Letter from Halifax County

May 9, 1866


The wheat crop in most of Halifax county looks promising, and some freedmen still contribute to their labor market; more tobacco will be planted if this continues. Shortage of labor hands has influenced field hands to request at least eight to ten dollars of pay per month, a high wage.


LETTER FROM HALIFAX COUNTY. Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch Halifax County, VA., May 7, 1866 The Circuit Court, Judge Hunter Marshall presiding, which opened at our courthouse on Tuesday, the 1st May, adjourned over on Saturday on account of the illness of a son of the Judge. A special session was appointed, however, to convene on the 10th of July next, to finish the accumulation of business before the court. I presume that the amount of litigation going on at present is unprecedented by all time. The clerk of the court told me there were eight hundred and ninety-five suits pending in this county at present, including those disposed of at the late session just transpired, of course. The jury, composed of many of the most prominent citizens in the county, was highly complimented by the Judge before its discharge, for it had dispatched many and very important cases. The wheat crop in many portions of the county looks exceedingly promising, especially in the neighborhood bordering Birch creek, considering the fact that so much was destroyed by the freeze and rains referred to in my last, of March 1st. I am afraid that in that letter I even under-estimated the damage to the crop. The plant beds look promising, and a large crop of tobacco will be planted if the freedmen continue to labor as well as they have done so far; and we are encouraged to think they will do so. The fence law was brought before the County Court last March (the third Monday); and after speeches in its favor by Colonel Thomas S. Flournoy and Mr. David Chalmers, the Court, upon motion of Colonel Lyttleton Edmunds, decided to defer its further consideration until November court, when it will probably be adopted by the whole county. Labor is not so plentiful as we would wish; good field hands command eight and ten dollars per month in any portion of the country.
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Brooke Beam


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“Letter from Halifax County,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/142.