~ Joseph and Neville Gee

©2009 Kathryn Gearhart (No portion of this web site may be reproduced, in any form, including Internet, electronic or print, in whole or in part.)

Joseph Gee of Gees Bend, Alabama

Joseph Gee was born in 1763 and was the first child of Charlie and Elizabeth Dobie.  He apparently never married, although there is a family legend that he married a Native American who was not accepted by the family.  If this was the situation, it occurred after his father’s will was filed.   There is no record of any marriage.

The 1790 census shows Joseph owned a plantation in Northampton County. He held 4 slaves.  Joseph disappears from the census record for nearly 14 years.  However in 1802 his father mentions Joseph’s plantation as being adjacent to his own.  In 1793 a deed was recorded in Brunswick from Joseph to Henry Hancock, son of Robert Hancock. In 1803 Joesph sold 34 acres to Jacob Dupree of Northampton County, North Carolina.  In 1806 he purchased land from Edmund Nevill, a relation of his Grandmother Bridget Nevill Gee, in North Carolina.  It may be that Joseph took up residence at Poplar Grove and probably assisted in the management of the plantation for his aging parents.  When Charlie died, Joseph owed his father money that he was required to repay in Charlie’s will. The deed records are filled with purchases by Joseph and Neville as joint grantees in Halifax County, indicating they purchased a good deal of land.

By 1816 Joseph was in Alabama.  He was counted there in a census as holding seventeen slaves.

Summary of the History of Gee’s Bend, Alabama

The first recorded white resident to live in the area was Joseph Gee, a planter from Halifax, North Carolina, who came in 1816, established a plantation, and named the place for himself. Upon his death in 1824, he left 47 black slaves. Two of his North Carolina nephews, Sterling and Charles Gee, came to Alabama in the hopes of inheriting his estate. During the legal maneuverings, Sterling inherited a family estate back home and returned to live there. Charles became manager of the Gee’s Bend plantation. Some people say the Bend accomodated a slave trading operation for the Gees between Alabama and North Carolina. Gee’s Bend was isolated. It was only 7 miles or so from the county seat of Camden but the only mode of transportation across the river was a ferry that operated when weather permitted. The road to Alberta and Camden was 40 miles of primitive travel, clouded with dust in dry weather and covered in mud in the rainy season.

In 1845 the two Gee brothers owed $29,000 to their relative Mark H. Pettway. As settlement, they gave him Gee’s Bend. A year later, Pettway and his family moved there in a caravan with a hundred or more slaves. Except for one cook, the slaves literally walked from North Carolina to Gee’s Bend. The 10,000 acre plantation retained “Gee” for its name but the name of each of the slaves became “Pettway”, a name that has prevailed in Wilcox County until the present day. Today, if someone from Gee’s Bend is named Pettway, he or she is a descendant or married to a descendant of those Mark Pettway wagon-train slaves who walked from North Carolina. After emancipation the black Pettways remained on the land as tenants or sharecroppers.

Plantation Letters to Joseph Gee of Gee’s Bend

March 14, 181(?)

Addressed: Mr. Joseph Gee, Badget’s Creek

Dear Friend,

I have received our letter by Ben and was glad to find you were well as to health as to the part of our being pestered a little it is hard to get over that for I am behind and as usual I have done as you directed me in your letter as far as I could.  There is not one seed of your cotton ginned yet.  In order to export the business I agreed to take twenty four Bails of Mr. Harin’s which we have carried to the mouth of the creek.  I agreed to take it on his saying it was a very nice lot but find it very indifferent and I expect you will have to wait until yours is picked and Bailed for I do not think It will sell for 11 cents….  I think if I had yours there I could sell it for 18 cents…  I would be glad you would come down as soon as possible.  It is likely you have heard of the death of Captain Bower.  We are all well and hope this letter will find you enjoying the same.

I am still your friend as usual,

Richard Rives

Mobile 20th Febuary 1823

Addressed: Joseph Gee, Esquire, Wilcox County, Alabama

Sir,

Your letter for he Steam Boat arrived and duly read we had sent you the baggins, rope and twine before her arrival.  We haveendeavored in vain to get the Arkansas to take you salt but the Captain will not do so.  It shall be sent by the very first opportunity which wil we think be the return of Captain Duncan of the Elizabeth.

Yours very respectfully,

William Taylor

10th of February, 1824

Addressed:  Joseph Gee, Esquire Hurricane Bluff

Mr. Joseph Gee

Sir,

I am truly sorry that the difficulties that exist between you and by Brother are carried on to such a length.  My Brother insists that you have damaged him considerably in failing to make gode your contract with him in clearing of his land which contract he can prove …and state further that you have attacked his reputation….  You must both of you know the cost of those suits will be considerable… and I think it might be possible to settle them on more amicable terms…. …My Brother has been more injured by moving to Hurricane Bluff than he can or will be recompenced for…….The slander has certainly hurt him considerably…. Mr. Murphy and myself have both prevailed on him to forgive and forget and we thought you would certainly not hesitate in amply satisfying him for the injury he had sustained …. I think now would be the proper time as my Brother well knows that Mr. Murphy stands bound for him more than the Amount of property sold enclusive of what he is bound to you for and nothing but friendship and the goodness of heart in Mr. Murphy keeps him in (?) for my brother, should there be a sufficiency of property to pay the demands Will is bound for at present. …I think of couse would have great weight in getting my Brother to compromise for a great deal less that perhaps a court of justice would give him merely to arrest Mr. Murphy from the liability of the debt you hold against him and for his own or family’s future benefit.

My Brother is about starting to the Mississippi … in a few days.  I would be much gratified if there could be an amicable settlement of your difficulties take place previous to his starting.  …He has promised to Mr. Murphy not to be hasty but to act more prudent and let your friends settle it ….  I have known a great many difficulties to be moved by patience and prudence and the interference of friends.  You can both select the friends to intercede on this occasion.  I wish you had called on me when down in the neighborhood.

Yours,

Thomas MConnell

Mobile, 20th Jun 1824

Addressed:  Mr. Joseph Gee, Canton, Alabama

Joseph Gee, Esquire

Bill for Scotch Bagging, Coils Bale Rope, Twine, Drayage and Wharfage, Commissions

George M. Rives

Mr. Joseph Gee

Sir,

Above I send you a bill of Bagging, Bale and Twine as per you instruction shipped for Steam Boat Alegany…. Yours Sir and Respectfully, George M. Rives

Mobile, 29th Jun 1824

Mr. Joseph Gee,

Sir,

I herewith send you bill of lading for the Bagging, Bale Rope,….  …The boat is about to start and I have not time to send you a bill.  I hope the articles be satisfactory.

Yours with respect, George M. Rives

Addressed: Gees Landing, Alabama

~

The Mobile County Burial Records sight Joseph Gee’s death on November 24, 1824, a farmer, age sixty-three, from Wilcox County.  His family in Halifax was informed of his death by letter from George M. Rives.  The Raleigh Register noted his death giving it as December 31, 1824.

