Hugh M. Foley (Wilkinson County)
State House: 1870-1874
Born: January 1847 in Wilkinson County, MS
Born free in Wilkinson County and was sent to school in Adams County before returning to Wilkinson in 1867. Teacher for the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1866. Appointed to county Board of Supervisors. Ordained as a minister in 1869. Testified in the congressional hearings about violence in the 1875 Mississippi elections.
Appears on the 1850 census in Wilkinson County with his family. Listed in Adams County on the 1880 census, living with wife Mary and son John. Listed again with Mary and John on the 1900 census in Wilkinson County.
“Born free in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, Foley was the son of a Methodist minister. His family moved to Natchez in 1853, where he was educated by white teachers. As a young man, Foley operated a store in Natchez. After the Civil War, he taught for the Freedmen’s Bureau, and in 1869 he was appointed by General Adelbert Ames to the Wilkinson County Board of Supervisors. A leading organizer of the Republican party in the county, Foley served in the state House of Representatives, 1870 and 1874. Foley was ordained an A.M.E. minister in 1869 and an elder in 1876. For many years he was editor and publisher of the Port Gibson Vindicator. He was stationed in New Jersey by his church in 1889, and in 1896 he received some votes for bishop.”
(Eric Foner, Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders during Reconstruction, 1993)
Letter from Foley to Ulysses S. Grant
These photos were taken of a copy at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University. The original letter is held in the National Archives and appears in Volume 27 of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant.