Townsend, Jas B., (fl. 1878) to Blanche Kelso Bruce
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09400.147 Author/Creator: Townsend, Jas B., (fl. 1878) Place Written: Grenada, Mississippi Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 14 December 1878 Pagination: 2 p. ; 24.5 x 19.6 cm.
Townsend is writing to Senator Bruce asking his support in making sure that the current candidate for sheriff in his county J.H. Campbell, also the incumbent does not get confirmed. He starts the letter by telling the Senator that he was the "first White Man in my County that voted an Open Republican Ticket" and that as a result he was "ostracized, and even Burnt in Effigy upon the streets in my town" by the "present incumbent of the Post Office of this Place"
Blanche Kelso Bruce was born into slavery near Farmville, Prince Edward County, Va. on March 1 1841. He was tutored by his master's son, but left his master at the beginning of the civil war and taught school in Hannibal Mo. After the civil war Bruce became a planter in Mississippi, and a member of the Mississippi Levee Board, and Sheriff and Tax Collector for Bolivar County from 1872-1875. Bruce was then elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, where he served from March 4 1875 - March 3 1881. Bruce was the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. In 1881 Bruce was appointed by President James Garfield as the Register of the Treasury. Bruce then went on to serve as the Recorder of Deeds for the District of Colombia from 1891-1893, returning to the office of Register of the Treasury from 1897 until his death on March 17, 1898.
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