Near Wilson Oct 2 1867
My Son Walter is sick and as it may be important for you to get the information, I have concluded to write. We hired Mary Tomlin last year to wash on the farm and I asked her at the end of the year if she was willing to live with me this year and do any little thing about the house, and wash, and iron. She said she was, but did not know how to iron, therefore we had our ironing done by others, and when she washed we had our cooking done by others. She has never been burdened for she had half of her time to work for herself. We agreed to give her two dollars a month and feed her two small children which was her price and when she wanted anything we purchased it for her and charged her with it, and last summer she had a little girl that was without a home, which she wished me to hire. I told her I would, if she would let me have her for five years which I would learn her enough to make her useful to her, and herself, too. I also promised to learn her to read. I told her to think about it, that I did not wish her to answer me hastily for I did not want her without she was perfectly willing. In a few weeks she told me that she rather I would have her than any body else so we had a contract written, and I am to pay her at the end of every year. Last winter we hired her son at eight dollar a month her price, she agreed to let him have half to buy clothes as he was very destitute when he came, he has nearly had it and she wanted a settlement at the end of the year. When she left we would have owed her sixteen dollars, but she had traded to the amount of twenty dollars, fell in my debt, so we do not owe her any thing until the end of the year. About three months ago she became dissatisfied and wish to leave, I told her I could hold her to her bargain if I choose, but if she wanted to leave I would let her go off with her two small children, but she did not at that time, but was often threatening to go until she called for a settlement, and as I had told her before, that I would let her off, I did not oppose her. I had enquired where I could get some one to take her place when she did, she never was sent from here she went off on her own accord. I have always tried to be fair with all that I have hired and since she left I have said nothing against her to keep her from getting a home, and I have tried to help them from getting in debt, when her pay is due for her children it will be paid certain all that we owe. We do not want to wrong her out of a cent. Respectfully, Margaret H. Battle
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Amos J. Battle, 65, wife Margret J., 59, sons Jesse, 19, and Cullen, 22, and fifteen hotel boarders, plus Kit Carmel, 35, his wife Louisa, 35, a hotel cook, and sons Joseph, 11, and Henry, 8; George Merit, 21, and Warren Adams, 22, hotel porters; and chambermaid Harret Barnes, 18.
Elsewhere in town: Washer woman Mary Tomlin, 40, with Ellen, 17, Orphius, 20, Blount, 9, and Willie Tomlin, 12, and James Davis, 27. Ellen worked as a domestic servant and Orphius as a blacksmith’s apprentice. Davis, who was white, worked as a store clerk and appears to have been a boarder.
Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com.