Chapter 17

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Isaac writes from Illinois to John in Virginia--Isaac Coles to John Coles III, January 4, 1821, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

After I brought him to this country--Illinois Intelligencer, June 29, 1822. We know that Edward sold Emanuel soon after his conversation with Isaac in early 1821 because he says that Emanuel lived in St. Louis for "near two years" before he sold him--presumably, from May 1819 to early in 1821. Back

In the spring of 1821--1827 autobiography, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

he complains to John--Edward Coles to John Coles III, May 23, 1820, Roberts Coles Collection. The entries in Coles' account book in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania corroborate this account of Coles' financial dealings with his former slaves. For example, in 1819 various outlays for food, clothing, and medicine are listed for Coles' former slaves, and in 1820 these are deducted from the former slaves' share of the crop. By 1822 we see no outlays for such expenses, but expenditures for labor to new names (presumably hired white labor), Bob (Crawford) being the only familiar name. Back

Ralph died of a bilious fever--In a bond posted for his former slaves on January 31, 1825, Coles reveals that Ralph Crawford, Thomas Cobb, and Nancy Gaines had died (Clarence Alvord, Governor Edward Coles, Illinois Historical Society Library, 1920, p. 210). Coles describes Tom's fate in a letter to J. M. Peck dated April 30, 1855 (Alvord, pp. 352-354). In the same letter he says that the 2 women who went into service were not sisters, nor were they daughters of Kate Crawford, which means that they must have been Polly Crawford and Nancy Gaines. Coles' account book in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania records the payment for the burial of Ralph Crawford: "Oct. 14, 1819 - $7 to Mr. Tollman for Ralph's coffin." Back

he is referring to this single family--In the 1827 autobiography Coles says that two of the families, preferring to purchase improved farms near Edwardsville to removing to their unimproved lands at a distance from it, have recently purchased eighty acres each . . . It is unclear who these two families might be, unless Coles is referring to Bob Crawford and Kate with her children as separate families. It is possible, however, that by this time one of Kate's children might have married and started a separate family. Back

A few days after my arrival here--Edward Coles to James Madison, July 20, 1819, Chicago Historical Society. According to his account book in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, on May 20 and June 11 Coles paid $1550 to William May and John Rice Jones for 394 acres of land. On June 25 he paid Caleb Shinn $125 for his interest on a lease he held on May's farm for the year 1819, indicating that Coles had bought a working farm and not a piece of wilderness. Back

We boarded together in a hotel--Free West, May 3, 1855, in Alvord, pp. 337-344. Back

Coles' standing bail for his assailant--Alvord, p. 344. Back

He received a salary--Account book, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which records all of the figures relating to the land office that are cited here, as well as the purchase of land in Missouri. Back

Another problem that confronted Coles--Edward Coles to Mary Carter, June 18, 1819, University of Virginia Library. Back

Yet another annoying lawsuit--The details here are taken from the 1827 autobiography in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

Coles freed his slaves a second time--Alvord, pp. 164-165. The date on the certificate of emancipation is given in Alvord as July 19, but Coles says in both the 1827 and 1844 autobiographies that he re-emancipated his slaves on July 4. Back

Coles set out to convince them--The articles were signed "Aristides" (pseudonyms were the fashion of the day). That they were written by Coles is reasonably clear from their style and content. It is interesting to note, however, that the name was used at least once earlier by someone who was definitely not Coles. On August 16, 1816, a letter from "Aristides" in the Western Intelligencer urged the people of Illinois to begin to consider statehood in three or four years, using arguments later used by Cook. There are good grounds to believe, therefore, that this "Aristides" was Cook, although the later "Aristides" in 1819 is probably Coles, especially since in an editorial on June 19, 1819, Warren asserts that the author of the two numbers over that signature is not in favor of the election of either [Cook or McClean], which was Coles' public position at the time. Further, "Agis," who was definitely Coles, in the July 17, 1818, issue of the Illinois Intelligencer characterizes "Aristides" as the man who told Athenians that their plan for conquest was extremely advantageous but also unjust, thus forecasting his later use of the name. The identity of the "Aristides" who wrote a series of anticonvention articles in the Edwardsville Spectator in May 1823 is unclear. It is unlikely that this "Aristides" was Coles since Coles never mentioned that pseudonym in his letter to Lippincott detailing his activities during the convention campaign (Edward Coles to Thomas Lippincott, date???, Journal of the Illinois Historical Society, vol.??? (1911) ppp??? Vol 3, no. 4?). Back

Most of these voters read only one newspaper--There were two attempts to provide pro-slave competition for the Spectator, but neither achieved more than temporary success. Back

A question debated--Edwardsville Spectator, Nov. 27, 1821. Back

Edward Coles

Chapter 17