tenant farmer

A tobacco thief is caught.


Wilson Daily Times, 21 August 1933.

  • Robert Artis — in the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Artis, 46; wife Malindy, 31; children Adam, 17, James, 28, Edgar L., 13, Luciea, 13, Christirene, 12, Georgia, 10, and Noah, 9; step-sons Hesicar, 8, and Eugenia, 6; children Lizzie, 4, Richard, 2, and Minnie B., 9 months; and mother-in-law Henrietta [Artis?], age illegible.
  • Walter Leach

Richard C. Artis and father Robert E. Artis, circa 1950s. Photo courtesy of Melissa Mack.

The wind was terrific.

Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 8.30.58 PM.png

Wilson Times, 14 July 1911.


Perhaps, in the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Rheubin Ellis Jr., 34, wife Annie, 33, and children Ida, 13, and Albert, 12. Or, next door, Rheubin Ellis, 76; wife Clarkie, 72; daughters Henretta, 23, Joemima, 22, and Cherrie, 19; and grandchildren Amie, 14, Ashley, 12, Rheubin, 11, and Lucy, 11 months.

John Artis’ crop lien.

On 2 February 1907, A.P. Branch agreed to advance John Artis, colored, forty to fifty dollars in supplies “to enable me to make a crop” on the land on which he lived in Black Creek township rented from and owned by Nathan Bass. Artis agreed to raise twelve acres in cotton, nine acre in corn and four acres in tobacco and gave Branch a lien on his crop as well as a seven year-old black mare mule named Rody, a buggy and harness, an iron axle cart, and all his farming implements.


In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Artis; wife Lucy, 40; children Nora, 10, John E., 15, Eliza, 13, Katie, 11, and Robert, 7; and nephew Luther, 23.

Deed book 72, page 191, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

They intended to kill him if powder would burn.

Loney Brooks sworn says:

The frolick was at Mr Aycocks place Saturday night I think Xmas week I saw Carroll Harriss in the House & there was a brick thrown in the house. I ran outside & saw Carroll Harriss running & shooting in the direction of some one that fell & I heard Carroll Harriss & John Whitaker say it was Tobe Brooks & they intended to kill him if powder would burn.  Loney (X) Brooks


Fredrick Woodard sworn says: [blank]


Albert Woodard sworn says:

I was at the dance at Mr Aycocks on Saturday night before Christmas I think. I saw Addie Ford in the house as I walked from the fire place to the door Carroll Harriss stepped out of the door & as he stepped out of the door inside Charles Brooks & Tobe Brooks was near the door inside Charles started as if going out & I caught him by the arm & pulled him back and asked him what was the matter. He did not speak at first & I asked him again & he said that fellow cussed Buddie for a son of a bitch. I told Charles not to go out of the door if he did that fellow might shoot you for I saw the pistol in his hand (Carroll Harris hand). After that there was no more trouble for a while. After that some one hit Carroll Harriss with a brick while he was standing in the house. Carroll ran out of the house at the back door as if running at some one & shot off his pistol twice. I & others followed him & found Harris sitting down on the path with his hat off on the ground & the pistol on it. Some one asked him what was the matter & he replied that he was bleeding. Then I turned back & went to the house & left him & others there.   Albert (X) Woodard


Grant Brooks sworn says:

I was at the party at Aycock, on a Saturday night before Christmas & heard Carroll Harriss call Tobe Brooks a Damned son of a bitch & Jumped out of the door & I saw him draw his pistol. I heard nothing more. Am no relation.  Grant (X) Brooks


Izerick Brooks sworn says:

I was at the dance at Aycocks saw Carroll Harriss draw his pistol on Tobe Brooks & cussed him, dared him out of [illegible] doors, pretty soon after some one hit Carroll Harriss with a brick while he was in the house, then Carroll Harris ran out of the back door & shot at some one running & soon came back to the house & said to me that he was going to get Tobe Brooks for hitting him after that all was quiet.  /s/ Izeriah Brooks


Jack Woodard sworn says:

