says he can walk 20 miles in a day, easy. He has never been whipped – would fight first, run away, etc., then come back when he got ready..."

How much Ririe's slave states is true or not, we will never know. But it does sound like Joel had some interesting conversations.

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