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Letter of Archibald Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, June 3, 1824


Letter of Archibald Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, June 3, 1824


Archibald Murphey was a neighbor and friend of Thomas Ruffin. Murphey wrote a letter to Ruffin about his overseer being overly harsh to his slaves. The neighbors all wanted to give their complaint to Ruffin but made Murphey do it due to his friendly relationship with Ruffin. Ruffin was commonly away from his plantation for work and as a result his overseer had no accountability to act reasonably. Ruffin was known to be overly harsh to slaves after this date which shows that he had little regard for slaves.


Archibald Murphey


Archibald Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 3 June 1824, Thomas Ruffin Papers, Collection 641, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.






Haw River, North Carolina

Original Format



Dear Ruffin,
An unwillingness which than long felt to interfere in other People’s business has restrained me from mentioning to you a fact which my duty to you divide me to disdain long ago; Now could just say a word about it, was not your reputation as well as your intent, concerning. The facts known to my Neighbors better than myself, and they fathom to mention it to you, heavens they expect I will do it. Indeed thanks to personal knowledge of the facts; my information is coming from others; and because it has here the subject of communication with some of the Neighbors, this evening, and surprise has her ___ ___ that you did not know the facts, or insufficient at it, ___ to write to you about it. I allude to what is said to be the evil and barbarous treatment of your negroes by your overseer. ___ this is told to me on this subject be true, it concerns your Character no more than your intent to interfere. ___ ___ to all, to gain the slightest countenance to the ___ that the brutality of your overseer could be in any way sanctioned by you. The neighbors believe as I do, and think you are kept in ___ upon this subject. I know nothing myself, except that the negroes have often appealing to me and begged me to let them ship ___ and show me their ___. I have always refused and told them, if they had complaints to make, they should make them to you. They saw in reply that they are afraid to do so; this is your overseer to find it out, they could be whipped much more. I can ___ ___ your ___. They are, that your negroes are the first place unkind to ___; in the next place, that they are whipped both cruelly and ___; __ the third place that from their ___ and the little he gives them with to purpose their victuals and eat them, you are likely to have your negroes so much ___ that you will sustain a __ help in this way, then you will make gains by their ___. I learned details into particulars, Something I have heard are too revolting to be put on paper. They are probably exaggerating. ___ the traces will your do ___ Will, things have heard ten times more; and I regret you permitting your overseer to ___ him ___. The repent this evening is, that Will has here literally barbecuing, peppering and salting. Without your interference, I ___ the ___ will ___ ___ the ___ of the ___ in a primitive form murder. You will wake due ___ for my ___ on the subject; you know how much I detest and abhor cruelty. We are all the same ___ at what is going in, for the fact that your overseer is a wild, placid, more in his ___ intercourse and ___, kind neighbor. I ___ for more than ___ writes, to help allright, ___ ___, to repel ___. ___ or all, I am told, how ___ ___. Infer your ___ all to the best of the negroes, which have to be will ___ a language that humanity shudders at.
This letter is confidential, and for obvious reasons, it should be so. ___ ___ guilty of treason to you as a ___, if ___ ___ without disdaining to you what I have written, and whether I am at all afraid you are ___ to.
Your affectionate friend-
A.D. Murphey


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Archibald Murphey, Letter of Archibald Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, June 3, 1824, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 25, 2017,