Lot 4 of 703:
Virginia Black man shoots white Doctor in Reconstruction era  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$180
$300 - $500

Virginia Black man shoots white Doctor, Reconstruction era: Letter

Roberts, G.E.





Autograph Letter Signed. Central Depot, Virginia, Feb. 8, 1874. 2pp. to Walter J. Reeve.

Given the nearly illiterate language and spelling, and the news sent, without racist comment, of a Black man shooting a white doctor – one wonders if the writer was himself Black, perhaps a manual laborer at Central Depot, Virginia. 

“…glade to here from you…I am giting a long very will at the presemt…Dr. hammet wass shot in hede by a nigro in Christinburg yesterdday, he shot at the Nigro furst. I do not no wher he is shot bad or not...”  Central Depot, Virginia (now within the city of Radford), scene of a pitched battle during the Civil War, but by the 1870s, little more than a village where a small number of workers repaired and serviced locomotives. Curiously, there seems to be no mention in newspapers of the day of the shooting of Dr. Hammet(t) – probably the prominent James Preston Hammett, a Surgeon at Christiansburg, brother-in-law of the Governor of Virginia, who owned a vast cotton plantation in Mississippi, which he managed, for a time after the Civil War, with the labor of freed slaves.  The introduction to the Hammett Family Papers at Virginia Tech also makes no mention of the shooting, which was apparently not fatal.  The Doctor continued to practice medicine and lived on until 1879.

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