I was over there at Mr Aycocks last Wednesday a week ago the 23rd Dec 96 & the question arose among us concerning the trouble at the dance where Carroll Harriss was hit with a brick. I asked Carroll Harriss is he was hurt & he said he was, bad. I told him to go home & if he knew who it was hit him to indict him & let the law take its course & he said no I am going to get him. That is all I know about the trouble.   Jack (X) Woodard


Dora Woodard sworn says:

I was at Jack Woodards house (I live there with my father) I was sitting on the foot of the bed & Tobe Brooks was sitting on the other side by me & these men Carroll Harriss & John Whitaker came into the house & John Whitaker took a seat at the corner of the fire place & Carroll Harriss stood with his back to the fire. There was a [illegible] talking to this girl Tobe Brooks saw Harriss’s pistol in his hand & asked him what did he mean to do. I then jumped up started to the door in the meantime Harriss shot Tobe & by the time I got to the door he shot again. I called to Charly, Tobes brother & told him to come, that they were killing his brother then his brother ran in by me & I got out by the side of the door, looked back & saw Whitaker & Harriss have Tobe down on the the bed, heard one shot after I got out. I saw Charly run out of the house & Whitaker pursuing him with a pistol in his hand. I remarked to Whitaker if he was not ashamed to kill a man in a mans house & he replied that he was not that he had saved the Damned son of a bitch then I went back in the house & saw Tobe bleeding from a wound in the head & mouth. Both of Harriss & Whitaker had pistols one each in the house.    /s/ Dora Woodard

Dora & Julia Woodard are one and the same person


Maggie Brooks sworn says:

I was in Jack Woodards house when the shooting took place I was sitting on a chair by Tobe. He was sitting on the bed. Carroll Harriss was standing by the fire place with pistol in hand, pointed at Tobe Brooks. Tobe said Mr what do you mean? Harriss said nothing & then Tobe called his brother. Harriss shot or Whitaker I do not know which, Whitaker was sitting in corner of fire place. As soon as the shot was fired I ran under the bed betwixt Tobe’s legs. I then crawled out from under the bed & saw out of the doors & saw Harriss & Whitaker leave.  /s/ Maggie Brooks


George Bell sworn says:

On the evening of the 24th of Dec 96 I was in the Bar room of Luther Barnes at Black Creek & John Whitaker came to the door & called me out & asked me if I could tell him where Tobe Brooks lived. I said yes he lived on Frank Barnes’s place & he said for me to tell him that he was going to kill him a damned son of a bitch & turns to Harriss & ask (who came up about that time) when should they go. Harriss replied he did not care. Whitaker then said we will not go to night but will on Sunday. John Whitaker turned off & said that he would see me again but he did not.     /s/ Geo. C. Bell


Charles Brooks sworn says:

I was at the house of Jack Woodard the evening of the shooting of Tobe Brooks my brother. I was standing in the yard when I heard one or two shots. Dora Woodard called me & said: Come in they are killing your brother hearing also my brother Tobe calling me I ran in house, saw they have him down on the bed & shooting him. I jerked Harriss off & shot him & then I ran & some one shot me as U was running leaving the place going home.   Charles (X) Brooks


Leslie Brooks sworn says:

I was in Jack Woodards yard on the evening of the shooting of Tobe Brooks. I heard a pistol shot & ran in the house saw Carroll Harriss grab Tobe Brooks in the collar & slam him on the bed Whitaker holding Tobe by the shoulder at the same time, saw Harriss shoot Tobe in the face Whitaker firing also at that time Charles Brooks ran in grabbed Harriss off & shot him in the back of the neck. I then ran out doors, saw Charles running & Whitaker after him shooting him. Hearing John Whitaker saying I will kill the next son of a bitch leaving at the same time.   Leslie (X) Brooks


Jonas Woodard sworn says:

I was at my brother in laws John Woodard near the shooting Heard the shooting & saw them a crowd run out of Jack Woodards house & soon after Harriss & Whitaker came along. I asked John Whitaker if he had gone up there & killed Tobe & his reply was: We have killed the son of a bitch. I asked who did it & Whitakers reply was: Carroll Harriss. Jonas (X) Woodard