Mobile 29th Nov. 1828

Colonel Nevill Gee

Dear Sir,

It falls to my lot to communicate to you the unpleasant information of the death of your Brother Mr. Joseph Gee of Wilcox County, Alabama.

Mr. Gee came to this place on board the steam boat Elizabeth with forty bales of his cotton and placed it in our hands for sale…he had made the purchases for his family use and was ready to return in the Elizabeth again but was taken very ill on Friday evening and continued so until Sunday evening and 11 o’clock at which time he expired.  Mr. Rives and Mathews have about fifteen hundred dollars of his money in our hands.  __(?) intend endeavoring to get hold of his papers tomorrow as many of them are valuable. …I have taken care that he should be decently buried and attended by my family to the grave, he was buried in the best manner our city afforded.

I know of no will he has left during his illness although perfectly in his senses he could not communicate his wishes so as to be understood as he was much pestered with a constant discharge of Phlegam which destroyed his articulation.  (Probably pneumonia)

I have this moment wrote to Mr. Richard Rives who I understand was an intimate friend of Mr. Gee’s and also to his overseer Mr. Benjamin Sale at his Home plantation…

Yours sir with Respect

George M. Rives

N. B. Should I get possession of his papers tomorrow, I will write you by next mail

This letter was sent to Ransom’s Bridge, Halifax County, North Carolina post office from Mobile, Alabama.

Inventory of the Estate of Joseph Gee, Esquire

State of Alabama

Wilcox, County

Agreeable to the annexed order to us directed.  We have this Twelfth day of March 1826 proceeded to appraise the following property  belonging to the Estate of the late Joseph Gee as pointed out to us by the administrator Sterling H. Gee.

Negroes & their Valuation

Negro man Larry  and Woman Rachel    80

Ben       230

Betty    140

Cadar   300

Liza     130

Peter    450

Ally    275

Reddick   500

Saltrice    200

Elas   550

Ester & Child Queen    300

Sam   475

Short Daniel      525

Grace     300

Slim Daniel    550

Penny & Child John   400

David   475

Dick    450

Violet & Child Lewis    462

Drew    500

Boy Hardy    400

Tabitha & Harrison    300

Child James   480

Scotland   250

Tempi    400

Harrod  250

Viny   400

Hilliard     200

Morinda  315

Henry    200

Girl Mary   275

Gilliam   190

Matilda    200

Tom Saltrice    160

Nanney  160

Tom Ally   135

Eliza   125

Guilford  150

Sucy     100

Hiram    125

Cella   120

Maria   100

Dorcas  175

Livestock (and valuation)

3 Broke Mules    1704

Unbroke Mules    2001

Bay Mare    401

Bay Horse Colt  29.50

1 Sorrel Horse (Peter)  40

1 Bay Horse(Odium)    5

1 Bay Horse (George)    50

110 Head of Cattle   550

1 Yoke Oxen   50

1 Yoke Oxen   50

Stock of Hogs  130

Household Utensils

Bedstead & Furniture  25

Bedstead & Furniture  25

Bedstead & Furniture  20

1 Pine Chest   1

2 Trunks   3

1 Pine Press   1

1 Pine Table  .50

1 Pair Saddlebags   5

4 Chairs  2

1 Tea Kettle   .50

1 Pot & 2 Ovens    3.50

1 Loom Sleigh & Harnes   5

1 Butter Pot   .50

1 Chisel  .25

2 Whip Saws   8

1 Crosscut Saw  6

1 Spade   1

2 Press Hooks  1.50

1 Pail    .50

Sprice Mortar & Pestle     .50

8 Spinning Wheels    12

10 pr ??        7.5

Razors & Shaving box     3.50

1 Demijohn    7.5

1 Barrel     1.5

2 Blankets     6.5

5 Meal bags     2.5

2 Hand mills     7

2 Books     .75

Surveryors Compass   251

Auger    1.50

Hand Saw   1.51

Frow   11

Frying Pan   .50

1 Meal Sifter     .25

Hatters ?    15

3 Iron wedges    1.87 ½

1 Small Cooking gaf     .10

1 Foot Adze      .5

1 Drawing Knife      .37 ½

6 Grubbing Hoes      3

21 Old weeding hoes     5.35

10 New weeding hoes    7.5

2 Pair Steelyards    5

9 ?                9

9 chains      9

Bagging & Rope    28.75

9 Rawhides     9

1 Jug     .50

2 Wooden Churns   .5

2 Earthen Pitchers    .5

6 Earthen Dishes    1

4 Heeters     .5

2 Tumblers     .2

2 Pewter Basons    1

10 Earthen Plates   .5

5 Knives & forks   .75

6 Cups and 4 Saucers  .25

2 Tea Spoons    12 ½

8 Table Spoons    .5

1 Set Blacksmith Tools  44.

Saw Gin     73

2 Ox Carts   28

12 Axes     18

Neville Gee

Fortunatley, W. J. Fletcher did a great deal of research on Neville Gee.  His account is summarized here.

Neville was born in 1773 and was the only son of Charlie Gee to remain in Halifax County.  In 1790 he appears to have been living with his parents.  At some point he received a good education.   This seems to have been the case with his other brothers also.   They may have been sent to Virginia, to Petersburg, or to live with a family member capable of providing their education.  They may have been sent to Chapel Hill, where the first university in North Carolina was established. At some point Neville could have studied under a jurist to learn the law.   Later, Neville would board his nephew, William F. Gee, son of John, and provide him with an education.

In 1800 Neville was taxed for three slaves and 439 acres.  Eventually he became the owner of Poplar Grove Plantation and undoubtedly improved it.  In the War of 1812 he served as a Naval Officer, possibly along the North Carolina Coast and in Albermarle Sound.  In 1818 he served in the House of Commons of North Caorlina.

It appears Neville and his brother Joseph were early investors in Alabama which opened to settlement after the War of 1812 and removal of the Cherokee.  These letters between the brothers and sons of this family are preserved on microfilm by University Publications of America and are copywritten.  I am including excerpts and summaries to assist in understanding the family and plantation economics and difficulties.

Colonel Neville Gee married Elizabeth “Betsy” Harwell.  Elizabeth was the grand-daughter of Mark Harwell of Sussex who died in 1788, and the daughter of  Sterling Harwell who was a member of the House of Commons for Halifax in 1800-03.  Sterling Hawell was also witness to the will of Charlie Gee.

From the land records of Halifax County we learn that Neville and his brother Joseph made a number of land purchases together.

Neville was appointed as assessor for the assessment and collection of direct taxes and internal duties, for the states and districts Jan 17th 1814: appointment by the senate and signed James Madison.

On October 11, 1817, Nevill Gee married Elizabeth M. Alston at Halifax.

