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Freedmen's Bureau Records: Thomas P. Jackson to Garrick Mallery, June 3, 1867

Jackson's monthly report to the Bureau is relatively optimistic. He writes that the local population is coming to accept the fact that freedmen are citizens, and that they are more willing to settle contract disputes justly. Jackson also discusses the improving prospects of the poor, and the general lack of drunkenness, although medical care is still in short supply.

Bureau R. F. & A. L.
Office 4th Div 9 Sub Dist Va Capt. Garrick Mallery 43d U.S.I.
A.A. Adjt. Gen'l
Richmond Va (Through HdQrs 9th Dist Va)

June 3, 1867

Staunton Va


In compliance with Cir. 6 S. 1866 (BR.F&A.L) I have the honor to report on the condition of Bureau affairs in the 4th Division 9th Sub Dist comprising the counties of Augusta & Highland. The condition of freedpeople is improving slowly it is true, as the large majority of Whites who are employers are in straitened circumstances themselves but surely they are being thrown more and more on their own resources, and are learning the value - here at least - of time and money. The fact that the Freedman is now a citizen is generally recognized and he is spoken of and treated with more consideration. Employment is readily procured on farms, public works and lumbering at fair wages and the large crop of grain and grass which will soon be ready for harvest must place labor at a premium in this Valley. Numerous complaints are made at this office of refusal to pay for labor under old contracts or sharp practice in settlements under them but as a general rule I find the parties willing to settle promptly and justly. Threats of discharge of Freedmen vote contrary to the wishes of employers are very common but I attach but little importance to them for the Freedmen will vote Republican almost

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to a man and the farmers of the two are the most dependent upon the other as with their large prospective harvest [added: they have] the most at stake and they will care less how the Freedman votes than how he works. The feeling between the Freedmen and their [unclear: former] masters is friendly with remarkably few exceptions. The condition of the sick, aged and helpless both old and young has been much improved by the issue of rations received at this Station and I am hopeful that with the incoming of garden vegetables, further assistance from the Bureau will not be necessary as most have small garden or corn patches and these will supply considerable food, while friends will be able to help also.

As to Medical attendance I respectfully renew my remark as to the needs of freedpeople in this Division. Dr. S.C. Harris completed this month twelve month gratuitous prescriptions and supply of medicine to the most indigent and afflicted colored people in Staunton. I have been personally cognizant of these services since my assignment to this station and I regret much that Dr. Harris informs me this morning he cannot afford his services and medicine longer, without remuneration sufficient to pay for the latter.

I received a copy of Genl. O. O. Howards Cir. Lett. of May 15/67 with reference to establishment of "Lincoln" Temperance Associations and the general discouragement of drinking intoxicating liquor and have made a suggestion in accordance therewith to some of the leading

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colored men in Staunton. If a copy of the constitution and bye laws of the Central Society at Washington can be furnished I have no doubt a branch organization can be established here. I am happy to state that in Augusta & Highland, drunkenness is much more prevalent among White than colored people and quite exceptional among the Whites.

Generally the future of the Freedman in my Division is full of promise. The aged and orphans, of whom there are many, must continue dependent upon local or National charity for some years, but the able bodied male and female will shortly be able to take care of themselves, physically and politically.

Respectfully submitted
Yr obt servt

Thos P Jackson

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