"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."
"And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons."
"And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God."
One of the oldest dated documents that I have reflecting my ancestors is an estate inventory with the names of all of the slaves of Major John Bass. The document was created in 1860. These men, women and children ranged in age from 65 years of age to 2 months. In 1860 they were there together, enslaved, but thankfully, with time they were all freed.
Like my ancestors on other lines, freedom came to them in many ways. My uncles Sephus and Braxton joined the Union Army as well as Uncle Sephus' two sons. Mitchell was sent to Arkansas, and a daughter was eventually sent away from the family as well from the family unit before freedom finally came. Some freed themselves and others had to wait.