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Freedmen's Bureau Records - Registered Reports of Murders and Outrages in Texas

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
"Registered Reports of Murders and Outrages Sept 1866 - July 1867"

Office Sub. Asst. Com. Bureau R. F. & A. L.
Crockett, Houston Co., Texas
October 1st 1866

Lemuel K. Morton
Lt. and A. A. A. General


I have the honor to report the following names of Freedmen killed or reported to have been killed in this vicinity since the close of the rebellion. I have delayed making this report hoping that I might get more information but I am unable to do this as I have no means of communication with witnesses and all information that I now have is what I have picked up during my stay here. These men and people will not dare not report many of these things unless they see some prospect of the guilty being punished, as many of them would forfeit their lives forever.

Anthony McElmore (freedman): Killed in August 1865 within the Merchison Tanyard on the Netches River on the Canada Ferry Road. It is unknown who committed the deed but it was soon after his leaving his former master.

Charles George (freedman): Shot in June 1865 by Dabney Lewis on Mrs. Lewis' plantation. This was witnessed by Mrs. Lewis. This in Lion County not far from the Trinity River.

Ned Gossett (freedman): Shot in August 1865 by Andy Gossett (white) his former master. Said to have been occasioned by some disrespectful language by the freedman. This about three miles from Crockett, Tex.

Moses During (freedman): Shot March 24th 1866 on the plantation of Mr. Bodenhammer on the Netches River. Supposed to have been killed by David Finly, George McKee and others because he had reported one of them to the Freedmen's Agent at Crockett.

Sam During (freedman): Shot about Christmas 1865 near Crockett, Texas. Supposed to have been killed by certain white men who pretended to arrest him for taking a horse.

Jo Smotherman (freedman): Shot in June 1866 while in the hands of Ben Blair, John Richey and Wm. Vaughan, white men deputized by the civil authorities to convey him to jail after having been bound over by the Justice Court to await the action of the Grand Jury.

Boston McDaniel (freedman): Was waylaid and robbed (being shot so as to loose the use of one finger and nearly the use of one eye) upon the public highway on the 25th day of November 1865 by James Murphy (white).

Nancy McCelvey (freedwoman): Was whipped with a "breeching strap" and beat with a stick without cause or provocation by Hugh McCelvey on or about the 30th day of Dec 1865.

Emily Graves (freedwoman): Was struck with a stick, thrown upon the ground, and gouged in the eye with the hand or finger by James Wise her former master. This on the 1st day of February 1866 without just cause or provocation.

Elisa Elder (freedwoman): Was struck upon her head with a stick of wood and a shovel by Mrs. Margaret Jones (white). This on the 22nd and 24th day of January 1866 without just cause or provocation.

Emily Jones (freedwoman): Was struck with a thick club upon the head by J. R. Montgomery (white) April 25th 1866 without cause or provocation.

Margaret Rhodes (freedwoman): Was thrown down and flogged with a leather strap without cause or provocation by Harrison Brown (white) in the month of October 1865.

Elsey Wheeler (freedwoman): Was kicked, thrown down and flogged with a leather strap by Harrison Brown (white). This in the month of November 1866.

Silas Monroe (freedman): Was kidnapped and tied with a rope and forced to the plantation of Wm. McHenry and then by him struck 100 lashes with a leather strap.

There has been a number of other murders of Freedmen I think but I am unable to see persons who know names and dates. There has been quite a number of lesser outrages in this county and some about which I cannot learn enough to justify any mention of them. The cases of James Wise, Harrison Brown, J. R. Montgomery and Wm. McHenry were tried before the Sub. Asst. Com. at this place. I know of no white men who have suffered from outrages. I am informed that there is a party of white men who are committing many outrages in Cherokee County. I think they have killed a number of freedmen and whipped and beat others. They black their skin and thus avoid detection and try to throw the blame upon the Freedmen. Of late I have heard but few who have been driven their crops but instances occur where any orders are entirely disregarded. My position is very unpleasant yet if it is the wish of the Government to have me remain thus I will say nothing. The citizens many of them show by their actions that the Bureau as they think has not the least claim upon them. I think that the impression that they have, that President Johnson will take their part is one great cause of this. And in addition to the above named Freedmen is the following:

Peter Blunt (freedman): Was shot on the 5th or 6th of September 1866 by Mrs. Arington upon her husband's plantation. The alleged cause was that the freedman insulted her in some way.

The crops in this county have most of them suffered considerable either from ruin or the worm but all things considered I think that there will be a fair yield for the ground planted.

There is a demand for labor.

Your Obt. Servt.
L. S. Barnes
Major and Sub. Asst. Com.