James Madison Hall kept a journal from 1860 until just before his death in 1866, in which he recorded a daily log of events in his life and the lives of his family, slaves, and friends. It also served as a record of business dealings, money borrowed and repaid, and cost of items during the war. Hall lived in Houston County, Texas, where he was a farmer, and in Liberty County, Texas, where he was a merchant and mayor of Liberty.This book illustrates the home life of Texans during the Civil War and includes Hall's relationship with blacks, especially a man named Billl Hicks, who became Hall's miller when Hall was away. Th is book traces the changing relationships betweeen slaves and masters during the early post-war transition, before Congressional Reconstruction began. Hall's feast of reason was to refuse to go into the military, even though he favored seccession; to adapt to changing needs and circumstances; and to remain a voice of fairness and moderation during these trying times.