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"
Washington D. C.
November 20th, 1867
Howard, Bvt. Brig. Gen. C. H.
Asst. Comr. D. C.
Submits report of outrages committed on Union Citizens as shown by the records of his office in compliance with request contained in letter dated Sept. 24, 1867 from Committee on Treatment of Prisoners of War and Union Citizens
January 27th, 1866 - Benjamin Howard, a colored preacher, complains that at Annapolis, Maryland in 1861, the authorities prohibited him from preaching. That in August 1862 he was arrested for holding meetings and imprisoned until February 3rd, 1863 when he was sold and ordered not to cross the lines of the State of Maryland. His house was searched and his papers and accounts destroyed.
February 24th, 1866 - It is charged against Wm. Fowler, Magistrate at Doncastle P. Office, Charles County, Md. that he committed to jail Alexander Stewart, a colored man, on charges not then preferred and refused to accept bail for him though colored men known to be worth more than the requisite amount offered to bail him.
September 5th, 1865 - Charles Simon, colored, testified that at the time of a difficulty at Wesley Methodist Church between Richard Clements and an Irishman, he (Simon) went before Justice Drury at Washington to give his testimony and when Clements was locked up he asked the Justice what he should do and was ordered by Justice Drury to leave and the Justice immediately turned to a policeman and ordered him to lock up Simon and he was locked up in a cell and detained for a time and afterwards released by Justice Drury who threatened to fine him and lock him up if he ever came there again.
Interference with Churches and Schools
September 1st, 1865 - Robert H. Dyson, Col'd Minister of Union Wesley Church, 23rd St. between L & M. Str. Washington, made affidavit that some of the people in the vicinity of the church had shown a disposition to disturb their meetings, coming into the church smoking and with their hats on &c. The church has frequently been stoned and glass broken out of the windows, and persons stoned while going to and from church.
September 22nd, 1865 - Col. John Eaton Asst. Comr. reports the opposition of Judge Wylie and his family to the opening of colored schools in their neighborhood. It was deemed expedient by the Bureau to establish a school at Freedmen's Hospital (cor. 14th & M st.) and even before its opening Mr. & Mrs. Wylie protested in person at the Bureau against it, Mrs. Wylie suggesting that if her influence was not sufficient to prevent it more protest would be invoked and the Judge among other points made conditional threats of indictment and assured Col. E. that "a storm would wake up around his head the like of which he had never known" and the Judge made efforts to get his neighbors arrayed in opposition to the location of colored schools there.
February 21st, 1866 - David Luckett deposes that the colored congregation were prohibited from holding church services at Oxen Hill, Maryland unless they have a white minister by a (illegible) of which Noyes Smith was a "trustee" though the colored people had built the church themselves and owned the land on which it stood.
March 11th, 1866 - Two white men burnt the colored church at Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Md. because a colored school was held in it.
March 17th, 1866 - The Asst. Comr. D. C. reports the opposition to educating the colored people in Maryland is widespread and bitter. Teachers have been stoned and blackened indignation meetings held and resolutions passed to drive them out. School houses have been burned. Colored churches too have been destroyed to prevent schools being held in them.
June 17th, 1866 - Bvt. Major S. N. Clark, A. A. I. G. reports from Calvert Co., Md. - It is not long since a clergyman sent by the Northern Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was assaulted on the road because of his sentiments and about three weeks ago his church was broken open and a preacher of disloyal sentiment installed.
July 26th, 1865 - John Brown left his former owner in February 1862 and was employed by the Government at Washington. He left four (4) children ages respectively 14, 12, 11 and 7 years with Benjamin Clark in Anne Arundel Co., Md. Soon after the amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in Maryland, Clarke had the children bound to him without the knowledge or consent of the father though he was amply able to support them.
September 14th, 1865 - Joseph Hall, Prince Frederick Co., states the case of Rindy Allen as follows: her son was hired out by him, and she received his wages and clothed and fed him. Ira Young, her former master, got the boy bound to him by the Orphans Court against the mother's protest and treated him badly, whipping and ill-feeding him and not clothing him. And so far for his mother getting any redress she was arrested and held for trial on a charge of persuading him to leave his master.
