Freedmen’s Bureau Field Reports, Summerville, Colleton County, SC


The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507).

The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War. While a major part of the Bureau’s early activities involved the supervision of abandoned and confiscated property, its mission was to provide relief and help freedmen become self-sufficient. Bureau officials issued rations and clothing, operated hospitals and refugee camps, and supervised labor contracts.

Here, for the first time on the Internet anywhere, we present an entire NARA microfilm of Records of the Field Offices, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. We’ve digitized NARA Micropublication 1910, Reel 103, for the Summerville Field Office, which encompassed all of Colleton County in South Carolina.

Below is a Table of Contents for Reel 103. To view the documents in Reel 103, you can click on each of the files below the Table of Contents.

There are 1,431 frames of original historical documents here. There are no doubt many treasures awaiting family historians and scholars researching Colleton County and the history of Reconstruction in South Carolina.

If you find an ancestor here, we would love to hear from you. You can write to us at Happy Ancestor Hunting from the Crew at Lowcountry Africana!

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Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Reports Colleton County, SC: Table of Contents


Reports of the Number of Persons Issued Rations, Medicines, and Clothing, June 1866-July 1868

Unbound reports of the number of persons issued rations, medicines, and clothing, September 1865-december 1867, are arranged chronologically.

Monthly Report of Lands, Sept 1865-Dec 1867

Unbound monthly reports of lands, September-November 1865 and June 1866-February 1867, are arranged chronologically.

Register of Complaints, Sept-Nov 1865 and June 1866-Feb 1867

The single-volume register of complaints (271) covers the period September 1866-November 1867. Entries in the volume are arranged chronologically. The volume also contains a register of liens on crops for supplies (July-Aug 1867).

Register of Contracts, Dec 1865-May 1866

The single-volume register of contracts, December 1865-May 1866 (272) is unarranged. For a register of contracts dated Mar-July 1867, see the single-volume register of letter received and endorsements sent (296) described above. The volume also contains a “Docket of Superior Provost Court” at Summerville (May 1866).

Labor Contracts for the Colleton District, June 1865-Feb 1868

Unbound labor contracts for the Colleton district, June 1865-February 1868, are arranged by year and thereunder by initial letter of the surname of the employer.

Miscellaneous Records, 1866-68

Unbound miscellaneous records, 1866-68, are arranged by type of record. The series consists of indentures, reports of persons and articles hired, reports of rations issued, rations returns, bills of lading, lists of orphans, oaths of loyalty, summonses, charges and specifications, affidavits, freedmen’s accounts, reports of arrrest, reports of outrages, lists of stores received, rosters and abstracts for stationery.


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