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The Freedmen's Bureau Online

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Tennessee
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869
National Archives Microfilm Publication M999 Roll 34
"Reports of Outrages, Riots and Murders"

Franklin, Tenn.
July 9th, 1867
Walton, Hoke (Note: referred to as both Polk and Hoke Walton)
Affidavit before Esquire J. L. Burch, Justice of the Peace, in regard to the riot at Franklin, Tenn. on Sat. July 6, 1867

Personally appeared before me this 9th day of July 1867 Hoke Walton and having been duly sworn deposes and says

My name is Hoke Walton. I live at Franklin, Tenn. On Saturday evening 6th July 1867 I belong to the Union League and was acting Chief of it and we broke up after Mr. Trimble got through speaking and we were all talking and giving to each other what we thought of the speaking. I saw Joe Williams' buggy standing on the corner of the square opposite House's store and several shaking hands with him. He, Williams, then came on the square to Mr. Bennett's corner of the square to where we were all assembled and he stopped there, several men shaking hands with him. Others commenced leaning on the buggy or leant on it. I stepped up to them and said Boys let him alone and they left the buggy. He drove away and was gone at least 30 minutes and as I was walking down the street I saw Joe Williams walking back alone. He came on into our crowd walking and walked strait on to the Court House, bell was rung and the crowd was asked to come and hear Joe Williams speak. When he spoke he made a remark about the Radicals. He said they were telling us fine tails merely to hold them in office, several replied to him and said yes God Damn you we ought to take you down from there. And I said to them if you do not want to hear him go away - that you can go far away out of the way so that you can not hear him.

Mr. Bliss came up at the time and asked me if I did not think it would be best to get the drum and take them away from there as he thought that from the language used might get up a row. I said yes and went away where the drums were. The drummer commenced playing the drums. Whilst the drums were beating several of the Boys came back and said Mr. John House had struck Mr. Bliss. That made the Boys mad. Several of them said Boys fall in and I said no, don't let us have any fuss. After fussing around some time they got quiet and they turned back up the street. Several shots were fired in the air. I said to the Boys don't do that, they then quit. Several of them desired to come back to see why Mr. House hit Mr. Bliss and I would not let them go. Mr. Cliff and Mr. Elliott said we will take them out to the grove and speak to them. They went there and Mr. Elliott spoke to them. After speaking some time and it getting dark it was concluded we would go into town. Mr. Elliott said to now retire and go home and several of them said we will march back quietly to the square before we breakup. We made a vote that we would breakup quietly. In the crowd the chief of the League having come he said (illegible) your pistols and I having taken my place in the rear saw that there were no pistols out; we brought our pistols with us because the Conservative niggers used to be fussing with us. As we passed Mr. Briggs' corner some fellows (not in our procession) hallowed out Hurra for Etherige. Someone then said Hurra for Brownlow and we all gave three cheers. At the corner of the square someone hallowed Hurra for McFall. After the procession passed almost across the square there was a single shot fired and then our men ran. I said to them why do you run away and turned where there was a whole volley fired into us. After they ran away Bill Youngman got some of them back and said what are you running for and they then returned the fire. I have been wounded in eight different places by the volley that was fired after the first shot that was fired. I was wounded in the back and legs. I did not fire a shot. I had a pistol.

(signed) Polk (x) Walton

Sworn to and subscribed before me July 9th, 1867
(signed) J. L. Burch, J. P.