[Jackson, Miss., November 21, 1865]
Statement of William Head, (colored) made at Office Act. Ass't Comm'r FB. NDM, Nov. 21/65
Nelson Porter and William Head, (colored) rented about two hundred and fifty (250) acres of land from Mess. Porter and Christtoe. The land is situated about seven (7) miles from Jackson, on the Gallatin road.
Sunday the 19th inst. three young men named respectively Edwards, Long and Hemphill were at Mrs. Porter's residence, and said in presence of colored people, that they had better not begin building until they were sure that they would be permitted by law, or there might be some shooting at their cabins.1
On Monday (20th) while at work, William Head found a card attached to a stake, with the words, “I think you had better leave here,” written on the back. The card was attached to a stake marking the ground where they were proposing to build.
[Endorsement] [Jackson, Miss., November 28? 1865] The above is a memorandum of a statement made to me, by the above named freedman, on the 21st inst, and the card, containing the words quoted, was left in my possession. E Bamberger 1st Lieut 58" U.S.C Infantry A.A.A. Genl
1. At the time, the state legislature was considering several measures concerning the legal status of black people, including whether they would be allowed to rent land. A law enacted on November 25 empowered them to acquire and dispose of personal property but stipulated that the provision “shall not be so construed as to allow any freedman, free negro or mulatto, to rent or lease any lands or tenements, except in incorporated towns or cities in which places the corporate authorities shall control the same.” (An Act to Confer Civil Rights on Freedmen, and for Other Purposes, 25 Nov. 1865, Laws of the State of Mississippi, Passed at a Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature, Held in the City of Jackson, October, November and December, 1865 [Jackson, Miss., 1866], pp. 82–86.)
Published in Land and Labor, 1865, pp. 722–23.