Freedmen’s Bureau

He pointed the gun directly at him.

Wilson N.C., Sept 7, 1867

Lt. J.F. Allison, Goldsboro N.C.,

Sir, Yours 2nd Inst. asking information as to the particulars of the Complaint made against Calvin Barnes Col’d & the circumstances causing his arrest & imprisonment. In Reply the warrant issued for this arrest was granted upon the oath of Edward Gordon a young man of respectability that he was assaulted by Calvin Barnes with a Gun while on his way from school to his place of residence some three miles in the Country, the provocation upon his (Gordon’s) part being that he ordered this man Calvin Barnes off the land of Joshua Barnes, the gentleman with whome he lives, having discovered him in the act of trying to shoot some of the said Joshua Barnes’s hogs, his attention being drawn by the hogs hurdling up & eating some corn that had been thrown to them to attract them & seeing this man Calvin Barnes standing by the field fence near the hogs, he asked him what he was doing there, whereupon the said Calvin leveled his Gun at him as in the act of shooting when Gordon jumped behind a tree. Calvin advanced upon him he ran off towards home & Calvin pursued for some distance threatning & abusing. He (Gordon) testifies that he has known Calvin for 3 or 4 years that he lived upon the farm adjoining the one on which he lived for this length of time & that he is positive as to it being him. Upon the trial of the case before the Magistrate, Calvin denied the fact of its being him, & reported that he was at the shop of one Isaac Strickland Col’d. in this place from 10 or 11 o’clock AM of that day until about two hours in the night which he proved by the oath of the said Isaac Strickland, whose testimony was slightly varied upon cross examination, E. Jennings Piggott Eqr. testified that Calvin Barnes whome he recognized as the person under arrest, worked at his house until 12 o’clock of that day & Edward Gordon upon second Examination testified that he returned to town immediately after this occurrence & called at the shop of Isaac Strickland (above refered to) about twilight & made Enquiry for Calvin Barnes & was informed by some one whome he did not recognize, and in the presence of Isaac Strickland that Calvin Barnes had just come up from the Rail Road & had gone on home some fifteen minutes since, (the assault was made on the Rail Road about 1 ½ miles from this place). The Magistrate committed him to jail for the lack of security on a Bond of One Hundred Dollar for his appearance at the next term of our Court. He gave Bail on yesterday & was was discharged from jail. Any other information that may be desired I shall be pleased to furnish.

I am Very Respectfully Your Obdt Servt., Jos. W. Davis, Shff, Wilson Co


Calvin Barnes 1Calvin Barnes 2

Wilson N.C. Nov 14 1867

Major C.E. Compton, Goldsboro N.C.

Dear sir, Your favor 2nd Inst just read. In reply to a communication from Lieut. J.F. Allison dated Sept’r 2 1867 I gave the particulars of the arrest & the evidence upon the preliminary examination of Calvin Barnes Col’d & of his committal to Jail. He remained in jail only a few days, was discharged on the 4th Sept. upon giving bond for his appearance at the Oct. Term of our County Court. The case was called on Thursday 31st & the only Witness introduced was Edward Gordon the young man upon whome the assault was made & who is a gentleman of unimpeached veracity of the highest respectability. He testified that as he was going to his place of residence about 4 miles distant from this place in the latter part of August (probably the 28th) his attention was attracted by a number of hogs that was hurdled in the field near which he was passing belonging to the gentleman with whome he was living (Genl. J. Barnes) & while his attention was drawn to them he saw corn thrown to them by some one concealed in the briars & bushes about the fence & upon closer examination he saw some body squatted in the bushes with a gun in hand that he spoke to the person and asked what he was doing there, whereupon the boy Calvin Barnes came out and pointed the gun directly at him & in a threatning manner. He (Gordon) thereupon jumped behind some bushes & ran off & was pursued some Two Hundred yards by Calvin Barnes, that soon thereafter he heard the gun discharged & he shortly returned to town & learned that Calvin Barnes had just returned from the direction where this thing occurred.

I will take the liberty of saying that there can be no doubt about the identification of this defendant as young Gordon has lived on the adjoining plantation to where he lived for several years & is familiarly acquainted with him & also that he (Calvin Barnes) does not where he is known to bear a very enviable character.

I have embodied in a report made out this forenoon the particulars of his Escape from the Custody of the Jailer after his conviction & sentence, which will reach you with this.

I am Very Respectfully, Your Obdt. Servant, Jos. W. Davis, Shff, Wilson Co.

[I have not yet located the report of Barnes’ escape.]

North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872,; Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line],

A lazy indolent virago.

