Jordan Anderson, former slave who penned a sarcastic letter to his former master


Jordon Anderson, photograph courtesy of the Associated Press

We recently came across an article written by the Associated Press about a former slave named Jordan Anderson.  Anderson was a on a Tennessee plantation before he was freed by Union troops in 1864.  He spent the remainder of his  life in Ohio. Why did the AP decide to highlight Jordan Anderson’s story?  He wrote a letter. Not just any letter, a response to his former master, Col. Patrick Henry Anderson, who had contacted Jordan about returning to the plantation to work.  His response was published in a Cincinnati newspaper 1865 and reprinted in the New York Daily Tribune.
The letter as it appeared in the New York Daily Tribune in 1965, courtesy of the Associated Press.
While turning down the offer for a job, Jordan proudly declares that he is making a respectable wage in Dayton, OH and would rather ” stay here and starve – and die, if it come to that – than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters.”  The letter ends with a request: “Say howdy to George Carter and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me” To see the entire contents of the letter and get more of the story, check out the AP article!

Posted July 17, 2012
Topics: Civil War
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