One dollar for visit to negro child in the year 1857. George W. Miles, Nathaniel P. Saunders.

One dollar for visit to negro child in the year 1857.

Shepherdsville, Kentucky, 19 October 1857. 6” x 7.5”. 1 p. of manuscript.

A receipt for medical services administered to an enslaved African-American child who was owned by a Kentucky woman found to be insane.

The document reads in full:

Rec’d Shepherdsville [Kentucky] Oct. 19 1857 of Woodford McDowell committer[?] for Emily McDowell one dollar for visit to negro child in the year 1857 being in full of all claim against her for medical services and attention as a physician. G. W. Miles.

Geo. W. Miles states on oath that the above account of Emily McDowell as stated is truth[?] and correct that he tendered the services stated in the above act[.] Given under my hand as Police Judge of Shepherdsville this 19 Oct. 1857 Nat. P. Saunders, P.J.S.

In his 1833 will, John McDowell (1764–1838), father of Emily and Woodford, left to Emily his “negro woman Darky and her five youngest children, to wit: Tom, Milly, Vina, Mariah, and Sam estimated at eleven hundred dollars.” In 1838, Emily was declared insane by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She had the declaration rescinded, but it was reinstated in 1844. She spent the remainder of her life in Woodford’s care, who also managed her affairs. John McDowell also left to Emily a 315 acre plantation estimated at $2,100. His will expresses a particular concern with arrangements for Emily, apparently reflecting her mental illness: “My desire is that Emily reside with her mother and be comfortably accommodated out of the rents of her farm, and the hires of her negroes, and in the event of her mother's death, then that she have choice of her home, and that she be comfortably accommodated out of her rents and hires.”

Born in Shelby, Kentucky, George Washington Miles (1825–1917) was a county clerk of Jefferson County, Kentucky, and a physician for over twenty-five years (active at least until 1870) who practiced in Jefferson County and Bullitt County, Kentucky.

REFERENCES: Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Emily McDowell papers at exploreuk.uky.edu; McDowell, John. John McDowell's 1833 Will at bullittcountyhistory.org; United States Congressional Serial Set, Vol. 2255, p. 2; United States Congressional Serial Set, Vol. 3115, p. 499.

CONDITION: Good, light wear, creasing.

Item #6015

Price: $650.00