Item Details

Letter to James Jackson, Governor of Georgia

14 Oct. 1799.

“To his Exelency James Jackson. Governor and Commander in Chief in & over the state of Georgia –” Written letter from a Lilyann Williams, to Georgia Governor James Jackson, Laurens County, South Carolina. 14 October 1799. 3 pp., 12” x 7 1/4” A fascinating piece describing the hazards of the American life in the late 18th century, and specifically one woman’s trials and tribulations with the Creek Indians in Georgia. The letter is a petition from Lilyann Williams to James Jackson. Jackson was the 22nd Governor of Georgia who served from September 23, 1798 to November 10, 1801, between periods in the U.S. senate. Williams opens that she “must beg [Jackson’s] attention and assistance in the following disagreeable case.” What follows is a description of her plight. According to Williams “in the year 1787 [she] was taken a prisoner by the Creek Indians” while she lived in Georgia. Not only did William’s husband die while she was in captivity but she “was pregnant when taken, and while a prisoner brought forth a female child”. In May 1795 she was “exchanged for, but the Indians refused to give up [her] child.” By the time of the letter the girl was twelve years old. She writes to Jackson because of a treaty with the Creeks that prescribes Jackson’s ability to demand the child’s release from captivity. William’s begs that “so well knowing the cruelty [of the Indians] by sad experience...I humbly petition our Exelency to...take such steps as you may seem mete. The letter continues with a description of the child, named Esme Hatchey by the Creek. According to Williams, “she is rather low-made and has got a large scar on her side rather below her breast and has got yallow hair.” She left her daughter “in a town called Oakchois.” A journal of the Upper House of the Assembly dated January 1757 in Georgia’s colonial records cites Oakchois as “a Town in the Creek nation.” It’s exact location, however, is unspecified. Williams elaborates that there was “no other white person in [the] town when I left there but herself.” Williams concludes by reiterating her imposition of Jackson and stressing the “parental care and affection which naturally flows from a mother to a child ”. She begs that Jackson “as soon as possible take the legal and Important steps to bring back a Christian person from among the...savages.” The letter is signed “Lilyann Williams.” In order to stress the veracity of her claims, Williams “annexed an affidavit of the truth of the preceding statement in every particular.” A note follows that Williams has sworn under oath “that the contents of the preceding letter hereto annexed is a just and true statement of every matter”. The appendix is signed Robert Hutchison. Incredibly, Robert Hutchison’s note is then verified below by a Charles Smith, who in turn is certified as the legal clerk of the Court of Laurens County. This is a testament to the difficulty of verifying individual testimony, and also of the desire of Lilyann Williams to be taken seriously. The letter is in very good condition, even toning, slightly darker at very bottom edge, minor edgeware to top.

ISBN: none

[Item #ATG00013]

Price: $13,000.00
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