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A Pre-Civil War Black Sailor’s Wife Enlists the

Navy Secretary to Help Get her Husband a Discharge


Mahlon Dickerson. Letter Signed as Secretary of the Navy, to Commodore James Barron. [Washington, D.C.], February 16, 1837.


A Black Sailor’s Wife Helps Get her Husband a Discharge

  • Mahlon Dickerson (1770-1853) served as New Jersey Governor and US Senator, and was 10th Sec. of the Navy, appointed by President Andrew Jackson.


    Here, he forwards a letter from Elizabeth Jones (not included) “soliciting the discharge of her husband Wm Jones, a colored man” to Commodore James Barron (1768-1851), who was at the time commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

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