1865 North Carolina Colored Convention: “In his speech Galloway said that he did not believe the negro would abuse the ballot box any more than they had the cartridge box”
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LUCIUS PARKER MERRIAM (1846-1883).
Autograph Letter Signed New Berne, N.C., August 29, 1865. 5 pp., on “Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands” lettersheet.
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands,
Head-Quarters, Eastern District of North Carolina,
New Berne, N.C., Augst 29th 1865.
My Dear Mother,
… I hope, if possible, to get North by the first of October. Mr. Fitz wishes to go very much…. I rec’d a nice long communication from sister Annie … It came Saturday morning, the same time Lt. Mellen arrived here. He had his pockets picked in N.Y. of $400.00. You must have been delighted to see Annie once more. I don’t wonder you were alarmed for her safety after hearing of the accident to the boat train. It seems as if a special providence detained her in N.Y. I should think I’ve kept up with Annie pretty well in getting to ’63’ before she did… <2>… I am so glad Annie is pleased with our new house [back home in Massachusetts]– I know it must be a good tenement of Annie is pleased with it… I expected that Laura would be of little use to mother. Mr Fitz has heard that that the other girl arrived at Mr. Abbey’s at Chicopee all right.
I have been to Morehead but once on the Sabbath. I don’t think that it is exactly right to go there for pleasure on the Sabbath… I shall try and go down there bathing some week day…. From all I hear I guess Capt. Will stay here the rest of the year. I don’t want to go to school till next Spring anyway. Mr. Fitz and myself can double our money by <3>staying here through the winter. Of course I shall come home a month this ‘fall.’ When I come home I can explain it all to you – I guess Annie has been putting a flea in your ear. I know you want me to come home but when I se it is such a good chance to make something out here I think it is worth staying for. The weather here is quite comfortable and unusually healthy & no signs of sickness or an epidemic are apparent. I can see it is a much different climate from last year.
The other afternoon I was much surprised to see David Boyden...It is over 3 yrs since I have seen him, he having been off as a soldier in the 36th Mass. Vols....Capt. J has got him a chance in the Freedmen’s Bureau....
<4> Sunday night Miss King returned from her visit north bringing with her her brother Sydney who is 21 yrs. old. He takes Mr. Keyes place a Commissary Clerk. Keyes is a member of the 2nd Mass. H. Arty, which regiment is to be mustered out of the service in a few days....
We had a spirited mass meeting here of the colored people last evening: Capt. J. attended and gave a fine address and counsel to them. They voted to hold their Convention in Raleigh at the same time of the White Convention and nominated four delegates from this (Craven) Co. to attend the Convention viz, John Randolph Jr., A. H. Galloway, John R. Good and Rev. Mr. Rue. In his speech Galloway said that he did not believe the negro would abuse the ballot box any more than they had the Cartridge Box...
Capt. J is quite well and wishes to be remembered to you all— He is going tomorrow on a visit with Gen. Paine & staff to the N. E. Portion of N.C. They will take a private boat and take their horses with them and ride over a good portion of the country. It will be first such a tramp as Capt. will like. The boat “Lucy” leaves at 4 P.M.…This is the fastest boat between here and N.Y. making the trip (500 miles) in 48 hours…With kind remembrances to all my acquaintances I am, with much love,
* a kiss for Freddy -”
Lucius Parker Merriam, the son of Charles and Caroline Parker Merriam, was born at Grafton, Massachusetts, November 22, 1846, and was prepared for college at Monson Academy. The nine years immediately following his graduation were spent in teaching: one in Norwich Conn., one in Springfield, Mass., and seven in Providence, R. I.. In the fall of 1882, failing health compelled him to resign his duties, and he spent the following year in the mountains of East Tennessee, with headquarters at Knoxville, being associated during a part of that time, as reporter and correspondent, with the Knoxville Daily Chronicle. He died, of diabetes, near Knoxville, Tenn., September 20, 1883.
His sister, Sally Ann (Annie) Parker Merriam was born in 1839 and was a teacher at the New Berne Freedmen’s Bureau school.
Abraham H. Galloway was born into slavery on February 13, 1837, in Smithville (later renamed Southport), Brunswick County. His mother was a seventeen-year-old slave, and his white father, John Wesley Galloway, was the son of a wealthy Brunswick County planter. Fugitive slave and abolitionist Abraham H. Galloway returned to North Carolina in 1862 or 1863. He worked as an intelligence agent for General Benjamin F. Butler and other Union officers and may have been the chief African American spy in North Carolina. Galloway probably identified coastal landing sites for the Federal army and supplied information on the location and strength of Confederate forces. He also used his influence to encourage free blacks and former slaves to enlist in North Carolina African American Union regiments or to work as laborers for Federal forces. By early 1863, Galloway had become eastern North Carolina’s most important spokesman for African American rights. He envisioned a life in which blacks and whites enjoyed legal and social equality. In the spring of 1864, Galloway joined a delegation of black leaders who met with President Abraham Lincoln on the issue of African American suffrage. In the fall, he attended the National Convention of the Colored Citizens of the United States in Syracuse, New York.