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Liberian Letters

University of Virginia, Electronic Text Center
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After ex-slave Samson Ceasar and the slaves of Virginia landowner James Hunter Terrell were resettled in Liberia in the mid-19th century, they corresponded with those left behind on their former estates. This site has digitized collections of these letters, both scans of the original page images and readable transcriptions of the texts. Six letters written by Samson Ceasar to David S. Haselden and to his former master Henry F. Westfall are included, in which Ceasar describes the quality of the Liberian immigrants’ lives, as well as his personal wellbeing. The bulk of the site is the 44 letters written by the ex-slaves of Terrell to his executor James Minor and others left behind in Albemarle County, Virginia. The letters describe settlement locations, such as Clay Ashland, Monrovia, and Careysburg, request supplies, and describe conflicts with the Africans whose land they were occupying. The site does not include return correspondence, though it does provide five external links to other useful resources on Liberia, including maps from the Library of Congress, data on Liberian immigration, and information from Robert T. Brown’s book, Immigrants to Liberia, 1843-1865.

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