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Harvey, John C. (fl. 1823-1884) [Reconstruction era freedmen labor contract]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05531 Author/Creator: Harvey, John C. (fl. 1823-1884) Place Written: Charlotte County, Virginia Type: Document signed Date: 28 February 1867 Pagination: 4 p. ; 31.6 x 19.3 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05531 Author/Creator: Harvey, John C. (fl. 1823-1884) Place Written: Charlotte County, Virginia Type: Document signed Date: 28 February 1867 Pagination: 4 p. ; 31.6 x 19.3 cm.

Summary of Content: Spells out terms of work by former plantation slaves, including rules, regulations, wages, and punishments. Signed by ten freed slaves and by J.W. Eggleston as Justice of the Peace. Dated between 26 December 1866 and 28 February 1867.

Full Transcript: Charlotte County February 28th [inserted: 1867]
I, John C. Harvey having [struck: this day] agreed with Elisha E. Handley of this County to take charge of the plantation on which said ...Handley now resides, and furnish Labour to cultivate the same for the year 1867 on shares as set forth in articles of agreement between said Handley & myself; In hireing Labour to cultivate Sd. Hiandley's farm as agreed to do I hereby adopt the following rules & regulations to be complied with by all Labourers I may Employ to work on Sd. farm [inserted: from] the date I Employ them untill the 25.th day of December 1867 and I [bind] myself to comply with the following rules & regulations strictly and pay each man such prices for their Labour as shall be set for the [strikeout] [inserted: opposition] the name of each Labourer I may Employ showing the date they commenced & the price to be paid them as provided in following rules To wit,
1.st I agree to pay one halfs of the wagers every three months the other half to be retained untill the expiration of the term of Service agreed on [inserted: viz untill the 25th day of December 1867;] to insure faithful performance of duty & strict complyance with these rules.
2.nd All Labourers will be required to rise at day brake each one to feed & take care of the stock allotted to him or perform any other Labour that may be assigned to him; To eat their breakfast & be ready for work at the signal which will be given at Sun rise; All time lost after the Signal is given will be deducted.
3rd No General Conversation, or Visitting will be allowed during work hours.
4th For bad work or disobediance one dollar will be deducted from their wagers; Neglect of duty or leaving the farm without permission will be considered disobediance.
5.th No live stock or chickens will be permitted to be raised without Special Contract in writing with the Employees & myself, showing my Consent.
6.th The Employees On the farm will be held responsible [2] for all the Tools, Stock, fruit & indeed for all property on the farm which may be stolen or destroyed by carelessness & will be charged with the same if stolen or destroyed, unless they can show that it has been done without their knowledges; If they confine the Guilt (when anything has been stolen or destroyed) upon anyone of themselves, the Guilty party shall forfeit double the value of the article stolen or destroyed; one half to go to the Employer & the other to the informer, the said forfeit to be kept back out of wages of Guilty party, this rule shall also apply to house servants,
7.th One hour will be allowed for dinner, Except during the months of June, July, & August. When one & a half hours will be allowed for dinner.
8.th Stock must be fed & attended to on Sundays, and an occasion may arise in which servants may be needed, such as stock getting into mischief, fire braking out, or various other things it is required that one third of the hands shall remain at home on Sundays, the hands taking this duty by rotation, the same rule shall apply to hollidays.
9.th Impudence swearing or indecent language bad conduct in my presence or the presence of my family; fighting or quarreling so as to disturb the peace of the farm, will be fined one dollar for the first offence & if repeated will be followed with dismissal & the forfeiture of the wages then due
10thAll difaculties that may arise between employers to be adjusted by me & if not sattisfactory, to be referred to the court of adjudication.
11.th House rent & fire wood with teams to hall it to be free of charge, [struck: save for the time] of Cutting & halling het wood, which will be deducted.
12th The Employees will be expected to look after & study my interest to inform me of anything that is going amiss, to be peaceable orderly & pleasant, & to endeavour by their conduct to Establish characters for industry and Honesty.
13th All time lost shall be accounted for by the Employees.
14th No night work will be required of the Employees, but [3] such as the necessities of the farm absolutely demand, such as lying up & securing fodder, burning plant buds, fireing Tobacco & striking Tobacco, securing crops from frost, highwater &c.
15.th I will furnish good & sufficient rations for each Employee, and will seek to promote their interest & minister to their comfort and well being by allowing them Gardens to Cultivate & the Hollidays which have been usual; In short while they are in my Employ as hired Labourers & I have the right to demand faithful labour of them as such I shall not use unnecessary hardship so as to provoke impudence or insubordination so as to subject them to fine or dismissal given under my hand & seal this
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John X C. Harvey (seal)
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We have this day had the above rules and regulations Explained to us and agree to the same, to be paid the price offered to each of our names, showing the date we commenced, as witness our hands and seals this day & date above
his
Commenced 1.st January 1867. $7.50 pr month. Hall X Coleman seal
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Commenced 1st January 1867. $6.00 pr month Jeff X Coleman seal
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Commenced 1st January 1867. $8.33 1/3 " Nat. X Coleman seal
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Commenced 1.st January 1867 $1000 " John X Smith seal
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Commenced 8.th February " $9.00 " Patrick X Young seal
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Commenced 26th December 1866 $8. " Spencer X Cain seal
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Commenced 2.nd January 1867. $8. " Elias X Gillispie seal
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Commenced 3rd January 1867 $8 " Peter X Boulden seal
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Commenced 9th January 1867 $8 " Albert X Baden seal
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Commenced 8th February 1867 $9 " Milton X John Sims seal
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Henry X Boulden seal
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for his two sons, French at $8 per Month and Charles at $5 per Month from the 28th January 1867.
[4] State of Virginia
Charlotte County to Act.
I J. W. Eggleston a Justice of the Peace in and for the County and State aforesaid do hereby certify that John C. Harvey employer. and Hall Coleman (Freedman) Nat Coleman (Freedman), John Smith (Freedman) Patrick Young, (Freedman) Spencer Cain (Freedman) Elias Gillispie (Freedman) Peter Bouldin (Freedman) Albert Baden (Freedman) Milton alias John Sims (Freedman) and Henry Bouldin (Freedman) for his two Sons French and Charles, and Jeff Coleman (Freedman) employees, under the said John C. Harvey personally appeared before me in my said County and acknowledged the [struck: the] foregoing contract.
I further Certify that I explained the said Contract to the said Freedman.
Given under my hand this 28th day of February 1867.
J. W. Eggleston J.P.
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People: Harvey, John C., 1823-1884
Eggleston, J.W., fl. 1867

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: ReconstructionFreemenAfrican American HistoryLaborSlaveryContract

Sub Era: Reconstruction

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