Samuel Q. Richardson to Hamilton, September 1865

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In the aftermath of the Civil War, Van Zandt County, like the rest of Texas, was the scene of violent unrest. In this letter, Samuel Q. Richardson, a saltmaker and the county judge, writes to Hamilton asking that soldiers and an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau be sent to the county to help deal with the problem of violence against newly freed African Americans.

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was a branch of the U.S. Army that was established to help resettle war refugees, deal with issues related to the freed slaves, and administer land confiscated from or abandoned by Confederates during the war. The Freedmen's Bureau operated in Texas from September 1865 to July 1870. The Bureau had reasonable success at establishing schools and educational opportunities for African Americans, but its efforts at promoting equality in labor and politics were ultimately defeated by white hostility.

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Richardson to Hamilton, page 1

Sept. '65

To his Excellency AJ Hamilton

Provisional Gov of the State of Texas

Sir

I would respectfully

represent to Your Excellency that an agent

for the Freedman's Bureau in our Vanzandt County

is absolutely necessary for the following reasons

to wit. Within the last two weeks several negroes

have been taken from their place of business (making

salt oat furnaces and cutting timber in the woods

and shamefully abused and mistreated as follows to wit.

One Hill running a furnace claimed by Geo Washington

came to a furnace run by P Moore and drove part of the

Negroes off and slaked several down and in one particular

case gave one five hundred lashes. He was accompanied

(his own admission)

by a Mr. Brown running a furnace claimed by Rogers

and Fulds. Also by a Mr. Porter running a furnace claimed

by Pearce and Dixon. The only reason gave by the parties

is that the Negroes have left their former masters

the said negroes are in danger of their life if they

do not either work with the parties for nothing

The principal parties are Anderson Carlock Porter and

Montgomery. The particulars will be given you by Mr. Moore

two of said Negroes are still prostrated by injuries received

Also that in order to enforce law for the protection

of the Negroes and assisting said agent it will be necessary

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Samuel Q. Richardson to Hamilton, September 1865, Records of Andrew Jackson Hamilton, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011