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The Freedman's Bureau was a Federal agency established for the purpose of social welfare. Freedman schools and hospitals were established
and they supervised the development of a contract labor system and military tribunal to take care of legal issues. They ceased operations in
Georgia in 1870. Over 800,000 rations were handed out statewide and while most went to freedpeople, a number of poor whites also benefited.
In Georgia almost 1/5 of the rations went to white population. They instituted a wage scale so that male hands were to receive $12 to $13
a month and female hand received $8 to $10 a month in upper and middle Georgia. When planters lacked sufficient cash to pay their
workers, they were permitted to pay part of the crop at the end of the season which started sharecropping. Many planters resented intrusion
into their affairs and despite the efforts of the bureau the agency never achieved full compliance.
There are Freedman and Freedwoman indentures on pages 196-199 of Administration Book A.
Records of the Freemans Bureau can be viewed on familysearch.org
Abstracts, Registers of Complaints:
Complainant George Hamilton, freedman. Defendant Walter McClure. Both residing in Red Clay, Whitfield. McClure owed Dennis
Hamilton (colored) for labor in 1866 $130 for which he gave his note to George Hamilton. Brother and guardian of Dennis. He made
arrangement with Mr G W Selvidge to pay $50 by May 1, 1867. On July 20, 1867 McClure not having done anything about the payment
on the grounds that he could not spare the money. His crop was seized. Went to the plantation of McClure and seized his corn and oats.
Gave him 20 days to borrow or collect the money. He not being able to borrow or collect the amount the crop . He compromised with
George Hamilton for $100. Paying $50 cash and Hamilton taking McClure for the other $50 payable 6 months from date. The case
taken out of the hands of Col J W Avery acting as Atty for McClure. (page 32-33)
Defendant: Alexander Cardin. Complainant: Caroline Holland, Freedwoman. 14 July 1867. Cardin was reported to have taken 1-1/2 bushel
corn from the freedwoman without proper authority. Disposition: Carden was called and agreed to restore the corn and give one bushel as
fine which was excepted and settlement effected. 16 July 1867. (page 34-35)
Claimant: Lucinda Brown, Freedwoman. Defendant: Mrs Sarah Baty, white. 13 Sept 1867. Lucinda Brown claimed the possession of
her for Howard Brown. He having been bound verbally to Mrs Baty. Mrs Baty being unwilling to make a written contract unless
the boy was bound to her until he was 21years of age which his mother was unwilling to do. On investigating this case I found the
boy had a very good home and was not willing to leave it - found he had been clothed well, well cared for in every way and schooled.
I found that his mother was very poor and not able to provide for him and that he was an illegitimate child and his mother
a notoriously bad woman. I therefore notified Lucinda Brown that the boy must remain where he was until I could find a place
where I could bind him out by contract. (page 34-35)
Complainant: Jane Benjamin, Freedwoman. Defendant: Frank Benjamin, Freedman. Nature of Offense: Jane Benjamin made affidavit
that Frank Benjamin her husband was in the constant habit of beating her and that so severely that she thought her life was in danger and
appealed for protection. Disposition: The parties were called together and an investigation it was proved that both parties were acting
badly towards each other. Both parties were reprimanded and in their promise to do better in future were dismissed by the agent but by the
same evening Benjamin having beat his wife again the affidavit was placed in the hands of the civil authorities for further action.
3 Nov 1867 (page 36-37)
Complainant: Sarah Haynes, white. Defendant: Solomon Broach. Residence Dogwood Valley, Catoosa Co GA. Nature of offence:
Solomon Broach was charged by Mrs Haynes with neglecting his contract. Stating from her of making obscene remarks in his
presence and of threatening her life in case she reported him. Disposition. An examination proved Broach guilty of most of the
charges and his general ----- being bad the case was placed in the hands of the civil authorities should he persist
in wrong doing. 7 Nov 1867. (page 38-39)
Complainant: George Sloan Freedman. Defendant: Alonzo Green, Freedman. Residence: Dalton, GA. Nature of offense: Alonzo Green
refused to pay for a pair of pants $6.00. Disposition: Parties called. Green proved he had paid in full by labor.
Settled June 15, 1867.(Page 40-41)
Complainant: Thomas Tarvor, Freedman and Defendant: Timothy Ford, white. July 20, 1867. Residence Dalton. Ford refuses to pay
Tarvor for eight months labor at $10 per month September at various dates of $43.96, leaving $36.04 due. Disposition: Ford and
Tarver called together. Ford proved by his books that he had overpaid Tarver who owed him Ford $1.43. Ford making oath
to the correctness of his account before Judge Ernest. Tarver expressed himself justified and the matter was finally
settled. (page 40-41)
Complainant: Martha Hunt, Freedman. Defendant: William Huff, white. 9 Nov 1867. Residence Dogwood Valley, Catoosa County GA.
Martha Hunt contracted verbally with William Huff to live on his place and do his cooking and washing in house rent and board for herself
and two children. Huff taking some dislike to her ordered her to leave his premises without further notice. The woman had no home and
had come a great distance to live with Huff. The parties were called together and on showing to Huff the cruelty of turning this
woman and her little children into the street. He consented before witnesses to allow her to remain until May 1, 1867 giving her the
privilege of staying or not settled 10 Nov 1867. (page 42-43)
Complainant: F H Hoffner, white. Defendant: Robert Palmer, freedman. 28 Dec 1867. Place of residence: Whitfield County. F H Hoffner charged
the freedman with violation of contract which was a verbal one in presence of witnesses. The freedman agreeing to build a good fence
sand keep the same in good order around the land of Hoffner and to cup up at Haffners door all his firewood for which he was to have free
of all further rent a small house and one acre of land for ---- Haffner claimed that by Palmers neglect his entire crop had been ---- by hogs.
