A Stranger Amongst Strangers: An Analysis of the Freedmen's Bureau Subassistant Commissioners in Texas, 1865-1868
Description: This dissertation is a study of the subassistant commissioners of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas from late 1865 to late 1868. Its focus is two-fold. It first examines who these men were. Were they northern born or southern? Did they own slaves? Were these men rich, poor, or from the middle-class? Did they have military experience or were they civilians? How old was the average subassistant commissioner in Texas? This work will answer what man Freedmen's Bureau officials deemed qualified to transition the former slave from bondage to freedom. Secondly, in conjunction with these questions, this work will examine the day-to-day operations of the Bureau agents in Texas, chronicling those aspects endemic to all agents as well as those unique to certain subdistricts. The demand of being a Bureau agent was immense, requiring long hours in the office fielding questions and long hours in the saddle inspecting subdistricts. In essence, their work advising, protecting, and educating the freedmen was a never ending one. The records of the Freedmen's Bureau, both the records for headquarters and the subassistant commissioners, serve as the main sources, but numerous newspapers, Texas state official correspondences, and military records proved helpful. Immense amounts of information arrived at Bureau headquarters from field personnel. This work relies heavily on reports and letters in the Bureau agents' own words. This dissertation follows a chronological approach, following the various Bureau administrations in Texas. I believe this approach allows the reader to better glimpse events as they happened.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Bean, Christopher B.