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Freedmen's Bureau Report of Murders and Outrages in Texas

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"

Report of Murders and Outrages
(undated and unsigned)


On the arrival of the first U. S. Troops in Houston (34th Iowa Infty.) a colored man named William an enlisted cook in "K" Co. who walked uptown in advance of the troops, was murdered in the streets by a white man named Cotton.
Date on or about the middle of June 1865.

Jerry, a Freedman living on the plantation of James W. Wade in Fort Bend Co. was arrested, chained and whipped by the Wades and others. He was then fastened in the gin house with a log chain and kept there several days and nights, a prisoner with a guard over him. One morning he was missing and a few days after his body was found by a neighbor Mr. Foster in his pond. The body was gashed by knives and had pieces of the chain still attached to it. No cause known.
Done middle of June 1865.

James Murphy (white) shot and killed a Freedman named Boston McDaniel on the road from Crockett to Huntsville. Reported cause. The Freedman did not take off his hat to Murphy when he passed him.
Done October 1865. Houston Co.

Dr. I. H. Moffat of Leon Co. in an affidavit dated Nov 8, 1865 states that two discharged Federal Soldiers names unknown were murdered about the 1st of September 1865 near Wm. Moore's on the opposite side of the Trinity River by citizens living near by. The effects of the murdered men money &c. were brought to Wm. Moore's house and divided.

G. C. Harrison (white) killed a Freedman named William in Fort Bend Co. on the 5th of Sept. 1865. Reported to Col. DeGrefs who arrested Harrison but afterwards released him on bond of five thousand dollars.

Esom Wood (white) living in Danville, Montgomery Co. killed a negro stock tender named _________ by shooting him with a pistol. Cause. The negro would not allow him to whip him.
Done November 18' 1865.

Freedman Oliver was killed in Montgomery Co. by Maj. Uzzel and Dr. McQueen who got into a quarrel with him because he had gone to Houston to report Maj. Uzzel's father for non-payment of wages. They beat him with sticks and as he was running away from them fired several shots at him one taking effect.
Done about the 1st of Dec 1865.

Sam. McNeil a Freedman was twice shot, once in the hand, taking off some fingers, and the second shot (a load of buckshot) taking effect in his back---by a white man named Tate.
Date Dec 19' 1865. Fort Bend Co.

Jerry Roberts Freedman living at Spring Creek, Harris Co. was wantonly murdered by two white men named Buck Chandler and Lawrence Bates who stabbed him in the side and bowels.
Date May 22' 1866 Harris Co.

Peter Higgins (col.) living on Cypress Creek was called out of his house at night shot and his body dragged to a pond about a mile from the house where his body was found next day. No clue has yet been obtained of the murderers.
Date June 6' 1866. Harris Co.

Oct 23d 1865 Pettus Brown (col.) appeared before Lt. Col. DeGrefs and made affidavit that Stephen Rawes (white) shot and killed a colored man name unknown since they had been freed.
Pettus Brown also made affidavit at the same time that Wm. Stowall (white) shot and killed a colored man named Wiley after they were made free. No particulars known. Jasper Co.


C. C. Millican and W. S. Spencer of Brazonia Co. took a colored boy out of town tied him to a tree and gave him two to three hundred lashes with a heavy leather strap.
Date about July 1st 1865.

On the 26th of July 1865 W. S. Spencer inflicted several severe blows with the iron butt end of a heavy whip on the head of a mulatto woman named Adelaide, cutting to the bone. The said W. S. Spencer then in company with C. C. Millican then tied her hands together pulled her clothes over her hips, bucked her and gave her about two hundred lashes with a heavy leather strap, supposed to be a trace. One of the parties claimed that Adelaide had made an insulting noise when his wife passed. This case was reported by Joel Spencer an old citizen of Brazonia Co. who formerly owned Adelaide and who is the father-in-law of one of the perpetrators of this outrage.

Jerome deBlanc planter in Liberty Co. handcuffed Stephen Bryant (col.) and wife, then brutally struck and kicked them because Stephen's two sons had left the plantation without permission. De Blanc also tied up and beat the freedman Linns because he refused to contract.
Date August 1865.

Dr. Philips of Montgomery Co. whipped the freedman Leton, threatened to kill him and put a chain on him which Leton wore to Houston. This was done because L. would not stay with him.
Date September 1st 1865.

Mr. Carman (white) of Richmond, Fort Bend Co. whipped a mulatto woman named Amanda Reynolds giving her 150 blows with sticks injuring her severely as she was pregnant at the time.
Date July 29th 1865.

Stephen Patout (col.) was so severely beaten by H. Patout (white) with a club that he was confined to the house for several weeks in consequence. H. Patout claimed that Genl. Merritt had authorized him to whip his ex-slaves as usual.
Date August 1865 Milan Co.

Robert Hardy (white) beat his two female servants Emeline and Louisa over their heads with a heavy walking stick bruising them badly.
Date Sept 1st 1865 Waverly, Walker Co.

Col. Elmore of Waverly collected a party of neighbors mounted and armed with pistols &c., took a pack of hounds used for the purpose and hunted down Slade (col.) who had left his plantation. After catching him imprisoned him for a day and two nights on a calaboose on the plantation.
Date July 1865.

Isaac freedman was chased by dogs belonging to a Mr. Addison who kept them for the purpose of chasing negroes. During the hunt he was twice shot at by a white man named Beads, who hired the dogs of Addison. Cause. Isaac had left the plantation of Mr. Beads with whom he had been living.
Date last of October 1865. Walker Co.

Wm. Freeman (white) whipped Charles a freedman and fired on Abe the brother of Charles who warned him to desist and drove them both off without pay. Cause dispute about the price of a turkey.
Date November 1865. Fort Bend Co.

Robert Jones freedman, an old man was assaulted by James Lankesby who struck Robert in the mouth with the butt end of his revolver knocking out a tooth bruising his face and also beat him on the head with his fists. Cause dispute about wages.
Date October 1865. Brazonia Co.

Caleb an old freedman was assaulted by Joseph Rhodes (white) who kicked him into the fire place, jumped on him and tried to mash him into the fire injuring him most severely. Wanton cruelty and whiskey.
Date Nov. 21' 1865. Huntsville.

John a freedman was severely beaten by a man named Porter (white) with a club. Porter also threatened to kill him, and with the assistance of Jack Roberts (white) took John into the woods, tied him to a tree and put a rope around his neck. John was saved from further violence by the interference of a neighbor who succeeded in getting him released. John was badly cut about the head. Cause. Dispute about work.
Date November 25th 1865. Robison Co.

James Cole (col.) a feeble old man was wantonly assaulted by a gang of white rowdies who knocked him down and beat him over the head, shoulders, back and arms with pistols bruising him severely and laming him. Cause. Went to hear Gen'l. Gregory, Ass. Com. speak the night before.
Date November 21' 1865. Huntsville.

H. Dimlavy beat Miles a freedman severely with his heavy walking stick cutting his head and shoulders. Cause. Miles said he was too sick to pick cotton.
Date October 5' 1865. Fort Bend Co.

Mr. Baker assaulted Louis Sincer freedman knocked him down and cut him with a knife on his head and breast disabling him for sometime. Cause. Louis had stated that Baker's dog had killed one of the sheep he was tending.
Date Sept. 15' 1865.

Wm. C. Wilson, Lieut. 37th (illegible) reported his investigation of the case of D. Wolf at Alleyton. Wolf maltreated a colored woman in his employ and formerly his slave. She was taken sick and he thrust her out of doors, leaving her to die of exposure and starvation.
Date Winter of 65 at Alleyton.

Plans Stanley (col.) while quietly standing near the church just after the services were over was rushed upon and stabbed severely in the left arm byFrank Sterling (white) who said "God Damn your black soul I will learn you to stand in the way of white ladies."
Date November 26' 1865. East Liberty.

Michael Linney (white) finding that a poor miserable freedwoman-who formerly belonged to him-was about to leave his daughter's house and go to Houston-by the name of Selina Parker-came to the house where she was, kicked her, robbed her of her money and also took away her child and clothes.
Date September 1865. Liberty Co.

Wm. McMahon (white) beat one of the negro women employed on his place named Adeline brutally over the head and face with a paddle marking her up badly. Cause. Said she was lazy.
Date October 1865. Harris Co.

Fred Green (col.) of Montgomery Co. went to Houston to complain of non-payment of wages, in company with Oliver Noble another freedman. On their return they were both assaulted and beaten by Maj. Uzzel and Dr. McQueen, with clubs. Fred and Oliver broke away from them and attempted to run away. Uzzel and McQueen fired several pistol shots after them one of which took effect on Oliver killing him.
Date about the 1st of Dec 1865.

Jefferson a freed man was assaulted cut with a knife and robbed, on the road about a mile from Houston by two white men who succeeded in escaping. Three other freedmen were abused and robbed by the same party.
Date Dec 23' 1865.

Dr. John Fisher of Walker Co. drew a pistol on Herod Hudson (col.) drove him from the field where he was at work, into the gin house, made a colored man beat him and place a rope around his neck. Tied his hands behind him, blindfolded him and drew him up by the rope until he had partially choked him and then let him down. Then drove him off. Cause. Said that Herod did not do enough work.
Date December 1865.

McCoy (white) assaulted and seriously injured a freedman named Ned Hernder striking him with a bar of iron. Cause. Said he was too long eating his breakfast.
Date January 25' 1866. Brazonia Co.

Dr. Jackson went to the plantation of Mr. McGarr in Chamber Co. and getting into a dispute with the freedman Wade Hampton about his bill, assaulted him striking him with a hand maul and an iron bar. Wade then succeeded in escaping from him. The same night the Dr. came to Wade's house armed with a double barreled shotgun and thrust it through a crack in the house threatening to shoot Wade's wife who was in the house, unless she opened the door, so that he could get in to shoot Wade. Wade's wife opened the door and ran out. Jackson entered the house and not finding Wade piled up the furniture in the middle of the floor set fire to it and remained near the house gun in hand until it was burned down threatening to shoot anyone who should attempt to put out the fire or save anything.
Date February 1866.

John C. Robt. (white) deliberately set fire to the house of a freedwoman named Celia Lindsay and it was burned down no one daring to attempt to put it out.
Date January 1st' 1866. Houston.

On Christmas night several colored people were assaulted and robbed by a gang of white men, on the roads near Montgomery, Montgomery Co. One old freedman was robbed of 220 00/100 Dollars the proceeds of the sale of 2 Bales of Cotton. This cotton belonged to the hands on a place near Montgomery and was their share of the crop.
Some nights before a party of white men went to a negro dance near Plantersville broke it up and robbed every one of the negroes there. These facts were given me by the Sheriff of the County.

Frederick Freeman (col.) of Montgomery was charged with insulting a young lady by calling to her while she was passing in the street. The young lady's father, brother and brother-in-law attacked Frederick in the street beat him and drew guns and pistols on him threatening to shoot him. Before they could carry their threats into execution the Sheriff came and took Frederick into custody. Frederick was brought before Justice Dean tried and acquitted. After his release he was taken by Robert S. Simonton the father of the young lady and his sons William and Reuben, a short distance from town into the woods. Reuben was armed with a double barreled shot gun. R. S. Simonton told him that he was either going to whip him or shoot him. They then made Frederick strip and lie down on his face and then R. S. Simonton used up several stout hickories on him. The marks of the blows were plainly visible all over his back and shoulders for weeks afterwards.
Date last of March 1866.

Harvey Mackey (col.) was assaulted by John McCrory (white) who fired two or three pistol shots at him chased him some distance and then, Harvey's mother and sister placed themselves before Harvey, and tried to persuade McCrory to let him alone, he knocked one down and kicked the other. Harvey swam across the bayou and got away.
Date March 6' 1866.

Douglass Campbell (white) beat Quibus Nelson (col.) over his head, back, arms and sides with a heavy stick, then ran him off the place without any settlement. Quibus was working for one third of the crop. Cause. Campbell charged Quibus with riding a horse.
Date June 1866. Montgomery Co.

Joe Rodgers (white) beat Wm. Bourgill (col.) over the head and back, badly bruising him with a big stick. Cause. Dispute about a mule. Drove him off.
Date July 31' 1866. Montgomery Co.

Samuel Hayden (white) beat Charlotte Lee freedwoman with a heavy stick across the head, back and shoulders injuring her severely. Cause. Charlotte had been told to watch a potato patch, by her mistress, and see who was taking her potatoes. Charlotte saw Hayden take some and reported the fact to her mistress.
Date June 8' 1866. Montgomery Co.

James Cotton (white) beat the wife of Jack Ursham (col.) severely over the head with a club injuring her badly. Drove Jack away threatening to kill him. Cause. Jack and wife intended to leave.
Date July 11' 1866. Harris Co.

Lucinda Pilot (col.) was assaulted by Capt. Johnson (white) who gave her a severe beating with a quirt over the head, face and shoulders and as she was trying to get away kicked her out of the door and threatened to kill her if she stayed. Cause. Said she spoke disrespectfully to his wife.
Date June 8' 1866. Brazonia Co.

J. C. Oglesby and Z. McCullock (white) were riding along the road a few miles form Hockley met a colored man named Washington who had a gun with him. These men stopped him and insisted on looking at his gun. Washington said that the men were intoxicated and refused to do so. They then dismounted and took the gun forcibly from him. In the scuffle one of them struck Washington over the head with a bottle cutting to the bone disabling him for sometime.
Date June 1' 1866.

John January (white) assaulted the freedman William cutting him dangerously in the neck with a hatchet. Cause. Dispute about wages.
Date about July 1' 1866. Harrisburg.

Zairus Smith (white) shot Louis Gibb freedman with a revolver wounding him severely in the foot. Cause. Dispute about six bits.
Date about August 1' 1866. Polk Co.

John Burke, John Hanson and three other rowdy firemen assaulted an inoffensive freedman named James Duncan beat him over the head and back robbed him of his pistol and when he jumped off his hack to escape from the ruffians, one of them, John Burke, followed him, and knocked Duncan down three times with a club. A policeman then took Duncan into custody!!! Cause. Duncan refused to drive the party in his hack. They were looking for a negro whom one of the party (Burke) had threatened to kill.
Date June 14' 1866. Houston.

Zairus Smith (white) broke an Enfield rifle over the head of Jack Merkins (col.) fracturing his skull. Recovery doubtful. Cause. Disputed his word.
Date about August 15' 1866. Polk Co.