Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the District of Columbia
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869
National Archives Microfilm Publication M1055 Roll 21
"Miscellaneous Reports and Lists"
Prince George, Md.
Statement in regard to the case of Jacob Giles, Col'd
Collington, Prince George Co., Md.
Col. John Eaton,
Dear Sir. I received some short time since a letter from Washington signed by J. H. Clarke requesting me to see that the bearer of this, Jacob Giles, was protected from violence by George W. Hardisty and also to aid him in his proper efforts to remove his family to Washington. In this I have done all that I can do under the law here. I have called upon Richard Hardisty who has Jacob's wife and two children. One of those belonged to him at the time they were liberated and he says he will not give them up, that they were bind to him by the year altho he admitted to me that with Lucy, Jacob's wife, he made no positive contract as to price, that she came to him and said she would stay with him as long as she lived if he would feed and cloth her, but now when called on he says that he will hold on to them for the year and what would be the use of my having him up before a Justice of the Peace when he will swear that the party was hired to him by the year and the law of this state will not take the black man's oath and therefore he would retain them and put the cost upon Jacob. This is a hard case no doubt and as Jacob has thought proper to go to your I feel it my duty to make you a proper statement of this affair. The Negroes in this state was declared free on the first of November and Jacob Giles son William a boy of about 18 or 19 was at that time with some others of his family with George W. Hardisty and he by some means got him to stay with his sisters under the promise of $10 per month. Sometime in July William was whipped and ran off to his father & mother. This George W. Hardisty sent for me and stated that William had ran off & he wished me to give him a writ to arrest him & bring him before me for a breech of contract & I directed the Constable of the district to arrest William which he did and had him up
the same day. I asked of William if he hired to Geo. W. H. & he answered that he had hired to one of Geo. W. H. Sisters at $10 per month in the presence of G. W. H. I then asked him what had been paid him upon his wages, the answer was two dollars on money and a suit of clothing, all this in his, Mr. Hardisty's, presence and he did not deny. And I told the boy he must go back & stay the year out as he admitted they had hired him & paid a part of his wages and did not offer any evidence of improper treatment at that time. And when I remanded him back, this man Jacob, in a very polite manner, asked my permission to speak which I of course gave him and as soon as he did commence to say something in behalf of his son, George W. Hardisty commenced beating him in a most violent manner and Jacob running back some forty feet I suppose, George W. H. beating him all the time when Jacob apparently threw a bottle which he had in his hand all the time over George W. H. shoulder and then he was set upon by four of five and they would have beat him to death if I had not prevented them. They then wanted me to order him a whipping and I declined. They then wished to commit him, I also declined that. They then carried him before George A. Michell, another Justice of the Peace, & upon the representative he committed him and he lay in jail some four weeks. I went down and bailed him out and then made out an account for Williams hire & gave it to the Constable and this Hardisty says he owes him nothing. It is owing to this man Jacob's good conduct and my duty as a Magistrate that I have done as I have. I have made this lengthy statement in order to let your understand & I think Jacob will state you the truth in the matter.
I Remain Yours
Joshua T. Clarke, J. P.
P. S. I will state also that those people the Hardisty and myself are not upon very good terms and I have tried to do all I could to gratify them without going contrary to what I believed to be my duty. I have the most implicit confidence in Jacob as I would not have bailed him out and I want him to be at Court in Nov. the first week.
J. F. Clarke