ITEMS SOLD from the "Most Recently Unearthed" page . . .




[BLACK HISTORY - SALE OF SLAVES]  TWO BILLS OF SALE OF FEMALE SLAVES, including a mother and child, to one Alderson E. Harvey of Beaufort County, North Carolina, 1804 and 1835.


the two handwritten documents: **$300**SOLD


A.  Manuscript slave sale document of a "neagro girl named Filliss," Beaufort County, North Carolina, October 2, 1804.

32½ X 20 cm. One page on one leaf, with note and filing notes on verso. Slightly uneven toning but quite presentable. Slightest wear at fold corners, but strong and in very good condition overall. Text reads in full as follows:

State of North Carolina}
Know all men by these Presents that I Tho[.] McMahone for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and eighty dollars lawful money of the said State to me in hand paid by Ald[erson.] E[.] Harvey of the aforesaid county [sic] at or Before the Sealing and Delivering these Presents the receipt whereof I the said Tho McMahone do herby acknowledge have Granted bargained and sold and by these Presents do grant bargain Sell [&c?] unto the said Ald, E, Harvey his Executors administrators and assigns a neagro girl named Filliss Which I the said Tho McMahone for my Self ^my^ heirs Ex[ecut]ors and adminastrators do warrant and for Ever defend the Said Neagro from the claim or claims of all and Every person or persons unto him the said Ald, E Harvey aforesaid In
In witness whareof I do herby set my hand and seal this 2 day of October 1804–
Sighned Sealed and Delivered in the Presents of mee WB Ellison [witness; signed:] Tho McMahon {"Seal"}

[on verso:] March Term 1805
Certified that this Deed was Acknowledged in Court by said McMahone let it be registered
Teste Ald[erson]. Ellison Clk

[filing docket on verso:] A Bill of Sale from Tho McMahone To Ald. E. Howey [and in another hand:] Beaaufort County Recorded in the Registers Office the 20th Jany 1806 Thos Smaw Regr

B.  Manuscript estate administrator's slave sale document for the "negro woman Sarah & child," Beaufort County, North Carolina, March 23, 1835.

32 X 19½ cm. One page on one leaf; verso blank but for filing docket. Very good. In a florid but careless hand, and difficult to read in places. The name of the child Jane has been inserted in a space provided, in another hand. Text reads as follows:

State of North Carolina
Beaufort County
[ ? ] of the County Court of Beaufort obtained at Feby Term 1835 directing me to sell negro woman Sarah & child Jane as the administrator of Wil Abel de[cease]d after the said negroes being advertised as the law directs. – I exposed said negroes for sale at the House of Wil Abel on the 16th day March 1835.– And Alderson E Harvey became the last & highest bid[der?} at the sum of Five Hundred Dollars.– Now Know all Men by these presents that I William Harvey Adms of Wil Abel dec.d for & in consideration of the sum of Five Hundred Dollars to me in hand paid and secured, have bargained & sold unto the said Alderson E. Harvey the said negro woman Sarah & child Jane so far as my office of adms extends & no further. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seale this 23. day March 1835.
Witness John W. L. Harvey William Harvey adms {"Seal"}
of Wil Abbe decsd

[filing docket on verso:]
Wm Harvey
Bill of saild [sic] for Sarrah and Child



[BLACK HISTORY - CRIME] Day-by-day reports regarding a mass murder in a small town of south-central New York State. With expected histrionics, and an unexpected woodcut of the accused man rendered from a drawing done in his Auburn jail cell . . .


ROCHESTER DAILY ADVERTISER (newspaper, Rochester, New York). Five complete issues from March 1846 [New Series XXI]. Folio, [4] pp. each. Disbound with some wear, toning, creases, or clean tears without loss (not affecting the articles described below).

VERY RARE IF NOT UNIQUE: OCLC locates NO HOLDINGS of these five issues in any institution. (Of the smaller Auburn Daily Advertiser, from which several of these articles were taken, only one copy is located by OCLC for the appropriate month, held by the University of Rochester - except for one additional located copy of a March 18, 1846 issue held by the Western Reserve Historical Society.)

