Letter to James Heyward from J.H. Trapier concerning ideas about crops and livestock for their various properties. Trapier suggests giving the newly freed laborers a stake in the crops grown, noting that he got the idea from a book on "European Agriculture" and that the practice had worked well in Germany. He mentions the difference in labor required for field crops versus the "special cultivation" skills needed for rice propagation. Finally, he asks James for a copy of a blank "Petition for pardon" claiming the hand crafted one he had sent earlier might be rejected because of his refusal "to surrender my ideas in reference to State Sovereignty." 4p.
Letter from William McBurney to Thomas B. Ferguson acknowledging that he is granted authority to act in the stead of McBurney and William Whaley on all matters pertaining to Dean Hall Plantation and mentions a controversy over logging that was occurring there. He also mentions that Whaley has had his Edisto property restored to him and wants all his "people to be ready to move." 2p.
Letter from William McBurney affirming Thomas B. Ferguson's authority to manage Dean Hall Plantation. He encourages Ferguson to show patience "in dealing with the negroes" and fears that any other treatment "may cause the buildings to be laid in ashes, as was the case in my late brothers place." He informs Ferguson that "Mr. Whaleys negroes have the right to remain on the place until January if he does not remove them before, or they do not remove of their own accord." 2p.
Letter from William Whaley to William McBurney instructing him that "the negroes planting at Dean Hall" should repair a broken floodgate and permitting the manager (Thomas Ferguson) to use his former slaves, "such of mine as are [still] on the plantation," to assist. 2p.
Offer from Williams Middleton to rent his Charleston house to James B. Heyward. Middleton writes that "although still in the hands of the Yankee officials I am in daily expectation of having it restored to me." 1p.
Letter from Freedmen's Bureau agent F.M. Montell to Lt. James Hann concerning the former slaves still residing at Dean Hall Plantation. Montell writes that Thomas Ferguson wants the freedmen removed "as they have no rights to reside on the plantation after the division of their crops" and that he doesn't want "to have the bad example of idle men" influencing his future hires. Montell also writes of several cases of small pox on the plantation and asks the lieutenant for military help to resolve the situation and provide the "care and attention which the Freedmens Bureau have not the means of affording them." 2p.
Letter from Capt. H. S. Hawkins to the Asst. Adjutant General of the Military District of Charleston regarding the freedmen at Thomas B. Ferguson's Dockon Plantation. Capt. Hawkins writes that Ferguson had come to Dockon to inquire if the freedmen living there would contract to work the plantation and the freedmen replied, according to Hawkins, that they "would not work for any rebel son-of-a-bitch." Since the time for the freedmen to legally reside there has elapsed and the Freedmen's Bureau has sanctioned their removal, Ferguson wants them evicted and Capt. Hawkins, in his letter, is requesting explicit authority to "put off the objectionable negroes by force." 2p.
Letter from William McBurney in Charleston to Thomas B. Ferguson at Dean Hall Plantation concerning the hiring of freedmen. McBurney writes that after a survey of other Cooper River plantation owners he finds that most are offering a share of the crop instead of monthly pay "whether from a want of ability to pay wages or because they believed an interest in the crop would secure a more steady course of labor and prevent stealage." McBurney informs Ferguson that he has written up a contract and submitted it to General Scott at the Freedmen's Bureau for acceptance. He fears the general will alter his submitted contract in favor of the former slaves and writes that officials in the bureau think the "freedman and the white northern laborer" are the same. 2p.
Lengthy contractual agreement between Thomas B. Ferguson and the freedmen and women workers at Dean Hall Plantation. The contract, approved by the Freedmen's Bureau, outlines the conditions of employment for the freedmen including, "comfortable quarters" and one acre of land, monetary penalties for unexcused absences, ten hour work days, and rules concerning tools, work animals and plantation upkeep. One term in the contract, crossed out, specified that the freedmen were to receive one-half of the entire crop though it was amended later to one-third. 4p.