Agreement with Freedmen of Chatham Plantation in Ascension Parish, La., February 2, 1865

Dublin Core


Agreement with Freedmen of Chatham Plantation in Ascension Parish, La., February 2, 1865


Emancipation; Freedmen--Contracts


This document records an agreement between John R. Thompson, the owner of Chatham Plantation, and the freedmen on the plantation, including people who had been sold to Henry Johnson (the former owner of Chatham) by the Maryland Jesuits in 1838, and the children.of those who had been sold.


National Archives, Washington, D.C.


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Adam Rothman, Chris Seeling, Elsa Barraza Mendoza. Thanks to Richard Cellini and Judy Riffel of the Georgetown Memory Project for bringing these records to our attention.






Labor contract



Text Item Type Metadata


No. 2 98
Agreement with Freedmen,
Chatham Plantation,
Parish of Ascension,
Employed by Jno R. Thompson & Co., 
Date of Agreemen February 20, 1865

[p. 2]

Agreement with Freedman

[crossed out] This Agreement, (in three parts) made and entered into this _________ day of _________ A. D. 186__, by and between _________ of the _________ and State of _________ of the first part, and the _________ persons hereinafter named and undersigned, Freedmen of the same place, parties hereto of the second part, WITNESSETH:

That for the purpose of cultivating the Plantation known as the _________ in the _________ aforesaid, during the year commencing on the _________ day of _________ A. D. 1865 and terminating on the first day of February, A. D. 1866, the said parties do hereby mutually agree that General Order No. 23, Headquarters Department of the Gulf, providing for the employment and general welfare of Freedmen, series 1865, all of which is hereto annexed (or separately supplied,) and is hereby incorporated in and made part of this agreement as fully as if here recited. The said _________ for the considerations and on the conditions and stipulations hereinafter mentioned, agrees to pay to the said Laborers, the rates of monthly wages agreed upon and as specified opposite their respective names hereto: one-half of such wages to be punctually paid quarterly, reckoning from the first day of February as aforesaid, and the remainder to be paid at the termination of the contract year. Said _________ further agrees to furnish to the said Laborers and those rightfully dependent on them, free of charge, good and sufficient quarters, a separate tenement for each family, fuel and medical attendance; to see that the premises thus furnished are kept in a good sanitary condition; to allot from the lands of said plantation for garden purposes, to each family and laborer, such portion of ground as are allowed by General Order No. 23; such allotment to include a reasonable use of tools and animals; to exact only ten hours work per day, and no labor whatever on Sundays, except in case of positive necessity; and if any labor in excess of ten hours per day is rendered, the same is to be paid as extra labor, upon such terms as may be agreed upon by the parties hereto; to grant to such Laborers one-half of each and every Saturday, to enable them to cultivate the portions of land allotted to them, also the Fourth Day of July; to co-operate in the establishment of any school for the education of the children of said Laborers; that he will furnish free to the Laborers on the plantation, a sufficient supply of wholesome food and proper clothing for themselves and their families, and if sales are made, they be at actual cost; and finally, the said _________ agrees to comply in all respects with General Order No. 23 above referred to and made part hereof.

And in consideration of the faithful performance by the said _________ of all the obligations assumed by _________, and of the punctual payment by _________ of the wages agree upon as aforesaid, the said Laborers do hereby severally, and each for himself, agree with the said _________ heirs and assigns, to well and faithfully perform the labor herein stipulated for the term aforesaid, in strict conformity with the conditions aforesaid; and they further agree to observe and comply with the General Order No. 23 above referred to. [end of crossed-out section]

And it is furthermore Agreed: That in case the said _________ shall fail, neglect or refuse to fulfil any of the obligations assumed by _________, or shall furnish said parties of the second part with bad or insufficient food, or insufficient or unhealthy quarters, or shall be guilty of cruelty to them, he shall, besides the legal recourse left to the particular party or parties aggrieved, render this contract liable to annulment, at the option of the Superintendent of Freedmen.

And in case any Laborer shall voluntarily absent himself from, or shall neglect or refuse to perform the labor herein contracted for, and the fact shall be proved to the satisfaction of the proper Superintendent, the one-half of the wages due to said party so offending, retained in the hands of the aid _________ as aforesaid, shall be forfeited, one-half thereof to the said _________ and the other half to the United States, to aid in supporting the helpless, and the party so offending may be discharged from said employment.

