Antebellum News


Virginia New Reports 1859-1861

"Bold Operation"
The Spectator, February 1, 1859, p. 2, c. 2:

Three negro men entered the tobacco store of Mr. Jno. B. Evans on Saturday night for the ostensible purpose of making some purchases.--While two of them engaged the attention of Mr. Evans, the third snatched up a bundle of buckskin gloves and made tracks. Mr. E. is not certain who the fellow was, but one who is suspected has been arrested.

"Revival of Know Nothingism"
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), March 26, 1859, p. 1, c. 5:

This one mocks a conversation between 2 men. We overheard a few days ago, the following interesting and important conversation between two "culled pussons," of a complexion somewhere between that of an ace of spades and the outside of a black kettle, who were leisurely sunning themselves upon a wood pile.

"Clem, I'se tell you, if dey gwine to 'deavor to fetch dem 'ported niggers ober dis way which I hear dey be, dare'll be a fuss in de family, sure. 'Spect dey want to 'sociate wid dem niggers on 'quality.--Neber do it, sure."
Sam, dus you raly think dey'll fotch dem niggers here?"
"For sartin, Clem, I heard massa say dare was five thousand 'sported Souf in Carolina and half of dem now ready in dis State. I tell you, Clem, if one of dem forrin, unat'alized niggers calc'late to 'sociate wid dis chile, he is a hoin de wrong patch. Somethin' will hit him like a mule kicked him for sartin, and it wont be dat animule eder."

Here we pursued our way, while Sam continued earnestly to expound to Clem the impudence of those forrin niggers over native American "culled pussons."-- Georgia Exchange.

The Vindicator, April 2, 1859, p. 2, c. 3:

A free negro from the neighborhood of Spring Hill, in this county, was committed to jail in this place on Wednesday last, charged with killing his wife. We have not been informed as to the particulars.

"More Amalgamation"
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), April 16, 1859, p. 2, c. 5:

A negro at Hartford, Pennsylvania, named John Sophia, recently ran away with a white girl name Amelia Pinley, eighteen years of age, and married her. The girl belongs to a respectable family, and the elopement and marriage were brought about by an Abolitionist named Whiting, and his wife.

"Negroes Hung--One Burnt at the Stake."
The Spectator, August 2, 1859, p. 2, c. 5:

A correspondent of the St. Louis Democrat, writing from Marshall, Saline county, Missouri, on the 26th ult., says: Some time ago, you will recollect, a negro murdered a gentleman named Hinton, near Waverly, in this county. He was caught after a long search, and put to jail. Yesterday he was tried at this place and convicted of the crime, and sentenced to be hung. While the Sheriff was conveying him to prison he was set upon by the crowd and taken from that officer. The mob then proceeded to the jail and took from thence two other negroes. One of them had attempted the life of a citizen of this place, and the other had just committed an outrage upon a white girl. After the mob got the negroes together, they proceeded to the outskirts of the town, and selecting a proper place, chained the negro who killed Hinton, to a stake, got a quantity of dry wood, piled it around him, and set it on fire! Then commenced a scene which for sickening horrors has never been witnessed before in this, or perhaps any other place.

The negro was stripped to his waist, and barefooted. He looked the picture of despair--but there was no sympathy felt for him at the moment. Presently the fire began to surge up in flames around him, and its effects were soon made visible in the futile attempts of the poor wretch to move his feet. As the flames gathered around his limbs and body, he commenced the most frantic shrieks and appeals for mercy--for death--for water! He seized his chains--they were hot, and burnt the flesh off his hands. He would drop them and catch at them again and again. Then he would repeat his cries; but all to no purpose. In a few moments he was a charred mass--bones and flesh alike burnt into a powder. Many, very many of the spectators, who did not realize the full horrors of the scene until it was too late to change it, retired disgusted and sick at the sight. May Marshall never witness such another spectacle.

The ends of justice are surely as fully accomplished by the ordinary process of law as by the violence of an excited populace.

If the horrors of the day had ended here, it would have been well, but the other negroes were taken and hung--justly, perhaps--but in violation of law and good order. They exhibited no remorse. One of them simply remarked, "that he hoped before they hunt him they would let him see the other boy burnt!"

