Report by a Plantation Lessee in Louisiana

[Concordia Parish, La., May? 1865]

handwritten report on leased plantation, on a printed form

Excerpt from V. A. Woolfolk, Monthly Report Minorca Plantation, [May? 1865], Records on Renting & Leasing of Abandoned Property, series 2030, General Superintendent of Freedmen, MS Assistant Commissioner Pre-Bureau Records, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. The first page of a five-page list, all on the same printed form, with handwritten insertions; the final page was signed by V. A. Woolfolk, the lessee. The list totals 133 persons employed on the plantation between January and April, 1865, of whom (judging by their given names) 64 were male and 69 female. Specialized positions were noted only for five men–three drivers, a blacksmith, and a hostler. Five workers received wages of more than $10 per month: one driver, $30; three men, including another driver and the blacksmith, $20 each; the third driver, $15. Of the remaining 122 laborers–men, women, and children–for whom wages were listed, thirty-one (all men) received $10 per month; eight (all men), $8; forty (all women), $7; twenty-one, $5; eight, $3.50; and fourteen, $2.50. In comments under the heading of “REMARKS,” ten laborers were described as sick and seven as absent or otherwise not working, including one woman who “Cannot work any more”; one of the drivers had been “Dischgd Apl 24–by his own request”; and one woman had died. On the final page appears the following comment: “Average working hours pr Day 7–until latter part of April–got them up to 8 & occasionally 9–” The report also enumerated a total of sixty-five “DEPENDANTS” (apparently only those not employed for wages), of whom thirty-four were adults and thirty-one children.

Published in The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South, pp. 888–89.