Pickard, Kate E.R., letter, Camillus, [N.Y.], March 21, 1853, to "Uncle Peter [Peter Still], [Boston]


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March 21, 1853.

Dear Uncle Peter

I was very glad to receive your letter of the 14th ult. and have waited till now for good news to write you in reply. But alas! I have little to say that will give you hope of a speedy union with those dear ones, that your heart so yearns to meet.

I received a letter from sister Julia last night in which she says –

"I received your letter about a week ago, and the day after it reached me the Doctor was here. So I read him his part about Uncle Peter. He told me he saw Peter's wife and children only a little while ago, and that they were very well. He is trying to get Maj. Mc'Kiernan's consent to part with them but is obliged to go cautiously to work. Maj. Mc'K. is the Dr. says, a grasping avaricious man, and if he were to find out that any people were so much interested in Peter's behalf in the North, it would only incite him to demand more and more for the wife and children here. The Doctor is very much interested for Peter, and wishes most earnestly that he might regain his wife and children, but he says he has very little hope that it will ever be accomplished."

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Now I am very sorry my poor friend that I cannot write you more encouragement but I think I ought not to try to flatter you with unreasonable hopes. Still, while there is a God in Heaven, we ought not to despair. Don't give up your hope in God, Peter - he often hides his mercies for a time behind the gloomiest clouds. We cannot tell what he has in store for us. Even if he denies us our fondest wishes, and suffers the wicked to triumph over us, he will after all make good come out of it, if we trust in Him, and in our hearts resign ourselves to his will. Poor Uncle Tom never got back to his wife and children, but how good and how holy his sorrows made him because he received them in faith and patience. O if you can only have such trust in God, how happy you will be, uncle Peter.

I do not yet feel discouraged about this matter- I still hope that some influence will be brought to bear on Maj. Mc Kiernan's mind that will seduce him to part with those treasures so precious to your heart.

Sister Julia sends me some Tuscumbia news – She says Mrs. Armisted Barton died of typhoid fever about the same that that Col Moon died of cancer – That was in December, I believe. Col. Meredith, too is dead. Mr. & Mrs. Towns have

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removed out of town to their plantation. Uncle Billy Winston lives in the Barton house now, but intends to go to Texas before long where he can find a wild country again. His daughter Miss Mary was married a short time since to Mr Cooper, but very much against her father's will. They were married in the Methodist Church. They board at Mrs Col. Christian's. Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Christian's mother, is dead, and so is Mrs. Charles Cooper, Mrs. John Christian's mother. Mr. John Christian has given up his store and is now on a boat. Mr Penland has left Tuscumbia and has settled in Tennessee. Tom Walker has lost all his property, is even in debt, and lounges about the streets as usual.

That is all the Tuscumbia news she gives me I know you will like to hear of some of those people that you will not be likely ever to see again. You will probably be leaving Boston soon. You must let me hear from you often. I cannot tell how deep an interest I feel in your welfare or how happy it would make me if I could aid in restoring your family to you. We must do all in our power and have the result to that Friend above whose ear is ever open to the cry of the helpless if they put their trust in him.

Our family all remember you with much

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interest. We talk of you often and hope to see you again and to see you happy too.

Your true friend

Kate E. R. Pickard

⟨ Don't neglect to inform me where you go when you leave Boston so that I can write if I have good news for you. We expect Sister Julia early in June. ⟩



Pickard, Kate E.R., letter, Camillus, [N.Y.], March 21, 1853, to "Uncle Peter [Peter Still], [Boston]


Kate Pickard acknowledges the receipt of Peter Still’s letter; relays news that she has received from her sister Julia in Alabama, including concerning his enslaved wife, sons and their owner; and implores Still not to despair over the prospects of gaining his family's freedom.


Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries




public domain


4 p.




Pickard, Kate E. R., “Pickard, Kate E.R., letter, Camillus, [N.Y.], March 21, 1853, to "Uncle Peter [Peter Still], [Boston],” Peter Still Digital Edition, accessed July 16, 2024, https://stillpapers.org/items/show/13.

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