John Ball writes to Senator Colhoun about idle slaves and failing crops



Date Written

July 14, 1792

History Referenced

John Ball was 32 years old when this was written.
The recipient, John Ewing Colhoun, was 43 when it was received.

John Ball died 25 years, 3 months, 6 days after writing this.
It was written 231 years, 2 months, 9 days ago.
It was a Saturday.

Charleston, 14 July 1792

Dear Sir,

I crossed at your plantation this morning & find there has been no rain there since you left it, worth mentioning, from which circumstances you may readily guess the condition of your new ground rice. Your corn is very unpromising—in short, I am sorry to say your prospect at the Ferry is at present gloomy—however if the rains set in soon, all the rice that got water from the last flowing will yet do pretty well & what remains alive of the other Rice may yet come to something with high seasons, as I am certain you will fall short of provisions. I have directed the overseer to embrace every oppty. to plant potato slips. You will, I am afraid find yourself disappointed in your expectations about the barn to be built—Philander (who had but just begun to square the frame) is sent for to Santee, where it seems he is expected to be kept some weeks—during his absence no squaring goes forward. Toby does not go in the woods to work—what he does at home I can’t find out—as he is a favorite negro & I don’t know what orders you left with him, am at a loss what to say to him—but wait to hear from you—

I should think he might go out and assist in getting the frame of the barn which you seem so anxious to have for the present growing crops—Marlborough and another fellow have absented themselves, and no body knows for what reasons.

Mr. Keyler paid me forty shillings & 3 ½ on the ferriage acc’t. that was, last Wednesday—today he was not at the ferry. Mr. McClure said he went yesterday to see a relation & was to have been back last night—but did not return.

Bella took out of a cypress press two pair coarse sheets & 2 pillow cases. She says her mistress intended leaving them out for the use of Mr. Keyler & the overseer but had forgot it in the hurry of setting off—

This and another of the 4th instant will be handed to you by Mr. Pickens who goes by way of the ferry & can no doubt give you a more particular account of matters--& I hope will have it in his power to add the good tidings of a heavy shower of rain falling since I left that place this morning—With best respects to Mrs. Colhoun & Miss Bonneau—I remain,

Dear Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

Jn. Ball

Scans of Letter