December 1st, 1865 - The children of one Jordan Diggs were reported to be held by one Mr. Page in Prince George Co. under the plea that they were apprenticed to him though without the knowledge or consent of their parents who tried in vain to get possession of them.
January 17th, 1866 - Dennis Smith of Calvert Co., Md. (col'd) deposes that Joseph Prout has had his (Smith's) children apprenticed to him against their own and their parents protest and that Prout assaulted deponent's wife.
February 5th, 1866 - Bvt. Major S. N. Clark reports a case at Annapolis, Md. of a women sick with consumption who was deprived of her only support - a son - by his being made an apprentice under the laws of Maryland. He was supporting his mother and himself but now she has become dependent upon charity for her subsistence.
March 27th, 1866 - The Asst. Comr. D. C. reports that in November 1865 a colored woman was sentenced to be sold for two years for persuading her children to leave their former master to whom they had been apprenticed without her consent. The children had secured places to work and their pay for the year would have amounted to $400.
June 16th, 1866 - Bvt. Major S. N. Clark reports that in Calvert County where he was making an inspection the general complaint of freed people is the illegal apprenticeship of their children. In December 1864 the (3) three children of Basil Crowdy were bound to Mr. R. D. Sollay not withstanding the protest of both parents. The parents were present having been summoned and steadily refused to consent to the binding. The Constable A. O. Buckmunslin finding the mother obdurate struck her in the face with his fist in presence of the judges.
November 29th, 1866 - Eliza Smith (col'd) testifies that in December 1865 her daughter Olivia was taken from her by force and apprenticed to John Ammager of Huntington.
Illegal Detention of Children
July 26, 1865 - Spencer Curly, col'd, went to the place of James W. Bond, Woodville, Fairfax Co., Va. to get possession of his child Samuel and was prevented by threats against his life by Bond from getting the child.
August 1st, 1865 - Betty Williams (col'd) went to the place of Thomas Belt, Beltsville, Md. to get possession of her daughter Mary when Belt drove her away and threatened to kill her and beat a colored man who accompanied her.
August 11th, 1865 - James S. Magruder of Howard Co., Md. reported to have detained the son of Eliza Johnson without her consent.
August 11th, 1865 - Henry Peyton, Waterford, Loudon Co., Va. is reported to have during the war sent Fanny the infant daughter of Annie Parker somewhere south and refuses now to give any information to enable the mother to secure her.
August 12, 1865 - Mrs. Lucinda Dodson, Crownsville, Md. reported to have illegally detained Andrew and Charles, sons of Sophia Smith (col'd).
August 18th, 1865 - Gabriel Mitchell of Queen Anne, Prince George Co., Md. is reported to have forcibly detained Phena, daughter of Orzay and Rachel Spriggs, col'd.
August 18th, 1865 - Olivia M. McGill, Baltimore Co., Md. reported to have forcibly and illegally detained Susan, daughter of Winnie Hawkins (colored).
August 19th, 1865 - Robert Perry, Stafford Co., Va. reported to have illegally detained Susan and Richard, children of Harriet Stewart (col'd).
August 19th, 1865 - Mrs. Hunter of Hunter's Mills, Va. reported to have illegally detained Frank, son of Harriet Smith (colored).
August 21st, 1865 - Oglethorpe Thompson, Brandywine, Prince George Co., Md. reported to have illegally detained Becky, daughter of John H. Young (colored).
August 21st, 1865 - Richard M. Robinson, Brandywine, Prince George. Co., Md. reported to have detained illegally Emily, daughter of George F. Gray, (colored).
August 21st, 1865 - Stephen John of Darlington, Hartford Co., Md. reported to have illegally detained Nancy, daughter of Lettie Colson & refused to let her go to her mother who was able to support her.
August 22nd, 1865 - John Aldrich, Mount Gilead, Loudon Co., Va. reported to have illegally detained Wm. Henry, son of Frazier Meeks.
August 28th, 1865 - Samuel F. Belt, Beltsville, Md. reported to have illegally detained Harriet, daughter of Mary Powel and driven the mother away with threats when she came to see her daughter.
August 23rd, 1865 - John Davis, Middleburg, Loudon Co., Va. reported to have illegally detained Clay, son of Robinson Briggs.