The Saline County Herald, edited by Mr. Geo. W. Allen, formerly of this county, confirms the above, and gives and account of the hanging of another negro by the people. On a Monday, the 18th, a little girl of Arrow Rock, Saline county, who was in company with another little girl, and some little boys, returning from gathering blackberries, was picked up in the road by a negro fellow and carried into the woods, and there most brutally treated. Mr. N.H. Huston was the first to arrive at the place, but not in time to arrest the scoundrel. He was subsequently arrested, and upon an examination before a Committee--and after his guilt was made apparent, he was taken and hanged on Monday night, and his body was permitted to remain upon the tree until Tuesday morning. The burning and hanging in Marshall occurred on Tuesday.

"Departure of Emancipated Negroes--Don't Want to Leave."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), October 14, 1859, p. 2, c. 5:

On Sunday last, a crowd of not less than one thousand negroes assembled on the basin to take leave of the negroes belonging to the estate of the late Mrs. Frances B. Shackleford, of Amherst county, who, in accordance with the will of the deceased, were about to depart by way of the canal, for a free State. The whole number set free was forty-four men women and children, but only thirty-seven left, the balance preferring to remain in servitude in Old Virginia rather than enjoy their freedom elsewhere. Some of these who did leave, were thrown on the boat by main force, so much opposed were they to leaving, and many expressed their determination of returning to Virginia as soon as an opportunity offered. Many were the well wishes tendered the departing negroes by the crowd assembled, and when the boats started from their wharves, the freed negroes struck up "Carry me back to Old Virginny," which was joined in by one and all, in a tone which indicated plainly that if left to their own free will, they would gladly spend the remainder of their days in servitude in the home of their birth.--Lynchburg (Va.) Republican.

"A Sensible Negro."
The Spectator, September 25, 1860, p. 2, c. 4:

Mary Elizabeth, a free woman of color, twenty-two years of age, who was emancipated by the will of Wm. Miller, sr., dec'd, voluntarily enslaved herself at the present session of the Circuit Court of Rockbridge, under the Act of Assembly of February, 1856, which authorizes the voluntary enslavement of free negroes. -- Lex. Gazette.

"A Few Negro Women . . ."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), January 4, 1861, p. 2, c. 1:

A few negro women were hired publicly in this place on New Year's day, by Col. R. Turk. One of them brought $86.50 and another $84, large increase over last year's prices. Women servants are in great demand, while men are less sought after.

"Free Negroes."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), January 11, 1861, p. 1, c. 3:

There are a number of free negroes about town, who are not registered, and consequently have no business here. It is the duty of the proper authorities to forthwith commence the correction of the serious evil by notifying them to leave, or suffer the penalty imposed by law of remaining. Another source of great annoyance to our town is the policy of permitting slaves to hire their own time, or get persons to stand as their masters. The habit induces idleness among slaves, and is the cause of all kinds of trafficing among them, which is more or less connected with petty thefts. These evils should be radically corrected without delay. The quicker the better.

"Desperate Negro Woman."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), January 11, 1861, p. 2, c. 3

A fine looking negro woman aged about 28 years, belonging to Mr. Joseph Cline, living about four miles from Staunton, becoming unruly, he determined to bring her to town and sell her. While she was going to get her clothes, she picked up an axe which she had concealed, and deliberately cut three of her fingers off, taking two licks at them. She was brought to town, placed in jail, and her hand was dressed by Dr. Baldwin. She did the act for the double purpose of preventing her sale and taking revenge upon her master.

"We notice in the Amelia County Correspondence..."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), January 25, 1861, p. 2, c. 4:

We notice in the Amelia county correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch, that a daguerreotypist was requested to leave that county on suspicion that he was too familiar with slaves. The daguerreotypist alluded to, is Mr. Berry of this county, who is just as sound on the negro question as the correspondent of the Dispatch or any citizens of Amelia. He was in our office a few days since. He has now a certificate of his residence and antecedents, with the seal of Augusta county attached, which we presume the over-wise inhabitants of Amelia will hardly disregard.

"Old Uncle Frederick Hill . . ."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), February 1, 1861, p. 2, c. 4:

Old Uncle Frederick Hill, for a number of years a servant at the Hospital at this place, died one day last week. Uncle Frederick was as regular in his visits to the Vindicator office, every Saturday, as clock work, until the past month, during which time he was too feeble. His funeral was largely attended by colored and white persons and as much respect paid his memory as if he had been one of our most respected citizens. Frederick was truly a pious man, and one of the most faithful servants we have ever known.

