Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: Reconstruction

They asked him if he had that gun to shoot Ku-Klux.

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]

For the murder of Archibald Beebee.

MATTHEW N. LEARY, jr., a witness for the prosecution, having been first duly sworn, testified as follows:

Examined by the Counsel for the prosecution.

Q. What is your name? A. Matthew N. Leary, jr.  Q. Where do you reside? A. In Fayetteville. Q. What is your occupation in Fayetteville? A. Saddle and harness maker was previous to the war. Since the war I have added to that a small grocery in the same building. A. Have you been a free man all your life? A. All my life, sir.  Q. Where did you reside in the beginning of the year 1867? A. In Fayetteville. Q. Did you know one Archy Beebee there? A. I did, sir, by sight. I knew him when I saw him. Q. Where is he now? A. Dead. Q. When was he killed? A. On the 11th of February. … [p. 3]

ROBERT SIMMONS, a witness for the prosecution, having been first duly sworn, testified as follows:

What is your name? Robert Simmons. Where do you live? In Fayetteville, sir. What is your occupation there? I keep a grocery there. Was that your occupation at the beginning of the year? Yes, sir. Did you know Archy Beebee? Yes, sir. … [p. 47]

HENRY HAGANS, a witness for the prosecution, having been first duly sworn, testified as follows:

Examined by the Counsel for the prosecution.

Where did you live at the beginning of this year? In Fayetteville. What is your business there? Shoemaker. Whose shop did you work in, the first part of this year? I worked with Mr. Henry Sykes. Is that the one-armed man? Yes, sir. Did you know Archy Beebee? Yes, sir. … [p. 55]

Argument of ED. GRAHAM HAYWOOD:

… Here is Matthew N. Leary, jr., whose character is unassailed, and unassailable, who says – he was standing to the right of the man who fired the pistol, and his rear, about five feet. … Between Leary and the man who fired his pistol, stood Lewis Smith. Square behind [John] Armstrong – almost touching him – and within five feet or six feet of the man who fired the pistol, stood Henry Hagans; a little further to the front than James Douglass, and to his left stood Robert Simmons… [p.347]

Proceedings in the Case of the United States against Duncan G. McRae, William J. Tolar, David Watkins, Samuel Phillips and Thomas Powers, for the Murder of Archibald Beebee at Fayetteville, North Carolina on the 11th Day of February, 1867, together with the Argument of Ed. Graham Haywood, Special Judge Advocate (1867).

In the 1860 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: D. Simmons, 40, Robert, 23, Saml., 20, and Mary Simmons, 12.

In the 1860 census of Fayetteville, Cumberland County: Joseph Heggins, 51, laborer, wife Harriett, 31, and children Henry, 13, Duncan, 9, Lavina, 7, Sophia, 5, and Mary, 3.