Mar 24, 2022 - Sale 2598

Sale 2598 - Lot 53

Price Realized: $ 2,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(SLAVERY & ABOLITION.) George C. Hawkins. Letter noting the regular presence of the Underground Railroad in his small Iowa town. Autograph Letter Signed to his brother-in-law, appended to a letter by his wife Mary Elizabeth Hayward Hawkins. Together, 4 pages, 8 x 69 inches, on one folding sheet; mailing folds, a few later pencil notes. Denmark, IA, 20 December 1857

Additional Details

This letter was written from Denmark in the southeastern corner of Iowa, perhaps 25 miles from the Missouri line. The town was an active stop on the underground railroad; its cemetery was recently named to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom in recognition of the activists buried there. This letter by a Denmark resident acknowledges the regular presence of the fugitives in his town, although he seems to be a hostile witness: "If a nigger comes to this place he gets on to the under ground rail road mighty sudden, and the next thing he knows he is in Canada freezing to death, and I expect that is the only way to abolish slavery in the south: run them into Canada and freeze them to death."

The letter writer, George Clinton Hawkins (1835-1898), explained his politics earlier in the letter, viewing himself as a rare Buchanan supporter in a sea of abolitionists: "Everybody votes the Republican ticket but me and one other fellow. I went for old Buck and he for Filmere."