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The Freedmen's Bureau Online

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"


June 26th, 1865 - Lloyd Johnson and James Sims, col'd, testify that they were assaulted by two white men named Hobbs and McCauley without provocation, near Elk Ridge Landing, Md., one of whom drew a knife and threatened the life of Johnson. On the 3rd of July they were again assaulted in the same manner and Sims was beaten by the same man until Mr. Saffery, the employer of the colored men, advised them to desist. Hobbs then went into Baltimore and brought out a gang of Rowdies some of whom displayed knives, pistols and other weapons and threatened the lives of Sims and Johnson who at once left home and came to Washington.

July 20th, 1865 - Calvert Lee, col'd, testifies that he was severely beaten without cause by Robert Neal on the public road and he would have been shot by Neal, who threatened his life with a revolver but for Neal's son who interfered to prevent the shooting.

July 27th, 1865 - The Assistant Commr. ordered the arrest of W. J. Miner (white man) near Freedman's village for threatening the lives of colored people, collection of unjust claims &c.

August 8th, 1865 - McVeigh Beverly, a white citizen of Maryland, for the offence of having voted for Abraham Lincoln, was assaulted on the public road at Port Republic, Calvert Co., Md. by James and John Brown, who after striking him fired at him with a revolver but missed him, and he finally escaped by flight. His life had been threatened before by these men and others. Beverly was also assaulted and beaten with a club July 29th, by John Bond Jr., returned rebel soldier at same village.

August 9th, 1865 - Isaac Brown, col'd, of Calvert Co., Md. was assaulted at the door of his residence by Calvin Robinson, white, after throwing a heavy stick of wood at him threatened to shoot him and sent for his gun for that purpose, whereupon Brown fled. This assault was because of Brown's Union sentiments.

August 15th, 1865 - Isaac Craig, col'd, at a political meeting at Cracklingtown near Bryantown, Charles Co., Md. cheered a speaker who alluded to the Emancipation Proclamation, upon which Henry Burch, John Moran, Joseph Padgett, Osie Padgett, Kiah Canter, _______ Knighton, ______ Dudley, Samuel Smoot, Peter Nuttle, Frederick Dent (a Magistrate) and Dr. George Mudd beat him till life was nearly extinct and attempted to hang him but desisted.

A few minutes before the outrage last recorded, four (4) of these men badly beat Marshall Wilkeson (white) a discharged soldier for having declared himself a Union man.

Richard Butler, col'd, testifies that on the 16th of August 1865 at St. Joseph's Church, St. Mary's Co., Md. he was struck with the butt of a whip by John L. Loyd and also with Loyd's fist, without any provocation in presence of Robert Alvey, Constable, who did not interfere to prevent or rebuke it.

Milly Sewell, col'd, testifies that on the 18th of August 1865, on a plot of ground rented by her of Mrs. Jane Wood near Harrisburg, St. Mary's Co., Md., she was beaten by Mrs. Wood without any provocation and Mrs. Wood threatened to take a club to kill or maim her. Bvt. Maj. Clark, A. A. I. G. in a report alludes to this case and says Mrs. Woods' dislike to Milly arose partly from the fact that Milly had a nice tobacco crop on her ground and Mrs. Wood was anxious to drive Milly away and appropriate it.

August 19th, 1865 - Sidney Carter, a col'd woman living at Bladensburg, Md., cruelly beaten by one Suit, white man, at the instigation of his daughter Mrs. Hardisty, who felt aggrieved at what she called Sidney's impudence. The Civil Authorities refused to give any relief on account of the complainant's color. Testimony given showed the general good conduct and trustworthiness of Sidney Carter.

August 21st, 1865 - Surgeon R. B. Bontican, Md. Vols. reports a respectable clean freedwoman was thrown from Car No. 35 7th St. R. R. Washington City by a number of white persons who were encouraged by the Conductor. The Conductor refusing to check the speed of the car, she was thrown down and injured.

September 2nd, 1865 - Thuresa Duffies, col'd, testifies that in 1863 she was held as a slave by ?George Williams about one mile from Frederick City. That he beat and braised her severely, and the Provost Marshal to whom she applied for protection told her to go back to her master. She then went to the Major who committed her to jail. Her former master came and released her and told her if she wanted to go back she could, otherwise she must leave Maryland. So she came to Georgetown, and a year ago she went back for her children who were given her but her former master kept all her clothes and household goods worth about $120.

September 2nd, 1865 - Samuel Buntz of Carroll Co., Md. testifies that a house of his occupied by Samuel Thomas (col'd) and his wife was broken into during their absence by white men named Cook Shipley, Sawyer and Fred Tipton and their household effects destroyed wantonly and a portion of their wearing apparel taken away.

