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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

1865 Memorial Colored People Hampton VA

Two handouts were found among some papers that belonged to a long time member of our AAHGS-VA chapter who passed away in 2007. I am not sure where she got them but I believe that it might have been when Robert Francis Engs spoke to the group in the late 1980’s (before I joined). Engs is the author of Freedom’s First Generation-Black Hampton, Virginia 1861-1890.

Ft. Monroe was the site of the first Contraband Camp whose importance during the Civil War and after cannot be overstated. Eng writes, “Between 1861 and 1865 the town was the site of 3 major developments: …southern slaves carried out their first mass escape of the Civil War; the Union military first developed the labor and race control policies that it would apply to ex-slaves throughout the South; and finally the first Northern missionaries, members of the American Missionary Association, initiated their efforts to aid ex-slaves.” This book is a must read for anyone researching Hampton and or Contraband Camps, which followed Fort Monroe’s example and sprang up all over the South where the Union Army was in control. It also gives a clear picture of former slaves “speaking for themselves” (with Agency as a member likes to say), as parents, husband & wives, of their faith, and their clear understanding of their rights as “FREE” Men and Women.

Records From the Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands Record Group 105 (at this point I have not been able to pinpoint exactly where this is in RG 105 which is voluminous)

Memorial of the Colored People of Hampton, VA – Hampton, VA July 8th, 1865

To: Capt. A. S. Flagg, Col. O. Brown, AQM Superintendent Bureau Freedmen’s Affairs for 1st District of the State of Virginia

We the undersigned residents of Hampton, Va. respectfully ask your attention to the following statement of facts.

There are in this town several places where intoxicating drinks are sold, so which soldiers resort, drink and issue there from in a drunken condition, and not only fight among themselves, but also assault peaceable colored citizens while about their daily occupations, or passing quickly along the streets. They abuse our wives and children, insulting them with profane and obscene language, and not infrequently even striking them with their fists. Not a day passes, but witnesses a drunken brawl in our streets, or an attack upon some inoffensive person by those who are intoxicated. Our wives and children are not safe if out of our sight. To such an alarming extent does drunkenness and disorder prevail, that life and property are insecure, and this evil increases daily.

In view of these facts, we respectfully but earnestly entreat you to exercise the power vested in you, as Superintendent for Freedmen’s Affairs in this District for the protection of our interests, and the maintenance of our rights against the abusive treatment to which we are daily and constantly subjected by the suspension, or removal of this evil in our midst.

Thomas PEAKE/John WALKER/John CHEESMAN/Thompson WALKER/John WALKER Jr./David BILLUPS/Phillip WALKER/Benjamin TABB/Soloman WALKER/Wm DAVIS/Jos. WALKER/David WATTS/Alexander DUNLAP?/James PAYNE/William TABB/Seazer? STEVENSON/Cornelious ALLEN/Richard R. HILL/Wm B. TAYLOR/Peter? HUBERT?/Rev. David EVANS/William MINKINS/William WILSON/Albert REDDICK/William PRITLAM?/Robert ARMSTEAD/William ALLEN/Watt ARMSTEAD/Robert REID/Edmund JONES/Edwood? CRISTIS/James H. SOUTHALL/Harday WILKERSON/George W. GREENHORN/William ALLEN?/Wm? BROWN?/Richard H. CHEESEMON/John CHEESEMON Jr./Peter PURDY/Robert ROE?/Peter GATWOOD/John DAVIS/Henry DICKINSON/Carl? HOLMAY/William FRANBIS?/James PARKER/Lamerdene? OIL/Peter BENNET/William WALKER/William BRIGHT/Antony BRIGHT/Antony BRIGHT/Peter LATIMORE/Jacub MALAR?Y/Shappard MALORY/Caroy? MAPSARS?/Robert SELDOM/William H. COLLEAR/David YOUNG Jr./Littleton SHEPPARD/Jacob HILL/George WASHINGTON/John WILLIAMS/Burel GIVINS/Alexander ALLEN/William CURTIS

To: Capt. A. S. Flagg, Col. O. Brown, AQM Superintendent Bureau Freedmen’s Affairs for 1st District of the State of Virginia

“The Undersigned, Mothers of families residing in Hampton, VA behold with sorrow and dismay the evils of intemperance growing and spreading in our midst; ourselves subjected to the brutalities of a drunken soldiery; our children exposed to temptation and liable to be led off into habits of intemperance, and thus the harmony and enjoyments of home destroyed.
Through the Providence of God, but lately rescued from the iron yoke of Slavery, and permitted to enjoy the fruits of our own industry; to gather around us some of the comforts and elegancies of civilized life, which the barbaries of Slavery denied us; to look upon our husbands, sons and daughters with the assurance that no human hand can tear us from our homes, and each other, to place up upon the auction block; we look with horror upon this treacherous foe may creep into our now happy homes and steal from us our loves ones, binding them with fetters more powerful than human hands can forge, and leading them to not only temporal, but eternal ruin.

We love our children as mothers only can love; yet we would rather lay them in their graves while in the innocency of youth, than have them live to become drunkards.

Our prayers continually ascend to the throne of Grace, for the preservation of that Government under God, has given us the precious boon freedom, and we come to you, as the representative of that Government, for help and pray you, as you would snatch your own children from impending ruin, or save them from the grasp of brutal lust, so you will exercise the power vested in your office, to save and protect us.

Elva CHEESMAN/ Mora CHEESMAN/ Harriett TAYLOR/ Rosie TAYLOR/ Mary J. GREENHOW/ Matilda JOHNSON/ Harriet RAY/ Mary PHILINS/ Adaline FIGIT/ Messia REDICK/ Charlotte JOHNSON/ Rose PARKER/ Fanny FIELDS/ Sarah PEAK/ Lair YOUNG/ Maria WELLS/ Sarah WALKER/ Georganna ROBERSON/ Harriett SIMPSON/ Elizabeth ROBERSON/ Elizia FIGIT/ Jane WATTS/ Alic WHITE/ Mary BROWN/ Susan CARY/ Mary BAILEY/ Tamy BAILEY/ Lucinda BRIGHT/ Catherine BRIGHT/ Sarah DAVIS/ Lucy MOODY/ Elizabeth HARRIS/ Claressa PERDY/ Elizabeth ALLEN/ Caroline WILKERSON/ VIOLA BRIGHT/ Sally MOODY/ Maria HOWARD/ Eliza ARMSTEAD/ Lucinda EVANS/ Francis Ann EVANS/ Mary THOMAS/ Hanah ELLIS/ Elizabeth PAIL(?)/ Susan JOHNSON.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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