Category Archives: Slave Sale

1864: Jennett Herndon & Ann V. Prestage to James Roach

This letter was written by Jennett Herndon (1825-Aft1910), the daughter of Benjamin Herndon (1790-1880) and Hannah Bledsoe (1795-1870). In her letter, Jennett mentions her brother, Benjamin Herndon (1831-1917) of Orange county, Virginia. Also, co-signing the letter was Anne V. (Herndon) Prestage (1835-Aft1880)—Jennett’s younger sister. Anne was married to Wilson M. Prestage who enlisted as a private in Co. K, 17th Mississippi Infantry early in the war but left his regiment under false pretenses in December 1863 and was considered a “Rebel Deserter” when he was finally apprehended by the Provost Marshal at New Market, Tennessee on 11 March 1864.

Jennett wrote the letter to James Roach (b. 1834) who became the sheriff of Orange county, Virginia, in 1863.


Addressed to Mr. James Roach, Sheriff of Orange county, Va., Orange Court House Post Office. in haste. Envelope includes an 1863-64 10 cent CSA Green Jefferson Davis Stamp

Orange City, Virginia
January 21st 1864

Mr. James Roach
Dear Sir,

From all items and informations that I can learn, it is this bitch negro’s intention to do all the damage she can and leave in a very short time. I am afraid she will leave before you can come after her. She says she will be God durned to hell if ever Jim Roach sees her again. Dear James, please come yourself. I want to see you. I would not feed her for five dollars per day. She is running all over the neighborhood telling the devilishes kind of lies on me and sister.

Dear sir, please do not let anyone know a word about what you are going to do or what is going to be done. Do not let a negro know that I sent for you at all. James, I hope the war is going to break for brother Benjamin was to see me day before yesterday. He says the sooner you sell those negroes, he thinks is best. I want you to take Sal all unawares when you come after her so that she can’t make anymore plots with other negroes.

Yours with respects. From Jennettie Herndon and Ann V. Prestage

To James Roach, Sheriff of Orange county, Va.