Posts Tagged ‘After Freedom’

Request for Transportation, 11/1/1866

April 12, 2019

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.

11-1-1866 Request for transport freedmen to Charleston SC

Page 54


Bureau R. F. A. L.

Supt Office Knoxville Tenn

Nov 1st 1866

Isaac Benson Esq

Supt E. T. & G. R. R.

Knoxville Tenn


I have the respectfully to request that Beck and Henry – the parties who have the Freedmen in charge on their way to Charleston S. C. – may be furnished with transportation this day without waiting for papers. I will be responsible that you receive the necessary papers to collect the amt from the Govmt (the number of Freedmen in their charge and for which the Govmt has authorized transportation to be furnished is 162).

I have the honor to be Sir,

Very respectully

Your obt Servt

Samuel Walker

Brvt Capt Supt etc

11-1-1866 Freemen to Liberia

Page 56


Bureau R. F. & A. L.

Supt Office Knoxville Tenn.

Nov 1st 1866

To the Supt

E. T. & Ga R. R.


I have the honor respectfully to request that Joseph Beck and Anderson Henry – the men who have the Freemen in Charge on their way to Liberia – may be furnished with transportation over your Road for one hundred and sixty two Freedmen. Without waiting any longer for papers.

The Government has ordered the transportation to be furnished but the papers have not yet come to hand and they have now been detained two days here an expense.

I will be responsible that you receive the necessary papers to collect the amt from the Govt.

Yours respectfully

Samuel Walker

Brvt Capt Supt etc.

Copy furnished for the Supt Western & Atlantic R. R. & the Supt of the S. C. R. R.

What happened to these Freedmen? Did they make it to Liberia?

Let’s ask the newspapers at GenealogyBank.


Clarksville Chronicle, 11/23/1866

New York, Nov. 19.–The Times correspondent gives some account of a party of two hundred and sixty freedmen, including families, who leave Columbia, S. C., to embark on the ship Golconda for Liberia.– They are to be accompanied by Miss Gregg, sister of the Confederate Gen. Maxy Gregg, who has long wished to undertake this enterprise to Africa. A second expedition is talked of for next spring. Similar agitation is reported at Columbus, Ga.


Pulaski Citizen, 12/21/1866

Going to Liberia.

There is a notable movement among the freedmen in reference to emigration to Liberia. Six hundred sailed in the Golconda, from Charleston, on the 21st ult. They were principally from Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Another company sailed from New York on Wednesday, in the steamer Edith Rose, having come from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. They were well provided with agricultural implements and religious and educational books. They will form a colony on the St. John’s river, Grand Bassa county, Liberia, to be called Lincoln–

Nearly one thousand are still waiting transportation to the African republic.


Memphis Daily Avalanche, 8/3/1867



Charleston, S.C., August 2.

General Sickles’ removed the police of the town of Sumpter for alleged maltreatment of blacks and inefficiency. He has appointed two colored and one white policeman to succeed the late incumbents.

United States Marshall Epping was arrested last night on the charge of attempting to fight a duel with C. C. Bowen, owing to an abusive letter about Epping published by Rowen. The difficulty grew out of rivalry for the leadership of the Republican organization here.

Several freedmen, who emigrated from here to Liberia last year, have just returned, bringing very discouraging accounts. Letter from those who remain are to the same purport, and they advise Southern freedmen against emigration.


Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig, 8/14/1867

Letter of Erskine.

This interesting letter, preceded by an appeal from John Caldwell, will be found in our paper. The colored man has no better friend than Mr. Caldwell. He is the only one of a patriotic band living who, forty years ago, united in the purchase of the father of this man Erskine, whom they educated in Maryville for the Presbyterian ministry, and sent him as a missionary to Liberia.

The same letter was published in other papers.

(I’ll add here that I read up on “Parson” Brownlow, and he was said to be the most hated man in Tennessee. He caused problems and then wrote about them in the paper to boost sales. He changed sides during the War, and talked badly about the opposing sides, boosting sales again and earning money on a lecture circuit touring the North. He was the governor of Tennessee, then a U.S. Senator, causing problems everywhere he went. He bankrupted the state of Tennessee while governor. There’s more. Scholars have written about him, better than I ever could, and I certainly don’t want to write about him any more. History remembers him as a disgusting person.)