Augustus Woodard sworn says:

I was with some other boys out in the yard, saw Harriss & Whitaker come out of the house. Leslie Brooks was one of the boys with us, says Maggie Skinner(?) is talking, then Harris & Whitaker turns & goes back in the house & in about five minutes I heard a pistol shot & I ran to the door to see what was the matter. When I got there, saw Harriss & Whitaker standing over Tobe who was lying on the bed, hearing another shots & seeing pistols in the hands of both Harris & Whitaker. Then Charles Brooks ran in & shot Harriss & then ran out, then I ran to the kitchen, then John Whitaker followed Charles & shot him turning to join the house saying I will kill the other son of a bitch goes in gets his hat & leaves.  /s/ Augustus Woodard


Sarah [Susan written above] Woodard sworn says:

I live at Jethro Aycock’s place Carroll Harriss came to my house to have his wound washed. Pretty soon afterwards John Whitaker came said to Harriss make haste & lets go down to Jack Woodard & as soon as he had his head washed left with Whitaker in the direction of Jack Woodard’s returned that day Whitaker saying we have saved the son of a bitch.  Sarah (X) Woodard


Levinia Artis sworn says:

I went over to John Whitakers house on Sunday morning the day the shooting occurred. Whitaker was sitting in the corner of fire place thinking saying God damn it I believe I will get Harriss & go down there & kill him. Soon after Carroll Harriss came in & Whitaker said Harriss lets go down & get that damned son of a bitch & kill him. Harriss made no reply. They went off together  came back in the evening & John Whitaker said to me we have killed the son of a bitch & Carroll Harriss remarked they have shot me too.   Luvinia (X) Artis


Dr. H.R. Hoover —

I was called in to see Tobe Brooks on Dec 27th 1896 He was at Jack Woodards it was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I found him lying on the bed & there was a bullet wound on the left side of his forehead. There was blood & brain matter oosing from that wound. The face around the wound was backbend & burned from powder as I thought. I examined the wound as completely as possible & found that it was a fracture of the skull. I find that there was a bullet wound as I thought in the jaw but was not able to trace it. In regard to the wound in the skull I found the tissues very badly swollen. I washed the wound thoroughly & put cloth over it & called again Monday the 28th 96. His condition was unchanged so far as I could see. Called again 29th inst. with Dr. R.A. Smith who I called in for consultation. After finding the tissues had gone down we decided to cut in & see if we could not find the bullet. We made the incision & found the bullet had penetrated the skull & a portion of it we found just inside of the skull pressing on the brain & the other fragment lying in the brain. We removed the fragments we found washed the wound & dressed it.   /s/ H.R Hoover


Dr. R.A. Smith —

I saw Tobe Brooks with Dr. Hoover Tuesday Dec 29th 1896. I found him suffering with a gun shot wound he was suffering with gun shot wound in the forehead on the left side. The blood & brain were oosing from the wound. Dr. Hoover and I concluded to cut down on this wound & see if we could not find the bullet.I found a fragment of the bullet had passed through the skull & partly imbedded in the brain.Here the piece was shown. Found another piece shown imbedded in the fractured bone. Sewed the wound up & dressed it. The fracture in the skull was about three quarters of an inch.   /s/ R.A. Smith


Post Mortem Report

On January 4th 1897 We were requested by the Jury of inquest over the body of Tobe Brooks to make a Post Mortem examination. On opening the skull we found that a wound had been made by a bullet about 32 caliber about one inch above the left eye brow and a little over one inch to the left of the median line of the brain. The ball penetrated the brain backwards and downwards till it reached about the middle of the brain where it was found resting on the floor of the cranium. We believe that the wound produced by the bullet found in the brain was sufficient to cause the death of the deceased.  /s/ W.S. Anderson, H.R. Hoover