"Negroes Volunteering."
The Vindicator (Staunton, VA), May 3, 1861, p. 2, c. 1:
(Reprinted article from the Richmond Dispatch)

About fifty free negroes in Amelia county have offered themselves to the Government for any service. In our neighboring city of Petersburg, two hundred free negroes offered for any work that might be assigned to them, either to fight under white officers, dig ditches, or any thing that could show their desire to serve Old Virginia. In the same city, a negro hackman came to his master, and with tears in his eyes, insisted that he should accept all his savings, $100, to help equip the volunteers. The free negroes of Chesterfield have made a similar proposition. Such is the spirit among bond and free, throughout the whole of the State. Those who calculate on a different state of things, will soon discover their mistake.

"A White Heiress Elopes with a Negro."
Valley Spirit, January 19, 1859, p. 1, c. 2:
(Reprinted from the Detroit Free Press)

The Detroit Free Press of Thursday tells of a singular elopement in that vicinity on Saturday: A young girl named Sarah Judson, whose father lives on a fine property a mile or two from Pontiac, eloped on Saturday and came to Detroit. The partner of her flight was a black man, who has been in the employment of her father for some time in the capacity of farm hand. the first intimation that the father had of the intention of the parties was conveyed by the fact of their flight. They immediately crossed over to Windsor, upon reaching the city, fully sensible that they could not accomplish their unnatural designs on this side, as no official or clergyman could have been found who would have so far transgressed the bounds of decency as to unite the couple, the appearance of the girl being such as would forbid the union in the mind of any sensible man, to say nothing of the law in the case. Some individual was found in Canada who performed the ceremony, however, and the two were made one. They are now in Windsor, enjoying the sweets of the honeymoon.

The brother of the girl came on the next day arriving here on Sunday, and ascertaining there whereabouts, went to her and implored her to return. She was contented, however--loved her ebony half--was happy in his arms, and couldn't think of going back. The emotions of a brother at such a sight can better be imagined than described. Some men would have blotted out their disgrace with a single blow, but he had been taught that it was no sin against God or man that his young sister should repose in the embrace of a negro, and at the same time calmly look [word missing] to the face and say that she was contented. He went home as he had come, alone.

The girl is about eighteen years old.--The family are said to have occupied a position in society which was first class, and the blow is, consequently a terrible one. The father is rich, and the girl and heiress, which makes it very nice for the African of her choice. The matter has caused an intense excitement in the neighborhood where the parties are well known, the girl having been born and brought up where her parents reside. It is difficult to imagine any train of circumstances by which a young and intelligent girl could be brought to form a connexion so repugnant to all the senses; yet the fact exists. A more complete retribution for the crime of fanaticism we never heard of. The least we can wish is, that the father, undoubtedly well cured of his belief by this time, may be able to save his young daughter from the terrible future that now opens to her.

"A Row."
Valley Spirit, February 16, 1859, p.5, c. 1:

Considerable of a muss was kicked up on the Diamond "all of a sudden" on Monday night, by a negro boy hitting a white man with a stone, and breaking a glass in the large bulk window of Shryock & Co's Book Store. A crowd of excited men and boys, too numerous to compute, gave chase to the negro and after a pretty long run succeeded in capturing him. He was taken before 'Squire Hammon, when bail was entered for his appearance to answer the charge.

"Arrest on Serious Charges."
Franklin Repository and Transcript, March 16, 1859, p. 5, c. 1:

From the Baltimore American, of the 8th inst., we are put in possession of the following facts, in which several of the citizens of this county are involved. The American says: "A few days since a man named David Dysart, who is well know in the town of Waynesboro' Pa., went to the General Wayne Inn, corner of Baltimore and Pace streets, and asking for the proprietor, Mr. Henry Fairbanks, proposed to sell him a likely young colored man, stating at the same time that he had no further use for his services, or he would not wish to sell him. After several interviews, during which the colored man, whose name is James Henry Lockwood, presented himself and declared that he was a slave, and had been living with Dysart for more than six years. He also at the same time expressed a desire to live in Baltimore, and said he would try and prove useful about the establishment. A purchase was then made, and Mr. Fairbanks paid the sum demanded, $1,300. A day had scarcely elapsed ere Mr. Fairbanks received such information as assured him that he had been deceived, and that the man was not a slave.

