Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Virginia
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865 - 1869.
National Archives Microfilm Publication M1048, Roll 59
"Narrative Reports of Criminal Cases Involving Freedmen, Mar. 1866 - Feb. 1867"
Office Asst. Supt. Bureau R. F. and A. L.
Sub. Dist. of Caroline, Bowling Green
Caroline Co., Va. Sept. 30th, 1866
Major James Johnson VRC
Supt. 6th District Va.
In compliance with Circular No. 10, C. S. Hd. Qrs. Asst. Comr. State of Va., Richmond Va., March 12th, 1866, I have the honor to report that there but a few cases of Freedmen tried in the courts of this Co. In those cases they were dealt with more leniently than if they were white people, in as much as their ignorance of the law was in some instances taken for an excuse.
The following were the cases tried. Washington Scrivner - for Burglary - was caught at night in a store that he had entered - it was proved he knew of quite a sum of money being there. He was defended very ably by Counsel and got committed to the County jail for one month only.
George Rouser was arrested for refusing to pay some revenue tax - by the sheriff - the penalty is rather severe but the Counsel for the Commonwealth suggested to the judge that as Rouser did not know he was doing wrong, that a reprimand would be all he would ask. The Judge consented, and the Counsel administered a short reprimand.
Temple Lomax was arrested for breaking into and stealing from another Freedman. In this case the complainant did not appear and sent word that they would not appear so he was discharged.
There was another case of two Freedwomen against a white man named Maynard Dyson. This Dyson was about the only one that refused to be ruled by the decision of the Freedmen's Court in this County. He was summoned to appear before the Court here (sometime in March last) but would not attend the summons. The case was a small one and in his absence was decided - he to pay them 5 barrels of corn. He then came up to Court with an offset which the Court would not receive. He refused point blank to pay but when I threatened to hold him for the amt. he promised to pay two barrels of the corn then, and the balance in a month from that time. This he refused to comply with and in the meantime the cases were turned over to the Civil Courts. I advised them to bring a suit against him before the Magistrates. They done so, and I was summoned as a witness. The case was immediately decided against Dyson with costs.
I am Major
Your Obdt. Servt.
John O. Dwyer Capt. VRC
Asst. Supt. Bureau R. F. & A. L.
Sub. Dist. of Caroline, Caroline Co., Va.