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Title: Letter from Thomas I. Lenoir to Thomas Lenoir, May 30, 1839: Electronic Edition.
Author: Lenoir, Thomas Isaac, 1817-1882
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and William H. Smith
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 21K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

No Copyright in US

The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Lenoir Family Papers (#426), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Thomas I. Lenoir to Thomas Lenoir, May 30, 1839
Author: Thomas I. Lenoir
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 426 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Enrollments and Finances
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Social and Moral Issues/Slavery
Personal Relationships/With Family Members
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
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All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Lenoir reports to his father that, despite receiving $200, other debts remain to be paid. He provides news of relatives living in Hillsborough, NC, discusses the price of slaves, and seeks an appointment as a census taker.
Letter from Thomas I. Lenoir to Thomas Lenoir, May 30, 18391
Lenoir, Thomas Isaac, 1817-1882

Page 1

Chapel Hill May 30th 1839

Dear Father

By Cousin John 2 I received a letter from you with two-hundred Dollars inclosed—
You mentioned that you wished to know, what the accounts against you here & at Hillsborough would amount to by the end of this session—Before receiving the fifty Dollars which you sent me, by mail, I borrowed about 120 Dollars of Mickle & Norwood, 3 which I hope will be sufficient to cancel all my debts on Chapel Hill—Therefore your whole account will be transfered to M. & Norwood's store—I was in Hillsborough about ten days ago, the balance then due to Mickle & Norwood, on the accounts of Mary Ann , Walter , Rufus , & myself, for merchandise, Tuition, board &c., amounted to 464 Dollars, & I suppose that the money necessary to carry us home, will together with a few necessary articles which the boys & my-self may have to purchase, will increase the amount to 500 dollars—I have paid them twohundred dollars of what you sent by John Jones , & if we borrow money of them to pay the expenses of our trip to Wilkes, there will remain due to them threehundred dollars, which I suppose would be very acceptable at this time—
Sister & her family were pretty well on last

Page 2
Thursday evening—Some of Sister's boarders have given Lou the itch but as it has only broken out on her feet & ancles perhaps they will be able to stop it—I fear that all of them will get it—
I do not think that Jo. will do much at farming this year, the bug is in his wheat, and a good deal of his corn was planted rather late, & in new ground that was not properly broken—I suppose that he is making a little by taking boarders He & Mickle I believe are doing pretty well at merchandising— Sister appears to get along at housekeeping pretty well for a new hand, she has a good deal of trouble with Dinah, & I believe that she and Jo. are both heartily tired of her—& would be glad to get clear of her & children, she appears to be what she always was at in Wilkes, 4 an artful, deceitful, & lazy negroe, willing to decoy others into mischief, & therefore a dangerous fellow-servant for young negroes, & an unprofitable servant to the owner—They have very little trouble with their other servants, Jayson, Ad. & Eliza, who all appear to be doing well
Negroes hired here last spring at the rates of about 75. Dollars for a common man & 30. for a woman without children—I have heard of no negroes selling lately 15 or 20 were sold here about 2 months ago at very high prices, the men, without trades, sold, some as high as 13,000 Dollars,5 & none went for under 1000, six months credit—The women sold proportionably high, most of them bought by speculators—

Page 3
Walter & Rufus are both doing well, & I think that they are uncommonly good boys especially Walter I hope that Mr Green will let Walter have the room which I now occupy, if I knew that he would not I would try to procure him one somewhere else in the Vilage, for I think it greatly preferable to rooming in college In the Vilage he would not be anoyed by company, & noise which is sometimes almost intolerable—One is about as dear as the other—My board costs me ten dollars pr month, besides bed & washing, wood, candles, room rent &c. This is about the average cost, at some places board may be had at nine dollars, but at others it costs eleven—If I were five or six years younger & had plenty of money I would like very much to spend a year or two more at Chapel Hill, but under present circumstances I have no idea of doing so, but calculate on improving my self in future by studying alone—When I leave Chapel Hill I expect to feel very much like a fish out of water, in consequence of having no settled business to engage in, but hope that you will give me some advice upon that subject—Several weeks since, upon hearing some persons conversing about taking the Census for 1840, the idea struck me, that if I could get the appointment for Wilkes, that I might be as profitably engaged at that business for a month or two as at any thing else, & upon consulting with Govr Swain about it, he seemed to think that it would be well for me to get the appointment if

Page 4
I could, & suggested the propriety of applying immediately, & (he) kindly proposed to write to Genl Daniel of Raleigh, whose has business it is to make the appointments, he accordingly did so—I do not yet know whether I shall be appointed or not (as there are some other applicants)—I also wrote to Genl Patterson 6 a few days since requesting him to write to Genl Daniel about it. I do not yet know much about the duties or profits of the office, I would be glad if you would give me any information that you can upon that subject, & if you know of any particular reason why the appointment it it will not suit me, I will yet decline the appointment, provided I get it, if I can do so with propriety7

Your affectionate son

Thos I Lenoir

Please to excuse my mistakes & bad writing & I have to write with a cut finger & therefore can't can't conveniently copy it off.


1. Lenoir Family Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Col Thomas Lenoir P.M./ Fort Defiance/ Wilkes [present-day Caldwell] County/N.C." The amount of postage, "18 3/4" cents, is handwritten in the upper right corner. A circular stamp appears in the upper left corner, with "CHAPELHILL N.C." inside the circumference of the circle and "MAY 30" in the center of the circle. Another hand has written down the left side of the envelope face "1839/T. I. L."; "1839" appears directly above the address.

2. John T. Jones (d.1838) was one of Lenoir's favorite cousins.

3. The Hillsborough Recorder for February 3, 1837, describes "Mickle & Norwood" as merchants interested in buying "Flax seed and feathers." By 1839 Mickle and Norwood owned a dry goods store at the corner of King and Churton Streets in Hillsborough, NC.

4. Wilkes (present-day Caldwell) County, NC, where Fort Defiance, the Lenoir family home, was located. The slave Dinah went with her mistress Laura Lenoir when she married Joseph Norwood .

5. Lenoir probably meant to write "1,300 Dollars" instead of "13,000 Dollars." In 1837 young, able-bodied field hands were valued on average "from $900 in Richmond to $1,200 in Charleston and $1,300 in New Orleans" (Franklin, Runaway Slaves 285).

6. Gen. Samuel Finley Patterson (1799-1874) was Lenoir's cousin.

7. On March 4, 1840, Thomas I. Lenoir was appointed Assistant Marshall for Wilkes County, NC, for the 1840 Census.

8. The postscript is written down the left side of page three of Lenoir's four-page letter.