A man named George Tallman, possibly a colonel in the Union army (according to the guest), was in Baton Rouge after the Union forces had taken it over. He sent for his wife, Susan Carhart Tallman, who was a teacher, so she could set up a school to teach some of the children of the slaves who had been freed in the area. Somehow, some of her papers ended up in the box from the rummage sale. The man brought in a photo of George and Susan Tallman, a school attendance sheet with a narrative written over it, and Susan Tallman's drawings of twelve of her students. She called them her "contraband scholars."
The students' names are Henry and Horace, Ellen's sons; Melvina Blufus; Comfort Holmes; Frederick Johnson; Mary Lawrence; Tilda Ann Mingo; Julia Morris; Alice Parkins; Earnest Scott; and Susanna Thomas. Of the twelve drawings, only one, that of Comfort Holmes, was not shown clearly enough for me to capture the image. One drawing, of a 7-year-old boy, did not have a name on it.
|Oct. 1864 Baton Rouge La Henry, Ellen's three year old boy. Sweet, forward|
|Horace, Ellen's son aged 5 Oct 3d 1864 Baton Rouge La|
|Alice Parkins aged 11 A tenderhearted, affectionate neat girl,|
good to work & studious, but slow about learning Baton Rouge La
|Aged about 7 A handsome pleasant little boy Intelligent, but not too forward Oct 24 1864 Baton Rouge La|
|Earnest Scott, aged 10 Baton Rouge, La. Aug 1864 A left-handed little artist|
|Tilda Ann Mingo aged 9 Sept 30th, 1864, Baton Rouge La|
|Julia Morris aged 10 Baton Rouge Aug. 1864 Sings like a mockingbird. black. A real Gipsy. deceiftul quick|
|Mary Lawrence, aged 12 years Baton Rouge Aug. 30 1864 A good scholar, pleasant girl|
|Susanna Thomas aged 13 Baton Rouge Aug 30, 1864|
|Melvina Blufus aged 15 Baton Rouge, La Aug 1864|
|Comfort Holmes Sept 1864 Age 14 Baton Rouge La|
I hope that someone finds a family member in these drawings.
There might have originally been more than these twelve drawings. Several of the drawings have numbers in the upper-left corners; that of Frederick Johnson has a 16.
I'm working on transcribing the letter and hope to post it soon.
If you visit the link to this appraisal on the Antiques Roadshow site, you can watch the video and read the transcript.
Update: The transcription of Susan Carhart Tallman's narrative has been posted!