-- Saturday morning, March 14, 1846: Page 2, column 4. 8½ col. inches of text taken from the Auburn Daily Advertiser, titled, "HORRID MURDER." In the town of Fleming, just south of Auburn, former supervisor John G. Van Ness, his wife, and two-year-old child were stabbed in or near their beds after 9:00 p.m. in their home by an intruder, and "must have died almost instantly. Another man and woman in the house were also stabbed, but survive. The surviving man "describes the murderer as about 5 feet 6 inches high – thick set – and either a negro or disguised as a black man." Horses were stolen, and nearby witnesses heard the commotion and saw someone riding away from the scene. There is great excitement and "every thing is being done to arrest the assassin."

-- Monday morning, March 16: Page 2, column 3. 7½ column inches. "Further Particulars of the Murder in Cayuga County. From the Auburn Daily Advertiser." Lurid details (pregnant wife Sarah collapsing to die on a bed after being stabbed; the other stabbed woman running 100 yards with her intestines protruding, etc.). The murderer is identified by the Coroner's Jury as William Freeman, about 21 years of age, a former convict at the Auburn prison. A follow-up blurb at the end announces that Freeman has been arrested in Phoenix, Onondaga County,

. . . and has CONFESSED that he committed the deed!
He also says that he would have killed the WHOLE FAMILY, but from the fact that he wounded himself.

A clean tear into the text of both leaves just touches the article, but without loss.

-- Wednesday morning, March 18: Page 2, column 3. 3½ column inches. "Freeman the Murderer." Quoting the Syracuse Daily Star which reports particulars of Freeman's previous crimes, including threatening a young woman's life. He had been imprisoned for horse theft, and once threatened a young woman with a knife. He gave no reason during the confession for the murders of the Van Ness family or the choice of victims, saying only that "the world rolled him there." The funeral was attended by some 3,000 people.

-- Monday morning, March 23: Page 2, column 2. 4 column inches. "Freeman the Murderer. From the Auburn Daily Advertiser." Casual reporting of callous gawking once tolerated even in one of the nation's most progressive-minded regions in regard to penal systems - De Tocqueville once interviewed prisoners in Auburn and published his findings to the world with great approval. The local jail, however, was evidently more colloquial . . .
I have just visited his cell. The cells of the jail are of the same construction as those of the State Prison; that is, are of stone and iron, and open into a hall or corridor—and are quite as secure as those of the State Prison. In one of those stood Freeman, in the same dress in which he committed the monstrous butchery, his back to the whitened wall, by which his whole person was strongly relieved [contrasted],—his wounded arm in a sling,—and his right ancle clasped by a massive chain of about two feet in length, riveted to the stone floor.— . . . It is not strange that multitudes of every class and sex, go to the jail to look upon a being in human shape, who has, in this day and region of civilization, been capable of perpetrating acts of such savage atrocity.
The jailer is aggravated (if "not altogether destitute of wit") by all the spectators whom he must accommodate . . .

He had been so much annoyed . . . , that he declared that he would hire some negro to stand chained outside the jail, to personate Freeman, for the people to come and look at. "But, said he, "I am afraid they would Lynch the n[*****]!"

-- Tuesday morning, March 24: Page 2, columns 4-5. 6½ col. inches of text, plus WOODCUT PORTRAIT of the accused murderer, entitled, "LIKENESS OF WILLIAM FREEMAN, The Murderer of the Van Nest Family . . . His Life and Character--Incidents of the Murder." The most interesting of the issues, with an engraving from a drawing supplied "our friends of the Cayuga Tocsin."


What became of William Freeman?  The following startling sequel is taken here from an Internet summary of the life of William Henry SEWARD (Governor of New York, Senator, and Secretary of State under Lincoln, who gave us, among other things, Alaska) . . .

In 1846 Seward became the center of controversy in his hometown when he defended, in separate cases, two convicts accused of murder. Henry Wyatt, a white man, was charged in the stabbing death of a fellow prison inmate; William Freeman, of African American and Native American ancestry, was accused of breaking into a home and stabbing four people to death. In both cases the defendants were mentally ill and had been severely abused while in prison. Seward, having long been an advocate of prison reform and better treatment for the insane, sought to prevent both men from being executed by using a relatively new defense of insanity. In a case involving mental illness with heavy racial overtones Seward argued, "The color of the prisoner's skin, and the form of his features, are not impressed upon the spiritual immortal mind which works beneath. In spite of human pride, he is still your brother, and mine, in form and color accepted and approved by his Father, and yours, and mine, and bears equally with us the proudest inheritance of our race--the image of our Maker. Hold him then to be a Man."