Notice of the death of Colonel Neville Gee was published in the Raleigh Register on October 2, 1828.  He and Elizabeth had these children:

Sterling Harwell Gee in 1802

Charles James Gee in 1804

Mark W. Gee in 1806

Albert Gee

John M. Gee

Joseph Gee

Mary A. Gee who married Hutchins B. Mitchell the Willis A. Wilcox

Betsy Gee

Williams and Petway Family Connections

Sterling and Charles both married into the Williams Family.

Thomas Barker was a decendent of Richard Warren, signer of the Mayflower Compact at Plymouth Rock in 1620.  From 1756 to 1760 Thomas Barker was Treasurer of North Carolina and from 1760 to 1776 was Commisioner to England from North Carolina.  He accompanied Benjamin Franklin to France to obtain French assistance during the Revolution.  In 1776 Tomas Barker owned 400 slaves and was the largest slave holder in the colonies at that time.  Thomas Barker married Ferebee Savage, widow of Colonel France Pugh.  Their daughter Betsy Barker married Colonel William Tunstall and their daughter was Lucy Tunstall (b. 1775) married Henry G. Williams (b. 1765).

Samuel Williams, son of William Williams from Wales, married Elizabeth Alston, daughter of John Alston from Wales,

Son Colonel William Williams who married Elizabeth Whitmel, son General William Williams  married his cousin, Elisabeth Williams.  Their children included:

  • Tempie Williams who married Colonel Andrew Joyner.

Tempie and Andrew were the parents of Martha Williams Joyner married Archibald

Alexander Austin:  Their children were:

Sarah Bridgeman Austin married Stirling H. Gee, Jr.

Tempie Wiliams Austin married Honorable Charles J. Gee, M.D.

  • Son Joseph John Williams
  • Son Captain Solomon Williams (1732 – 1794). Captain Solomon Williams married Tempie Boddie, daughter of Captain William Boddie. Their children included:

Son , Henry Guston Williams, born in 1765, who married Lucy

Tunstall, born n 1775.  Their children were:

a.      Dr. Solomon Williams b. 1794 married Caroline Alston

daughter of Samuel Alston and Elisabeth Faulcon

b.     William Tunstall Williams b. 1796

c.      Lucy Barker Williams b. 1798 married Elijah Boddie Perry.   Their Son Dr. Sam Perry married Bettie Pettway Gee daughter of Sterling Harwell Gee and Mary Tempie Williams.  Their Son Joshua Perry married Elsabeth Harwell Gee, daughter of Martha Louisa Williams and Charles J. Gee.

d.     Elizabeth Williams b. 1800 married Samuel Perry brother of Boddie.

e.      Henry Guston Williams, Jr. born 1802 married Elisabeth Arrington

f.      Mary Tempie Williams borh July 2, 1804 married Sterling Harwell Gee

g.     Marina Caroline Williams born 1806 married Mark Harwell Pettway.  Mark H. Pettway was sheriff of Warren County, North Carolina for years and then moved to Gee’s Bend in Wilcox County Alabama wher he took over the very large landed estate of Joseph Gee.  He died there.

Harriet R. Williams born 1809 married Dr. Landon Clanton

Martha Louisa Williams born 1811 married Charles J. Gee, brother of Sterling

Samuel Tunstall Williams born 1813

John Buxton Williams born 1815 married Mary Tempie Hilliard

  • Daughter Tempie Boddie Williams who married Geroge Tunstall

brother of Lucy Tunstall

  • Daughter Elisabeth Williams who married General William

Williams, son of Colonel William Williams and  Elisabeth Whitmel, member of the Provincial Congres at Halifax, 1776, Constitutional Convention, 1776.

Sterling H. Gee, son of Neville

Sterling managed his father’s plantation in Alabama and later secured his uncle’s plantation at Gee’s Bend Alabama upon his death, with his brother Charles J. Gee.  After his father Neville’s death, Sterling removed to Poplar Grove and remainded there.  He was a member of the House of Commons from Halifax in 1836, 1836, 1840, 1842 and 1844.

Sterling married Mary Temperance Williams. Sterling and Mary Gee had these children:

Marha Gee died as an infant

Marina Caroline Gee died as an infant

Sterling Harwell Gee died as an infant

Charles James Gee 1831 – 1894

Lucy Tunstall Gee 1833 – 1855

Bettie Petway Gee 1834 – 1905

Mary Louisa Gee 1836 –

Sterling Harwell Gee 1843 – 1865

Charles James 1832-1894, son of Sterling and Mary

Charles studied at the University of Virginia and then at Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia.  He was head of his class and became a physician in Halifax County.  His daughter wrote that he had a good mind with common sense and enjoyed reading Shakespeare and playing his violin.

In 1894 the Raleigh News wrote that Dr. Gee attended the North Carolina Convention in 1861which voted to succeed from the Union.  He served as Surgeon in the First North Carolina Regiment in Northern Virginina under Colone M. S. Stokes.  In 1862 he joined M. W. Ransom, Major General, and was on his staff until Appomattox.  For an interesting account of the Civil War from the perspective of a resident of Halifax County read The Diary of a Secesh Lady. She has some pointed remarks concerning General Ransom and the difficulties of managing a large plantation.

After the war he returned to medicine in Halifax as well as agriculture.  He was one of the biggest planters of the Roanoke and helped found the Roanoke and Tar River Agricultural Fair.  The last three years of his life he was surgeon in charge of the State Farms in Halifax and Northampton Counties.  Dr. Charles Gee was known as a loyal friend, finding good in what others would not, and gracious in judgement of other’s faults.

Dr. Gee was buried at Poplar Grove with his wife.  Major General Ransom, then Senator, U. S. Congress attended the services at Grace Church.

Dr. Gee married Tempie Williams Austin born 1843 who died in 1869.  Her ancestry is given in Williams Family above.

Dr. Gee had one child, pattie W. Gee.  She was born in 1867.  Her mother died in 1869.  Pattie die in 1934.  She was raised by her maternal aunt, Mr.s R. C. Badger, in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Mrs. Badger’s father-in-law was U. S. Senator George C. Badger whoe resignation from the Senate upon secession caused great sorrow in that assembly.  Pattie was the first to try to write a Gee geneology.  She spent the last twenty-five years of her life in a private sanitarium, semi-conscious.  Her poetry was published in 1904 as The Palace of the Heart and Other Poems of Love.

Bettie Petway Gee, daughter of Sterling and Mary

Beetie married Dr. Samuel Perry whose parents were Elizah Boddie Perry and Lucy Barker Williams.  Dr. Perry studied at the University of North Carolina and at the Unversity of Pennsylvania.  They married in 1851 and built a palatial home near Louisburg, North Carolina known as Oakley.  Betie was known for her poise and judgement as well as her painting and music abilities.

Living near Bettie, in Franklin County, North Carolina were her first cousins, daughters of Charles J. Gee, her uncle.  Elizabeth H. Gee married in 1850, Joshua Perry, brother to Dr. Samuel Perry.  Tempie H. Gee married William H. Hill. Among the children of these Gee ladies were several physicians.

