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Letter from Joseph Watson to David Holmes and J.E. Davis, January 20, 1827

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Date: 20 Jan 1827 [unknown]
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
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Letter from Joseph Watson to David Holmes and J. E. Davis

Published in

  • Weekly Natchez Courier, March 2, 1827, Page 5.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/78138278/ https://www.newspapers.com/clip/78138426/

re-published in

  • The African Observer. United States: I. Ashmead, printer, 1827.

This letter is in reply to

Mayors Office,
Philadelphia, January 20, 1827.


I yesterday had the honour to receive your letter of the 23d December last. I beg you to accept my thanks for the important information I have derived from your letter and its enclosures. Your good offices and humane interpositions in favor of the poor kidnapped blacks, that were most inhumanly stolen away from this city and its suburbs, in the month of May, June and July, 1825, call forth the deep and humble thanks of their afflicted parents and friends, and will be duly appreciated by all benevolent and well disposed citizens. I shall immediately communicate with Duncan S. Walker, Esq. as you desire, in relation to this matter, with a determination, (so far as I am able) to develope the mazes of this infernal plot, by means of which, a great number of free born children, during several years past, have been seduced away and kidnapped, principally, and almost wholly as I believe, by a gang of desperadoes, whose haunts and head quarters are now known to have been, on the dividing line between the states of Delaware and Maryland, low down on the peninsula, between the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, The local situation of the country afforded them great facilities in carrying on this most iniquitous traffic, the bond and the free, have been equally subjects of their rapacity; numbers of slaves have been stolen from Maryland and Virginia, and carried to the southern and more western states for sale.

Messrs. Hamilton and Henderson, of Rocky Spring, in your state, about a year ago, arrested a gang of kidnapped children and blacks, who were stolen from this city and Delaware, in August, 1825; they were fortunately stopped before they were sold by the agent who had them in possession and by the noble conduct of the gentlemen before mentioned, were forwarded to this city, and safely returned to their friends, except one who was cruelly murdered near Rocky Spring, (whipped and beaten to death) as the survivors declare, by a certain Ebenezer F. Johnson, the brother of Joe Johnson, spoken of by the boy Peter Hook. R. Stockton, Esq. the attorney general of your state, is, I think fully possessed of the details of the horrid doings of this case of robbery.

The warrants of Governor Shulze for their reclaimation as fugitives from the justice of this state, have been forwarded to Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi, nor have I a doubt that both the outrages to which I have alluded, have been perpetrated by the same gang. We have as yet not succeeded in the arrest of any of them, though frequent efforts have been made for the purpose.

They have been driven from their quarters in Delaware and Maryland, and most of them are believed to have gone into the interior of ——— ; before the receipt of your letter, I was induced in consequence of a private intimation to forward a deposition to Mr. Stockton, in the case of Peter, which I have no doubt will act as a detainer. I have already a number of depositions, as respects Clem Cox and Baxter, — that Peter's story is substantially correct, I have no doubt.

With great respect, I am your obedient servant,
Joseph Watson, Mayor.

To David Holmes, and J.E. Davis, Esquires, Natchez.

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