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In Their Own Words

June 23, 1880

Farm Endangered from Debts

Gertrude Thomas and her husband were facing the humiliating prospect of losing their Richmond County farm because of the debts they owed, as she noted in her journal:

“… For several months Mr. Thomas has made effort after effort to make arrangements with the various city merchants to advance money or supplies but in vain. I do not know why it was so for certainly the security offered was sufficient, a mortgage on the Rowell Swamp land. Week after week he would go in town hoping to make some definite arrangement but without success… . The month passed on. From week to week we did not know how the farming operations would be carried on. Mr. Thomas applied to Ma for assistance, very much against my wishes but she did not wish to run any risk. Mrs. Tubman was applied to but she was not willing to make the arrangements - It is humiliating for me to think of such things, much less to write of them… .”

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 404-405.