Woman asking a former slave owner for negro help


Date Written

Oct. 1, 1865

Juliet Western was 30 years old when this was written.
The recipient, James C. Mulligan, was 70 when it was received.

It was written 158 years, 4 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Mr. or Mrs. Mulligan–

I have company this morning therefore have but a few moments to write you a little business letter in regards to a man & woman of African scent. I have not had for a year a cook that was worth a copper & am sick & tired of the Bowling Green darkies, so I write to you all and ask as a special favor that you will send us down immediately a good man & his wife without any children. I know you all know everybody up that way & that you are remarkably popular with white & black, also that whatever Mr. Mulligan tries to do he is sure to accomplish it & with that glib tongue of his he could persuade a white man much less a negro to jump into the fire and so induce some of your Alen (Allen County) darkies that are not so faint & demoralized as they are down here to come and live with us and we give them good wages & if they want it, a permanent home & as for me you can tell them that you know me to be the cleaverest (sic) woman that ever did live & the old man will cuss a little sometimes but is pretty good for that.

I would like them passed middle age, a little, old enough at least to prefer staying at home to gadding, & to be passed cutting-up capers---oh I would give anything for a nice genteel old cook that knew how to manage & keep a kitchen clean & nice, that knew how to make good light bread–nice homemade soap &c, or in other words a good old time darkie that had been raised by the nicest kind of white people & that was too old to pick up new fangled notions & trifling ways. I say send me the man & his wife immediately for I know you can find & send just the sort I want if you condescend to try at'all & some of these days I will return the favor soon.

Aren't there not some of your Father's old family servants around the town somewhere that you might send? I am just going to depend on you all for if you can't help me nobody can–therefore I wait impatiently your answer telling me what day to look for them that they are coming soon–I will have no cook unless you send me one so if you want to eat light hot rolls, tender broiled chickens, & coffee that is a perfect elixir when you come to my house send on your cook–I would like to have a man & his wife but if you know of a woman that would just suit & has no husband send her on by herself unless there is a good old man in the neighborhood that is as good as she is, let them come together & I could have the wedding after they get here for three dollars ain't that what the white man in town charges, send them on single or double anything for a Scottsville darkie.–To Mrs. Mulligan & the girls give my love also to Rory & the baby if there is one. When you all come down come and see us we will always be happy to see one or all of you–In haste, your friend

Juliette W. Western

Scans of Letter