September 4th, 1865 - Samuel Brown, col'd, formerly employed by the Government went to Thomas Allaby a white man near Smith River Ferry, Anne Arundel Co., Md. to hire by the month or year. They did not agree as to price and something being said about the Government, Allaby said "he wished the damned Government was in hell" and picked up some bricks and beat Brown upon the head, knocked him down, cut him with an axe and cowhided him. When Brown, with great difficulty, got to Annapolis, no Justice of the Peace would issue a warrant for Allaby's arrest.

John Conway reports that September 4th, 1865 John Grose (col'd) went to visit his mother on the plantation of William Berry near Old Fields and was driven away by Berry's threats of shooting him.

August 27th, 1865 - Shedrick Crump, colored, testifies that he attended a missionary meeting with his wife at Wesleyan Methodist Church, 23rd Street bet. L & M, Washington, and on coming out of the Church was attacked on the sidewalk by one of two Irishmen who were passing, who struck him, kicked him & continued to maltreat him until they were separated by other persons - this without any provocation. Crump's testimony is corroborated by the affidavit of his wife, Richard Dyson, pastor of the Church, Charles Simon and Richard Clements, all of whom were witnesses of the assault.

September 11th, 1865 - Wm. Berry at Old Fields, Va. is reported to have driven away with threats of bodily harm John Grose who came to visit his mother.

October 31st, 1865 - R. E. Jordan, Emp. State Librarian, Annapolis, Md. reports that Richard Purdy, white man, tried to break into a colored woman's door during her husband's absence. Not finding access through the door he broke in through the window and beat her shamefully. No white witness being present nothing could be done to him.

Also, two white men caught a colored woman and were beating her when her brother came to her rescue. They turned on him and struck him on the head with a car coupling iron. The colored man wrenched the iron away and they ran, the colored man pursuing to the door of the house of one of them but did not enter. The white man's wife had the Negro bound over for striking her when he actually never saw her and he was indicted by the Grand Jury and committed to jail and would probably be convicted for want of white evidence.

Bailey Lemon, col'd, testifies that on the 23rd December, 1865 he was at Dick Posey's store with Alexander Brooks, ex-soldier of 20th C. Infty. at Chickamucknow, Chas. Co., Md., that there Brooks was assaulted on no provocation by Charles Gilroy (white). Brooks attempted to defend himself and Mrs. Posey stepped in to part them & received a blow from someone. Brooks was arrested and thrown into jail at Port Tobacco on charge of having struck a white woman. The Magistrate refusing to take bail unless offered by white men, though colored men who were known to be worth more than the bail required offered bail -- $200.

January 18th, 1866 - Revd. J. A. Ross of the Methodist Episcopal Church (North) states that on Sunday 14th January on the public road on his way from Leesburg to Waterford to preach, he was stopped by 3 men in rebel uniform with "Halt you God Damned Yankee son of a bitch," one presenting a revolver, they said "Andy Johnson has sent the God Damned Yankees from Leesburg and you must leave or we will blow you to hell" (Note: the troops had been rumored the day before). Mr. Ross asked to proceed to Waterford and for the right to ?think of it. They demanded his pocketbook but finding it empty threw it down. They said that "Andy Johnson was their friend and Damned Yankees must leave with Yankee Soldiers." They then ordered him on, threatening to blow out his brains if he looked back or to right or left. That night six men in rebel uniform with revolvers were observed on the Harmony Road. Chaplain Ferree, in the employ of the Bureau at Leesburg, was also threatened that he would be killed if he remained in Virginia.

January 23rd, 1866 - William Rector, freedman, while pausing on the Military road through the farm of George Martin was stopped by Martin and his son who took away from him his gun and as he turned to flee they shot him, injuring but not killing him.

In January 1866, a gentleman living near Annapolis, Md. got a Contraband from camp near Alexandria and as soon as he was off the cars he was assaulted and badly beaten by two white ruffians. (Reported by R. E. Jordan, Emp. State Librarian).

February 5th, 1866 - Amos Hunt testifies that on the 3rd of February 1866 he went with Sandy Henson, colored, to Surrats in Prince Geo. Co., Maryland to visit his (Henson's) daughter. Shot on arrival at the place. Henson was met by threats of death by the man with whom his daughter was living, and was compelled to return without seeing her.

February 7th, 1866 - Essex Barbour, col'd, late a soldier in the 30th USCI makes affidavit that on February 3rd he was assaulted and beaten at Choptico, St. Mary's Co., Md. by four white men, one of whom was a returned rebel soldier who makes it his business to injure col'd people, especially colored soldiers at all times and places.

February 7th, 1866 - Richard Speakes, col'd, complains of his employer, who on the 16th of January assaulted and beat him severely.

March 6th, 1866 - John G. Robinson, School Commissioner 3rd Dist., Dorchester Co., Md. reported that a short time previous a very respectable colored female, teacher of colored school near Vienna, Dorchester Co., Md. was assaulted on the high road by Cyrus Stock, white, and knocked down, remaining for some time in an insensible condition. There was another white man nearby but he "didn't see it."

March 13th, 1866 - Charles A. Watkins (col'd), Centerville, Queen Anne Co., Md. complains that returned rebel soldiers beat colored men without provocation wherever they find them and shoot at them on the public road.

