labor contract

He swears he has been to work.

Freedman Reddick Barnes signed a labor contract with white farmer Elisha Barnes commencing in January 1866. After several months, when Elisha failed to pay Reddick wages, Reddick complained to the Goldsboro field office of the Freedman’s Bureau. Though Ben Barnes, another freedman, testified against him, Reddick seems to have won his case.

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Case of Reddick Barnes Freedman vs. Elisha Barnes white, Breach of Contract

Reddick Barnes freedman sweares that he has been to Work for Mr Barnes white for some time he general went to work at sun rise in the morning. Ben Barnes freeman testified that he has been to work with Reddick Barnes. And has often found him asleep and was not out in the morning to feed his stock went he went out. And left his quarters most every night and went to Town with out permission Mr Elisha Barnes always treated him well Mr Rett Barnes Testified that Reddick did not work as he should have done got up late in the morning and often caught him asleep on his plough in the field and caught him shelling corn.

Contract fairly broken by Reddick Barnes Freedman, Wilson July 12th 1866

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Reddick Barnes’ receipts.

Roll 17, Miscellaneous Records, Goldsboro Subassistant Commissioner’s Records, North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, National Archives and Records Administration images, www.familysearch.org

Calvin Bone supports his claim.

More on the contract dispute with Jourdin Artis that Calvin Bone brought to the attention of the Freedmen’s Bureau:

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Black creek N.C., July 3 1867.

Mr. O Compton, I Received your note yesterday in closed you will find the am of my Acct against Jourdin Artis, allso an Acct he should of had to of settled with his hands. Jourdin has never bin to me for asettlement nor nor finished the contract he is oing me right smart Am. now. I thought all last fall he would come & complete the egagement you want the Am of labour done there has bin only 6423 bushels of marl thrown out & agreeable to contract he should of thrown out 26000 bushels. I would go down at once & see you but my crop is allmost ruined with grass I have narry dutiful Sevent or that will do to risk. if you request my going to your office let me hear from you again I shall be at this post office again in five or six days.  Verry Respectfully yrs., Calvin Bone.

Bone attached pages and pages documenting supplies advanced to Artis for laborers Artis employed — tobacco, flour, sugar, whiskey, herrings, mullet, shoes, clothing.

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Including documents that named the workers. Though Bone lived in Black Creek, Wilson County, Artis appears — per the 1870 census — to have hired his hands from nearby Wayne County communities.

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The contract itself:

 

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Witnesseth that the said Jourdin Artis agrees with the Said Calvin Bone that he will clear off dig & threw out twenty six thousand bushels of pure marl on the farm of the said Calvin Bones in the mill Swamp on or before the first of Dcr next

and the said Calvin Bone in consideration of the fourgoing agreement promises and agrees, to and with the Said Jourdin Artis pay one cent a bushel in Specie or its value in Something wee can agree on, and the said Calvin Bone do further to furnish the said Jourdin Artis with one hundred & eighty lbs of bacon or its adequate in herrings & ten bushels of meal during the time he is labouring & digging the above named marl, & the said Jourdin Artis is to give the said Calvin Bone his trade whilst he is performing the above named labour this the twenty third day of July one thousand eight hundred Sixty Six in witnesseth whereoff wee set our hands and seals 

This is a true coppy of the contract with me and Jourdin Artis there was only one ritten Ys truly Calvin Bone

 

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870, http://www.familysearch.org.

 

 

 

She went off of her own accord.

Near Wilson Oct 2 1867

Sir

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

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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.

She left very soon after they were liberated.

Wilson, N.C. Dec 23d 1865

Commiss of Freedmen, Goldsboro

Sir. You sent an order to Jonathan Bullock to settle with Dearry & Ginny (colored) for labor done on his farm or to report to Goldsboro to day; it is impossible for him to report to day, so I drop you these lines Conserning the case. Your order stated for him to settle from the 1st of May to the 16th of Dec. Now I know that neither one of them have not labored at Jonathan Bullock’s much over half of that time. Dearry left him in May & did not return until sometime in Oct I don’t think all the work he done was more nine weeks for which he acknowledged having been paid according to Contract. Wit to that is John Bullock. Ginny left Jonathan Bullock’s farm very soon after they were liberated but returned after staying away some time, Jonathan says he has settled with her according to Contract.

Very respectfully,

Your Obedt Servt

W.J. Bullock

Capt. L.P. Force

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Thirty-eight year-old farmer William Bullock is listed in the 1870 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County. Thirty-five year-old farmer John Bullock is listed in Wilson township. Near Jonathan Bullock nor anyone identifiable as Dearry or Ginny appears in that census.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com.

They’re perfectly satisfied.

Wilson N.C. Nov 6th 1867

Prev Lt Col W A Cutler

Col

The condition of my family will prevent my personal appearance at Rocky Mount on the 9th to show cause by what authority I hold in my service Edward & Esau Bagley (Col’d) But will take this method of reporting that Edward aged about 13 years was apprenticed to me by the Bureau at Goldsboro N.C. in the year 1866. Subsequently (Oct Term 1866) by the County Court of Wilson County. Said boy is an orphan, with no nearer relative than half-uncle and is perfectly satisfied & contented.

Esau is forty five years of age and is living with me as per contract made and entered into by himself and myself and with which he seems, to me, perfectly satisfied, none having made any complaint. If any informality or irregularity exists in regard to the indentures I am not aware of it, & which, if such there be the court upon motion properly made will correct – or annul the indentures. Yours &c, Alvin Bagley

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Forty year-old white farmer Alvin Bagley is listed in the 1870 federal census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Eighteen year-old “farmer’s apprentice” Edwin [sic] Bagley appears next door in the household of 22 year-old black farm laborer Cain Atkinson. Fifty year-old farm laborer Esaw Bagley is listed in the household of 40 year-old black farmer Isaac Bell in Springhill township.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Captain Glavis’ district.

On the Freedmen’s Bureau “court day” in Wilson County:

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Colonel Eliphalet Whittlesey, the Freedmen’s Bureau’s first assistant commissioner for North Carolina, appended to his Congressional testimony an unattributed article from the 3 February 1866 edition of the New York Tribune, in which the writer chronicled his train voyage through the South. Found in The Reports of the Committees of the House of Representatives, Made During the First Session Thirty-Ninth, 1865-’66.