  • Loney Brooks
  • Carroll Harris — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook Rhoda Harriss, 35, and sons Benjamin, 10, Edward, 7, and Carroll, 5, living in the household of white farmer Willie [Wiley] Daniel, 60. [Carroll’s nephew Benjamin Harris is featured here.]
  • John Whitaker
  • Tobe Brooks — in the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Brooks, 37, wife Lina, 35, and children Lewis, 17, Rachel, 15, Priscilla, 14, Samuel, 12, Abram, 9, Charles, 7, Lee, 5, and Toby, 3.
  • Albert Woodard — perhaps, in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Redick Woodard, 54, wife Agnes, 40, and children Izaih, 20, Harriet, 20, Shade, 13, Parker, 9, Ludwell, 5, and Albert, 1. Or, more likely, in the 1880 census of Black Creek township: Jack Woodard, 35, wife Cynthia, 32, and children John, 12, Julia, 7, Cynthia, 6, Albert, 5, and Aaron, 2.
  • Grant Brooks — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Grant Brooks, 31, wife Sallie, 24, and children Calvin, 5, Beater, 4, Harry, 2, and Annie, 1. (They are listed next-door to the household of Maggie Brooks, below.)
  • Izerick Brooks — see Albert Woodard, above.
  • John “Jack” Woodard — in the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jack Woodard, 35, wife Cynthia, 32, and children John, 12, Julia, 7, Cynthia, 6, Albert, 5, and Aaron, 2. In the 1900 census of Black Creek township: farmer Jackson Woodard, 56, wife Fannie, 53, children Daisy, 30, Aaron, 18, Harry, 19, Augustus, 17, Steven, 16, Mary, 11, and Harriet, 8, and grandchildren Eddie, 5, Bessie, 3, and Frank, 6 months.
  • Julia Dora Woodard — see above.
  • Maggie Brooks — in the 1900 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer David Brooks, 45, wife Henrietta, 38, and children Maggie, 18, Minnie, 16, Alice, 13, Lizzie, 11, Bettie, 9, Tommie, 8, and Samuel, 2.
  • George Bell
  • Luther Barnes — in the 1900 census of Town of Black Creek, Black Creek township, Wilson County, Luther A. Barnes, 27, white, is listed as a saloon keeper.
  • Charles Brooks — on 9 January 1901, Charles Brooks, 26, son of Louis and Eveline Brooks, married Maggie Brooks, 19, daughter of Dave and Henrietta Brooks at Dave Brooks’ in Black Creek township. Witnesses were P.R. Brooks, Fred Woodard and C.F. Darden, all of Black Creek.
  • Leslie Brooks — Leslie Brooks died 12 October 1918 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1881 in Wilson County to Dave Brooks and Henrietta Peacock [see Maggie Brooks, above]; worked as a shoemaker; was single; and was buried in Brooks cemetery. Jno. Williams was informant.
  • Jonas Woodard — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jonas Woodard, 33, wife Edney, 30, and children Anna, 14, Grant, 11, Pauline, 5, Forest, 2, and Victoria, 1.
  • Augustus Woodard — see Jack Woodard, above.
  • Sarah Woodard
  • Levinia Artis
  • H.R. Hoover — the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County lists Henry R. Hoover, 36, physician.
  • R.A. Smith
  • W.S. Anderson — Dr. William S. Anderson

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Applewhite’s tenant houses.

Old Applewhite Farm Division

In 1918, the Atlantic Coast Realty Company commissioned this map of the “old Applewhite Farm” near Stantonsburg. Contentnea Creek runs along the western edge of much of the parcel, and a public road cuts across one end, creating a little pocket of land sandwiched between John Yelverton and Dr. S.H. Crocker’s holdings. The main dwelling faced the road near a ditch at a corner of the property. Across the way, encircled above, were the houses of Applewhite’s tenants, who were mostly (if not solely) African-American. Another cluster of tenant houses appears beyond a row of outbuildings on a farm road running parallel to the creek.

I have not been able to determine which Applewhite owned the property being subdivided, but based on a history of the property, it does not appear to have been William H. Applewhite.

Plat Book 1, page 72, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

He owes my mother $700.