August 23rd, 1865 - Samuel M. Simpson, Circleville, Loudon Co., Va. reported to have illegally detained King, Julia and Harriet, children of Dennis Purvis (col'd).
August 23rd, 1865 - Lott Iden, Circleville, Loudon Co., Va. reported to have illegally detained Fanny, daughter of Robinson Briggs.
August 25th, 1865 - Mrs. Betty DeVaughan, Anne Arundel Co., Md. reported to have illegally detained Phillis, Daughter of Susannah Johnson (col'd) and Jackson, son of Caroline Smith (col'd).
August 31st, 1865 - John S. Berry of Baltimore, Md. reported to have illegally detained Charles and Israel, sons of Amelia Hanson.
September 1st, 1865 - Maria Porter testifies that Richard ?Stromen near (illegible) Va. detains illegally and against her will her daughter and four grandchildren.
September 8th, 1865 - Charles Mills, ?Glymont, reported to have illegally detained Kitty, daughter of Mary Green.
September 16th, 1865 - Amelia Parker (col'd) complains that her daughter Hannah is illegally and forcibly detained by John Aldrich.
October 3rd, 1865 - Charles Hamon, Charles Co., Md. reported to have illegally detained Ida, step-daughter of Gregory Bowman (col'd).
November 15th, 1865 - M. Taylor, Falls Church, Va. reported to have illegally detained Charles Jr. and Julia, children of Eliza Welsh.
January 6th, 1866 - Mary Franklin (col'd) testifies that Thomas Robinson, Prince George Co., Md. F. B. Post Office, refuses to give her the custody of three children of a deceased sister whom she is able and willing to support and educate.
January 17th, 1866 - William Preston, Howard Co., Md. reported to have illegally detained Frank and Charles, children of Charlotte Turner.
January 23rd, 1866 - It is reported that William Kundly holds in slavery Wesley Riggs (col'd) and refuses to release him.
March 23rd, 1866 - Edward Butler, Crownsville, Md. reported to have illegally detained Mary and Martha, children and John and Abraham, grandchildren of Mary Matthews.
May 9th, 1866 - Joshua Linthium, Mills, Anne Arrundel Co., Md. reported to have illegally detained Amanda, daughter of Rosanna Oliver.
July 29th, 1866 - J. H. Painter complains that F., Fairfax, Prince William Co. holds as chattels two colored men and detains them by force against their will.
August 27th, 1866 - Albert Brooks complains that his mother-in-law Emily Holmes and her children are held in slavery by Meredith Brown near ?Lovetts, Essex Co., Md. and detained by force against their
November 29th, 1866 - Pollie Driver testifies that Mr. Lowell detains her grand-daughter illegally - an orphan and refuses her the custody of the child preventing her leaving by
Infractions of the Civil Rights Act
At the May (1866) term of court, Judge William H. Tuck of Calvert Co. made the following decisions --the cases were submitted to the court without trial by
First - Theodore Waters (col'd)
Presentment - "taking and carrying away one pig on or about the 10th of March 1866 of the value of three dollars, the property of Humy Spickmell." Prisoner appeared and pled not guilty. Case submitted to the court and prisoner found guilty and sentenced to be sold in the state on giving eight days notice.
Second - River Smith (colored)
Charged with taking and carrying away on or about the middle of April 1866 a lot of Tobacco valued at twenty five dollars the property of one John Howard. Submitted to the court and the prisoner sentenced to be sold in the state for eighteen months on giving eight days notice.
Third - Isaac Skinner (colored)
Charged with stealing about the latter part of October 1862 a pocket book valued at one dollar the property of one John Robinson. Submitted to the court and prisoner sentenced to be sold in the state for one year on giving eight days notice.
Fourth - Benjamin McCall (colored)
Charged with stealing a lot of Tobacco valued at thirty five dollars from one John Howard about the middle of April 1866. Submitted to the court and prisoner sentenced to be sold in the state for eighteen months on giving eight days notice.
Fifth - Colonel Skinner (colored)
Charged with stealing a Beehive of the value of five dollars the property of one Stephen Stanforth on or about the 20th of August 1862. Prisoner arraigned and pleaded not guilty and case submitted to the court and prisoner sentenced to be sold in the state for one year on giving eight days notice.
