3 October 1862: “My Dear mis I rite you a few Lines for to Let you Know how we ar i hav Bin Sick all this week But am gitting Better…”

Item description: These two letters, both dated 3 October 1862, were written by two enslaved individuals owned by the DeRosset Family of Wilmington, N.C., William Thurber (who later became a minister) and Bella DeRosset. Both write about sickness among other enslaved men and women afflicted with yellow fever, and the desolation about the town of Wilmington at this stage of the war.

[Transcription available below images] 

Item citation: From the DeRosset Family Papers #214, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

[first letter]

Wilmington NC Oct 3 1862

My Dear mis I rite you a few Lines for to Let you Know how we ar i hav Bin Sick all this well But am gitting Better Lore that I can Bee A bout. Kitty and has Bin very sick with the yaller fever for sevel days pass and the peapel that she stay with ar drav driving hir out all the time to wurk and she is not abbel to wurk for she can hadley stand on hir foot she wont you to not to put hir to that man a gain for she is all mos wurk to Death By them  She has suf more then tung can tel ant Juler[?] is well ant Beller is Bout all the Boys is well at the pressent time giv my Best Love to my mother for mee  you all mus pray for Wilmington that the Lord mit hav mercy on us and Save us from the grate Danger ar over us i Bee Leves that wee hav sinned A gant the Lord and the Lord ar whipping us for et

The fever dont sem to Bate sum days et stops for A while and then Speed & gain I never Saw the Like Bee For of our town ef you walk in the street et Look Like A soryful time all Day Long the hurs is going

I hav not got time to say en ney more
From you or Bed ent Servent

William Henry

george Beny is very Sick with the yaler fever the Charles[?] Doctor wus roun to see this morn ning

[second letter]

Wilmington N.C. Oct 3rd 1862

My Dear Afectionate Mistress

I take the present opportunity of writing you these few lines hoping they may find you & all the family well. (as?) they leaves me very un well I am not easily down but I feels quite week Juliet is tolerable well she has bin quite unwell but is better Kitty [?] has been quite sick with yellow feaver but she is little better. I am sorry to hear of you all greaf about Mas Wille & Mas Army I feel very sorry for them… Give our love to all the whole family & to Morriah & Fanny & Peggy & tell them if I never see them in this world a gain I hope to meet them in heaven where parting will be no more tell them all they have to do is trust the lord & in his mighty power for he will bring us out more than Conquerers of them that love him…Tell Morriah she must serve the lord she must not forget what i told her concerning the lord … Joseph is up at Mr Parsley Place he has not bin down since the Sickly Season he is well George has come home sick while wee were writing Jessie has bin quite sick but is better…All the rest of the boys are well Francis is out of town I am very much oblige to you for the money you sent us i was glad to receive the letter from you…Provisions are very scarce here & nearly all the stores are shut up the town looks lonesome most all the people has left there are Eight or ten doctors here from Savannah & Charleston & nurses… the feaver seems not to be quite so bad to day four or five deaths to day &… night all the rest of the boys are well Jim sends his love to Miss Lizzie and boys he will get the rassin[?] & send it up as soon as possible Julia sends her love to Miss Lizzie & Miss Mary & the children

The Lord is my only Trust to care & keeping i commend my self His hans has hold me in my weakness & has often made me strong & who shall pluck me from his hands…Julia says she will write to you and Miss Lizzie as soon as she finds out wheather George has yellow feaver or not

Nothingmore at present I remain your affectionate servant until deth,

Bella DeRosset

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