Joyners Depot Wilson County N.C.

April 8th 1867

Gen Daniel E. Sickles


I appeal to you for advice. Please give me the desired advice and tell me what course to pursue and ever believe me to be your obt svnt.

Last year my mother rented a farm of B.D. Rice Esqr in Nash County. He (Rice) was to find the team, and Mother the hands and board for them. All went on smoth during the year until the crop was made and housed. When that was done Esqr Rice then refused to settle with her (Mother) fairly and squarely, according to the contract.

The business has been placed in my hands to settle and I have tried all ways to settle with him honorably and I can not have it settle neither by law nor a compromise. He (Rice) is now due Mother not far from seven hundred dollars. Please advise me what course to pursue by so doing you would confer on me an everlasting favor never to be forgotten so long as any thing Earthly remains. In housing the crop he would not let her have her part.

I am Sir with great Respect, Your obt Srvt

Jerry Pridgen, Freedman

Address me [at] Joyners Depot


Joyners Depot is now known as Elm City. Neither Rice nor Pridgen appears in the 1870 federal census of Wilson or Nash County NC. However, 32 year-old Bryant D. Rice is listed in the 1860 census of Winsteads township, Nash County NC.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

I’m aiming to get back home and die there.

Washington, Monday, February 16, 1880.


GREEN RUFFIN (colored) was sworn and examined as follows.

By the CHAIRMAN [Daniel Voorhees, Democrat-Indiana].

Question.  State where you live when at home.  – Answer.  I live in Wilson County, North Carolina.

Q. How long is it since you left home? – A. It’s about two months now, as near as I can get at it.

Q. Where have you been? – A. To Indianapolis.

Q. How did you come to go there? – A. Well, sir, there came news about there in the settlement, that if we would all agree to go out to the Western States, to Indianapolis, we could live considerably better out there. Well, it get my head deranged, so I had no sense to make any bargains to work at home, and I said I would go and I would carry my folks; but I didn’t, and I put off and goes myself.

Q. Have you a family? – Yes, sir.

Q. How many in the family? – A. I have a wife and three children.

Q. Did you go with the first party that went? – A. No, sir; I went with the second party.

Q. Did you pay your own way? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know how much it cost you to get there? – A. I think it was $15.65.

Q. Well, when you got there, what did you do? – A. Well, sir, I done nothing for about two or three weeks.

Q. Did you get any work at all? – A. Sometimes I could get some – just a little more than enough to board me and pay rent. I tried every day to get work, except on Sunday.

Q. During the two months that you were there how much work did you do? – A. I can’t tell..

Q. Did you work half the time? – A. No, sir.

Q. Did you work one day in three? – A. Yes, sir. I worked one week in about three weeks. Maybe I would get a week’s work for a whole week at a time.

Q. How much did you get? – A. I got a dollar a day and boarded myself, and furnished my own tools.

Q. What sort of work did you do? – A. I was putting in sewers about the city.

Q. Did you have to furnish your own shovel? – A. Yes, sir; but they furnished the picks.

Q. And you got a dollar and boarded yourself? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you find much demand there for work? – A. There was mighty few people there were looking for workmen.

Q. Were there a few many or many who were looking for work? – A. There were a great many of them looking for work, for there are plenty of people there as bad off as we were.

Q. How much wages were you to get out there? – A. Fifteen dollars a month on a farm, and house to live in, firewood furnished, and a cow and calf to milk extra for each family.

Q. Did you find any truth in such statements? – A. None at all, sir.

Q. Are you on your way back to North Carolina? – A. yes, sir.

Q. Do you expect to stay there? – A. I’m aiming to get back home and die there.

Q. You are going to stay when you get there? – A. I am going to stay right at home and advise all the rest to stay.

Q. What kind of advice are you going to give them? – A. I am going to tell them, “You have got a home, and you stay there”; for it’s an abomination to go where you have got none.

Q. You speak in the church at home sometimes, don’t you? – A. Yes, sir; sometimes in the prayer meetings and round about.

