Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Fannie Scott and Daughters

Fannie Thomas Scott and her daughters: Pearline, Fannie, Gladys, and Margie.
Photograph taken during the late 1940s or early 1950s.
Lincoln County, Mississippi

How are they related to me?
The daughters' father James Pearly Scott, Jr., was the son of James Pearly Scott and Catherine Matilda Markham.
Catherine and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were siblings.
The daughters and I are second cousins once removed.

Photograph courtesy of James Scott, Fannie's grandson.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Family Love
Grandfather & Granddaughter

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. I Corinthians 13

Frank Scott was the grandfather of Lorraine Thomas Bolton.
Frank was the son of James Pearlie Scott and Catherine Matilda Markham
Lorraine is the daughter of Nathaniel Thomas, Sr., and Annie Mae Scott.

Both are my maternal cousins.

Photograph courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas, Jr.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Schools for the Freedmen ~ 1868

Freedmen's School
Edisto Island, SC

The Freedmen's Bureau helped to establish Mississippi’s first widespead public schools and laid the foundation for public education. Freedmen desired education for their children and adults wanted night schools so they too could learn to read and write. Below is a letter written by a teacher asking for protection from violence from local citizens.

Liberty, Amite Co., Miss
March 15th 1868

To John W Hardley
Act Ast Sub Com
Liberty, Miss

Dear Sir,
I have the honor to report that I was sent here by H. R. Pease, Esq, Gen Supt of Education for the State of Miss to open a scholl(sp) for the Freedmen. I have already a very good day scholl(sp) & could get a night school for the grown persons as they are very anxious for it but they are afraid to attend a night school from the threat made by many citizens here, "that if such a school is started, that they will fire into said school after night." Sworn statements can be had of the names of many of threatening parties as the Freedmen are all anxious that the school should be carried on. I would be much obliged to you, if you would inform me if there can be any protection afforded myself & scholars from violence & outrage from the threatening parties unless some means is devised, the school must be abandoned, as the freedmen are in bodily fear.

Yours very respt,
Dan'l Essiq, Teacher

Sources:
Mississippi, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-45832-31413-24?cc=2333768&wc=9L3S-92Q:1078469102,1078469101 : accessed 7 February 2015), Brookhaven (subassistant commissioner) > Roll 11, Unregistered letters received, Jun 1865-Nov 1868 > image 151 of 214; citing NARA microfilm publication M1907 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Photograph Courtesy of Library of Congress

Reconstruction in Mississippi 1865-1876

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
James Pearlie Scott, Jr.

1900-1992
Farmer, Preacher
Son of James Pearlie Scott, Sr., and Catherine Matilda Markham
Husband of Fannie Thomas
Father of Magdalene, Pearlean, William, Fannie, Gladys, and Maggie

How does Pearlie connect to my family?
His mother Catherine Matilda Markham Scott, and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were siblings.

Photograph courtesy of James Earl Scott, Pearlie's grandson.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Request Reparations for Dead Animals ~ 1867

The writer of the letter, Maria Louisa Baxter Burnley, wrote to the Freedmen's Bureau Field Officer concerning reparations for her dead mare and mules, and blinded ox. She implied the freedmen working for her intentionally harmed the animals.

Maria Burnley was the wife of Edwin Burnley. The couple married in 1852, together they had five daughters: Jean, Hardenia, Fannie, Bertha, and Edwina. Jeanie died before the writing of this letter. They owned Somerset Plantation in Copiah County, Mississippi, with 60 slaves.

Somerset Plantation's acreage is shaded in pink on the map below.

Somerset Plantation
September 20th 1867

To his excellency General

Sir
Knowing it to be your desire to redress grievances in the district under your command, I have taken the liberty to address you, begging your advice or directions.

I will first state that before the War my husband owned about one hundred svts mostly his family servants & one valuable cotton plantation in Madison Parish La - on which during the war, the Southern soldiers burned near four hundred bales of cotton with corn, new gin house, steam engine & ? not giving even two hours to save the buildings - that with the mules they took has reduced us to poverty - my husband by an attack of apoplexy has been incapacitated to attend business since the war - & seldom leaves the house.
From Edwina Burnley Memoirs: There were 1300 acres across the river from Vicksburg in Madison Parish, La., on Jo’s Bayou not far from the little town of Delhi. Bro William managed the place but Pa went over several times a year. Jo’s Bayou was a valuable plantation, finely equipped, Pa refused $100,000 for it just before the war. Just before the fall of Vicksburg our own soldiers burned one year’s crop to keep the Yankee’s from getting it – 300 bales of cotton and unnumbered bushels of corn.

This year & last we have employed freedmen, but they have not made enough to feed themselves & teams & they only work when they choose.

However after these preliminaries which I deemed necessary as an apology for troubling you, I will state that my chief object is to inquire of yourself if there can be any redress for the cruelty of the freedmen to the animals under their care.

