Agreement with Freedmen on West Oak plantation in Iberville Parish, La., April 3, 1865

Dublin Core


Agreement with Freedmen on West Oak plantation in Iberville Parish, La., April 3, 1865


Freedmen--Wages; Emancipation; Louisiana


This document is a contract between Mrs. Emily Woolfolk, the owner of West Oak plantation in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, and the freed people on the plantation for wages for the ensuing year. Many of the freed people at West Oak had been sold to Jesse Batey by the Maryland Jesuits in 1838 or were children of those sold by the Maryland Jesuits.


National Archives, Washington, D.C.


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Adam Rothman, Jordan Smith.


GSA75: Mrs. Emily Woolfolk contract with employees at West Oak, April 12, 1864
GSA77Payroll of Laborers Employed, West Oak plantation, October 17, 1867






Labor Contract



Text Item Type Metadata


No. 2

Agreement with freedmen,


West Oaks


Parish of


Employed by

Mrs. Emily Woolfolk

Date of Agreement,

April 3 1865

[end page]

Agreement with freedmen.

This Agreement, (in three parts) made and entered into this First day of April A.D. 1865, by and between Mrs. Emily Woolfolk of the Parish of Iberville and State of Louisiana of the first part, and the Sixty seven 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 West Oaks in the Parish aforesaid, during the year commencing on the First day of January A. D. 1865, and terminating on the first day of January, A.D. 1866, the said parties do hereby mutually agree that the Genl Orders No. 23 [illegible] Dep. Of the Gulf providing for the employment and general welfare of Freedmen, series 1865 and the local rules in pursuance thereof, all of which are hereto annexed (or separately supplied,) and are hereby incorporated in and made part of this agreement as fully as if here recited. The said Mrs. E Woolfolk 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 to be paid at the end of each quarter as prescribed by order. Said Mrs. E Woolfolk 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, to each family or Labourer the unit of land presented by said orders; 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 absolute 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 she will furnish them a sufficient supply of wholesome food and proper clothing for themselves and their families; and finally the said Mrs. Emily Woolfolk agrees to comply in all respects with the rules and regulations above referred to and made part hereof.

AND IN CONSIDERATION of the faithful performance of the said Mrs. Emily Woolfolk of all the obligations assumed by her, and of the punctual payment by her of the wages agreed upon as aforesaid, the said Laborers do hereby severally, and each for himself, agree with the said Mrs. E Woolfolk & her heirs and assigns to well and faithfully perform the labor herein stipulated for the term aforesaid, in a strict conformity with the conditions aforesaid; and they further agree to observe and comply with the rules and regulations above referred to.

And it is furthermore Agreed: That in case the said Mrs E Woolfolk shall fail, neglect or refuse to fulfill any of the obligations assumed by her, 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 said Mrs Emily Woolfolk as aforesaid, shal be forfeited to the said Mrs. E Woolfolk and the party so offending may be discharged from said employment.

And it is furthermore mutually Agreed by the said Mrs Emily Woolfolk and the following named Laborers, to-wit Basil Butler, Lewis Merrick, Tom Butler, Wash Nelsen, Polk Hill, Frank Hawkins, Neely Hawkins, Bill Hill, Jim Pendleton, Alex Scott, Jordan Sisaw, Jim Scott, Jack Hawkins, Bill Alexder, jim Broadman, joe Waters, Geo Harris, Miley Waters, Cumby Scott, Pat Hawkins, Ben Scott, Chas Nilsen, Geo Nelsen, Rich Nelsen, Wm Harris, [illegible] Scott, Joe hill, Abr Butler, Bole Scott, John H. Butler, Abr Scott, Alf Hawkins, Caroline Scott, Mary Butler, Eliza West, Amos Scott, Susan Hawkins, Lydia Scott, [illegible] Gray, Eliza Butler, Martha Hawkins, Agnes Butler, Lucy Scott, Betsy Harris, Louisa Harris Beby Hawkins, Ellen Harris, Sarah Harris, Sarah Hill, Clara Scott, Fanny Scott, Rosa Scott, Adeline Waters, Ellenda Hawkins, Bridget Butler, Henry Butler, Louisa Scott, Matilda Hawkins, Betsy Hill, Jean Nelsen, Mary Waters, Emmelin Butler, [illegible] Harris, Amanda Hawkins, Esther Woolfolk, Mary Scott, Charlotte Pendleton. That in addition to just treatment, wholesome rations, comfortable clothing, quarters, fuel, and medical [illegible], and the opportunity for instruction of children, they shall receive the share and portions of the net profits of the crop respectively set opposite their names balance payable one half of the money wages due quarterly as follows, on the first day of May, August and November, and final payment of the entire amount then due, on or before the 31st day of January 1866.

