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Daniel Tasker (Freedman) Testimony in relation to the killing of a freedman named Kit by his former Master John Echols

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Texas
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865 - 1869
National Archives Microfilm Publication M821 Roll 32
"Miscellaneous Records Relating to Murders and Other Criminal Offenses Committed in Texas 1865 - 1868"

Brazos Bottom
Burleson Co., Tex.
Dec. 18th 1865

Daniel Tasker (Freedman)
Testimony in relation to the killing of a freedman named Kit by his former Master John Echols

Daniel Tasker (Freedman) being duly sworn testifies as follows ----

On the morning that Kit was killed I was in the corn crib shucking corn & knew nothing about the matter until I heard the report of the gun. When I ran out to see what was the matter, I could only see a crowd of the negros standing in the yard hollering & screaming but did not see Kit until late in the evening. I went to where his body was lying. That is all I know about it.

Daniel (X) Tasker

W. F. Grant
Charles Himes Co. "R" 37th Ill. In.

Being examined by the Agent of the Freedmen's Bureau the witness testified as follows ----

Q. How old are you.

A. Seventy eight.

Q. How long have you lived with Mr. Echols.

A. About thirty three years.

Q. Were you at all related to the boy Kit.

A. Not at all.

Q. Had you at any time previous to Kit's death heard either him or others make any threats against Mr. Echols or any of his family.

A. I have not sir.

Q. Were you in the corn crib when Mr. Echols went to the corn crib for a bag of corn & if so at what time in the day was it?

A. I was & it was near 8 o'clock in the morning.

Q. You say that you have belonged to & lived with Mr. Echols over thirty years --- during that time has he been a good & kind master to you & his other slaves?

A. He has been a kind master & both he & his wife took good care of us when we were sick. He made no difference between us --- except in the case of the old negros who were more indulged.

Q. Since you were made free has he treated you or them differently.

A. No sir he has not. He has treated us with equal kindness.

Q. Did Mr. Echols read to you & explain all the orders relating to your being made free.

A. He did.

Q. After informing you all of your freedom did he make any contracts to pay you & if so did he comply with such contract.

A. He agreed to pay them for saving his crops & after the work was done he notified them to come for their money. He paid all off in gold & silver who came to him for their money.

Q. Were they satisfied with the settlement.

A. I have heard no complaint about it from any of them.

Q. When was Kit killed by Mr. Echols.

A. At Mr. Echols Plantation in Brazos Bottom, Burleson Co., Texas, on Saturday about the 8th day of Dec. 1865 about 8 o'clock in the morning.

Q. What was Kit's character.

A. He and others were in the habit of running away & staying off 5 or 6 months at a time without any good cause, running away from his work.

Q. Did you ever know Mr. Echols to whip or abuse Kit.

A. No sir I never did.

Q. When the slaves were declared free did any of them who had belonged to Mr. Echols go off. If so did he endeavor to get them back --- or use any means to make them stay?

A. A good many of them left at first but all came back. Mr. Echols did not try to make them do it. He told them if they would stay & gather the crop they could all go & ?he would let them use his wagons to move away.

I certify that I have made the foregoing statement & answers under oath & that they are true.

Daniel (X) Tasker

Charles Hime Co. "R" 37th Ill. In.
H. Cooper