Later, Seward quoted Freeman's brother-in-law, praising his eloquence: "They have made William Freeman what he is, a brute beast; they don't make anything else of any of our people but brute beasts; but when we violate their laws, then they want to punish us as if we were men." In the end both men were convicted. Although Wyatt was executed, Freeman, whose conviction was reversed on Seward's successful appeal to the New York Supreme Court, died in his cell of tuberculosis.


listed March 19, 2011 . . .


SHAKER LOT of four items, ca. late 1800s - early 1900s . . .

A. Small sachet packet, "THORN APPLE LEAVES . . . United Society, Ayer, Mass." Measures approximately 2 X 2 X ¾ inches. Condition issues as shown, but with the original contents.

B. Shaker label: ". . . Extract of WOLF BANE, . . . Prepared in the United Society, New-Lebanon, N.Y. . . ."   Approx. 1¾ X 2½ inches. Fine and attractive, never used.

C. Shaker label: ". . . Extract of WORMWOOD. . . . Prepared in the United Society, New-Lebanon, N.Y. . . ."   Approx. 2¼ X 3¾ inches. Fine and attractive, never used.

D. Postcard printed in color showing "Main Street, Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Mass. Copyright, 1906, By Detroit Publishing Co." Divided back, so presumably 1907 or slightly later. Fine and attractive, never used.

lot of 4 items:  Sold, 2011, $165













listed April 6, 2011 . . .


Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College,
and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness of history. . . .

"ORIGIN OF MORMONISM.—" Article in the NEW-YORK OBSERVER (newspaper, New York) for Saturday, April 27, 1839 [XVII:17; Whole No. 833].

Folio, paged [65]-68 (complete issue in four pages). Medium foxing and moderate wear; once folded in eighths.

sold February 2012,  $100

The lengthy article (taken "from the Boston Recorder of last week" but with preliminary comments by the editor of this paper; see further below) fills nearly a column of the the second page (20 inches, columns 2-3), comprised primarily of the account by Solomon Spaulding's widow, [Matilda Sabine Spaulding Davison]. It was sent in a letter by Mrs. Davison to "Rev. John Storrs, of Holliston, Mass., learning that the widow of Mr. Spaulding . . . was still living at Monson, Mass. . . ." She tells of their early life and circumstances, and how in the 1830s, Doctor Philastus Hurlbut was summoned to come learn of the late Spaulding's manuscript by Spaulding's former associates who thought they saw much of their old friend's ca. 1812 novel in the new Book of Mormon. While discounted in most people's minds, the famous "Spaulding theory" reigned in critical camps against Mormonism until at least the mid-1880s when Spaulding's original manuscript was recovered and published.

Any lengthy article on Mormon origins printed in the 1830s is collectible. And, not everyone discounts the Spaulding attribution for the Book of Mormon, even to the present day. It is a very old and heavily-worked story, however, and this is no place to re-hash it. "Despite the assertion that Hurlbut prompted his witnesses," observes historian Dan Vogel,

and somehow controlled the content of the Spaulding affidavits, the theory had an origin and a life of its own quite apart from Hurlbut. Hurlbut did not invent the Spaulding theory, but was drawn to Spaulding's former residence in Conneaut, Ohio, to investigate claims that some residents were making about the Book of Mormon. Had Hurlbut invented the theory and falsely extracted testimony from his witnesses, he would not have made strenuous efforts to recover Spaulding's manuscript. . . . I see no reason to doubt the sincerity of either Hurlbut or his Ohio witnesses, although the memories of the latter were certainly mistaken. [Early Mormon Documents II:15]

In addition to Mrs. Davison's recollection of Hurlbut being called in, as it were, to hear her neighbor's recollections, there is something else here of significant interest which Latter-day Saints might overlook. It is the clear statement (entirely consistent with broadly-accepted historiography), that Americans of the early nineteenth century presumed that - just as the Book of Mormon would later assert - an ancient, advanced civilization had once lived on this continent, preceding the Native Americans known to the American colonists. "In the town of New Salem [northeastern Ohio]," explained Spaulding's widow in the letter printed in this newspaper,

there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding, being an educated man and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developements [sic] of antiquity . . .

As the editors of the present paper comment (before quoting from the Boston Recorder), "he wrote an imaginary history of the mysterious race of men who built the ancient mounds and other works of art, which are scattered so profusely over the valley of the Mississippi."