They asked him if he had that gun to shoot Ku-Klux.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
Question. I would be glad if you would give us many names as you can recollect of those who have been outraged.
Answer. I have left my best memorandum at the hotel. I will state from memory what I can now recollect. Did I state about Mr. Gillespie being taken out and abused by them and threatened? He is a white man; a gang of disguised men seized him, either the last of March or the first of April, pulled him out of his house, and said that they thought two hundred lashes would make a good conservative of him; that he had been a radical, and had been unpunished for a ling time. There was a colored man we call old issue free negro; that is, he has always been a free negro; he was born free. His name was Jonas Watts; he was whipped by them, and had his gun taken away. They asked if he had that gun to shoot Ku-Klux; he said, No. They took the gun away from him, and said it was a damned good piece they had captured; that is what he says. They told him that it was the way he had been voting that they visited. They visited the house of a colored named T.P. Bradley, committed some insolence about his house and threatened him, but did not whip him.
Testimony of James M. Justice, July 5, 1871, Report of the Joint Select Committee to inquire into the condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States, North Carolina (1872).
[Sidenote: Justice testified that he had lived in Rutherfordton since 1865 and was born and raised in neighboring Henderson County. He worked as a mechanic and was elected to the NC legislature in 1868. During that time, he was admitted to the North Carolina Bar and worked as an attorney. — LYH]