Bettie’s grandson, William W. boddie, attorney, newspaper writer andauthor of Hisotric Williamsburg (South Carolina) wrote, …all three of these Gee women married men of patrician rank, bore them children, and have living descendents well-fixed in the world.  They all had exceptionally brilliant minds, but it was their gracious bearing, as rare as beautiful to behold, which especially marked them….

Mary Louisa Gee, daughter of Sterling and Mary

Charles James Gee, son of Neville

The records of the United States Military Academy indicate that in 1824 Charles Gee of North Carolina was declined for admission.  Charles James Gee spent his most productive years from 1825 until 1850 in moving back and forth between his home in Halifax and the plantation in Alabama at Gee’s Bend he shared with his brother Sterling.  He was counted in Wilcox County in the 1830 census, but soon after this in 1832 he was a member of the House of Commons.

He was well educated and taught school to make a living while residing in Alabama with his brother Sterling before obtaining possession of the Gee’s Bend plantation.  He wrote to his father that he needed to return to North Carolina to find a wife, though the Alabama girls were very pretty.  While in Halifax he married Martha Louisa Williams, sister to Mary Temperance Williams, wife of his brother Sterling.

By 1840 Charles J. Gee had returned to  Wilcox County, Alabama to manage the Gee’s Bend plantation.  The 1840 census indicates he was between 30 and 39 years, that another male between the ages 20 and 29 lived in the household.  There were also two females betweein 20 and 29, one between 5 and 9, and four under 5 years of age.  Charles James Gee was about thirty-six years old in 1840.

Charles and Martha are known to have had these children:

Elizabeth Harwell Gee married Joshua Perry

Willie Douglas Gee married James Clanton

Lucy Henry Gee married Thomas Benton

Mary Williams Gee

Harriett Landon Gee married Solomon Fisher

Tempie Hilliard Gee married William H. Hill

Archibald Taylor Gee married Nora A. Roach

Charles James Gee never married

After turning the Gee’s Bend plantation over to his relative Mark Harwell Pettway, Charles resided in Warrenton, North Carolina.  He continue there until his death.

Mark W. Gee, son of Neville

Mark W. Gee went to Fayette County, Tennessee.  However, it appears he soon joined his brothers in Wilcox County, Alabama.  In May, 1848 Joseph Van deVoort was appointed guardian of his minor children as Mark Gee had died.

Albert Gee, son of Neville

In May, 1828 Albert wrote to his brother John from Luggsville, Alabama.  Since you left me here I have been regularly to school.  I have committed the grammer to memory and have read nearly two orations in Cicero. He then goes on to tell about the two smartest boys in class and that there are 45 students, but the teacher gives him the attention he needs.  He asks John to advise him if he should continue in Cicero or begin Virgil.  He says cousin Mark is well and so is he.  The letter is addressed to Claiborne, Alabama.  He was a student at the University of North Carolina from 1829 until 1832.

Albert Gee is counted in the 1850 census in Dallas County, Alabama.

John Mason Gee, son of Neville

John Mason Gee is counted in the 1850 census in Carroll County, Tennessee.  He also went to Wilcox County, Alabama.  John was enrolled at the University of North Carolina in 1825.

Joseph Gee, son of Neville

Joseph Gee died as a young man.  The Raleigh Register published that he died September 10, 1829.

The Acquisition of Gees Bend by Charles J. and Sterling H. Gee

Joseph’s estate was estimated to be worth $40,000 to $60,000.  This was a very substantial sum in 1824.  His nephews, Sterling H. and Charles J. Gee, attempted to secure the estate for themselves.  These nephews were prevented from inheriting the entire estate when the other members of Joseph’s family filed a chancery suit, in Wilcox County in 1825. They did however obtain control by purchasing the estate from the other beneficiaries.  It is through this suit that we learn of Elizabeth Hancock, Charlie’s first wife, and which children were hers.  Exerpts and summaries of the letters written between Sterling H., Charles J. and their father, Neville, and others provide insight into the Alabama dealings of Joseph’s nephews and the management of the plantation.  Items from the Wilcox County Deed Book also detail the purchases from beneficiaries and others with an interest in the estate of Joseph Gee.

1824, Dec. 28: Halifax Co., N. C. I am informed that my brother, Joseph Gee of Wilcox Co., Ala. has lately departed this life, and has appointed me exector of his will.  I appoint my son Sterling H. Gee to take upon himself the office of administrator.  28 Dec. 1824.  Nevill Gee.  Witness W. H. Petway (Alabama Will Book A)

Cahawba, 8th February, 1825

Dear Father,

I arrived at Uncle Joseph’s plantation on the 25th day of January and since that time have been down to your plantation.  I found Uncle Joe’s affairs in very good situation Mr. Sale having staid there ever since his death.  I have examined his papers and find he has left no will.  I have not as yet been able to see either Mr. Crawford or Hitchcock but have advised with two Lawyers of pretty good standing.  They inform me the estate of Uncle Joe descends to the half blood equally with the whole as to the real estate as well as the personal so the laws in this state are exactly like the laws in North Carolina.  None of the other Legates have come on yet and there has been no administration granted on the Estate.  I intend to apply for settlement of administration immediately and expec there is no doubt but what I shall obtain it as I find I can give Security in Wilcox County.  My business to this place this evening was to see Mr. Hitchock to know if I could establish a verbal will.

…Mr. Thomas your overseer made a very sorry crop.  I think he has about 5,000 lbs. of seed cotton and corn shook enough to serve the plantation.  He has the old story over again that the Fresh (overflow of river causing a flooded area) destroyed his crop.  There is some truth in it as the river was very high.  Indeed about the 15 December which destroyed great parts of his cotton.  Charels has taken charge of the Academy at Luggsville.  He was to have commenced his school yesterday.  …I am of opinion that it will be out of my power to get back by May Court as I find Uncle Joe has several law suits on hand which I shall be compelled to attend if I administer.

I should like to know your opinion whether it is better to continue your plantation or hire out the Negroes ___ I shall continue the plantation and hire the Negro fellows at the port if I can which I think is doubtful.  If I can’t I shall continue them on the plantation unless otherwise directed by you in your next letter.

The Arabian filly will go completely blind I think as she is completely blind in one eye and can’t see but very little out of her other.

…I should like to know your opinion what I had better do.  I want you to write plainly to me so I can clearly underand your meaning and give me your opinion what had best be done with your plantation and what best be done about Uncle Joe’s Estate.

…All our kin are well.  Give my respects to Grandpapa and tell him I shall write to him next mail.

I remain your son, Sterling Gee

26 Feb, 1825

Luggsville

Addressed: Colonel Nevill Gee, Hyde Park, Halifax County, N. C.

Dear Father,

I write to let you know what I have been and am doing.  I have at last received an Administration on the Estate of Uncle Joe’s verbal will which if it is Established will give to Charles and myself all the property.  We gave Hitchock $50 retainer and $500 if he succeeds.

…Thomas has made twelve bales of cotton, which is very short crops.  I have not been over to have a final settlement with Tomlinson, but shall as soon as I see the cotton.