Q. Do you expect to speak to them about this thing? – A. Yes, sir; if I live, I expect to tell them about these things.

Q. You think it is a great outrage on your race? – A. Yes, sir; it is a regular abomination.

Q. You belonged to Mr. Ruffin, who was once in Congress, did you not? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. How have you been treated since the war down there? – A. As good as I want to be. Nobody ever bothered me, and when I worked for them they paid me.

Q. Did you vote down there? – A. Yes, sir; at every election. I have never missed any one that I know of.

Q. What ticket did you vote? – A. The Republican ticket.

Q. Did anybody ever keep you from voting it? – A. No, sir.

Q. Did you go to court during court week? – A. Yes, sir; I go to see how court goes on and the cases there.

Q. Did you live there on the old plantation? – A. Yes, sir; I have a piece of ground there yet.

Q. Do you rent it? – A. Yes, sir; I rent from a landholder.

Q. What sort of terms do you get? – A. Well, sir, if you tend the lands and they furnish the teams and all the utensils and seed, and I do the labor and board myself, I get a half.

Q. Do you make a living for yourself and your family that way? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. When you heard of those big wages, you thought you could do better out there than at home? – A. Yes, sir; it’s a man’s duty to do better if he can, but if you don’t like it, why then don’t take up with it.

Q. You don’t like it, and you are going back? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. How many of your people out there would go back from Indiana if they could? – A. I know of two families, and think they have something of the rise of eight or ten children, who asked us to do something to get them back, and I said I would do my best.

Q. And you are going to try to get them back? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. How did you get back? – A. I had worked and got seven dollars that I saved; and the man that I was with wrote for money, and they send him $35, and he lent me seven, and with the seven I had it bought me here; and when I got here I had nothing to eat, but I was this nigh home.

Q. Did you tell the white people out there you were going home? – A. Yes, sir; I declared I wouldn’t live in their State.

Q. Did any of them advise you to stay? – A. Yes, sir; they said they did not blame you immigrants for wanting to go home, but said, you try and stay until after the Presidential election, and then we think it is best for you to go home; and I said all right, and I went on my way and come here.

Q. Do you know the men who said that to you? – A. I do not.

Q. You have been raised in North Carolina, I believe. Now tell us how you found the weather out there in Indiana for your people? – A. It was too cold, sir.

Q. Did you notice a good many people among your emigrants who were sick? – A. Yes, sir; some two or three died in the time. There were little children who were carried to the graveyard and some old ones.

Q. So you know this man Perry – Sam Perry? – A. I know him if I see him, but I wasn’t acquainted with him.

Q. Did he make speeches down there in your country about this emigration matter? – A. No, sir; I don’t know of anybody making any speeches in Wilson, but when I got to town I found this thing was all through there. I caught hold of it and it worried me so that I got away.

Senator BLAIR [Henry W. Blair, Republican-New Hampshire.]  I want you to tell me how many people advised you to stay in Indiana until after the election?  A.  I didn’t take any notice how many – no more than I know this was spoke to us.

Q. How many times? – A. Twice.

Q. Only twice? – A. Only twice to my knowledge.

Q. Were they there in Indianapolis? – A. Yes, sir; right in the city.

Q. You have no knowledge of the persons who said that to you? – A. No, sir.

Q. And you kept quiet about it? – A. I said all right and walked right on.

Q. How many white people did you talk with while you were there? – A. A great many.

Q. Did you talk with them probably a thousand times? – A. Yes, sir, more or less.

Q. And twice only somebody said for you to hold on until after the election? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. You can’t give the names of those people? – A. No, sir.

Q. You don’t know but what they were Democrats who wanted you to stay there and vote the Democratic ticket? – A. I don’t know, sir.

Q. These Democrats are pretty sharp and up to a great many tricks, ain’t they? – A. Yes, sir; I reckon so.

Q. How much money did you have when you started to Indiana? – A. $45.

Q. And it cost you something to live on along the way? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know how much? – A. No, sir; I loaned out $8 to a colored man who was going on.

Q. Then it must have cost you some $23? – A. I never counted it up.

Q. When you got ready to go back, when did you start from Indiana? – A. Thursday morning at five o’clock.

Q. This last week? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. When did you arrive here? – A. Friday night, at seven o’clock.

Q. How did you happen to be here this morning? – A. Well, sir, Mr. Barnes requested of me to stay.

The CHAIRMAN.  I subpoenaed him, Mr. Blair.

The WITNESS.  Mr. Barnes requested of me to stay, and so I staid.

Senator BLAIR. Did anybody else request you to stay? – A. I don’t know if Mr. Vance [Zebulon B. Vance, Democrat-North Carolina] didn’t say he would like for me to stay.

Q. You can’t give the names of those people? – A. No, sir.

Q. How did everybody know you had anything to tell about this emigration? – A. They spoke to me in the depot, and I said I was going home from Indianapolis; and they asked me how I liked it, and I said I didn’t like it all. I said to them “Do you know of a man here by the name of Mr. Barnes?” They said “Yes.”

Q. How did you come to know him? – A. Because I was raised with him right there in North Carolina.

Q. You say you got work only a third of the time you were out there? – A.Yes, sir.

Q. If you had been at home, how much could you have gotten? – A. I would have worked every day if the weather was suitable.

Q. You could work all the time there? – A.Yes, sir.

Q. Are there any idle people down there? – A. Yes, sir; if they make themselves idle – that is all there is about it.

Q. What is the demand for labor? Is it so that the whole colored people there can work? – A. Yes, sir; if they want.

Q. From January to January? – A.Yes, sir.

Q. Do you work out yourself? – A. I farm, sir.

Q. You rent land, do you? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. You mean, then, that you can work on the piece of land that you hire? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. You don’t mean that your people generally can have labor by the day, every single day in the year? – A. They don’t do much of that kind of hiring down there with us.

Q. You mean, then, they can work on their land or land that they hire? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. That there are a good many days that you don’t have to work? – A. Yes, sir. There are a good many days when you won’t have to work if you are up with your business.

Q. And it is in that way that you mean that you have work every day in the year? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. A man can do that in Indiana, can’t he? – A. I didn’t inquire about that.

Q. When you got there you didn’t have any such work as that to do? – A. No, sir; I didn’t.

Q. But you got a chance to dig sewers in Indianapolis? – A. Yes, sir, I struck it for a while.

Q. That is not good work for farmers to do, is it? – A. No, sir; but they tell me they don’t have any use for farmers much until about March. I went round for about ten miles from the city all round. Some of them said they would take me in March, but I said I couldn’t be there in March.  They asked me where I was going to be.  I said I reckon I would be dead if I staid there, for I must have something to eat between this and March.

Q. Yet you say you accumulated $7? – A. Yes, sir; but that’s nothing to what I would get at home.

Q. You don’t think you had the chance out there that you have at home? – A. Not the beginning of the chances.

Q. Isn’t it a fact that a good many colored people have got chances to work, and have scattered out among the farmers and are doing well? – A. Well, sir, some of them have, and if they don’t like it they say they do.

Q. If they don’t like it they say they do? – A. Yes, sir; I don’t see how they liked it though, when they say they can’t get work and are about fit to starve.

Q. You think they don’t tell it, then, as it is? – A. No, sir; I don’t think so, because I could see their conditions myself.

Q. At the same time they seem to like it better than North Carolina? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you saw many men who have families, and who want to get back home? – A. Yes, sir; they told me.

Q. And these are the only ones you know who want to get back? – A. They are the only ones who told me so.

Q. You are a preacher, and a sociable sort of man, and you go round among them a great deal at Indianapolis? – A. I didn’t have anything to say of the Scriptures among them.

Q. You saw them and talked with them, though? – A. Mighty little; I talked mighty little myself.

Q. But you saw most of them and talked with them? – A. I couldn’t say that and tell the truth.

Q. But you saw a good deal of them? – A. Yes, sir; I saw a good deal of them.

Q. And two of them said they wanted to get back? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, you seem to have a good deal of feeling in this matter? – A. Yes, sir; I have.

