This bill of sale details the sale of "a negro boy named Hall" from William Carden to Jerome B. Annis. The sale is handwritten on a torn piece of paper. The bottom edge of the page is jagged from tearing. The paper has a blueish tint, is lined and was previously folded six times. The folding left one crease across the page and five creases down the page. William Carden signed the bill of sale with [Wm Carden]. The back of the bill of sale has the words [Bill of Sale / for Hall] written in cursive and in ink. The date [Date 16th Jan / 1854] is written in pencil.
This bill of sale details the sale of an enslaved man named Daniel from Thomas May to Jerome B. Annis. The paper was previously tri-folded leaving deep creases across the page. On the back of the paper the words [Bill of sale / for slave named / Daniel / Date / 2nd / Nov 1851] is written in pencil. The paper is lined and has a blueish tint. Thomas May wrote the receipt and John W. Woodward, notary public, witnessed the sale and signed at the bottom of the page [J. W. WOODWARD. N.P.]. The seal for the notary public of Johnson County, Arkansas is made of newspaper and is affixed to the page in the bottom left corner. The text on the seal is raised but most of its red ink has worn away. It reads [NOTARY PUBLIC JOHNSON COUNTY ARKANSAS]
This violin was originally owned by a slaveholder named Elijah Burke, who owned the Mount Pleasant Plantation in Phillips County, Arkansas. Before the slaveholder died in 1860, he gave the violin to an enslaved man on his plantation, Mr. Jesse Burke (b. 1834 – d. 1909). According to the family oral history, during slavery Jesse was charged with playing the violin for entertainment for the slaveholder and his guests.
A violin (.1a) with a bow (.1b) stored in a wooden case (.2), all owned and played by Jesse Burke, who used the violin during and after enslavement.
The violin (.1a) has a reddish-brown stained wooden body, neck, peg box, and scroll. The pegs, fingerboard, and tailpiece are made of wood painted black. A small piece of mother of pearl is attached at the center top of each peg. The strings are made from steel. A paper label is adhered to the interior back of the violin body, which can be seen through the sound holes. Printed on the label in black text are the words: "Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis / Faciebat Anno 1726".
The bow (.1b) has a rod made from a dark-stained wood with a metal tension screw. The frog is made from wood painted black and inlaid with mother of pearl and a metal ferrule. The tip is edged with a panel of an ivory imitation material. The bow hair is made from horsehair, though the horsehair is broken with several strands still attached and extending from the tip in varying lengths.
The wooden case (.2) is painted black and has a hinged lid that opens with two (2) metal hinges. On the opening side are two (2) metal tension clasps with one (1) locking hinge at the center. There is a metal plate with a keyhole to the right of the center hinged lock. A metal handle is attached at either side of the keyhole plate. The interior of the bottom and the lid is lined with a red wool and cotton blend flannel. There are two flannel-covered wooden pieces at the wide side of the case that correspond to the center bouts on the body of the instrument and secure it in place inside the case. A loop of the flannel is sewn near the thin side of the lid, presumably to hold the bow.