I wrote to you before… what I should do with your plantation Negores.  I should like you to write me.  I am now on my way to Mobile to get Uncle Joe’s papers and money.  I shall if I can have your Negroes follow, say 5 of them at the Mobile Port.  I wrote you before that Charles was teaching school at Luggsville at $300 a session of five months, as for Establishing Uncle Joe’s verbal will which will give Charles & myself the property I don’t think I shall succeed in but Hitchcock thinks we shall.  …I shall continue Uncle Joe’s plantation & make another crop and sell out this fall which I think will be best as the people in this county are very uncertain and Hitchcock advises on such a course is legal.  I shall write you again as soon as I return from Mobile.  Tell sister I read her letter today.  I shall answer it shortly.  Give my love to moma, etc.

In haste, Sterling Gee

N.B. Perhaps you may not have gotten my other letter if you have not I wrote you I should continue Uncle Joe’s plantation and Thomas as overseer as I have a sufficiency of business to do to attend to Uncle Joe’s Estate.

Halifax County, North Carolina

22 March 1825

Dear Son,

I read yours of the 26th Feb last night and noted its contents you say that you are about to Establish a Noncuputive Will and furthermore of your object I have been examining closely for the Letter your Uncle Joe wrote me expressing his Labors were for me or my children, etc., but am unable to find it, but if you establish such a will I think it no more than your Duty to do so.  I wrote two letters agreeable to your instructions the one Directed to Catawba and the other to Luggsville in which I communicated an idea that it would or might be best for you not to administer …. …I would advise you to continue your transactions and not to lay yourself liabelin any way and if you do not Establish a Noncuputive Will it is fair that you should act honourably toward the Estate and be sure that you pay no Legacy until the person apling shows himself to be completely authorized to receive and never pay until you have sufficient compensation for your own Trouble and Sacrifices.  Your consideration should be one that you would have taken upon yourself the Responsibility of a great Distance and at the loss of all prospets of Profitable Business at Home for be you well assured that prudence will say that you should Deal with the World as though every man’s hand was against you and that you measure a Man’s friendship so as to Retaliate first who had done you favors for Favors done but not trust him too far for at least nine tenths of the world are for themselves alone.  As to my own affairs your course of proceeding as far as understood them are prudent.  I have thought it might be prudent in the Event that you could purchase the Shares of the Legatees on Good Terms to pay them with my Negroes or any you can procure but this is for future consideration as I apprehend the Legateescannot claim under two years __ as to information given to the Legatees or Devisees of your uncle’s death, etc.  I shall leave that entirely to you of which you had better inquire of your Lawyers.  I should be glad to hear Crawford’s opinion about the affair.  I shall write to Charles shortly.  Advise him to be prudent and to make himself worthy of the Character that Ira Portres gave the Family.  We are in good health at this time through Mercy and I hope you both may be the same.

I am with affection, Your father, N. Gee

Pray pay attention to Thomas and advise Charles to do so in Leisure time as I think it becomes time for me to make something in Alabama.  The wettest and warmest Winter Ever known only one Snow and that the largest and ever seen.

Neville Gee

Luggsville, 12 October, 1825

Addressed:  Hyde Park

Dear Father,

I left Mr. Thomas yesterday morning.  He has picked out about 5,000 weight of cotton all his hads will do.  The Catepillar has injured this cotton.  I think nearly one third.  They have eaten off every leaf and everything of a vegetable matter, which left the stalks completely bare and the great heat of the sun has caused the whole of his cotton to open in consequence of which if it should commence raining it will injure still more, as it is completely bare and exposed.  This is a general thing in the county it is not particularly confined to your crop.  I have madeno disposition of your hands yet, I shall wait until our next court…and see the event and then immediately make up my mind what to do with your property and his also. … I expect the suit Armstrong, McGehu, and Co against R. R. Harwell will be tried.  If it is I shall be able to write you whether the balance of cotton is lost or not that Uncle Bob had the management of.  …In hast your Son, Sterling H. Gee

NB Charles is well and presenthe says he has nothing to say to you all but wish you well.

Luggsville 22 Nov. 1825

Dear Father,

I received your letter dated 6 October and am very glad to hear you were all well.  I am very sorry to hear of the deaths of my friends Arrington, Jenkins and Fanleon.  It has been pretty healthy in this country this Summer and Fall except upon the River there it has been very Sickly.

You’re sure to blame me for my Silence relative to the words spoken b Uncle Joe which was proven as his will and the debt of Uncle Robert.  As to the first the proceedings …(were) sentin the care of my particular Friend Major Henry Taylr which I am in the hopes you have received before this. As to Uncle Robert …Uncle Bob says Crawford, the surviving partner of Armstrong, mcGehee and Co. has agreed to take it out of court and settle it themselves.   If they do I shall get your money this winter.  …The appeal which Edmund (Gee, a cousin and son of William of Darlington) took on our will case from the County Court was dismissed on account of some informality or want of parties. The only remedy left is to file a Bill of Chancery which I expect will be done at next Court.

Mr. Thomas has made a very fair crop of corn and a reasonable crop of cotton.  He has picked out about 11 or 12 Bales of cotton and I think he has 7 or 8 more to Pick but Cotton’s very low now at Mobile, only 12 ½ cents.  The hands at Uncle Joe’s plantation made a very good crop of cotton and a sorry crop of corn.  You mention about selling some of the sorriest of your Negroesat cetain prices, say $800 for fellows and 5 or 600 for women.  These prices could not be obtained so I shal not sell any of them just now.  I think it would be advisable not to sell them until we see the final issue of Uncle Joe’s Estate.

…I discover from your letter that you think I have done wrong in trying to Esablish Uncle Joe’s will giving he property to myself and Charles instead of all the children.  In this you are mistaken for I found there was no other way to get the Estate in Jeopardy but the way I did and I have no dobut but what the will as proven by Col. Evans was Uncle Joe’s real intention because Col. Evans is a man who stands as fair as any Gentleman in the State of Alabama.  He is a man of more wealth than Uncle Joe possessed and has been a member of the Legislature of Alabama and South Carolina…

…I have not made any arrangements of your Negores yet, but intend it as soon as they are done Picking out cotton…. I have some idea of buyin a piece of land opposite Uncle Joe’s plantation and putting them on that or hiring them out.  Your man Luke is sick but not dangerous.

In haste your Son, Sterling

NB Charles is present and well I am now in his school he thinks of leaving Luggsville and going to Canton.

January 10, 1826

Dear Son,

I near had a months sickness in my Family but are all now getting over the worst of it.

Neville than complains that if the cotton crop is so poor he’d as soon have the hands in North Carolina as Jack …in this old worn out country and on the whole have my hands here than there. He then states that perhaps the corn will bring something and he hopes price of cotton will be better in the Spring.

…As to your thinking that I thought you wrong in trying to Establish the will I … never thought so….  John (Neville’s younger son) is yet between two opinions whether to go to Central Colledge or to Judge Henderson. He then goes on to speak of a horse race.

