"I have parted from Nelly": Fr. Woodley to Fr. Brocard, September 25, 1850.

Dublin Core


"I have parted from Nelly": Fr. Woodley to Fr. Brocard, September 25, 1850.


Slave women; Slave labor; Master and Servant ;Catholic Church-Clergy-Correspondence.


Fr. Woodley SJ discusses a plan to deliver an enslaved woman named Nelly from Newtown to a new master. It appears from the postscript that another priest tried to prevent Nelly from being sold by writing a pass or permit to allow her to escape. This letter, from 1850, shows the continuing involvement of the Maryland Jesuits with slavery after 1838.


Maryland Province Archives


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Adam Rothman, Elsa Barraza Mendoza


Maryland Province, Society of Jesus









Text Item Type Metadata


PC Newtown, Sept. 25th, 1850 

Very Rev and Dear Fr Provincial

Since I last wrote to you, I have parted from Nelly to a very good Catholic, near Medley's Neck Church. He has her for an indefinite period, -no sale ratified, so that if the society should ever choose to be embarrassed with her again, it can take her back- not to Newtown necessarily. She went originally from St. Inigoes, where she was born and raised., to Alexandria, from Alexandria to Newtown after leaving Newtown she will be common property again, subject to the Procurator General- who may ratify a sale, or dispose of her otherwise. A first rate Lady has secured her, one with whom you are somewhat acquainted, she is the sister of Mrs. Hammet of St. Nicholas, the tall lady who wanted one in St Nicholas, Ms. Combs. All who have heard of my solution are delighted. - I know her well.

Fr. Dougherty has the Bilious Fever – the Doctor attending him, - not thought dangerous. Fr. Vigilante wishes me to give him an opportunity to make a Retreat. He says he will miss only one Sunday. - If you can send no one in his place, I will attend his sick until he returns. He prefers St. Thomas for his retreat, tis intimate with F. Pachiarani [sic] and

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suspects nothing of your thought of sending him there. Remember as w .v. holy SS and prayers.

Yours devotionally in XT

R. Woodley 

PS. I have been obliged to caution the public against the interference of Fr. In preventing Nelly from being taken to her new home- She was harbored in his room, the door locked- and he wrote a pass or permit to run away- take the stage to - I don’t know where- I have cautioned the public against this unauthorized pass or permit. RW 

Original Format




Maryland Province Archives, “"I have parted from Nelly": Fr. Woodley to Fr. Brocard, September 25, 1850.,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/165.