Those employed here have during this year killed two mules & one fine, young mare. Last night the ox driver beat an ox unmercifully & left him perfectly blind.

Now Sir, by stating in what way these cruelties can be prevented you will not only greatly oblige - your humble petitioner (who can ill afford to lose even one animal) but show an act of real kindness to those domestic animals who God has given us to care for & protect.

Very respectfully
Your most obedient
Mrs. M. L. Burnley
Gallatin, Copiah Co., Miss

P.S. May I beg this petition may receive your attention as I am obliged to employ freedmen inasmuch as I have four little daughters to support & no one to attend to any business but myself.

? M. L.B.

How is Somerset connected to my family?
Virgina Williams/Taylor was a slave of Somerset. She married John T Demyers, my 2nd great grandmother Alice Demyers Overton Usher's brother. The Burnley family also owned an Overton family whose connection to my 2nd great grandfather, Dave Brown Overton, is unclear.

Sources:
"Mississippi, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-45832-30777-31?cc=2333768&wc=9L3S-92Q:1078469102,1078469101 : accessed 1 February 2015), Brookhaven (subassistant commissioner) > Roll 11, Unregistered letters received, Jun 1865-Nov 1868 > image 110 of 214; citing NARA microfilm publication M1907 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Map Courtesy of Beverley Ballatine

Edwina Burnley Memoirs

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Not the Intention of Government to Give Land to Negroes ~ 1865

The Freedmen's Bureau had to squash the rumors of free land to former slaves and insure whites a Negro insurrection was not planned. Former slave owners feared an insurrection Christmas day 1865, to forcibly take the land.

Former slaves, in their new freedom, were encouraged by the Freedmen's Bureau to negotiate labor contract terms favorable to their interests.

Below is the Bureau's report from the area where my people lived.

Office Act'g Asst. Commissioner Bureau Freedmen
For Southern District of Mississippi
Natchez, Miss., Nov. 20, 1865

Captain Z. B. Chatfield
Sub Commissioner - Brookhaven

Captain"
On account of the general feeling of uneasiness that has taken possession of the minds of most of the white people of this District in regard to a negro insurrection and on account of the movement which appears to be contemplated among the negroes of leaving their present places of employment and seeking work on the banks of the river, I think that it would be advisable that you call a meeting of all the negroes on some particular day in each of the counties of your Sub District and make a speech to them, explaining that it is not the intention of the govt that the land shall be divided among them: that the govt does not intend to support any of them that they must depend on their own exertions for a living and that it is their best plan to contract for work for next year speedily as possible

Explain to them that the contracts are subject to your approval; that you will not approve any that you do not think are to their interests, and that they can more readily obtain work where they now are, and upon more advantageous terms than they can by going to any other place

In short, endeavor to prevent a movement of the negroes of this district from the interior to the river.

At the same time let negroes and whites understand that you do not favor the forming of any contracts with parties who have failed to comply with contracts the past year.

These are mere general heads. The main thing is to have a meeting and explain to them such things as you may think they have wrong ideas about.

After each meeting, make a report of it and its probable results.

Very Respectfully
Your Obt. Servant
George D Reynolds
Major & A. A. Comir. NFB
Sothern Dist, Miss

Sources:
Mississippi, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-45832-31035-86?cc=2333768&wc=9L3S-92Q:1078469102,1078469101 : accessed 22 January 2015), Brookhaven (sub assistant commissioner) > Roll 11, Unregistered letters received, Jun 1865-Nov 1868 > image 18 of 214; citing NARA microfilm publication M1907 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

The Black Experience in Natchez 1720-1880 by Ronald L.F. Davis

Image Courtsey of Library of Congress
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/92514996/

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Will not Sell Lumber for a Radical's Coffin

Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records are disclosing that some folks don't like change, even death would not bring a compromise. Making the Negro an equal in the political, economic and legal system of America was too much for some to endure. In the eyes of Henry Maxwell, Elisha Massey was a Radical. When Massey died, Maxwell would not loan tools or sell lumber for Massey's coffin.

I didn't find why Massey was accused of being a Radical. Voting for a Republican or voicing an opinion of equal rights would have been enough to put him in the hot seat with his neighbors.

Read below how it was recorded in the Freedmen's Bureau records.
September 12 1868

Died Elisha Massey an old citizen, 78 years, of Lawrence Co., Miss. on Fair River about 1/2 way to Monticello died on the 4th inst.

Henry Maxwell also an old citizen refused to lend tools with which to make Massey a coffin because Massey was a radical & also refused to sell the lumber (having a sawmill) for the coffin.

These two men do not connect to my family.

Source:
Mississippi, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-45819-4954-45?cc=2333768&wc=9L33-MNR:1078469102,1078469104 : accessed 15 January 2015), Brookhaven (subassistant commissioner) > Roll 12, Register of contracts, Jun 1865-Oct 1867 > image 78 of 101; citing NARA microfilm publication M1907 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d

Photograph Courtsey of Library of Congress