Wilcox, 10 March 1826

Dear Father,

…I sold your improvements to Colonel Darrington for $300.  Your corn about 300 bushels to him for fifty cents a bushel your pork 3,400 lbs to L. T. Barnes for $5…, your cattle about 25 head I have not sold yet though I have offered them for $125 all on a credit of 12 months.  Your six Negro men I have hired to a Mr. Hunt who is erecting a salt work near Uncle Robert Harwel’s at $15 per month.  Colonel Darrington has Charlota conditionally if she has a child he give me $50.  If she does not he gives me $70 for her.  Your mules and horses I want myself and have brought them up here.  Candace, Pen and ten of their children I have at this plantation and will pay you hire for them wha they are worth.  Thomas made about 20 Bags of Cotton weighing 400 pounds, I expect as Mr. English ahd not packed it when I left Choctaw…. Cotton is worth at Mobile at this time for 10 at 12 cents.

…we made upon this plantation 78 Bales of cotton weighing 400 each.  Charles & myself hired and rented the hands and Negroes and brought over the Home Cattle, Hogs, plantation utensils and belongings to the Estate and we will attend to the plantation this year.   I shall leave here about 1st May for North Carolina.  The law suit is commenced again in Chancery.

I have been unwell for two or three weeks, but am nearly well again. …The land, Negroes, Horses, Mules, Tools, Corn, Fodder, and every other expense of the plantation this year about $6,500 this year __ and I expect to make a crop worth $7,000.    I should like for you to attend to old Mr. Porter land business as I never gave my note for it….  I don’t know what to say about the sheriffs business or what to say to Mr. Petway.  I should like very well to be sheriff, yet I should like very much for you to continue a little longer in the office.  I would like to know what John (his younger brother) is doing if he is at nothing tell him study law as soon as possible.  I have not heard from any of you in thre months.

My love to Grandpapa and Mama and to all my brothers and sisters.

Your son,  Sterling

10 March, 1826

Dear Father,

As brother has given you everything that could at this time be said ___ I will only say I think his calculation for our expenses this year are too great.  We in the first place rented the land for $50.  Hired about 10 hands for (?), bought the stock of catle, hogs, mules, horses, and almost everything of the estate which was sold $1,200…. I now think we should make at least 100 bags of cotton and 4 or 5 thousand bushels of corn.  Now the uncertainty in my opinion is this, whether we shall be paid a good price for our Negroes or not….

I have a good many solicitations to take another school….

Your son, Charles J. Gee

I should come to North Carolina…. I need a wife but I find plenty of pretty girls and well accomplished here.

My love to Mama and Grandpapa, your faithful son, Charles J. Gee

In May 1826, Sterling returned from a visit in Halifax and carried with him a letter from Mark H. Petway, of Halifax, to collect money on behalf of Petway from R. B. Marshall, Esquire, which was being held after settlement of a suit between Petway & Vaughn versus Whitmill.

1826, July 7: South Carolina.  We, Edmund Gee, Pleasant R. Gee, Jacquiling Gee, William F. Gee, Isaac H. Hunter, and Jannett M. Hunter his wife, William H. Fraser and Matilda Fraser his wife, surviving children and legal representatives of John Gee, esquire, late of Darlington District, S. C., deceased to Sterling H. & Charles J. Gee., of Wilcox Co., Ala., their interest in estate of Joseph Gee, of Wilcox, dec’d. .(Alabama Will Book A)

1826, Oct. 30:  Whereas a compromise has this 30 Oct. 1826 been reached between Sterling H. Gee and Charles J. Gee, who claim the estate of the late Joseph Gee, by vitue of a non-cupative will of said Joseph Gee, of the one part, and Arthur Smith and William Wright in behalf of themselves and of Mason Smith, wife of John Drew, Patsy Smith, wife of John Routon, Polly Smith, wife of Joseph G. Thompson, Sarah Smith, wife of Joseph D. Ford, Nevil Smith, Lawrence Smith, Memima Wright, wife of said William Wright, who claim as heirs of said estate through Arthur and Patsy Smith, dec’d, said Patsy being in her lifetime the sister of said Joseph Gee…(Alabama Will Book A)

1827, January, in a letter to his father Sterling wrote that he hired out his father’s Negro men to the Salt Works again, and that the slave woma Charlote was pregnant and would continue to live with Colonel Darrington at a price of $50.  Sterling kept the other women and children and would pay his father for their work. He also informed his father that the slave woman Temp ws pregnant and Candace ws ill, but not in danger.  He then stated that a compromise with the heirs of his uncle had been reached and he paid $6,109 out to them and had $3,500 more on June 7, 1828.  In examining the will book it is clear that Mark assisted his brothers by taking documents to Georgia and other locations.

Sterling packed 18 bales of cotton averaging 375 pounds in weight and expected to have 20 more bales.  He intended to send $1,000 to his father and as soon as they disposed of the cotton he would also send $2,500 with his brother Mark, for his Bank debt, and $700 for Bailey.  He expected to send Mark back to Halifax by March 10th the date his Bond became due.  They had employed an overseer on the Gee’s Bend Plantation and gave him $20 each month.  Sterling says, Mark appears highly pleased with the country and amuses himself very well hunting deer, etc.

1827, March 20th in a letter to his father Sterling wrote that he hopes Mark has arrived safely.  Sterling then stated, …you mention in your letter that you think it necessary for us to let you know how and when we intend to settle the Estate of Uncle Joe so as to deliver over to you your Legacy as you think it is time to do so with convenience to Dunebey in the first place we have your Bond to Uncle Joe for as large amount as we have paid any Legatee, who was only our cousin, now I expect you be more Linient  with us as you are our father…so I shall say no more on this subject. Evidently Neville owed the estate more than the value of what he stood to inherit from the estate.

Further in the letter we learn that the slave Jack was sick at the Salt Works but got better and the slave Candace became hysterical when Jack was sent to the Salt Works, there but was settling down a little.  The crop of cotton and corn were expected to be good if there wasn’t a freshet.  They had several lawsuits yet to be tried.  Sterling states, …I had a small fight the other day in Claiborne about one of the suits but did not get hurt any. He indicates he had seen a person named Charles Marshall from North Carolina who was still disapated and Sterling did not believe there was any chance to get any money from him.

The spring was early but cold.  Sterling expressed concern for Mark, as he had been gone 3 weeks without any word.  He wrote that he wanted his respects given to Major Charles Gee, to his mother, sisters, and the children.

In July of the same year Sterling wrote that a severe drought of 8 weeks without rain had damaged the crops, but the Negroes were all healthier than ususal for the time of year.  He then said that because of the collapse of the Tuscumbia Bank cash was scarce but he expected to collect all of Neville’s money by winter and that either he or Charles would return the next spring unless the Public Land Sales occured as they intended to purchase land.  …if we do not purchse land I expect we will move to Florida or Louisianna, but we will be in North Carolina before we move. …   The value of property was low and money was scarce. Negro men were worth about $500 and women from $350 to $400.  Cotton was worth 7 to 9 cents, corn from 40 to 50 cents per bushel.  Again he expresses his love to all the children and regards to Major Charles Gee.

