Sept. the 5th, 1867
I proceed to address you on a particular subject, simply for your instruction.
There was a white woman living in my neighbourhood previous to, and during the rebellion. She had a child (boy) that was colored, the woman was consumptive, therefore was aware that she could not live long. This boy had been living with me two or three years, with so much satisfactory to himself, and mother, that she and he insisted, that she should give, and I accept the boy’s indentures in writing till he was twenty one years of age, which was done in ’61. In ’63 the mother died. The boy staied with me very well contented until sometime last winter. He had been telling me sometime before he left, that some people (mostly of which were colored) were persuading him to leave, that he was free &c. He appeared to be mad because they would tell him to leave, but he finally heeded their instruction. I was good to the boy, and he seemed to be well contented as long as he stayed with me. I took a good deal of pains in trying to teach him to conduct himself properly, which he done as long as he stayed.
I heard of him a few days ago in Johnston County, he was at court. I suppose he is doing nothing, by the way I heard he looked. I have deferred going after him until I heard from you, thinking, that if you should write me, that my title was good, I could tell him so, that he would not be running off any more. The boy is between 17 & 18 years of age.
Please let hear from you concerning the above soon.
Yours verry respectfully E.G. Barnes
26 year-old student Elias G. Barnes, son of Burthany Barnes, is listed in household #297, Kirby’s District, in the 1860 federal census of Wilson County. At #305 appears 42 year-old white farm laborer Elizabeth Taylor with her five children, Abia, 18, Bryant, 14, Jackson, 12, Kinchen, 10, and McDaniel, 7. Three were mulatto. The boy referred to in E.G. Barnes’ letter may have been Elizabeth’s son Kinchen.
Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands; Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.