The convict lease system was abolished by the constitution of 1890 (the provision to take effect on the 31st of December 1894), and state farms were purchased in Rankin, Hinds and Holmes counties.
Under an act of 1900, however, 13,889 acres of land were purchased in Sunflower county; and there and at Tchula, Holmes county, and at Oakley, Hinds county, the negro convicts - the white convicts are on the Rankin county farm - are kept on several large plantations, with saw-mills, cotton gins, &c. Under a law of 1906 these farm penitentiaries are controlled by a board of three trustees, elected by the people; they are managed by a superintendent, appointed once every four years by the governor.
In 1772 he was appointed by Wesley "general assistant" in charge of the work in America, and although superseded by an older preacher, Thomas Rankin (1738-1810), in 1773, he remained practically in control.
After the outbreak of the War of Independence, the Methodists, who then numbered several thousands, fell, unjustly, under suspicion of Loyalism, principally because of their refusal to take the prescribed oath; and many of their ministers, including Rankin, returned to England.
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