Margret Ann Harris
Last Will and Testament of
of McIntosh County Georgia
“To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it.” ~ James Baldwin “Down at the Cross”
Last Will and Testament of Mrs. Margret Ann Harris of McIntosh County Georgia, year of our Lord 1865. This is to certify to all whom it may concern that I Margret Ann Harris of my own free will do by this present my last Will and Testament do be queath and convey to Robert Dellegall Formerly my slave now a freedman on Saint Catharines Island Liberty County Georgia and to his heirs Executors Administrators and asigns forever to have and to hold possess and convey all rights or titles vested in me to four several tracts of Land lying and being in the County of McIntosh State of Georgia. Namely, Harris Neck, Dunham, Belvedere, and Dillon Tracts, with all rights titles__________________________& claims in Equity or in law to me or my heirs Executors administrators or assignes appertaining. Now henceforth and forever to be vested in the aforesaid Robert DEllegall his heirs Executors administrators and assignees. On condition that the aforesaid Robert Dellegal on and from the date hereof provide on cause to be provided all that mayor shall be necessary to make me and my son Namely Bright Harris comfortable while we live in dweling clothing food and such medical attendance as either of us or both may require. I have tryed white men and they have cheated me, abused and driven of my people. I now chuse Robert who I have raised to take care of me and my son and agree by this very last Will and Testament that all rights and titles vested in me to the aforesaid four tracts of Land are on the above conditions vested in the aforesaid Robert Dellegall and his heirs as aforesaid forever. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding, and in witness of my desire of the faithful performance of this my last Will & Testament _ hereby appoint as my Executors T. G. Campbell general superintendant of Saint Catharines & Ausabaw Islands Georgia & T. G. CampbellJr. assistant superintendant of Saint Catherines Island and Ausabaw Island Georgia
I also hereby convey all right and title to Building, Tenaments Houses to the aforesaid Robert DEllegall as aforesaid & his heirs forever, and I hereby Empower these my two Executors to act for me and carry out this my last Will and Testament.
September 2 1865. Witnes my hand and seal. Signed Margret Ann Harriss
Internal Revenue Stamp
By request of the testam signed before me
this 2nd day of September 1865. South End of Saint Catharine Island Georgia Liberty County signed T. G. Campbell
General Superintendant Saint Catherine Island
& Ausabaw Georgia
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In 1867 Congress ordered a further Reconstruction of the South. As vice president of the Republican Party in Georgia, Campbell worked to register voters before being elected as a justice of the peace, a delegate to the state constitutional convention, and a state senator from the Second Senatorial District (Liberty, McIntosh, and Tatnall counties). In the legislature Campbell pushed for laws for equal education, integrated jury boxes, homestead exemptions, abolishment of imprisonment for debt, open access to public facilities, and fair voting procedures. As a justice of the peace, minister, and political boss, Campbell organized a black power structure in McIntosh County that protected freed people from white abuses, whether against their bodies or in labor negotiations. He headed a 300-strong African American militia that guarded him from reprisals by the Ku Klux Klan or others, even though his home was burned, he was poisoned, and his family lived in constant fear.
After Democrats regained state power in 1871 by forcing Republican Governor Rufus Bullock to flee the state, they began a concerted effort to overturn Reconstruction. Campbell's seat was taken, and a series of lawsuits kept him in legal trouble. He traveled to Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant and Senator Charles Sumner to urge that the government intervene actively to save Reconstruction. Finally, in 1876, while the U.S. attorney general tried to free him, Campbell was convicted of malfeasance in office, taken from a Savannah jail, handcuffed, chained, and leased out for one year to a convict labor camp. Upon release he went immediately to Washington to meet with U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes and wrote a small book, Sufferings of the Reverend T. G. Campbell and His Family in Georgia (1877). He died in Boston on December 4, 1891.
Tunis G. Campbell
Tunis Campbell was the highest-ranking and most influential African American politician in nineteenth-century Georgia. Born on April 1, 1812, in Middlebrook, New Jersey, he was the eighth of ten children of free black parents. From ages five to eighteen he attended an otherwise all-white Episcopal school in Babylon, New York, where he trained for missionary service with the American Colonization Society's program of transporting African Americans to Liberia. Upon graduation—which coincided with the onset of the second Great Awakening and the rise of William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator —Campbell joined the Methodist Church and threw himself into evangelical uplift. In 1832 he founded an anticolonization society and pledged "never to leave this country until every slave was free on American soil."
While he preached against slavery and established schools, Campbell worked as a hotel steward in New York City and Boston. His Hotel Keepers, Head Waiters, and Housekeepers' Guide (1848) provides practical information for supervising and running a first-class hotel, but the book is more valuable for its instruction in interracial social skills, its insistence that managers recognize the dignity of labor, and its emphasis on the need for workers to be educated, well paid, prompt, clean, and competitive. White employers described Campbell as a man disposed "to elevate the condition and character of persons of his color."
Before the Civil War (1861-65) he actively participated in the Colored Convention Movement and often shared the stage with the writer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. By 1861 Campbell was married, had three children, and was a copartner in a New York bakery. In 1863 U.S. secretary of war Edwin Stanton commissioned the fifty-one-year-old Campbell to work in Port Royal, South Carolina, where former slaves were gathering under the protection of the U.S. military.
After Union general William T. Sherman captured Savannah in December 1864, on his march to the sea, and Congress set up the Freedmen's Bureau in March 1865, Campbell was appointed to supervise land claims and resettlement on five Georgia islands: Ossabaw, Delaware, Colonels, St. Catherines, and Sapelo. Georgia planters, who received pardons from U.S. president Andrew Johnson, regained control of these islands in 1866. Campbell quickly purchased 1,250 acres at Belle Ville in McIntosh County and there established an association of black landowners to divide parcels and profit from the land.