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Letter of Thomas Ruffin to Anne Ruffin, January 29, 1833


Letter of Thomas Ruffin to Anne Ruffin, January 29, 1833


Thomas Ruffin wrote letters to his wife and family frequently when he was away from home for work or other reasons. This is one of the letters that Thomas Ruffin sent to his wife, Anne Ruffin in January of 1833. The letter displays Thomas Ruffin's empathy for his sick daughter and how he regrets canceling a meeting with his wife, but the most telling part of the letter are the racist language Ruffin uses when talking about his slaves.


Thomas Ruffin


Thomas Ruffin to Anne Ruffin, 29 January 1833, Thomas Ruffin Papers, Collection 641, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.






Raleigh, North Carolina

Original Format



Raleigh, January 29th 1833
My dearest Anne,
By Sunday’s mail I received Catherine’s letter; which being without date, I suppose was written for three days late, insomuch as it said nothing about ___ ___ nor of your intentions about the Hillsborough visitor. It made me quite uneasy, from what is said about Alice; and the letter I got today from William has noted & that unconvinced me to a degree, that amounts to a down right low spirits. I should not be so apprehensive, if William had mentioned the nature of his complaint or what William calls it or thinks of it. I will hope however for better accounts on Friday; and I beg that you will yourself, if you can find time, let me know how she is; or if not convenient; ade her, if will comples, to write; or make one of the others. You will get this early Thursday morning; and have it answered in ___, do as she in time for the stage down that evening. I begin to fear that our proposed meeting at Hillsborough must be given up: which will disappoint me so, and I am sure, you also. ___ I cannot expect nor wish you those one child at home in a state requiring your attention. ___ ___ nothing could ___ on you to do so; and that if you wise to come under such circumstances, all the ___ anticipants in the trip would be lost. I wish it were in my power to funding my into as for or ___ Certainly I shall do go for a tall ride- if Alice should become ill enough to make her or you think my presence necessary or comforting. (Illegible) that event then to call me, I cannot think (illegible). I desire therefore, if you can leave Alice, that you should come down on Thursday, or Friday at (illegible); and in that care, unless it should “hail, rain, snow & freeze” so that flesh & blood con’t go through it, I will be there also. ___ I shall not attempt it, unless I hear from home that you will be there: for I should dislike terribly to such a point & not see you & Patty.
I am truly sorry, you have had such a time of trouble with those poor little negro children. I am ___ible of your ___ charity, which has induced you ___ to ___ ___ & rendered you anxious about them. And for that, any ___ ___ that, as for I know how to be ___ in such cases, my absence deprives me of the ___ of taking my ___ of ___ gone ___. I am particularly ___ at the ___ of that man trifling wretch Monon, which has caused so much suffering, & have helped inform. It seems to me, those creatures have no feeling or thought, one or the other; for they will not attend tho their own
___. Mind the conduct of negroes generally & ___ of mine in particular would lead one to the belief, that all good finding in families from their to ___. I do not know, where I have been more ___ than I was at Catherine’s account of Lucy. She is capable of doing her duty and doing it well. She has every inducement which kind treatment on one parts of gratitude & interact on her continue to create, to do in and yet, she will not! You are on the spot & can judge them for best; but it seems to me, that it wants to be right those he evenly corrects and brought ___ & made to perform her service. I will not however ___ ___: nor ___ ___ the ___ function- for I value too much the satisfaction of corresponding with you & suffer ___ to on subject so disagreeable to both of us. Let us put from between us, even, ___ every matter upon which our opinions might not be in ___,for then after upon which we consult and converse with ___ ___ from both. We have the example in which our hearts are duly concerned, our mutual affection; the ___ with of the one for the ___ of the ___, ___ & eternal; our children, their ___, our positions, minds, education & ___ our friends, our ___ & employment, to occupy our thoughts and fill up our intercourse, without it trading & ___ with the services of the vicious or the faulty of memory.
The ___ purchased an excellent ___ sermon Sun on ___. He perceptibly improves, I think, every time I hear him. He is more of a North Carolina man in his words of ___ & in gesture: more authoritative, dignified, & Episcopal in his manner, delivery & in couse; & ___ & ___ movement home among his people. I ___ he has ___ his mind finally, to reside in their place. ___ I do not know if of a truth; tho’ I rather believe it.
I have not heard lately from our late venerable & suffering priest Father hale. The last accounts were unfavorable. He has lost his speech entirely; indeed his tongue was deprived of the power of ___. And yet he could sit up a little & ___ ___ than one would think he would pray. I can not become the least ___ of his religious preparation; but from the amount of people mourne in which he several times last summer introduced himself on that all important subject in ___ conversations with me, I ___ & believe all will be ready at the ___ ___. An ___ reached his children in their town last night that them know, that ___ ___: ___ did you Tuesday morning at the ___ ___ went to Warren today. He was __ they say.
Let me now turn again to our dear children & yours-the treasures I have on their earth. Kiss them all for me; and tell the I won’t forget them in my ___ ___ ___; and that I ___ their in the ___ on my behalf-for sinful creature as ___ & ___ I my devotions, I find that I am more & rather anxious than my own. Help me in the recourse. ___ of the little ones & let them know that I shall love them in ___ as they are good. I will not ___ ___ that I agree of ___ of gone cordial & constant recollection of me, which wont be implied by ___ ___ & good ___. I know you have me always in your thoughts & affections; and believe me, I ___ that every emotion of your own ___bosom is fully reciprocated by
Your attached husband & friend
Thomas Ruffin


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Thomas Ruffin, Letter of Thomas Ruffin to Anne Ruffin, January 29, 1833, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,