1827, Oct. 24: Twiggs Co., Ga. Peter G. Thompson to Sterling H. and Charles Gee of Wilcox Co., Ga., sell all my interest in esate of late Jos. Gee; also the interest of … and will defend same against my self, m heirs and against Henry T. Thompson & his heirs, Eliza Parker and his heirs, Jos. G. Thompason and his Heirs.  14 Oct. 1826. Witnesss: Wilson C. Hart & Mark W. Gee.  Mention of John Glover and his wife Sarah.  Mark W. Gee acknowledged his signature to above in Wilcox Co. on 24 Oct. 1827. (Alabama Will Book A)

State of Ga. Co. not named.  John Glover and his wife Sarah Glover, formerly Sarah Thompson and originally Sarah Gee, to Sterling H. and Charles J. Gee, their share of the estate of Joseph Gee. (Alabama Will Book A)

1827, Dec. 8: Elbert Co. Ga. Joseph Ford and Sally, his wife, to Sterling H. & Charles J. Gee.  Interest in the estate of late Joseph Gee.  8 Dec. 1827.  Joseph and Sally Ford acknowledged their signatures to this deed in Oglethorpe Co., Ga. 8th Dec. 1827.

Wilcox co., Ala. Arthur Smith of Fayette Co., Ga to Sterling H. and Chas. J. Gee of Wilcox Co., Ala., interest in estate of Joseph Gee, dec’d. (Alabama Will Book A)

1827, Dec 20: Montgomery Co., Ala.  William Wright and Jemima, his wife, to Sterling H. & Charles J. Gee.  20 Dec. 1827.  Witnesses Arthur Smith, Robert Mosely, Jr. (Alabama Will Book A)

Jasper Co., Ga. John S. Drew and Mason, his wife, to Sterling H. and Chas J. Gee, of Wilcox.  Witnesss Lawrence Smith, William Drew.  Owen H. Kenan, Judge of Oakmulgee Circuit in Ga. (Alabama Will Book A)

Fayette Co., Ga.  John Routon and Patsey, his wife, to Sterling H. and Chas. J. Gee of Wilcox, their interest in estate of late Jos. Gee of Wilcox 28 Nov. 1827. Witness Arthur Smith, Lawrence Smith. Before Owen J. Kenan, Coweta Co., Ga. (Alabama Will Book A)

1828, April 7: State of GA., ___ County, Joseph G. Thompson and Polly, his wife, to Sterling H. and Chas. J. Gee, of Wilcox, their share of estate of Jos. Gee, dec’d. Joseph G. and Polly Thompson are heirs of Patsy and Arthur Smith, and Patsy was full sister to Jos. Gee, dec’d. (Alabama Will Book A)

In May 1828 there is a letter to John Williamson regarding a lawsuit against Joseph Gee over debts.

Neville Gee died in October, 1828, but Charles J. and Sterling took another two years to finalize the estate by purchasing the interests of all the heirs.  Sterling lived in Halifax and Charles resided at Gee’s Bend after their father’s death.

1829, March 11:  Fayette Co., Ga. I, Lawrence Smith, to Sterling H. and Chas. J. Gee. Of Wilcox, claim to estate of Joseph Gee, dec’d. Witness Arthur Smith.

1829, April 18: Whereas Joseph Gee, late of Wilcox Co., Ala., died leaving an estate whichhe bequeathed by a nuncupative will to Sterling H. Gee and Charles J. Gee, sons of his brother, Nevil Gee of Halifax Co., North Carolina. (Alabama Will Book A)

1830 Jan 23: I, Thomas Turner, of Ala., have this day received of Sterling H. Gee, $464.00, in full for the purchase of my wife, Eliaz’s right to the Negro slaves belonging to estate of late Joseph Gee, in Ala.  John A Binford, Jus. Peace in Wilcox Co. (Alabama Will Book A)

1830 June 7: Wade West, of Halifax Co., N. C., this day rec’d of Sterling H. and Chas. J. Gee, for my wife, Elizabeth H. Gee’s right to estate of late Jos. Gee. Made in Wilcox, Co. (Alabama Will Book A)

Records from Gee’s Bend

The preserved letters of Charles J. and Sterling H. Gee make it very clear that they were involved in quite a few law suites, either suing others over debts or being sued over debts.  In 1836 there was a Supreme Court decision regarding a business transaction involving Charles J. and Sterling H. Gee, because it involved interstate commerce.  Basically H. Smith Evans, the drawer, wrote a bill of exchange, (similar to a promissory note), for $5,350 on December 16, 1824 issued to George M. Rives, the drawee, of Mobile, Alabama.  The bill of exchange stated that twelve months after the date, payment was to be made to Thomas Evans at the Mobile Branch of the Bank of the United States by Harris Smith Evans, and that the note was negotiable.  Later, it was given to Charles J. Gee for goods received, and later endorsed as payable to Sterling H. Gee.  Sterling’s position was upheld by the court and he also received 10% penalty for his trouble. Gee V. Evans.

Another suit set this precedent__ Debts Due from Cosurety to Principal__Where a debt was due to D. from A., as principal, and B. amd C., as sureties, and B., for a valuable consideration received of A., promised to pay it to D., but failed to do so, and C., paid it, it was held that A., might maintain an action against B., for C.’s use, for the amount paid. Gee v. Nicholson, Alabama.

In 1837 or thereabouts A H Arrington of Nash County, North Carolina transported slaves overland from to Mississippi and sold these to Charles J. Gee for $24,000.  This sale resulted in a lawsuit.

In a letter written by Sterling from Halifax to Charles J. Gee, Esquire at Mobile in September, 1837, we learn that Charles J.  had promised to send $1800 to Sterling, who had made calculations and promises based upon receiving that sum.  The bank in Raleigh had required Sterling to renew his Bond for an additional 3 months and it was due October 17th.  Sterling would need to have some money or be sued, which he was hoping his brother would prevent.  Sterling advised that had seen Peter Foster and paid him $1,000 and told him $5,400 would be paid by winter.  Sterling makes it clear he had many debts, but no one had yet sued him.  He also tells Charles he has purchased M. Parrington’s land from his son John and that payment would be made by Bond May 1st presented to Charles in Alabama for payment.

Then Sterling expresses concerns …as to shipping cotton to A. Harris at Norfolk it is objectionable on two grounds first New York is a much better cotton market and the rate of exchange is in its fvaor and secondly my friend Andrews likes most of the Commission Merchants has stopped payment.  As to whom you would ship to, your chances for information as to the best and most solvent houses in New Youk is better than mine, therefore you can ship to any person you may think proper and write them to pay over to me the proceeds of the cotton and advise me of it by express mail. Sterling then advised that if he didn’t hear from Charles by the 15th of October he would come to Alabama.  Sterling continued that all were well in his family except his youngest daughter, little Marina and that Mr. Petway and family were also well. Marina died as an infant.

