Centreville Leon Co Fla Dec 23 1865.
Sir, We the undersigned citizens of Leon County, have heard that there will be an immense collection of colored people, assembled at the Plantation of Mr F. R Cotten on the Iamonia Lake, on Christmas day for the purpose of concocting measures detrimintal to the well being of the country, and we having confidence in your judgment, feel no hesitation in asking that you would use your influence with the Military authorities to disperse any such assemblage
We desire to be loyal, and think it our duty to inform the proper authorities of any unlawful assemblages Respectfully Yr. obt servts
signed by W R Swain, and forty seven others
Tallahassee [Fla.] Dec. 26th 1865.
Colonel, I have the honor to report, that in obedience to your instructions I went to “Mr. F. R. Cotton's plantation near Lake Imonia” yesterday, the 25th inst. to learn the object of a large gathering of colored people, reported to be assembling on the above named place by Mr. Swain and forty others. I arrived there about 1 Oclock P.M.
I was not surprised at the “immence assemblage” of colored people” there. I found some thirty persons men, women and children, the rest of the people of that plantation were off gunning and fishing. No one was there from any other plantation. So very quiet were the people, that it appeared like a Sabbath day.
I told them that I had heard that they were going to have a large meeting there, and that I had come to make them a speach, but that there must be some mistake about it, that I would like to talk to them, they said they were sorry that I was disappointed, I told them that I was an agent of the Freedman's Bureau. They said they would like to hear me as they wished to know what the Government was going to do for them. I asked them if there was to be a meeting there in the evening, they said there was not. I asked if they had at any time thought of holding a meeting there on Christmas. they said that they were going to have preaching there on Christmas and have the people from Mr. Cotton's plantations meet there for that purpose but that Mr. Cotton objected to it, and so they did not have it. They said, they did not know of any meeting of the colored people any where on that day, (Christmas) I then went to the Burgittown plantation (also. Mr. Cotton's) and found a Sabbath quietness there. I advised the people on both plantations to secure themselves a place this week for next year, also those whom I met on the road. On all the plantations I passed I found the same quietness, and instead of any clamoring or turbulance, the colored people wore the mark of saddened stillness. Very respectfully Your Obt. Servt.
L. M. Hobbs.
W R Swain et al. to His Excellency Wm Marvin, 23 Dec. 1865, S-9 1865, Letters Received, series 586, FL Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives; L. M. Hobbs to Col. T. W. Osborn, 26 Dec. 1865, H-33 1865, Letters Received, series 586, FL Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. No endorsements or file notations indicate when or by whom this copy of the letter to Governor Marvin was provided to the assistant commissioner.
Published in Land and Labor, 1865, pp. 890–91.