Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Servants Have Boils and Risings - 1861

The Great Grandchildren of Patience Bradley

The mistress of Spring Hill Plantation, Sarah Frances Adams Taliaferro, wrote a newsy letter to her son Henry during the first year of the Civil War. Below is an excerpt from that letter mentioning the servants and their suffering with boils and risings. A boil is a painful, pus-filled bump under the skin caused by infected, inflamed hair follicles.

The Excerpt of the Letter
Sarah Frances Taliaferro to her son Henry (Richard Henry Taliaferro)
Spring Hill Plantation
November 16, 1861

"We are getting on now pretty well picking cotton but have been much hindered by the servants having boils & risings. Edmond has had his hand in a sling for 6 weeks - Rachel and Gilmer have done nothing for 2 months - Patience with one finger - Sam with sore back - no fevers or chills on the place the whole summer - the cotton is indifferent they say it is rotten in the bolls."

Sarah Frances was married to Peachy Ridgway Taliaferro of Copiah County, Mississippi. After his death in 1852, she was allotted several slaves including the ones mentioned in the letter. Edmund was appraised at $1500, Rachael $1000, Gilmer $1300, Patience $600, and Sam $700.

Patience, along with her husband Arthur, and five of their children were also named on Peachy R Taliaferro's probate records.

How does Patience connect to my family?
Patience Bradley's grandson, James Howard Bradley, married Ella Demyers. Ella Demyers was the daughter of Peachy Demyers.
Peachy Demyers was the brother of my 2nd great grandmother, Alice Demyers Overton Usher.

Letter Excerpt Shared by Beverley Ballantine from Family Letters
Photograph Courtesy of Melvia Ella Cherry Dean


  1. good to get that window into your relatives lives, although told through the eyes of the enslaver.

    1. Every little tidbit about the ancestors is welcomed.