Saturday, May 31, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - May 16, 1862

Friday 16th [May 1862]

Fast day. General Patrick will not allow the church to be opened to day. The ladies are to meet at the charity school this afternoon.

Matters are getting worse and worse here every day with regard to the negroes. They are leaving their owners by the hundred and demanding wages. The citizens have refused to hire their own or other peoples slaves, so that there are numbers of unemployed negroes in town.

Old Dr. Hall agreed to hire his servants but the gentlemen of the town held a meeting and wrote him a letter of remonstrance telling him that he was establishing a most dangerous precedent, that he was breaking the laws of Virginia and was a traitor to his state. So the old man refused to hire them and they all left him.

Ours have gone except one girl, about fifteen, Nanny’s Molly. We clean up and take it by turns to assist and direct in the cooking. It is a great relief to get rid of the others they were so insolent and idle, and Jenny was a dangerous character. She boasted that she had brought the soldiers here to get the swords and threatened to tell that our name was Maury and that we had brought things here from the Observatory.

Two run away negroes applied yesterday for hire. Many little difficulties have occurred since the Yankees have been here, between white people and negroes. In every case the soldiers have interfered in favor of the negroes.

No comments: