I’ll give you hell before I’ll have done with you.

Chanie “the abused” states as follows —

  1. That Mrs. Sally Barnes “wife of the accused” beat her with her hand —
  2. That not satisfied with this the said Mrs. Barnes beat her with a shingle. — that she “Chanie” caught hold of the shingle. when Mr. Barnes appeared and said–“Turn that shingle loose. you g—d. d— old b—h. or I’ll knock you in head with this walking stick– whereupon she “Chanie” let go of the shingle and suffered Mrs. Barnes to continue beating her.
  3. That while Mr. Barnes and family were at breakfast she started for the town of Wilson, Wilson Co. to report the case to Capt. Bullock of the Local Police for said Co.
  4. That she was turned back by some person unknown to her who claimed to be a Yankee
  5. That soon after return home Mr. Barnes appeared and said– Oh yes you have come back G–d A—y G–d d— old b—h You went off to report me G–d A—y d— you– I’ll report you after I get my dinner G–d A—y d— you– I’ll report your back
  6. That after his dinner he appeared and said Now go out in the road G–d, d— you and strip your coat and shirt right off– I’ll give you h–ll before I have done with you
  7. That he beat her terribly after which he told her to go on now and spin your task of cotton or I’ll give you as much more in the morning
  8. That she worked around until sunday “This being upon Tuesday Aug 1″ watching for an opportunity to escape, when she left for Goldsboro.

Mary Ann daughter of Chanie — states as follows

  1. That she “Mary Ann” told her mistress “Mrs. Wm Barnes that she would not stay there and work if she “Mrs. Barnes” kept her clothes locked up–whereupon Mrs. Barnes attempted to whip her. that she guarded her blows when Mrs Barnes called Mr– Barnes– who with his grown son James, came in and between the three gave her a hundred or more blows–
  2. That they tied her hands and told her to get down– That she resisted when Mr. Barnes says, that won’t do. Bring her out doors Let’s tie her between two trees
  3. That they tied her feet to one tree and her hands to another, then cut her hair off.
  4. That they allowed the dogs “three in number” to tear her clothes off and bite her. that James took off such clothing as the dogs left
  5. That Mr Barnes gave her two hundred lashes with a Paddle “A strap made purposely for whipping negroes” And said no d—d n*gger should be free under him &c. &c.


On 21 February 1866, Dexter H. Clapp testified before a Joint Committee on Reconstruction inquiring “into the condition of the States which formed the Confederate States of America [to] report whether they, or any of them, are entitled to be represented in either house of Congress.”  Clapp was a lieutenant colonel of the 38th United States Colored Troops, on duty with the Freedmen’s Bureau and stationed in Pitt County, where he was in charge of a twenty-county district that included Wilson. Among the atrocities he cited was William Barnes’ vicious whipping of Chaney and her daughter.

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In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: William Barnes, 66, wife Sallie, 39, and children William, 19, Sarah L., 16, James, 13, and Mary, 10. The 1860 slave schedule reported that Barnes owned 26 slaves.

“Charges against William Barnes of Wilson Co.,” [Aug. 1865?], Miscellaneous Records, ser. 2637, Goldsboro NC Subassistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], Ancestry.com; “Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction,” The Reports of the Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session Thirty-Ninth Congress, vol. 2. (1866).