Freedman Cupid Hamilton of Pocotaligo, Beaufort County, SC filed a Southern Claims Commission Claim on August 26, 1871, for supplies taken by the Union Troops during the Civil War. His claim reveals many details of his life before, and after Emancipation.
In his testimony, Cupid Hamilton stated that he was 45 years of age, placing his birth date at about 1826. He was a waiting man enslaved to William Heyward of Pocotaligo in Beaufort County, SC when Port Royal was taken by Union forces in November of 1861.
Hamilton stated that before William Heyward left the plantation, he gave him two horses and a wagon to make a living with, as Heyward intended to abandon the business of planting. Hamilton testified that the horses and wagon were taken from him by Union forces, and that the following day, Union troops came to the Heyward plantation and removed rice and livestock belonging to him and others on the plantation, then ordered the Freedmen to remove to the nearby sea islands, where they would receive government rations. He was seeking $442.50 compensation for his losses.
At the time he filed the claim in 1871, Cupid Hamilton was living on the Heyward plantation, where he had lived all of his life. Former slaveholder William Heyward had died, and Cupid was renting land on the plantation. He cultivated rice as his principal crop.
Witnesses to the claim were Freedmen Luke Green, Scipio Blue, Moses M. Washington and Aleck Wilson, all former slaves of William Heyward.