Report of the Poor: 1/19/1867

More from the Freedmen’s Bureau’s letter from the Knoxville office. These images are from FamilySearch’s undigitized images, “Roll 16 (T142), Letters sent, vol 119, July 1866-Apr 1867″. These pertain to the office in Knoxville, Tennessee, directly after the Civil War.

1-19-1867 report of poor P1

Page 96


Knoxville Tenn Jan 19/ 67

Lieut. S. W. Groesbeck

A. A. G. B. R. F and A. Lds.

Nashville Tenn


In compliance with Your Communication of the 12th Inst. – directing me to forward an estimate of the number of destitute Refugees & Freedmen in this County to whom in my opinion it is necessary that rations should be issued – I have the honor to submit the following estimate with a brief report on the subject.

No of whites – none.

No of Colored – 5 women, 20 children = 25

The foregoing estimate embraces only those who are without any means of support & are entirely dependent on common charity for subsistence.

The attention of civic authorities – both county & city – was repeatedly called to some of these cases during last month, &, as I had hopes at the date of my last months report, December 31″ 1866 – that some measures would be adopted for their relieft, my Report was not as full on this subject as it otherwise would have been. The whole subject, however, has since been settled, by both the County, and City, authorities declining to render any relief to such cases.

The County Court met on the 7th inst. and after having the whole subject brought before it, & being urged by the Judge – Hon C. M. Jones – to either make an appropriation for the relief of such cases, or authorize him to send them to County Poor House, it declined to do either. A few days prior to this action by the County authoritiews, the Mayor & Board of Aldermen, of the City, held a meeting for the purpose of disposing of this subject. By invitation of the Mayor I was present at this meeting & after reading the orders on the subject & stating that the Government had ceased to issue rations in this state & that each town, county etc was expected to care for its own poor,

1-19-1867 report of poor P2

I urged the board to adopt some measures for the relief of such cases in this City, but they declined to take any action for their relief, except, to refund to me seven dollars, which I had expended from my own private funds, for the relief of one or two cases, which I am satisfied would have starved & frozen, to death, had I not had them taken in, & cared for, at the time I did, I was very much surprised & disappointed, at the action of the authorities here, for both the Judge of the County Court, & the Mayor of the City, had repeatedly in conversations on the subject given me to hope for an entirely different result. I am satisfied now – however that it will be useless to make any further appeals to wither the County or City on this subject.

There is no scarcity of provisions here but there are always some in all communities – both black & white – who cannot buy at any price. The Colored of this class here are now dependent, either on common charity, or the Government, for subsistence. If the Government proposes to provide for them, it will in my opinion be necessary to issue about five hundred rations per month in this City for at least two or three months – by a judicious distribution of this amount I think much suffering will be prevented.

Very Respectfully,

Samuel Walker

Bvt Captain Supt.

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