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Letter, Gabriel Johnson to John Augustine Washington III, 1845 August 6

 Item — Box: 66, Folder: 1845.08.06
Identifier: 2018-SC-058-004
Letter: Gabriel Johnson, Alexandria, to John Augustine Washington III, 1845 August 6
Letter: Gabriel Johnson, Alexandria, to John Augustine Washington III, 1845 August 6

Scope and Contents

Letter in the hand of Henry P. Hill, likely dictated by Gabriel Johnson from Bruin's Slave Jail in Alexandria. Gabriel tells his side of the story following an disagreement with Joseph McFarland, John Augustine's overseer at Mount Vernon. According to Gabriel, McFarland threatened to whip him, but Gabriel "told him that he could not whip me as I did not think any person but my master out to do it or at least to authorize it." McFarland tied Gabriel up, but he escaped. When he was recaptured, he was brought to the jail.

Gabriel writes, "I want you if you please Sir to come down and see about the matter and hope that you will be satisfied that at best I am not the only one to blame. I love you and your family and hope that you will believe me that I have the utmost sort of feelings for you and would not by any means offend you if I could avoid it. I am very anxious to see you here and feel fully the painfull uncertainty of my situation."


  • Creation: 1845 August 6


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain items for preservation purposes.


From the Collection: approx. 60 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections at The George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121