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Aid Society
Jacksonville, Florida
Esther H. Hawkes
Feb. 8, 1865

The Freedmen's Journal
Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 8,1865.

The military force is so small here now, that the rebels are giving us some annoyance. Dickinson's band of cavalry,
about two hundred strong, is in this vicinity, and have recently captured several small parties of our soldiers,
amounting, in all, to over a hundred men.

Our Schools are in a flourishing condition; we have an average attendance of one hundred and sixty. I have
organized a sewing-school, — the children bringing such work as they have, — and we teach them to mend, and
patch, and the older ones to cat by patterns, which we prepare for them. It is an interesting sight to see my sewing
school; and the delight of the smaller ones, who are being initiated into the mysteries of making rag babies, is comical
to see. It is the best I can do, we have so little to do with besides. I have great faith in the knowledge which comes to
children through their dolls.

Last Saturday, I visited thirty-seven different families, white and black, in town. I wish I could give you some idea of the
difference between the two,—equally poor, equally dirty and destitute! The whites, have a hopeless, listless
appearance; and no words of encouragement or cheer seem to reach them. They do not hesitate to beg, and are full
of complaints. There is no elasticity in them; with the blacks, it is just the opposite: they are cheerful, willing to work, do
not beg or complain, and are far more hopeful objects to labor for.

I ought not to have said they are equally dirty; some of them are; but we have many colored families here who are
patterns of neatness; and I make them all u clean up," once a week, or as often as I go among them, which they do
cheerfully, and are improving much in this respect. The health of the place is remarkably good at this time.
Esther H. Hawkes.
Dr. Esther Hill Hawks
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