September 6th 1867
Lieut Allen H. Jackson
A.A.A.G & D.O.Bu.R.F & A.L
I have the honor to submit the following report covering the months of July and August. In the business entering and locating Homesteads, almost nothing has been done. I have only sent four applications to the Land Office. I suppose, however, that a sufficient reason for this may be found in the fact that during these two months it has rained almost incessantly, so that the whole county is, as it were, inundated. All the watercourses have been so high as to render travelling difficult, and sometimes dangerous. Add to this the excitement we have had about the yellow fever, and we have abundant reason why so few have come to town to enter land. But now as this extraodinary season of rain is about closing, and the yellow fever scare is subsiding, more persons are ingraining about land.
The difficulty of travelling, and a quite severe attack of fever, have thus far presented my visiting the colony of freedpeople near Manatee, spoken of in my instructions. But as soon as the country dries up a little and I fully regain my strength, I shall visit them.
I have had
occasion to visit the different precincts of this County in connection with the
Registration, and have had some opportunitys of learning the temper and
disposition of the people, and the state of the crops. It is unnecessary to say anything of the
manner in which the people live. The log
houses and roughframe, but ready hosspitality of the dwellins in the ‘piney
woods’, have doubtless often been described to you. The people think they work hard, but measured
by the standard of
have seen last saw a newspaper.
But here and there you will find a true Union man: a Union man who is
known as such, and recognized on account of it, one who during the war
shouldered his musket or his double barrelled gun for the
condition of the Freemen is neither very good nor very bad. I have not heard of any cases of extreme
suffering though some of them are very destitute. As a class however they are supporting
themselves and living peaceably with the whites. They seem generally to have a fair
understanding of their new political privileges, and are anxious for
information to guide them in the use of them.
They are very desirous of schools.
There has been no school for colored children at
The crops are very much injured by the heavy rains. On many plantations it has been impossible to have the corn from the field, on account of the ground being reduced to a perfect bog. The cotton crop, as far as I have seen and heard, is almost a total failure. I have seen whole fields of it converted into standing ponds. The sugar cane I do not think is generally…..
** This report was not complete, compared to Agent Vance’s other reports this was not one of his reports and I have been unable to determine whom it came from. The portion obtained shows that the rainy season had been abnormally wet, which hurt the plantation crops and the earnings of the freedmen. This report also shows the political differences between the many diverse people living throughout the area. Also we see the living conditions of the freedmen by them living in log cabin. These cabins were typically small shanty type homes with only bare necessities. As the freedmen worked and earned money they eventually homesteaded their own property and farmed their own farms and built their own homes. This led to unrest between the freedmen and the whites because the white plantation owners no longer had workers as the freedmen were tending to their own crops. The freedmen who did not yet own property usually worked upon the farms of the other freedmen, this is what led to the formation of African American communities and the freedmen being self-reliant.