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The possible loss of his slaves upon the declaration of freedom on January     1, 1866 caused Gay considerable concern. His liquor-ridden mind was not long     in finding a solution, however, he barred all visitors from his plantation     and insisted that his overseers see to carrying out of this detail. They did,     with such efficiency that it was not until May 8, when the government finally     learned of the condition and sent a marshal to the plantation, that freedom     came to Gay’s slaves. May 8 is still celebrated in this section of Mississippi     as the official emancipation day.

    Relief for the hundreds of slaves of Gay came at last with the declaration     of freedom for them. The government officials divided the grown and growing     crops; and some land was parceled out to the former slaves.

http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/docs/s/slave/slave05.htm

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