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1865 September 16: More Soldiers Returning Home, Freedman H. H. Thomas Speaks in Osceola, and Other News

September 22, 2015

The small, many local, news items for this week come from The Polk County Press of September 16, 1865.

— The First Minnesota Heavy Artillery is expected home in a few days.

— The Third Minnesota arrived home on the 12th inst.

GONE.—“HICK” CLARK [Andrew J. Clark] and JOHN BAKER, have gone to report themselves, their furloughs having nearly expired.  They report first at Madison, we believe, where they anticipate getting discharged under the order recently issued by the War Department, discharging all absentees from their respective regiments.

— Mr. H. H. THOMAS,¹ a colored gentleman from Kansas, and before residing there, for twenty-five years a slave in six or seven Slave States, addressed an audience in this village [Osceola, Wisconsin] on Thursday evening last, giving a spirited description of his experience while in bondage, and also as a freedman.  The house was well filled and all were pleased with the entertainment.

— News is expected daily of a battle between General Conner’s [sic] forces and the Indians, on or near Big Horn river, a branch of the Yellowstone, in the Rocky Mountains.  [Patrick E. Connor]

— Provost Marshal General Fry reports to the State officers that Indiana has furnished 103,337 men to the Government between the 17th of April, 1861, and the 30th of April, 1865.  [James B. Fry]

Alexander H. Stephens is said to advocate giving the freedmen a fair chance and favors in trusting them with political power as soon as increased manhood and self-respect enable them to wield it intelligently.

PROCLAMATION.—Gov. Lewis [James T. Lewis] has issued a very pleasant Proclamation, an acknowlagement [sic] of the great services rendered the cause of the Union by the Soldiers of Wisconsin.  It is published elsewhere.

1.  A possibility is the H. H. Thomas listed in the 1870 federal census in Lawrence, Kansas. He is 40 years old, born in Virginia, and working as a real estate agent. His wife is Frances Thomas. In the 1880 census, he is listed as Henry Thomas, still married to Francis, still living in Lawrence, now working as a barber.

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