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  • Emancipation Committee of Upson

The Emancipation: History


The history of the Emancipation (to free slaves) went in to act September 22, 1982. Lincoln issued the proclamation, that as of January 1, 1863 all slaves were declared to be free. The symbol of the Emancipation Proclamation was an important element. It made a war for Union into a war freedom. The Proclamation, written with a formal, legalistic flavor, was hailed as a great victory for American democracy.

Documents as Recorded:

History of Black America Volume 1

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the persons whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall then, thenceforward, and forever be free; and The Executive Government of the United States, including military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to suppress such person, or any of them, in any effort they may make for their actual freedom.... And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed services of the United States to garrison forts, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

Our first recorded documents of the celebration here in Thomaston, Georgia:

Years later, Richard W. Rogers wrote an eyewitness account to the Thomaston Times:

On the morning of April 19, 1865, I stayed from school and went to Thomaston to see some of my school mates leave for the army. I had been there but short time when intense excitement began to prevail over rumors of the approach of the "yankees." Sam Allen and I started out to investigate. We had gone about a mile on the road to my father's Cotton Factory when we saw them coming. We took to our heels and ran for life to a skirt of woods near the old Youngblood place and lay between two logs, and saw the factory go up in smoke. We were out three days with nothing to eat and only branch water to drink. The Stamps family, who lived 4 miles from Thomaston, flagged the train, and there the Yankees caught it, set it on fire, opened the throttle and it ran full speed and in a blaze into town, where the engine jumped the embankment at the depot.

The negros screamed "Judgement Day has came."

Pandemonium reigned. Boys and old men ran to the woods and the women began to hide provisions and valuables. Wilson's raid from Columbus to Macon passed directly through Thomaston; carrying off all provisions and stock.

Source - Book by Edwin L. Cliburn - In Unbroken Line

History of 1st Baptist Church, 1825-1975, Thomaston, GA

Office of B of R F & A L

Thomaston Upson County GA, May 30th 1866

Gen. Davis Tilson, August, GA

Dear Sir:

I have issued an order on this day for a party to report to me who has been charged with striking a freedwoman and I am inclined if the proof sustains the charge to bring forth offence. I wish not to do anything that is illegal & improper, but my opinion is that in these small of light offenses a summary settlement of them is necessary to protect the freedom & relieve the Agent of much annoyance - such as members of a family whipping the children of freedmen in their employment. The children are free and if the whites have not learned this fact (?? it) is high time they had. As you remarked your truthful (????) speech to the (Convention?) in Augusta in January last that the truly pious & educated gentleman is the friend of the freedman, but the (???) & (????ing) illiterates & impious afflict (???) (are?)(disposd?) to (??s) harass & defraud them. I had the pleasure of listening to one of the most able speeches I ever heard on yesterday at this place addressed to the freedman yet intended for the white man, by Hon James M. Smith & exmember of the Confederate Congress, and if I had not (have?) known that he never seen your speech I should have charged him with having read yours very carefully. He goes as far if not farther than you did in defence of the freedman. What shall I do with an orphan idiotic and afflicted 8 or ten years old that is without owner or protector, the reported father having abondoned it & left the County? I am aware that this communication is too lengthy but I must beg pardon & trust it will be granted under the circumstances. (freedman had a brilliant Celebration at this place yesterday.) since my connection with the Bureau I have some suggestions to make to you if it could be deemed important.

Yrs Respectfully James W Greene Agt

This information was written and published in our older Emancipation Program Booklets.

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