Q. And you want to get back home and die there? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. But you don’t want to die right away, do you? – A. I hope not, but I am going to tell them not to go out there to Indiana; I ain’t going myself no more; but I shall not pester them if they want to go and find out for themselves.

Q. You think they have a right to go if they want to? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. They have the same right to go to Indiana as a white man? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you talk with the white people out there much as to whether they thought the colored people ought to go there? – A. No, sir.

Q. Did you see any politicians out there, and talk politics with them? – A. I don’t talk politics with anybody if I can help it.

Q. Why not? – A. I don’t believe in taking up too much time with that sort of stiff, and if I can get labor and get my money for it, I rather for that.

Q. But the question is, did you talk any politics out there? – A. Not unless somebody attacked me about it.

Q. Did anybody attack you with it? – A. I told you that gentleman did, who asked me to stay until after the day of the election.

Q. Were there any others who talked the merits of the political question with you; argued with about it? – A. Not that I can remember.

Q. Those two Republicans or Democrats told you to stay until after the election? – A. I didn’t know whet their politics were.

Q. Didn’t they tell you you would have an easy time when it came spring? – A. Some did and some did not; some of them said it would be the same thing all the year.

Q. Some of them said it was better for you to go out? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. You don’t know whether they were Republicans or Democrats? – A. I am certain there were two of them were Q. Republicans; they were the same two who sent off my letter.

Q. They were Republicans? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. They were not anxious, then, for you to stay? – A. They were Republicans, and they said I had better go back.

Q. They advised you to come back home? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were they very strong Republicans? – A. I don’t know, sir.

Q. Were they good looking men? – A. Yes, sir; they looked like intelligent men.

Q. And they advised you to leave Indiana? – A. Yes, sir; they thought it best, as they said we were most on to starvation.

Q. These people who go out there didn’t take money to buy land, and so they have to work and earn some before they can make any purchases? – A. Yes, sir.

Q. If a man went to Indiana with three or five hundred dollars in his picket he could do as he pleased, could he not? – A. Five hundred dollars wouldn’t go far with there to buy land.

Q. How far would it go in North Carolina? – A. A right smart piece.

Q. It wouldn’t buy much in Raleigh would it? – A. Well, sir, I haven’t been there since I was a boy.

Q. Well, $500 wouldn’t buy much in a city? – A. I think not.

Q. And wouldn’t do so in Indianapolis? – A. No, sir; I don’t suppose it would.

Q. Suppose you were to go out in the unsettled parts of Indiana as in North Carolina, then it would go pretty far, wouldn’t it? – A. I can’t keep up with you about that; I have not any experience of it.

Q. Were they good looking men? – A. Yes, sir; they looked like intelligent men.

Q. And they advised you to leave Indiana? – A. Yes, sir; they thought it best, as they said we were most on to starvation.

(By the CHAIRMAN.) Mr. Blair has asked you if you believe it is right for a man to go anywhere in this country that he pleases, and you said you do think so. Do you think it is right to be induced to leave your home and go away where you are not known, and where you cannot get work, by means of falsehoods and misrepresentations? – A. No, sir.

Q. You don’t think a man ought to be induced in that way to go where he would be worse off? – A. No, sir; I don’t think so.

Q. You think that has been done in this case? – A. Yes, sir; with me and all the rest.

Q. And that is the feeling of the colored people towards this man Perry? – A. The feeling, so far as I presume of it, is great dissatisfaction with him.


Green Ruffin, age 36, appears in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, with wife Tamer and children Ora and Martha, plus 58 year-old Nicey Watson. (N.B. David Ruffin and family lived next door; the two may have been brothers.) In 1880, Green, with age listed as 52, is in Wilson township, Wilson County, with Tamer and children Orah, Martha and Stephen.  His former master was United States Congressman Thomas Ruffin of Franklin County, North Carolina.

Senate Report 693, 2nd Session, 46th Congress.  Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States.  U.S. Congressional Serial Set.