Mark Twain like travel letter including slave plantation


Date Written

April 19, 1846

William Runcie was 27 years old when this was written.
The recipient, James Runcie, was 30 when it was received.

William Runcie died 21 years, 3 months, 13 days after writing this.
It was written 177 years, 5 months, 14 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Marianna, Jackson Co. Florida
April 19, 1846

Dear Brother,

Yours of—(no date)—was received a few days since, and I should have answered it immediately, but could not get an opportunity to send to the P. O.

I received a letter from John T. the first of this month and answered it. I also sent him 20 dollars and shall send him some more soon but as to going back, I shall not because he did not say a word about wanting me, not even that he would be glad to see me and as long as I can get plenty of work here, I shall stay if my health will admit, but I will give you a short account of my travels. After leaving N. Y., I was 11 days going to Charleston, could not find sale for my segars there; stayed one week and left for Savannah, Ga., same back there; worked 1 week and left for Macon, Ga., hired a store at $340 a year; business dull, let the store again at the same; hired a small room, made segars and sold them, stayed 5 weeks, then myself and a young man bought a horse and wagon and came to Albany, Ga.; there sold our horse and wagon, bought a coffin or boat and sailed down the Flint River to the Apalachacola River; took a steamer for the city of Apalachacola on the Gulf of Mexico; stayed there several weeks to get a boat for N. Orleans from there. I was going to Texas but no ship going. We bought a small sail boat to take us to Mobile, Ala.; got to St. Andrews; left the boat and travelled about 120 miles on foot; went 35 miles through the woods, not a house anywhere; camped out at night, Indian fashion; by making a fire & sleeping with our feet towards it slept soundly lulled to sleep by the music that proceeded from the throats of about a dozen wolves that were growling around us, beautiful fellow they were, but rather noisy for comfort. Since I left Albany, I have camped out eight nights, that too during the nights of January and February.

When I got to this town, I inquired for work and here I am at work 10 miles from the village on a plantation at 20 dollars a month and found; have been here since the 25th of Feb.; shall get done in May but shall probably stay in this neighborhood all summer; board with the planter. All I have to do is to make segars. Negroes do everything else about 40 Negroes on the plantation, 22 working hands, the rest children. After I get through here shall probably get 25 dollars a month. I like this country much so far; produce cotton, tobacco, and almost anything you have a mind to put in the ground. Should fortune favor me, I may possible own some Negroes yet and then get some land and have a small plantation as there is plenty of government land not yet taken up. Here a man is valued according to the number of negroes he owns. I am of small account.

My health, thus far, has been very good and hope it may continue. Give my respects to all my friends. Does Eliza expect soon to have her shoes hid from sight. Tell her she can’t put my ears for asking. I am too far off. I want you to send me some papers. Tell Warren to send some. But I must stop. I remain yours, etc.

Wm. Runcie

You are the one that never writes.

Scans of Letter