Chapter 6

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My mother, brothers and sisters--1827 autobiography, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

his father's will--William B. Coles, ed., The Coles Family of Virginia, New York, 1931, p. 56. This is also the source of the terms of Edward's father's will and the date when the estate was divided. Back

The slaves were divided--1863 autobiography, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

Edward's share of slaves--The 1863 autobiography says that Coles inherited "some 23 or 24 negroes," but in a letter to John Tucker (John Coles III to John Tucker, July 6, 1808, Roberts Coles Collection), Edward's brother John put the total number of slaves owned by nine of the Coles children at 160-170, which would mean about 18 or 19 slaves apiece. The number that Coles owned in 1819, when he set out with his slaves for Illinois, was nineteen, but some were children who were not yet born in 1809, and at least one had been recently purchased. Back

a tract of 782 acres--William B. Coles, p. 56. The 1863 autobiography puts the Rockfish estate at about 900 acres. It is possible that the estate had been enlarged between 1798, when Edward's father drew up his will, and 1809, when the property was finally distributed among his heirs. The exact location of Rockfish was pointed out to me by the late Mr. Roberts Coles, who guided me there and, with the kind permission of the owners, showed me the house. Back

Coles seems to have kept--1844 autobiography, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

eventually may have passed--This is a family tradition that was told to me by the late Mr. Roberts Coles. Back

Coles took the trip--Almanac Dates, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Back

My situation, my dear Hawkins--Edward Coles to Hawkins, March 1, 1809, Princeton University Library. In this letter he also tells of being ill and of his last visit to his friend Madison. Back

August 21 to December 7, 1809--Almanac Dates. The 1863 autobiography gives his itinerary as "the Virginia Springs and from there to Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville (Kentucky) returning via Washington," thus never touching free territory. The Almanac Dates clearly specify his destination as Kentucky, and after his return his brother John writes to Uncle Travis that Edward had recently arrived from Kentucky (John Coles III to Travis Tucker, December 18, 1809, Roberts Coles Collection). We know from a later letter that Coles did cross the Ohio into free territory at some point (Edward Coles to James Madison, July 25, 1815, Chicago Historical Society). Writing from Cincinnati, Coles says, "Since I was here six years ago," clearly indicating that he had gone at least that far into free territory on his trip in 1809. Back

a letter to Coles from Uncle Travis--John and Travis Tucker to Tucker and Edward Coles, March 10, 1809, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Also in the Coles Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is a memo from a Mr. Tucker (probably Travis) in Richmond, dated December 12, 1787, regarding a claim to 1000 acres in Kentucky. A Mr. G. Thompson had located the land on the waters of the Green River at a place called Maple Bottom. Back

his brother John reported--John Coles III to Travis Tucker, December 18, 1809, Roberts Coles Collection. Back

a later letter shows--Edward Coles to John Coles III, November 30, 1810, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I had supposed you all understood my wishes with respect to the sale of Rockfish, Edward writes. Although I am disposed to sell, yet I am not so much bent on it as to make a sacrifice. My idea is, that it is worth 15.000 $, one third paid on taking possession, and the other two thirds in two annual payments, and that I ought not lessen the sum, or lengthen the credits materially to effect a sale. Back

Edward Coles

Chapter 6