Mitchelville - Page 6
petty violation of the rights of property and person. To require due observance of the Lord's Day. To collect fines and penalties. To punish offenses against village ordinances. To settle and determine disputes concerning claims for wages, personal property, and controversies between debtor and creditor. To levy and collect taxes to defray the expenses of government, and for the support of schools. To layout, regulate and clean the streets. To establish wholesale sanitary regulations for the prevention of disease. To appoint officers, places and times for the holding of elections. To compensate municipal officers, and to regulate all other matters affecting the well-being of the citizens, and good order of society....
In addition, "every child, between the ages of six and fifteen years, residing within" Mitchelville was required to attend school - the first compulsory education law in South Carolina! Early in the history of black freedom, the importance of education was recognized and the law made parents responsible for their children attending school.
By 1865 Mitchelville contained "about 1500 souls." The houses were often simply
built (the blacks provided the labor, the military saw mills provided free lumber) and each had about a quarter of an acre for planting gardens. Photographs taken about this time also give us some idea of how these people were living. But, for the most part, historical records have left us with little information about their daily lives. Newspaper accounts suggest that religion was an important mainstay in their lives. One account tells that Abraham