Photo posted without attribution at “First Black Doctor in Opelika, AL,” Valle Vision News blog, 22 February 2018.
Joyners Depot Wilson County N.C.
April 8th 1867
Gen Daniel E. Sickles
I appeal to you for advice. Please give me the desired advice and tell me what course to pursue and ever believe me to be your obt svnt.
Last year my mother rented a farm of B.D. Rice Esqr in Nash County. He (Rice) was to find the team, and Mother the hands and board for them. All went on smoth during the year until the crop was made and housed. When that was done Esqr Rice then refused to settle with her (Mother) fairly and squarely, according to the contract.
The business has been placed in my hands to settle and I have tried all ways to settle with him honorably and I can not have it settle neither by law nor a compromise. He (Rice) is now due Mother not far from seven hundred dollars. Please advise me what course to pursue by so doing you would confer on me an everlasting favor never to be forgotten so long as any thing Earthly remains. In housing the crop he would not let her have her part.
I am Sir with great Respect, Your obt Srvt
Jerry Pridgen, Freedman
Address me [at] Joyners Depot
Joyners Depot is now known as Elm City. Neither Rice nor Pridgen appears in the 1870 federal census of Wilson or Nash County NC. However, 32 year-old Bryant D. Rice is listed in the 1860 census of Winsteads township, Nash County NC.
Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.