He communicated with policeman Hardy of the western district, and it was not long before the parties learned that Dysart had been at the Golden Horse tavern, kept by Mr. McGee. Both the officer and Mr. F. met at that establishment, when Mr. McGee told them that Dysart had been at his establishment, but had started for the three Mile House on the Hookstown road, and thence the parties proceeded, but learned that he had not been there. They continued the pursuit, and had scarcely passed a hundred yards beyond the house before they came across the absconding party, He was walking along the road in company with two strangers to him. Dysart was taken in custody, and after undergoing a brief imprisonment at the western police station, promptly acknowledged his action, and after refunding Mr. Fairbank's $820 of the money which he had received, stated that he would send for a friend and get the balance.--He accordingly sent for a man named Joshua McCumsky, who soon raised the balance--$480. The money being paid, Dysart was about to leave, but he was quickly informed that he would not be permitted to do so, but must remain in durnace vile [?] until he was regularly tried by court. He plead hard to be discharged, but of course it was of no avail.--The key was turned upon him, and he was left to his reflections in a dark and lonely cell. In the meantime the negro, who is doubtless an accomplice, was also locked up. Justice Ensor appeared shortly afterwards and committed Dysart to jail in default of security to answer the charge of obtaining money under false pretenses, by selling a free negro, and the latter also committed to answer at court the charge of conspiring to defraud Mr. Fairbanks.

It is worthy of remark, that shortly before Dysart left the Golden Horse tavern he gave McCumsky an order upon Mr. Miller, of Miller's Hotel (where he had been stopping a few days) for his horse and buggy wagon, telling McC. at the same time that he would meet him at such a place with the same. Dysart stated that he was of Winchester, Va., but it is well known that he is a resident of Waynesboro'. The negro stated that he was but 23 years of age, but it is evident that he is over 30.

"How Our Negroes Live."
Valley Spirit, March 30, 1859, p. 4, c. 4:

Some twelve years ago we indited the following description of how our negroes then lived. It would appear by the columns of one of our local contemporaries that their morals and their manner of living have not much improved since that day. So long as miserable huts of the character we have described are erected, "filthy, theiving, whisky drinking negroes" will seek our community to inhabit them. If there were no such "local habitations" provided for them they would take up their abode in other quarters and this neighborhood would get rid of their troublesome presence. Strike at the root of the crib!

UGLOW'S ARCADE.--In one of the back streets of our town there may be seen a long low range of buildings, of a sui generis style of architecture--baffling description in itself, and without a parallel for comparison. Come, reader, let me take you by the collar and drag you into this abode of crime and wretchedness of destitute and degraded humanity. We know you will not come willing, so come nolens volens. Now, take your stand in this corner and observe the "sights to be seen." Here, in this wretched apartment, eight by ten feet square, you may see by the light of that dim lamp, twenty human beings--fourteen women and six children--from a babe a week old to the urchin just entering its teens. Observe their actions and listen to their conversation. What disgusting obscenity! What horrid implications! Their licentious and blasphemous orgies would put to the blush the imps of pandemonium. Drinking whisky and inhaling tobacco smoke you would hardly suppose would keep soul and body together; yet you perceive no indications here that would lead you to suppose they subsist on anything else. You seem impatient to get out of the atmosphere of this room; mount that ladder and take a look in the room above. One look will be sufficient. Here huddled promiscuously together, on beds--no, not on beds; there is an idea of ease and comfort attached to a bed, that would never enter your mind on looking at these heaps of filthy rags--are men, women and children; arms, heads and legs, in a state of nudity, protrude through the tattered covering in wild confusion. Poverty, drunkenness, sickness and crime, are here in all their most miserable and appalling aspects. But, come, we have twenty rooms of this description to visit in this building, and we cannot devote any more time to this set. What! twenty rooms filled with beings of this kind? Do not let it startle you in the least, my friend, or disturb the serenity of your christian equanimity. They do not know they are accountable beings, and a society has been formed in this place to keep them in "blissful ignorance." Its satellites are very active in the good work, and we will one day furnish you with a copy of the report of their proceedings. As the exhibition you have just witnessed has no doubt prompted you to do something to meliorate the condition of this benighted portion of your race, we would advice you to go home, while in the mood, and make a generous donation to the Foreign Missionary Society, which will be gladly received and appropriately expended in a string of beads for the Heathen!

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