Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Texas
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865 - 1869
National Archives Microfilm Publication M821 Roll 32
"Miscellaneous Records Relating to Murders and Other Criminal Offenses Committed in Texas 1865 - 1868"
(Transcribed as written)
Caldwell June 23rd 1868
To E. M. Pease
I have to report to you a thing that occurred on the night of the 16th instant, a most horrible affair that has happened in this county for years past. R. R. Wilson, Freedman of this county who resided in a few miles of this place, and one of the board of Registrars, was taken by a posse of six white men, and carried, it is supposed, to the Brazos River, and there murdered & thrown into the River, so that with all the search that could be possibly made by some near a hundred men; and it is supposed from every indication that it was done for a Political purpose, and to deter and frighten Union men, for recently there has been learned from various sources that there is a large party of these villains, and as yet we have not been able to get a sufficient clue of the persons guilty under the law, to have any person arrested, but there is quite a number of good and loyal citizens here, that is satisfied that the guilty parties is amongst us, and who they are in their own minds, but could not prove it, and in fact from the incidents that has occurred since, I am pretty well satisfied myself, and further there is hints thrown out that all loyal prominent men here, sooner or later, will go up in the same way, and it has become so prevalent that it is impossible for the civil authorities to keep these things down much longer without some better assurances & aid than they can procure at present.
Therefore I have been by the best of our most loyal citizens here requested to ask of the proper authorities that a force of United States Soldiers be sent out here in sufficient time to put down all such outrages, and to take all such villains in hand, and meet out to them their past dues, for our peaceable citizens has at this become enraged with all such proceedings as the one that occurred in the case of Wilson, and they are of the opinion from every circumstance, that these things has just now commenced here, and that the sooner a stop is put to these things, it will be to the interest of the community and we find from the way the thing is going that the civil authorities is & will not be able to correct it.
I will and can, I think, put troops, if they should be sent here, in the right and proper track to learn and get at all such villains. Please to show this to my friend Mundine, who can and will give you a correct history of the man Wilson in full, and also give you some idea of parts of this county the outrages that I speak of was committed in that God forsaken place, the edge or near it of the Brazos Bottom near Moseley's Ferry, etc., so no one at present but I remain.
(signed) L. Shoemaker
County Judge, B. C.
I wish for this letter to be kept of course private, etc., for Godsake send us help for it is impossible for Union men to remain here unless we are protected, unless we are willing to meet the fate of Wilson, send them immediately as we do not know how many more may be murdered before they get here.
(sgd) L. Shoemaker