There are indications in several letters that cover the 1840’s period that Charles is having some financial difficulties.  Also, at this time cousin William F., son of John, is involved with the business.  Charles had solicited Alexander Pope and his son to restructure his debt, but Mr. Parnell delivered a letter stating he had been turned down because Pope and his son would have …come under large obligations for this purpose (to carry you), which might cramp our business. Then an agent for J. P. Norris demanded payment by May 1, 1841 or face a suit.

In July, 1843 another letter states that $2000 had been expected and that $1000 was due in New York on the 8th of August, but in an effort to accommodate a good customer, they would arrange the money for Charles and it could be considered an advance from the next years crop.  The sender expresses his hope this will make it easy for Charles and encourages him to get his crop to market as soon as possible.  The letter states that Mr. Parnell had delivered a blank draft signed by Charles and W. F. Gee and that it had been filled up for $2000 due in 6 months.

In February, 1845 Charles was shipped heavy ormsburg, candles, apples, iron nails, vinegar by E. L. Andrews.  The next month Mr. Andrews writes that they have sold cotton at 4 cents and that three of the Negroes purchased from Charles have been sick.

In February, 1847 Charles, at Warrenton, North Carolina, received a letter from M. H. Petway.

Dear Sir,

As soon as I reached Bridgeport I carried to Judge Bridges that Doctor Alston would soon be on and pay him for the Negroes and furniture.  He told me he had sold Penny, Tuby and Terry, but with a Promice to take them back if he wished and would do so the wek after the sasle of Land.  He came over here to J. Alston who seems to be very friendly to your interest and carried to him that I wanted to send on some of the furniture.  He advised me not todo so.  If I did he was certain it would be attached as it had been with some difficulty he had prevented it being attached in his possession.  So, I waited for Doctor Jim to come on… him and Bridges has been all the time until day before yesterday arranging the matter.  He could get nuthin of the old Negroes and has bought from Bridges the furniture and Matilida $660.18.  Since here have seen Tuby, sold to Van DeVert and Penny sold to old McConnelly.  Both say they rather die than go to North Carolina and their puchasers would not let Bridges off the trade.  Terry is sold to Charles Marshall.  Bridges says he is under no obligation to pay any Rent for him….

Doctor Alston will write.  He left here day before yesterday after laying by such furniture as you wanted sent and bargained with MCarty at Cureton to have them Boxed and packed and I’m to send them to the River.  He is to come tomorrow to Commence.

Mr. Irbys has applied to me several times to know where their bond was as they wished to pay it.  Told them I knew nothing of it, expected you transferred it.  If they wished me to write you they wished to pay you the money as they were afraid it would be attached in their hands as they had several times had to make (efforts) to prevent it.

A few days after the Sale of the Land I wrote to Sterling of the sale and all the Land in the 16 sections was not sold because the Register could not find a Patent or Deed for any Part.  The school commissioners now claim it.  I know not where to look for the title papers so you must write me where I can find them.  Have had no answer or letter from Sterling.  A good many of your acquaintences have inquired after your health, etc.  The people here are pretty much as when you left.  Green W. seems to put some interest for you.  Reported or said you had paid all you ever owed to Bridges for he had seen the Receipts on the day of sale.  Bridges attacked him with it and told him he would cut his ears, etc.

I find considerable difficulty in getting along with the People in this county and have no sort of inducement to remain any longer than I am compelled. …I am in hopes you have entirely recovered your Health.  My love to your family with much respect, I am you obedient servant.  M. H. Petway

In February, 1848, at Warrenton, North Carolina, Charles received a lengthy letter from John W. Bridges of Alabama.  He wrote that he was surprised that Sterling claimed all of the North Carolina property as his sole and separate property, since he had always stated that the property there as well as the property in Alabama were joint property of both he and Charles.

He continues … I have expected that perhaps you were offended with me for selling thre old Negores and I should not have done so had I supposed you wold so soon have sent for them.  I ws conficent however that it would be to your interest for me to sell them because not only the expense of getting to North Carolina, but so far from being any benefit to your family they would very soon be a charge upon you.  I found old Jerry hard to get offers at the price for which he was sold and Alston was not willing to take him, though he would have taken the old woman if I could have gotten the buck. The balance after paying their cost I expect to have:  Jerry was sold on credit at 90 cost – cash, Penny 90… and the other 125 making $305 which is past due but sent collection.

…The claim which I hold jointly against you and Sterling is attached to the commission and interrogatories I have taken….

He continues, … W. Petway is at your old place preparing for a big crop. …I should be glad to visit North Carolina and purchase a few Negroes….  …I have purchased the other half of the steam mill.  That with other matters has incumbered me with quite as much as I can stand under.  I can mae no conjecture when Petway’s case will be disposed of perhaps not in the life time of some as I cannot fel free from apprehension so long as it is suspended among the doubts and uncertainties of  (L ?).  Petway says he is ready for trial….

Mr. James Carsons, Attorney wrote to Charles in response to a letter wriiten by Charles and delivered by Mr. T. J. Alston.  The letter was about claims against Mr. Aaron Livingston of Louisianna.  Mr. Carsons stated that he has considerable property but he believed that Livingston had transferred the property to his wife to avoid his debts.  He continued that he would be happy to investigate and pursue Charles interests by visiting Monroe to determine the status opf the title.

From Thomas. B. Lee, Attorney and Counselor at Law, Office No. 8, St. Charles Street, New Orleans, wrote to Charles that he was interested in joining Charles in the purchase of the property on Bayou Beoff belonging to the heirs of William Clak if it can be purchased on terms which allow them to make money and get good title.  As a cotton estate the property is valueless.  As a sugar estate it would require some additional investments.  The lands on the Bayou Beoff are now considered good sugar lands….

In October of 1850, Mr. Pettway wrote once again to Charles in Warrenton, North Carolina and it is clear from the letter that the legal and financial worries were continuing for both as they both faced debts and suits.  Of interest is his comment that  We have not rain harldy this sumer. Alabama River they say is as low as it was in 1839.  (We) can’t get our cotton to market.  If I could have done so should have been in Nourth Carolina to your Warrenton Superior Court.  Corn and cotton crops are very short.

In December, 1850 Judge Bridges wrote to Charles.  He states …Your relative, William F. Gee, will leave for Texas in a few days.  We have sustained some losses in our community recently by the death of several of our citizens… killed by the explosion of the Steamer Douglas.  …We have made very short cops.  All are done picking out.  I hope you will come out this winter when I will be please to see you.  The Trust Comp;any have taken the case of Petway to the Superior Court and heaven knows when it will have an end.  I hear that Mr. Petway’s daughters have arrived at his house from North Carolina.  I will, in a few days, go and see Petway.  Your obedient servant, John W. Bridges