In March of 1866, Dr. E.A. Gibbes, former slaveholder and owner of a plantation in Colleton County, SC near the settlement of Adam’s Run, wrote to Lieutenant Jesse S. Craig of the 35th U.S.C.T. Infantry, outlining the terms of the labor agreement he had entered into with five freedmen to cultivate his plantation for one year.
His letter reveals that he was the former slaveholder for freedmen Samuel Gibbes, Sampson Fenwick, Gainey Singleton, Ancel Guerard and Harry Rivers. Below is the remarkable letter which connects E.A. Gibbes with these five freedmen:
“Letter of Dr. Gibbes Giving Terms of Contract with Freed People on His Plantation”
March 9, 1866
Lieut. Jesse S. Craig
35th U.S.C.T. Inftry.
Your letter of March 3rd requesting information regarding my plantation near Adam’s Run, &c has been received & in reply I would state, that the lands, premises, & c are leased for one year from Jan 1st 1866 to Samuel Gibbes, Sampson Fenwick, Gainey Singleton, Ancel Guerard & Harry Rivers; Freedmen formerly belonging to me. The terms are Five Bushels of produce to each acre of high land planted to be delivered to me as soon as harvested. I furnish nothing, & have no control over their actions whatever, they being at liberty to contract for labor with who they think proper, irrespective of former owners, & are amenable to the laws, as we all are. I have but little faith in written contracts, as they offer no more security than a verbal understanding between parties disposed to be just, hence this is a verbal contract between persons, who have known each other all their lives, but it was understood, that if the law required one, it must be at their expense. This contract was made as early as the first November 1865, with a reservation on my part, that if the landholders came to any determination, as to what course they would pursue, that I would feel myself bound to c??? with them, but as no such plan was followed, but each has entered upon his own course, I then concluded definitely(?) the terms here named on the 1st January 1866.
I have been repeatedly invited by them to visit the place, but in consequence of the absence of all comforts, I have not ???? done so, but I now contemplate going up there on Saturday by railroad to Edisto River, & by boat to the plantation, where I shall remain until Tuesday & return, I have no mode of conveyance to Adams Run, but if you will call on the place will be happy to see & confer further with you on Monday.
I remain Yours very Respectfully,
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We located a Ganie Singleton in the 1900 US Census for Colleton County. He was widowed, 81 years old and head of his household:
Name: Ganie Singleton
Titles and Terms:
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1900
Event Place: Adams Run Township (west part), Colleton, South Carolina, United States
Marital Status: Widowed
Race (Original): B
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Head
Number of Living Children:
Birth Date: Oct 1819
Birthplace: South Carolina
Marriage Year (Estimated):
Father’s Birthplace: South Carolina
Mother’s Birthplace: South Carolina
Mother of how many children:
Sheet Number and Letter: 3A
Household ID: 55
Line Number: 12
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: T623
GS Film Number: 1241524
Digital Folder Number: 004120553
Image Number: 00421
“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3R2-7RV : accessed 7 January 2016), Ganie Singleton, Adams Run Township (west part), Colleton, South Carolina, United States; citing sheet 3A, family 55, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,241,524.