Dec. 19th, 1866 - Bvt. Major W. L. Vandulip reports that colored prisoners are sold under an old state law which is generally regarded as a farce but Judge Magruder is so inturealistic on the subject of "State Rights" that he searches the Statute Books to find laws sustaining
October 8th, 1867 - Major Vandulip reports tow cases where parents were arrested, tried and convicted for persuading their children to leave their masters although the children had been discharged on Habeas Corpus by Judge Bond but the fact was not allowed to be plead. The names of the parties were Maria
Richardson - Annapolis, Md. and John Lox - Calvert County, Md.
Legal Discrimination Against Colored People in
March 27th, 1866 -
Bvt. Brig. Gen. C. H. Howard The Asst. Comr. D. C. reports
1st - No colored witness can testify in cases involving conflicting interests between white and
2nd - A Negro convicted of an offense the punishment of which if committed by a white man would be imprisonment in the penitentiary may, at the discretion of the court, be sentenced to receive not exceeding forty
3rd - A Negro hiring to a white man for a time and refusing to enter his service but hiring himself to another, unless it appears that his wages would be insecure or that he received improper
treatment from the first - two fifths of his wages in the hands of second employer shall accrue as a lien to the first.
4th - For a Negro to belong to any secret society is a felony, the punishment a fine of
5th - No education of colored apprentices is required - practically too, the provisions of the laws requiring that the parents of
children shall be summoned and their consent to the indentures obtained or that their inability to provide for their children shown, is in a majority of cases ignored.
6th - In Anne Arundell and Somerset counties licenses to deal in merchandise cannot be obtained by a Negro
unless recommended by a certain number of respectable freeholders. No white person the partner of a Negro shall be licensed and if a white man employ a colored clerk the penalty is $50.00
7th - In Charles County no Negro shall have or use any Sail Boat or Row Boat
without License from a Justice of the Peace.
8th - In Kent and Queen Anne Counties free Negroes
that leave the County and return shall be punished by fine and imprisonment.
9th - In Prince George
Co. (5th District) Negroes are not to assemble under pretense of public worship except on certain days named in the Statute and generally it appears that the
organized organic law of the state is not such as to prevent discrimination against the rights of the Negro by County or other local authorities.
31st, 1865 - R. E. Jordon, Annapolis, reports in the County Court yesterday a colored woman was indicted for Assault and Battery on a white child when it was proven by two colored witnesses that she did not strike the child, but the father, who was not present at the time of the alleged assault came into court and swore she did strike the child, and the Judge fined the woman $5.- and court costs, some $26.61.
September 3rd, 1866 - Jeremiah Hebron (col'd) states that he was arrested in Washington December 25th, 1865. Charged with horse stealing - confined at Ellicotts Mills until August 13th, 1866 when he was taken to Rockville, Md., tried in 3 courts on the same charge and convicted and sentenced in each ten years imprisonment in the Penitentiary, thirty years in all. States that he is innocent. That he was not allowed to introduce witnesses while false witnesses were brought against him, and that his Counsel, H. E. Woolion, betrayed him and prevented him from bringing in witnesses who would have proved his innocence.
Frauds Upon Colored Citizens
October 5th, 1866 - Major Van Dulip reports that in June 1866 Peter Ware (col'd) hired to Richard Owens at $10.- per month. After working three months he was driven off without any pay, having received clothing valued at $5.40. Also -
Jones and wife (col'd) agreed with Dr. Gaunt to work his farm on shares, they to receive 1/3 of the crop. After the crop was gathered Dr. Gaunt presented a bill of about $100.- for medical services and one for provisions so large that the two aggregated more than 1/3 of the crop. He also ?detained for rent of a shanty occupied by them because they disputed his bills.
February 14th, 1867 - William H. Green, col'd, complains that H. F. Smart near Middleburg, Fauquier Co., Va. with whom he contracted to labor drove him off for refusing to work on Sunday. That he is afraid to return for his wife it being reported and believed that Smart killed a colored man who was at work for him last year.
The foregoing cases are all that the records of this office furnish of a character which appears to me to come within the scope of your inquiry.
I Am Very Respectfully
Your Obedient Servant
Bvt. Brig. Gen. Ass. Comr. D. C.