The parties were called together at agent office and on examination had when it was proved that the freedman had altogether neglected the
fence of Hoffner and that he had never cut any wood. As he had verbally contracted having devoted his time to working for others
or by lying around the streets. After a full hearing the freedman was ordered to move from the premises of Hoffner on to his own ground
in which case Haffner was to take no further action in the matter. The freedman to leave the premises Jan 1, 1868. (page 46-47)
Complainant: Charles Oliver, Freedman for his brother Jourdan M Nichols. Freedman. Defendant: James Simen, white. 20 June 1867.
Place of residence: Dalton GA. Nature of Offence: James Simen refused to pay the amount claimed by Nichols for his brother $21.00.
Simen swears owned accounts examined and he (Simen) was found to owe Oliver for labor $6.00 which was paid and the amount finally settled
June 20, 1867. (page 50-51)
Claimant: Jesse A Glenn, white. Defendent: Soldier under command of 2nd Lt A Warrenger of surveying party, name unknown. Place of residence:
Dalton. Nature of offence: The soldier insulted Amanda Glenn (Freedwoman) and threatened the life of Jesse Glenn. Disposition: A note was sent
to Lt Warrenger. He marching at his camp for the Sgt in charge came. The Soldier was arrested by him and Protection pledged to the
colored woman and to Jesse A Glenn. As no further disturbance took place the offence was considered finally settled July 7, 1867.
(note says see page 185 letters sent Vol 1, 1867) (page 54-55)
Claimant: Jane Benjamin, Freedwoman. Defendant: Frank Benjamin. Sept 23, 1867. Residence: Keith's Station, Whitfield County GA.
Nature of offence: Jane Benjamin stated that her husband Frank Benjamin was in the habit of beating her and that so constantly and severely that she
could not live with him. Disposition: The parties were called together. And on investigation it was proved that both parties were acting
badly towards each other. Both parties were reprimanded and on their promise to do better in future were dismissed. Sept 25, 1867.
Claimant: James Gilchrist, white. Defendant: James West, Freedman. Dec 9, 1867. Place of residence: Dalton, GA. Nature of Offence: Gilchrist stated that
he could prove that West had stolen five cords of wood from him worth $15. And wished me to investigate the affair rather than prosecute the Freeman
in the courts. Disposition: An examination was had in my office. The Freedman admitted that he has stolen two fords by pleased as an extenuating
circumstance in the case that on the last settlement with Mr Gilchrist he had not got full justice and had taken what wood he thought would make the
thing right and being shown that West was very poor and his family sick. And the theft not being malicious. After a severe reprimand he was compelled
to leave the premises of Mr Gilchrist in bar of a prosecution in the civil courts. Matter finally dropped Dec 9, 187. (page 58-59)
Complainant: T R Henderson, white. Defendant: Tony Wells, Freedman. Dec 10, 1867. Place of residence: Dalton, GA. Nature of offence: Tony Wells was
accused by Mr Henderson of Failing to fulfill his contract in that Wells did not put a fence between the land of Henderson and Mr Stewart. As per agreement in the
contract dated Jan 23, 1866. And Approved by G W Selvedge, then agent at Dalton. Disposition: The parties were called together and it being shown and admitted
by Wells that he had not complied with the condition of his contact with Mr Henderson. He was informed that he was to build the fence as the contract provided
this he pledged himself to do in presence of witnesses. And there being no doubt but that he would do as he promised the case was finally dismissed. Dec 10,
1867. (page 60-61)
Complainant: Harry Worthy, Freedman. Defendant: Richard Warford, Freedman. Dec 16, 1867. Place of residence: Whitfield County, GA. Nature of Offence:
This was a verbal contract between Worthy and Warford (Freedmen) which had run two years without settlement. the case of the rupture between them
was brought about by Worthy's wife buying a sow. For which she paid 8 bushels of corn. One half of which belonged to Warford. But as Worthy had boarded
with Warford and his family for some time he thought that he ought to keep the hog for the board. Warford objected and they went to law but were
advised by the Major to take the case out of court and let the agent decide it. This was done. And their affairs for two years were settled by me.
Disposition: The parties were brought before me and on investigating it was found that the hog was bought for 8 bushels of corn, half of which
was paid by Warford. But Worthy understood that as Warford owed him some for board that it was a present to his wife. The sow has six pigs and Warford
claimed only two of them in payment of the four bushels of corn. To this Worthy objected and said the corn was a gift this Warford claimed. And said that
at the time of purchase he considered one half of the hog his but as Worthy had fed the hog since it was bought he would claim but two pigs. It was admitted
by Warford that he owed Worthy 49.25 for sundries and therefore decided that Worthy should keep the sow and pigs and that Warford should not pay him the
$9.25. This was satisfactory to both partied and this was finally settled Dec 16, 1867. (page 66-67)
Complainant: Mary Wilson, Freedwoman. Defendant: William Wilson, Freedman. Dec 28, 1867. Place of residence: Whitfield County GA. Nature of the
offence: Wilson on he night of the 27th of December beat his wife with a chair. Knocking her down injuring her so severely that on the the 28th she could not rise
from her bed. Word was sent to the civil authorities but no notice was taken of her complaint. She then asked the agent to come to her house and protect
her which was done. Wilson has also struck his infant child severely if not permanently injuring it. The agent called on the major of Dalton and required him to
give protection to this woman and her child at the same time arresting the Freedman and taking him before the major. This being his third offence, he was bound
over in $50 for his appearance at the first term of the County Court which meets the 1st Monday in Feb 1868 to answer the charge of Assault and battery.
more coming soon
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