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 net profits of carrying on the plantation during the period aforesaid, respectively set opposite their name below.

And it is furthermore Agreed, That any wages or share of profits due 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 Parish of Iberville State of Louisiana on the day and date aforesaid.

No. Names Age Sex Interest in Profits Remarks

[column 1]

1 Basil Butler 40 Male 1/10

2 Lewis Merrick 40 1/10

3 Tom Butler 30 1/10

4 Wash Nelsen 42 1/10

5 Polk Hill 20 1/10

6 Frank Hawkins 35 1/10

7 Neely Hawkins 37 1/10

8 Bill Hill 50 1/10

9 Jim Pendleton 60 Sickly

10 Alex Scott 30 1/10

11 Jordan Sisaw 55 1/10

12 Jim Scott 40 1/10

13 Jack Hawkins 30 1/10

14 Bill Alexder 40 1/10

15 Jim Broadman 30 1/10

16 Joe Waters 18 1/10

17 Geo Harris 20 1/10

18 Miley Waters 18 1/10

19 Cumby Scott 45 1/10

20 Pat Hawkins 50 1/10

21 Ben Scott 15 1/10

22 Chas Nilsen 13 1/10

23 Geo Nelsen 13 1/10

24 Rich Nelsen 18 1/10

25 Wm Harris 18 1/10

26 [illegible] Scott 15 1/10

27 Joe Hill 15 1/10

28 Abr Butler 13 1/10

29 Bole Scott 13 1/10

30 John H. Butler 18 1/10

31 Abr Scott 14 1/10

32 Alf Hawkins 12 1/10

33 Caroline Scott 40 Female 1/10

34 Mary Butler 37 1/10

35 Eliza West 30 1/10

36 Anne Scott 32 1/10

37 Susan Hawkins 32 1/10

38 Lydia Scott 25 1/10

39 [illegible] Gray 30 1/10

40 Eliza Butler 40 1/10

41 Martha Hawkins40 1/10

42 Agnes Butler 28 1/10

[column 2]

43 Lucy Scott 30 Female 1/10

44 Betsy Harris 45 1/10

45 Louisa Harris 25 1/10

46 Beby Hawkins 26 1/10

47 Ellen Harris 25 1/10

48 Sarah Harris 36 1/10

49 Sarah Hill 25 1/10

50 Clara Scott 60 cook for field hands

51 Fanny Scott 40 1/10

52 Rosa Scott 30 1/10

53 Adeline Waters 30 1/10

54 Ellenda Hawkins 40 sickly

55 Bridget Butler 22 1/10

56 Henry Butler 18 1/10

57 Louisa Scott 16 1/10

58 Matilda Hawkins 16 1/10

59 Betsy Hill 16 1/10

60 Jean Nelsen 22 1/10

61 Mary Waters 18 1/10

62 Emmelin Butler 16 1/10

63 [illegible] Harris 15 1/10

64 Amanda Hawkins 12 1/10

65 Esther Woolfolk 60 Cook for field hands

66 Mary Scott 50 “ family

67 Charlotte Pendleton 50

Executed in the presence of Mr. Maynard[;] Isaac Erwin Approved, Nelson [illegible] leased by P. Marshal Parish Iberville

NOTE—This Contract will be made out in three parts—one to be kept by the planter, and one by the local Superintendent—one to be forwarded through the local officer to the General Superintendent. No Contract will be accepted which does not contain the family name of each Laborer. If the Laborer has not one, he must assume one. The “Interest in Profits” is only in lieu of the half wages to be reserved. The first half wages to be paid each month as prescribed.


Original Format

Labor contract



National Archives, Washington, D.C., “Agreement with Freedmen on West Oak plantation in Iberville Parish, La., April 3, 1865,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed May 27, 2024,