March 19th, 1866 - Maria Hutchinson testifies that on the 9th of March at Nottingham, Prince George Co. Henry Hutchinson, her husband, late a colored soldier, was assaulted and severely beaten by white men and is now confined in jail at Marlboro to answer the charge of having threatened the life of one of his assailants.

Philip Brown, col'd, makes affidavit that he was assaulted by a white man in Montgomery Co., Md. on the 22nd of March, 1866 while crossing the farm of this man and that he was shot at and wounded in the head by the same white man while riding quietly along the public highway on the evening of the same day. When he was shot he heard a companion of the white man say "shoot the damned son of a bitch - he's nothing but a Union Soldier."

April 10th, 1866 - James Gray, colored, testifies he contracted for a year with H. H. Bean, Bryantown, Charles Co., Md. and was to be paid monthly. He had received no pay up to April 2nd on which morning Mr. Bean knocked him down with the back of an axe at his own fireside on the charge that he was not in the fields early enough and threatened to kill him, whereupon Gray left him. The Magistrates there refused to issue a warrant for Bean's arrest.

May 22nd, 1866 - Dr. A. H. Somers of Montgomery County, Md. attacked and beat till he was insensible Hillary Powell, col'd, while quietly returning from a Church celebration.

May 5th, 1866 - Lieut. M. Sullivan, 107th U. S. Col'd Infty. reports that he has been frequently insulted by men formerly belonging to Mosby's Guerillas. Encloses a challenge from one of them offering to "give him satisfaction with revolvers." Major Lee, Sub. Asst. Commr. in forwarding the paper says: "I am informed that these men are the same persons who visited in the night the private boarding house of Mrs. Watkins, teacher of a colored school at Fairfax C. H., Va. and demanded her delivery to them, saying their intention was to tar and feather her. When informed the lady was not at the house they left but soon afterwards returned making the same demand and repeating the same threats."

Major W. L. VanDerlis reports the following: John Wilkinson in Calvert Co., Md. quarreled with Jim and Bill Shannon, col'd, while crossing his farm because Jim did not address him as "Master" and raised a single tree to strike Jim who drew a pistol & threatened to shoot if he struck him. Wilkinson went away & got a warrant out for Jim & at night went to a colored Church where he expected the Shannon's would be, accompanied by a mob who broke into the Church and seized Bill Shannon & snapped pistols at him & otherwise maltreated him. Bill broke away & ran & they commenced firing at him when he turned & fired into the mob killing one Robinson. The mob arrested Bill and a Magistrate advised them to hang him but finally he was taken to jail & indicted for murder. Venue was changed to Horran Co. where it was thought a loyal jury could be got. On the trial the prosecution brought in five witnesses all of whom were parties to the assault upon Bill Shannon and the defence brought in twelve witnesses all colored and ?ten entirely disinterested. All were present at the assault, all members of the Church in which the affair took place. All of them saw the occurrences and their testimony was unshaken in cross examinations, but the jury rejected all the colored testimony and convicted Bill of manslaughter and he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in the state prison. This verdict was a "compromise," two of the jurors being in favor of a verdict of "willful murder."

September 7th, 1866 - Col. Rutherford reports that Mr. Swedes of Loudon County boasts of having made "good hands" of colored people hired to him by the Bureau by beating and threatening to kill them &c.

Unjust Imprisonment

July 10th, 1865 - it is charged that Frederick Dent, Magistrate at Bryantown, Chas. Co., Md. committed to jail George W. Slater, col'd, charging him with larceny, and refusing to release him because Slater could not show his discharge from the Navy which was in the hands of an Agent to settle his accounts with the Government.

August 16th, 1865 - Dola Ann Jones testified that in 1863 her husband, John Jones, with Richard Coats and Caleb Day, all colored men, were tried, convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary for eleven years and eleven months for aiding slaves to escape. Before turning them over to the authorities George W. Carpenter, former master of Coats, whipped them so severely with a stave having auger holes bored in it that they suffered greatly for two months. Jones and Day were firemen.

September 27th, 1865 - Humphrey and Catharine Ware complain that they were formerly slaves. In May 1864 they left their Master and started to come to Washington. They were arrested by Alfred Kirby of Piscataway, Prince George Co., Md. and thrown into jail and a large amount of household goods which were honestly theirs was taken away from them though they offered to prove their title to them.

September 21st, 1865 - Jane Unsles of Brookfield, Montgomery Co., Md. testifies that on or about the 1st of May 1863 her daughter Hannah Warfield, 15 years old and held as a slave by Thomas Dorsey of Hood's Mills, Howard Co., Md. was tried, convicted and sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment in the Penitentiary for striking Mr. Dorsey, they charging that Hannah made an unprovoked attack on Mrs. Dorsey when the truth was Mrs. Dorsey was whipping her and Hannah, goaded by the lash, struck her.