A lovely day for work, but unfortunately there is no one to work. The freedmen hold a political meeting at the C. H. today and all are invited to attend. After putting up a few shocks of wheat, all left for the C. H. Men and women remained till near night. Bill didn’t get back till about 1 o’clk. P.M. – – A Dr. Norton (Colored) spoke several hours.1 – – Maj. Douglas and W.R. Aylett delivered speeches and another man by the name of Massie, not Colored externally, but a very Black heart no doubt, had rather more to say than Southern gentlemen could relish.2 – – What a lonely day I have spent. Even Bettie spent the day at C. H. after ironing a few pieces of clothing. Returned in time to milk.
- Probably Dr. Daniel M. Norton of Yorktown. (back)
- Edmund White Massey, 32, was born in Spotsylvania County and lived in Richmond during the war, seemingly supporting the Confederate cause. Afterwards he declared himself a “radical” Republican and soon began working closely with the Freedman’s Bureau. He would move his family to West Point, become employed as a railroad clerk, and represent King William and King & Queen Counties at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1868. Subsequently he served in the Virginia Senate from 1869 to 1875. While there he successfully promoted the incorporation of the Town of West Point (1870) and served on its first Town Council. After ten years of successfully negotiating the turbulent water of post-war Virginia politics he lost his support within the Republican Party and his elective offices. He moved his family to Norfolk and died there in December, 1884. Union General John M. Schofield, who was placed in charge of Military District No.1 (Virginia) during Reconstruction, described Massey in his private papers as an “Adventurer.” Virginia Conservative newspapers, and Caroline, were less kind. (This Edmund W. Massey should not be confused with the Edmund W. Massey who represented Warren and Clarke Counties in the General Assembly before the war. Also, our subject’s first name is frequently rendered Edward and his surname Massie.) (back)