OHS home

Ohio Historical Society / The African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920








PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next
Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report
                     WESTERN  FREEDMEN'S AID  COMMISSION.                        3

of Chicago, as a Collecting Agent, assigning to him Illinois, Iowa, and
Wisconsin--the whole North-West then being before us as a contributing
field. He canvassed considerable portions of those States, receiving con-
tributions and establishing auxiliary societies at many points. When the
friends in Chicago determined to organize a Commission for the North-
West they applied to us, and we consented to the transfer of Mr. Cobb
to their Commission, for which he is still laboring with success in the
field he opened up in our service.  He collected about three thousand
dollars for us.  The Indiana Commission, auxiliary to ours, undertook to
canvass Indiana, and has prosecuted the work with vigor.  It has turned
over to our treasurer more than three thousand dollars, besides all that it
has expended directly in behalf of the freedmen.  Rev. Joshua Boucher
canvassed a part of Ohio last Summer, but the whole State has not been
thoroughly canvassed.  We have at length secured, what is difficult to
find, some efficient agents for this work, and arrangements are made for
its prosecution. We have not received any foreign contributions, except
50 sterling, sent to Levi Coffin by William Foster, of England.  About
$26,000 have been paid into our treasury, and a large proportion of this
sum is the voluntary contribution of persons and societies to whom no
personal appeal has been made--a fact I mention to indicate the interest
of the humane and benevolent in the cause of the freedmen. Our Board
approves it as wise to keep efficient collecting agents in the field, and to
organize auxiliary societies wherever practicable.  It is the duty of our
Commissions to use every proper means to turn the attention of the public
to the freed people, not only that the means of relief may be augmented,
but that there may be a general and increasing interest in their civil and
religious as well as their physical condition.
                      The Work of Relief.
   The work of relief was fairly begun by the Commission early in
February, 1863.  Since then we have distributed 68,758 garments; 1,416
pairs of shoes; 754 pairs of socks and stockings; 385 articles of bedding;
2,872 yards of new goods; 5 cooking stoves; 4,611 cooking and kitchen
utensils; and have shipped twenty-nine tons of such supplies for other
   As the Spring of 1863 opened another form of relief suggested itself
as both practicable and desirable; namely, placing in the hands of the
freed people the means of industry, encouraging them at once to look to
their own free labor for at least a part of their support.  Large quantities
of garden seeds and farm and garden implements were shipped to the
camps on the Mississippi.  We have distributed 843 farm and garden
implements,  695 pounds and 15,172 packages of garden seeds, and have
furnished one cane-mill and evaporator, and two sewing-machines--these
last to be used by our teachers for the benefit of the schools and hospitals.
Other Associations have pursued the same course; and wherever such
supplies have reached the freedmen they have used them industriously
and with encouraging success.
                     Schools and Teachers.
   Although a resolution was adopted by our Commission, at the second
meeting after its organization, to secure Christian teachers to labor among
the freedmen, none were employed till in March, 1863. During this month
two persons were commissioned--one of whom, J. L. Roberts, has been in
the field ever since, and is now rendering valuable service at Helena,
Arkansas.  Notwithstanding the physical want and sufferings of the
freedmen, our agents with the means of temporal relief have scarcely
been more welcome to the camps than our teachers. As the day of free-
dom dawns upon this people, it seems every-where to inspire them with


Download High Resolution TIFF Image
PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next

OHS Archives/Library Pamphlet Collection

Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report


http://www.ohiohistory.org || Last modified
Ohio History Center 800 E. 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43211 © 1996-2011 All Rights Reserved.