|Alexander Harrell, the son of Robert Harrell|
A couple of months ago, my friend, colleague and Blog Talk Radio Show host Bernice Alexander Bennett called me with great news. She located my maternal 3rd great grandfather, Robert Harrell and his family in the Freedmen's Bureau Records Labor Contract for St. Helena Parish. I knew that they were sharecroppers, but I had no idea who's plantation or place they sharecropped on. Bernice and I have ancestral lineage that connects both of us to St. Helena and Livingston Parishes, Louisiana.
My mother kept this photograph of Alexander Harrell hanging up in her home before Hurricane Katrina. Years earlier she let me take it to the local printing shop to have copies made. It was one of the photographs she lost during the hurricane. It was a good thing I made copies of the photograph.
I was excited and filled with joy just knowing that piece of the puzzle has been solved. The record listed his names, his wife and children and the name of the woman they leased the land from. The following information is found on the record:
Date: February 27, 1866
Location: Saint Helena Parish
Leasor: Eliza Andrews
Contract with Sandy Lee 25, Robert Harrell 42, Darkis Harrell 30, Delia Boy 18, Aleck Harrell, Anna Harrell 8, Ciller Drandy 64 dependent, Charley Boyd 2. All of the above are family with the exception of Sandy Lee. They are to received quarters and food. School clause omitted. Sandy are to receive as compensated one third of one fifth of the entire crop.
Robert Harrell for himself and family to receive two fifth of the entire crop raised. Food and medical attendance to be furnished the laborers by Eliza Andrew at cost price, the amount of which to be deducted from their respective shares. Contract to commence Feb 27, 1866 and end Dec 1866.