Stantonsburg July 8 1867

Mr J F Allison

Sir, Yours of July 1 has been received for several days. I have delayed answering it to get all the particulars concerning Lenard Forbs & Serena‘s his wife case. I have inquired of both white and colored persons living on the farm and from the information that I can gather She left Lenard. I understand that she has been threatening leaving him for some time & she has not cooked or washed for him in some time although she lived in the same house with him. Lenard has been sick for a month & I understand that she would neither cook nor wash for him during his illness. I understand that she goes off at any time & stay sometime for a week without his knowledge or consent & the last time she went off & returned she swore that would never cook or wash for him again. Although Lenard tried to persuade her to go home and chore herself. I am personally acquainted with the dispositions of Lenard & Serena. Lenard is a good natured fellow & is willing to get along in any way without a fuss but Serina is a lazy indolent virago compounded with saltpeter & brimstones. She has not earnt ten dollars since she became free. Lenard has her clothes to perchase from store & Lenard has carried to his house this year 200 lbs N[illegible] Mess Pork 174 lbs G[illegible] pork & he raised a hog weighing 102 lbs & I understand that she has made way with all except one p[illegible] weighing (20 lbs) twenty pounds. She has been suspicious of caring his provisions off to other parties. I think Lenard would live with her again provided he could make her stay at home and attend to his domestic affairs & if you wish any more information conserning the case I will furnish you with all that I can or you can find out all about them from the Col men living on the farm which I will  give you any information you may want &c. Hoping that this will give you the necessary information concerning this I remain yours truly  J.B. Stallings

To Luit J.F. Allison, Goldsboro N.Car.


Junius B. Stallings, 39, farmer/physician, appears in the 1870 census in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Neither Lenard nor Serena Forte appears in the county.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], Original documents in Records of Field Offices, State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen & Abandoned Lands 1865-1872 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1909, Record Group 105, National Archives, Washington, D.C.)

Captain Glavis’ district.

On the Freedmen’s Bureau “court day” in Wilson County:

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Colonel Eliphalet Whittlesey, the Freedmen’s Bureau’s first assistant commissioner for North Carolina, appended to his Congressional testimony an unattributed article from the 3 February 1866 edition of the New York Tribune, in which the writer chronicled his train voyage through the South. Found in The Reports of the Committees of the House of Representatives, Made During the First Session Thirty-Ninth, 1865-’66.

His wife raised him almost like a white child.

Wilson N.C.

Jany 5th 1865.

Col. Whittlesey


Moses Daniel (Freedman) reported to the Superintendent of Freedmen at Goldsboro that his former master Jacob Daniel a highly respectable citizen of this County refused to give to him his child Bob – whereupon the Superintendent Geo. O. Glavis ordered Mr. Daniel to give the child up and Mr. Daniel to obey the order & prevent any disturbance gave the boy up. He now appeals to you to have the boy restored to him. He is willing to have the boy bound to him and will do all in that regard that may be required. The following circumstances are the bases on which he makes his appeal. The mother of this boy Bob never had any husband and died when the boy was not over six months old. The Man Moses was the slave of Mr. Daniel and had a wife by whom had children at a neighbors (Mr. Farmers.) It may be that Moses is the father of the child but if so it is an illegitimate one. The Boy Bob has been raised by Mr. Daniels wife almost like a white child – and was esteemed highly and has never evinced any desire to leave his home. He is now about 15 years of age. The Reputed father by reason of the order aforesaid has taken the boy and hired him as common laborer to a Mr Barefoot in this County, as Mr. Daniel has been informed.

Common justice it is thought would restore the boy until he is twenty one to the one who has been at all the trouble and expense of raising him. Your Kind offices are respectfully prayed for in behalf of Mr. Daniel.

By Your Obt Servant     G.W. Blount


Farmer Jacob Daniels, 64, appears in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County. There is no Bob or Moses Daniel in Wilson County, but in adjoining Nahunta township, Wayne County: Moses Daniel, 27, wife Clarkey, 40, plus Smith, 18, Harry, 21, and Jane Daniel, 10.

Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands; Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line],

She commenced giving me some slack jaw.

Agent of Freedmans Bureau

Dr Sir

A few days ago a negro Woman refused to obey an order I gave her about cooking some Tomatoes. I ordered her again. She very violently refused to obey. The land lady was absent at the time. After a lapse of two hours She returned I told that I intended to give her a good whipping if she did not Cook them. The negro was standing out a few feet from the door and commenced giving me some “slack jaw” where upon I gave her a good beating by kicks and knocks.

Being a stranger to you and to your mode of proceeding and learning that you had jurisdiction in this County I address you this letter, becoming informer against myself and holding myself amenable to your order whenever called upon or to the civil authorities I care not which. So there is but one to whom I must answer for the offense if I have committed any.

It is my opinion that you had better come up as you can by Enquiry find many who condemn the act, Justify the negro and blame me for the Course I pursued. While I have never been raised to take a taunt from a white man and can certainly never become so loyal as to take it from a negro, while I honest profess to be as loyal as any Extremist in this Country I was an Original Cessession. I have been whipped in a Contest of Arms, after the surrender of Genl Lee I accepted the situation as it was. I took an oath of allegiance to the United States Government by that I have abided. You will please write me if you wish me to appear at Goldsboro and if you wish any reference you can apply to J.J. Baker, C.A.W. Barham, Dr. Wm. H. Thompson, Dr. J.W. Davis of Goldsboro & J.J. Lutts Esqr. of this place.  Let me hear  from you soon.              Very respectfully, R.G. Barham M.D.


Virginia-born physician R.G. [Roscoe G.] Barham was 25 years old when the 1860 census of the town of Wilson. He died about 1880.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line],

A contract to throw out marl.

C Bone re Jourdin Artis

Black creek NC May the 20 1867

Bureau of Refugees Freedmen

Dear, sir your dispatch just come to hand last night after dark, the post master sais it never reached hear until saturday last. Jourdin Artis took a contract of digin 26,000 bushels of marl sometime last summer & comenced but did not threw out half the quantity he engage to throw out & become in debt & quit the Job & has now called on me for asettement yet neither I have not Sean him since about that time I should of gone to your office to day but I am so very busy in my farm. I am wating to hear from you & do as you advise.           Yrs Verry, Respectfully.  Calvin Bone


Forty year-old white farmer Calvin Bone headed a household in the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County. (He also appeared in the slave schedule as the owner of one black woman, aged 36.) There were two Jordan Artises listed in censuses of communities near Black Creek in 1860: (1) in the census of Buck Swamp township, Wayne County, 30 year-old Jordan Artis is listed in the household of his parents Vinson and Clarky Artis, (2) in the census of Saulston township, Wayne County, 27 year-old Jordan Artis in the household of his mother Olive Artis.

“Marl” is a loose or crumbling earthy deposit (as of sand, silt, or clay) that contains a substantial amount of calcium carbonate, i.e. lime. It was commonly used a fertilizer.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870,

Write me that my title is good.

Wilson N.C.

Sept. the 5th, 1867

Maj. Compton,


I proceed to address you on a particular subject, simply for your instruction.

There was a white woman living in my neighbourhood previous to, and during the rebellion.  She had a child (boy) that was colored, the woman was consumptive, therefore was aware that she could not live long.  This boy had been living with me two or three years, with so much satisfactory to himself, and mother, that she and he insisted, that she should give, and I accept the boy’s indentures in writing till he was twenty one years of age, which was done in ’61.  In ’63 the mother died.  The boy staied with me very well contented until sometime last winter.  He had been telling me sometime before he left, that some people (mostly of which were colored) were persuading him to leave, that he was free &c.  He appeared to be mad because they would tell him to leave, but he finally heeded their instruction.  I was good to the boy, and he seemed to be well contented as long as he stayed with me.  I took a good deal of pains in trying to teach him to conduct himself properly, which he done as long as he stayed.

I heard of him a few days ago in Johnston County, he was at court.  I suppose he is doing nothing, by the way I heard he looked.  I have deferred going after him until I heard from you, thinking, that if you should write me, that my title was good, I could tell him so, that he would not be running off any more.  The boy is between 17 & 18 years of age.

Please let hear from you concerning the above soon.

Yours verry respectfully                          E.G. Barnes


26 year-old student Elias G. Barnes, son of Burthany Barnes, is listed in household #297, Kirby’s District, in the 1860 federal census of Wilson County.  At #305 appears 42 year-old white farm laborer Elizabeth Taylor with her five children, Abia, 18, Bryant, 14, Jackson, 12, Kinchen, 10, and McDaniel, 7. Three were mulatto.  The boy referred to in E.G. Barnes’ letter may have been Elizabeth’s son Kinchen.

Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands; Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line],

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 nigger 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],; “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).

The colored people prefer him.

“Names of prominent men residing in the several Election Districts of Wilson County NC with explanatory remarks”Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.45.33 PM

5. Israel Barden (col’d). Election district: Wilson. Age: 29. Occupation: Laborer. Where born: North Carolina. Resided in the County: Several months. Ever in U.S. Army or Navy: Never. Remarks: Is quite intelligent. Can read and write a little. Appears to be the most respected col’d man in that section. The colored people prefer him to anyone of their number.

6. Harry Jones (col’d). Election district: Wilson. Age: 52. Occupation: Shoemaker. Where born: Orange Co., N.C. Resided in the County: 2 yrs., 5 mos. Ever in U.S. Army or Navy: Never. Remarks: Cannot read or write. Quite intelligent but colored people seem to lack confidence in him.

7. John Darden (col’d). Election district: Wilson. Age: 35. Occupation: Laborer. Where born: Green Co, N.C. Resided in the County: 5 months. Ever in U.S. Army or Navy: 2 Yrs. in U.S.A. Remarks: Cannot read or write. Not very bright naturally. Won’t do.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870,