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.