Daily Union and American, 8/20/1867


The Emigrants who Left last Fall Well Settled—Preparations Made to Take More–Letter from H. W. Erskine.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 10th, 1867–

To the Freedmen of Tennessee: By reference to the accompanying letter from Rev. H. W. Erskine, of Monrovia, Liberia, you will get a history of the transportation and settlement of one hundred and fifty of your race, who sailed last fall, all of them from East Tennessee.

I take pleasure in informing you that the means are provided to transport and settle one hundred and fifty more this fall from this section. The book is now open in may office in Knoxville, and those who wish to go to their fatherland should enroll their names immediately. A vessel will sail from Charleston, S. C., early in November next.

Those who may desire to emigrate, will be furnished free transportation from Knoxville, and provisions for six months after their arrival in LIberia. Information furnished at my office.


Robertsport, March 6, 1867.–MY DEAR SIR: I am happy in inform you that the 150 people landed here are contented and happy in their new homes. The lands are already surveyed, plotted and allotted to them, and many have planted patches of corn, potatoes and garden vegetables, which are growing finely. Each married man receives twenty-five acres, and single persons ten acres. The new settlement is laid out on the river Marfie, which runs north or northeast from Cape ount, about sixteen or eighteen miles from its mouth. The lands are very fertile, and afford plenty of good timber for building purposes–such as rosewood, oak, redwood, etc., etc., etc. Water is plentiful, and of the best quality. In short, the new settlement, which we named, before we left America, Schieffelin, after our excellent Minister to your government, Henry M. Schieffelin, Esq., whose disinterested labors and numerous acts of kindness for the upbuilding of Liberia, and its future prosperity and progress, are known to but few, is in one of the best districts of Liberia. First, it is in the centre of the rice country. Second, palm oil, camwood, ivory, rice cotton and country cloths are brought constantly to market through this region. Third, fish of the finest quality are plentiful in the rivers and creeks. Fourth, the roads leading to the interior, and the Gallinas and Manna countries, lie in this district. It affords every facility for cheap living, while the soil seems to say, “Come and till me and I will reward your industry a thousand fold.” Nature has made it a healthy and inviting spot for the enterprising and industrious husbandman. An English trading house is established here, and is doing a large business. Let our intelligent people come to Cape Mount as they cannot do better anywhere. I feel it a duty I owe to them to do all I can to encourage them to come to their fatherland, and am willing to spend the remainder of my life in such a labor of love. My friends in Tennessee write to me to return again next fall, but I cannot promise the. Had I the means, I would willingly devote one or two years in the United States in giving information and directing my people to Liberia. I think I could be as useful to my race in that as in any other way. Yours truly,



The Pension File: Meet Nelson Brown

May 19, 2016

We haven’t talked about Nelson Brown, have we?

We HAVE talked about Nelson’s wife, Bella Brown, whom is believed to have given birth to Winnie Joe Brown by a white man, precisely unknown. In 1880, Bella Brown was enumerated on the census next to a Lawton family. There’s no man in Bella’s house, but there are several children, one being named Joseph.

I came across a record index for pensions. There’s Bella Brown, and she’s listed with Nelson Brown. This was my first true link that Bella’s husband was named Nelson. There is no census for 1890, and I can’t find him on the 1870 or the 1900 census. The only census-type record I can find for Nelson Brown is the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule, and he is recorded as having served in the 128th Regiment of the USCT.

I haven’t ordered a census file in perhaps 18 years. Ouch, the price has gone up. But I couldn’t stand it. I needed to know more about Nelson Brown. I chose to have the file delivered electronically, because I don’t want more paper. Plus I’d scan the paper and then load it to the blog, which is a few steps too many for me.

My grandmother received a monthly pension, which makes me think that I should look for a pension file for my grandfather. But first: Nelson Brown.

This file was chock-full of surprises and details. During slavery times, Nelson Brown was owned by Joseph Maner Lawton, which is not the same one that I mentioned in a recent post, but rather an ancestor. Bella Brown was owned by William McBride. Her maiden name was Duncan, and Nelson Brown also went by Nelson Lawton. If you are a black person looking to break through the 1870 brick wall, a pension file might just be your way to go.

There are over 100 images in this file. I’d say I got my money’s worth.