Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Working for Wages/Freedmenís Bureau
African slaves who escaped their plantations and worked for the Union military earned between six and eighteen dollars a month as carpenters, blacksmiths, drivers, boatmen, and laborers. Others worked as cooks and servants for officers, businessmen, and teachers on the island. They also sold or bartered food and various goods. Many men and women picked cotton for Union agents. But Northern abolitionists' and the government's vision did not always match their workers. Men and women, former African slaves, remained vigilant in protecting their new rights.
The Freedmen's Bureau
Mitchelville survived past the Civil War. In January 1865, the Mayor, Rev. Abraham Mercherson, answered the question "What will they do when the war is over?" He replied: "Go out into the land and make their homes there. Buy 20 acres of land. This Is what should be: once settled on his 20 acres, no one can oppress the negro hereafter. But without land, all the teaching, all the philanthropy, all the Christianity of the world cannot save him from the oppression of his selfish neighbor who holds the means of bread in his own hands.” In March 1865, Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau to oversee housing, education, and the employment of freedmen. Over the next five years, Congress adopted amendments
(top left) Picking cotton on Hilton Head Island, 1862. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
(middle left) “In and about Port Royal,” Harperís Weekly Jan., 11, 1862.
(bottom left) Former slaves line up at a Freedmenís Bureau office. Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
(right) Payroll form listing runaway African slaves working for the Union Army in January 1862. The occupation, wages, and owner of each man is listed. Since these men were not free, their wages were returned to their owners following the war. Image of document from South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.
Erected by Mitchelville Preservation Project.
Location. 32° 14.225′ N, 80° 41.227′ W. Marker is in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in Beaufort County. Marker can be reached from Beach City Road 0.4 miles north of Dillon Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker located within walking distance of entrance, and inside Fish Haul Creek Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 226 Beach City Rd, Hilton Head Island SC 29926, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Mitchelville and Abolitionists (here, next to this marker); Mitchelville Building Sites (a few steps from this marker); Reconnecting with Family (a few steps from this marker); Religion in Mitchelville/School in Mitchelville (a few steps from this marker); The Dawn of Freedom: Mitchelville (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Port Royal/William Fitzhugh and Black Sailors in the Union Navy (within shouting distance of this marker); Black Troops on Hilton Head (within shouting distance of this marker); Cherry Hill School (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hilton Head Island.
Regarding Working for Wages/Freedmenís Bureau. Mitchelville Freedom Park is the “brain trust” of a dedicated group of volunteers organized as the Mitchelville Preservation Project. Their mission, as quoted from its website, is to: “offer visitors a multi-dimensional freedom celebration that includes historical, cultural, social, political, economic and spiritual components. Parts of the original Town of Mitchelville will be recreated, and the Freedom Park will feature a series of ever changing learning opportunities in the form of revolving exhibits, lectures, forums, tours and cultural programs”.
Located within Fish Haul Creek Park, the site currently consist of a free standing pavilion and numerous markers depicting historical events related to Mitchelville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. They are related to the Mitchelville Freedom Park Preservation Project.
Also see . . . Mitchelville Preservation Project. (Submitted on July 12, 2017.)
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 86 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.