Complaint of Two Alabama Freedpeople

SELMA, ALA., Sept. 24th 1866

Nelson Peeples and Laura agreed to work for Bill Caver.  He was [to provide] two suits of clothes, each, and pay medical attendance, besides $150.00 in money for both.  Shoes were furnished.  Caver agreed to let him have as much land as he would clear up, Nelson cleared up two acres of land.  His wife was turned off near the first of April, and afterward tended the land they had cleared, so that they made a good crop from it, by hard work of nights &c.  Caver kept trifling with Nelson, dismissing him and then inducing him to come back again by promising that he should have all the crop that he had made.  In the middle of August, however, he told him would have nothing coming to him, that he had charged him rent for the land, and other things which would take up all his wages.  Caver had given him a small pig, which he had raised at his own expense.  Nelson killed the pig, to take away with him. when Caver came in and assaulted him with a large stick.

Complaint of Nelson Peeples and Laura, 24 Sept. 1866, Complaints, series 193, Selma AL Superintendent, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. On letterhead of the Freedmen's Bureau superintendent of the District of Selma. No evidence of action taken in response to the complaint has been found in the superintendent's letters-sent volumes.

Published in Land and Labor, 1866–1867, pp. 449–50.