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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 155, May 22-23, 1858

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Identifier: DX02064451

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 155, May 22-23, 1858

Description: Regarding Fanny Fern's tales about Harriet Jacobs.


I feel more like growing older than ever yet. I want a home and Hannah [Bennett]. God give them to me!

Another item. Castle's wife [Hannah Gunn Castle] lives with another man, and old Mr [William] Bezly has given up farming.

23. Sunday. To Brooklyn with [Jesse] Haney, the day's promise exceeding performance in weather. All the folk as usual. A call at [Mortimer] Thomson’s before dinner — and out but Mrs T. the elder [Sophy Thomson] who came over to Oxford St in the afternoon. Fanny [Fern] and family project letting the house and returning to New York. Reason — want more "society." (Grace [Eldredge] is 17 and ought to have a fair chance at matrimony. It's a fair reason, too. Many a pretty and amiable girl in England never gets a husband in consequence of the hum-drum, pokey way her family vegetates in. 'Tis so in ours.) Fanny spake of "Hattie," [Harriet Jacobs] Miss [Louisa] Jacob's mother. The story is a tragic and touching one, illustrative of the far-reaching wrongs inflicted by "the sum of all villanies," Slavery. The woman was a slave, young and good-looking. Her owner [James Norcom] pursued her lustfully, she detesting the man, and this, in conjunction with his wife's jealousy, made the slave-girl's life a hell. She was flogged and ill-used. A relative, some old woman, her mother or aunt kept her concealed in a hiding-place prepared for her, a sort of hatch in a loft, and here, with her spine bent into a hoop she lived six or seven years, finally escaping to the North. The Willis family — N. P's first English wife [Mary Stace Willis] received her, her price and that of her children [Louisa and Joseph Jacobs] was paid. These were born to her by a white man [Samuel Sawyer], now a member of Congress. She liked him and gave herself up to the lover of her choice rather than her brutal owner. The incipient M.C. like a true

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1858-05-22

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Marriage
African Americans


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