[Shelby, North Carolina?]: July 7, 1865. Single tanned page, 9-1/2" x 7." Sixteen lines written in ink. Several small pinholes, Good+.
The document is signed by D. Froneberger of North Carolina, owner of "Froneberger's Bloomary Forge, on Buffalo Creek, four miles northeast from Shelby and five miles north of Muddy creek junction, Cleveland county, North Carolina." The forge was "built in 1855, has 3 fires and 2 hammers driven by water and made in 1857 120 tons of bars." [Lesley, THE IRON MANUFACTURER'S GUIDE TO THE FURNACES, FORGES AND ROLLING MILLS OF THE UNITED STATES 189]. The document states:
"On condition that the other iron manufacturers will not hire negroes who leave their owners or former places of work in the iron business, we pledge ourselves not to employ any hand from any person who will sign a similar agreement to this, except the negro has a written permission from his master or former employer to go and hire. We think under the existing state of affairs in the country this is but a just agreement and we have heretofore expressed and complied with the principles set forth, and no other. | Very Respectfully | D. Froneberger."
Efforts to restrict the emancipated slaves' freedom of movement were early attempts to retain one of the most significant "badges of slavery." By July 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was in full force. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed over President Johnson's veto, would explicitly prohibit restrictions on the freedmen's ability to make contracts of employment and other agreements. Item #36906