1 Reply Latest reply on May 11, 2021 2:00 PM by Joshua Mason

    Searching for information regarding a woman named Sally

    Tom Haikin Newbie

      I am searching for information regarding a woman named Sally. She has been identified as the slave owned by Lewis Cass in 1818. She would have been sold in October of that year to David Betton Macomb. If this is true then she would have been removed from the Cass home in Ohio and moved first to Florida, then to Texas and then back to Florida where David Macomb committed suicide after his wife died. This would be a remarkable story and I'd like to find it. All I have to go on so far is a memo written by David's uncle, and research indicating that Cass owned land near Zanesville, Ohio. Here is the citation in the Cass Biography that mentions her:


      "A note written to Cass by General Alexander Macomb reveals that the governor was negotiating with the general's cousin, David Betton Macomb, to sell a slave. The entire communication, dated October 10, 1818, is as follows: 'My dear Sir, David states that he is about purchasing your servant Sally and wishes me to become his security. I whereby engage to see that he faithfully performs his contract for Sally at the price of three hundred dollars.'"

      (Klunder, Lewis Cass and the Politics of Moderation, Kent State University Press, 1996).

        • Re: Searching for information regarding a woman named Sally
          Joshua Mason Adventurer

          Good afternoon,


          Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Private and Confidential Letters Sent by Major General Alexander Macomb, 9/8/1837 - 2/20/1841 in the Records of the Headquarters of the Army, 1828 - 1903 (Record Group 108) that include a file for General Alexander Macomb.  For more information about these records, as there might be something referencing Sally in them, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff.  As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          In regards to tracking down other possible records regarding Sally, county probate records would be a good avenue of approach to determine what happened to her after David Macomb died in Florida as slaves were considered property and were listed as such under probate records at the time of death.  We would recommend that you contact the State Archives of Florida for more information regarding researching these possible probate records.  Please keep in mind that Florida at this time was under Spanish Rule and did not become a Territory of the United States until 1821. 


          Another avenue of approach would be to try to research the specific Governor who is mentioned in the citation to determine if he had written more about the sale or journey.


          We hope this information is helpful and best of luck with your research!