And it is furthermore mutually Agreed by the said John R. Thompson & Co. and the following named Laborers, to-wit:

Robert Irons, John Harress, Kalib Cuttors, Henry Jones, Ben Thompson, William Harrison, Crafton Rolins, Jackson Ford, Henry Johnston, John Francis, Ritchard Jones, William Harison, Aleviges Harison, Antiny Johnston, Camile Cutchman, Burnet Deson, Thom Rily, Green Field, Henry Rolins, Arnold Jones, Stephan Randolph, Peter Morgan, Bazil Ford, John Brown, Peter Ware, Thom Nolin, Moses Harison, Matildy Brown, Lisabeth Hill, Rebacka Randolph, Harriet Camerer, Maria Francis, Rose Harress, Adele Harress, Mily Morgan, Jane Brown, Kity Hill, Martha Mahony, Kity Mitchel, Virgina Hill, that for the purpose of cultivating the Chatham Plantation in the Parish of Ascension on the right River Bank, during the present year and commencing on the 20th February 1865 and ending on the 20 8th of December 1865 the provission of General Order No 23 issued 11th March 1865 by General Hurlbut shall be the rule of payment, and Laborers and work is to go on during the rolling season as in old time, and pait for acording to said Order.

That in lieu of the half wages to be paid to them at the end of the year, the said Laborers shall be entitled to, and agree to accept, the share of the net profits of carrying on the plantation during the period aforesaid, respectively set opposite their names below.

And it is furthermore Agreed, That any wages or share of profits due to the said Laborers under this agreement shall constitute a first lien upon all crops or parts of crops produced on said plantation or tract of land by their labor. And no shipment of products shall be made until the Superintendent shall certify that all dues to Laborers are paid or satisfactorily arranged.

In Testimony Whereof, the said parties have affixed their names to this Agreement, at Chatham Plant. State of Louisiana on the day and date aforesaid. John. R. Thompson & Co

No Name Age Sex Class Monthly Interest Remarks

Wages in profits

1 Robert Irons 61 male 2th $8

2 John Harress 50 male 2 8

3 Kalib Cuttors 51 male 2 8

4 Henry Jones 50 male 2 8

5 Ben Thompson 50 male 2 8

6 William Harison 52 male 2 8

7 Crafton Rolins 54 male 2 8

8 Jackson Ford 26 male 2 8

9 Henry Johnston 20 male 2 8 sickly

10 John Francis 22 male 2 8 "

11 Ritchard Jones 17 male 2 8

12 William Harison Jr 17 male 2 8 "

13 Aleviges " " 16 male 2 8

14 Antiny Johnston 16 male 3th 6

15 Camile Cutchman 16 male 2 " 8

16 Burnet Deson 46(?) male 2 8

17 Thom Rily 44 male 2 8

18 Green Field 56 male 2 8

19 Henry Rolins 65 male 2 8

20 Arnold Jones 42 male 1th 10

21 Stephan Randolph 46 male 1 " 10

22 Peter Morgan 65 male 2th 8

23 Bazil Ford 26 male 2 8

24 John Brown 58 male 2 8

25 Peter Ware 13 male " 4 boy

26 Thom Nolin 60 male 3th 6 lame

27 Moses Harison male " 4 boy

No Name Age Sex Class Monthly Interest Remarks

Wages in profits

1 Matildy Brown 28 female 2th $6

2 Lisabeth Hill 30 " 2 6

3 Rebacka Randolph 18 " 3 5

4 Harriet Carnerer 22 " 2 6

5 Maria Francis 18 " 2 6

6 Rose Harress 18 " 2 6

7 Mily Morgan 16 " 3 5

8 Adèle Harress 38 " 3 5

9 Jane Brown 36 " 2" 6

10 Kity Hill 15 " 3 5

11 Martha Mahony 25 " 2 6

12 Kity Mitchil 50 " 3th 5

13 Virgina Hill 15 " 3" 5

Created in the presence of Leonhard Lotz

J. Martin Approved,

Is. Bahnefne (?) Ben A. Magne(?)

Cap(?) (?) Aelg Pro Mar (?)

This contract […] to be kept by the planter and […] Superintendent – one to be forwarded through the local officer to the General Superintendant […] will be accepted which does not contain the family […]



National Archives, Washington, D.C., “Agreement with Freedmen of Chatham Plantation in Ascension Parish, La., February 2, 1865,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed April 24, 2018,