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Freedmen's Bureau Records: Thomas P. Jackson to Orlando Brown, December 31, 1867

Summary:
Jackson's report mentions an inflamatory comment allegedly made by a local magistrate, contrasts the sobriety of blacks around the Christmas holiday to "the brawling and drunkeness of the common white men," and describes efforts to procure aid for the poor.


Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands,
Office 4th Division, 9th Sub-District, Virginia. Brig Genl O. Brown
Asst Comr Dist. of Va.Richmond (Through HdQrs 9 Sub. Dist. Va)

Dec 31st 1867

Staunton, Va.

General

In compliance with the requirements of C. O. No. 6 B.R.F.&A.L. S. 1866 I have the honor to submit the following report of Bureau affairs in the 4th Div 9 Sub Dist. Va. comprizing the counties of Augusta and Highland. This office is sought daily by freedmen to have me review settlements with their employers for labor performed during 1867 or to ask me to press payment of amounts acknowledged to be due. Wherever I find a freedman has kept an open account and taken goods [unclear: on order] on the store in lieu of money, his earnings are absorbed and I can do little for him. A practice has been attempted in several cases which I refuse to allow [unclear: any] charging the freedmen n/5 [unclear: $1.00] per day for every day he is absent even when he is working at [unclear: $10] p month which makes his daily wages only 33 per day. Employers [unclear: urge] this as proper but except

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I find the laborer has absented himself during harvest or lost too much time showing clear neglect of his duty I refuse to allow it.

Assaults upon freedmen have been much less frequent during this than the past month owing to pressing charges against some of the offenders though in cases mentioned in my last report action has been taken by magistrates in the case of Levi Middlebrook only. Five of his assailants did not appear. two were held to bail in the sum of $75 each security for $75 to answer indictment at March court. Abraham & Evelyn Wallace have not taken out a warrant against [unclear: Ford] and from what I see and learn of the neighbourhood where they reside I do not expect they will. Indirectly I hear today Justice [unclear: Huff] refused to grant a warrant against Coleman to Mary Minor (c) saying "the d____d niggers ought all to be driven out of the county" I have sent for Mary & if the above language was used will see him in person and report.

Christmas festivities and church revivals have overshadowed political excitement and but little is said by freedmen about politics except frequent

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enquiries about what the convention is doing. They are however fully alive to the vital importance to them of the issues now at stake and will I believe mostly cast their ballots at the coming election unless the conservative organization "by tens" is allowed to control the voters at the polls.

In connection with a revival in the M.E. Church (cold) an effort is being made to establish a Temperance organization with fair prospect of success. The demeanor of the Freedmen and their abstinence from intoxicating drink on Christmas day stood in flattering contrast to the brawling and drunkeness of the common white men.

Early in the month I had some difficulty in procurring prompt relief for some indigent, sick freedmen on the ground of doubtful settlement. I protested against sick persons being neglected while the question of settlement was being argued and had an interview with two of the magistrates when it was decided to relieve the pauper where he was and collect the expense from the district to which he or she belonged. Since there is no ground for complaint.

Respectfully submitted

I have the honor to be, General
Yr obt servt

Thos P. Jackson
Agent



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