Mar 28, 2019 - Sale 2503

Sale 2503 - Lot 26

Price Realized: $ 1,375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
THE JUDGE WHO SENTENCED JOHN BROWN TO HANG (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Parker, Richard. Group of letters discussing his slaves, and recommending him for his judgeship. 3 Autograph Letters Signed to John W. Luke of Snickersville, VA, one with faint inked postmark. Various sizes; minor wear. Harper's Ferry, VA, 1845-circa 1850

Additional Details

Judge Richard Parker (1810-1893) was a Virginia lawyer and politician most famous for presiding over the trial of abolitionist John Brown. Offered here are two letters written by Parker concerning the hiring out of slaves, as well as a letter recommending him for appointment to the 13th Circuit Court --the court which tried John Brown.
The first letter by Parker, dated 17 April 1845, concerns boarding a hired slave during her pregnancy. "I am sorry, indeed distressed, to think that Betsy should be a trouble to you, and I wish you, if possible, to board her out until after her confinement. I suppose this can be done. I have not myself a place here for her to lay her head, else I would send for her." The second letter, dated 29 December 1846, has similar content, requesting that the slaves be hired out with some haste: "I find it impossible for me to leave Harper's Ferry until after the 1st of January. I wish therefore you would hire out Webb & his wife also for me, upon such terms as you think proper & separately if that will be best. I leave the whole matter to you. I have hired all my men for $65 which was rather below the price in this county, & suppose Webb will bring the same. . . . There is another girl (Juliana) who lived last year at Mr. Littleton's. She was raised in my mother's house, but has been hired out the two last years. I shall tell Jesse to carry her over to you, & would thank you to hire her also."
The final letter (also addressed to John W. Luke) is an unsigned and undated petition regarding "the appointment of a successor to the late lamented judge of the 13th circuit": "We all agree that the office should be filled by . . . the Honble. Rich'd Parker. . . . He is the man . . . who would be most acceptable to the people, & who would fill the office worthily & satisfactorily." Parker would be selected for this post on 15 January 1851, and sentenced John Brown to death in 1859.