Proceedings in a Case between an Alabama Freedwoman and Her Employer's Son

[Huntsville, Ala., March 24, 1866]

Title of Case  Fanny Tipton vs Richard Sanford
Names of Witnesses  Edie Sanford Samuel Hollingsworth
Cause of action  Assault & Battery 30 Stripes

Proceedings in case

Commenced Saturday March 24, Sent Order for deft.
F. T. Sworn. Deposes.
Hired to defdts Father since christmas 1865.  Had no Contract in writing, he promised one, but never gave me one.  He agreed to give me $40 for years work. Quarters & Fuel.  Left him last. Tuesday morning 20th March.  Left him because defendts. son whipped me.  He whipped me Tuesday morning.  He whipped me because I had not cleaned a Rabbit for him on Monday night.  I was not the cook. and had no place in the Kitchen.  I was hired for a Field hand.  He called me out on Tuesday morning, and asked me if I had cleaned the Rabbit   I said, No! and that I did not intend to.  He said he would clean me, and I said “clean away” and started off after Water.  He picked up a Stick and called me to stop.  I did not stop. and he struck me with the stick–A Stick as thick as my thumb.  He struck me 30 licks   I counted thirty up to the place where I crossed the Fence.  I kept jawing, and he told me to hush. Said if I did not he would give me as much more.  I said come ahead whenever you get ready.  I then went to my House and Mr. S– Richards Father and said it was against his will, that he would not have allowed it. and told his wife if I was fool enough to leave for Richards striking me–I might go–  I then left.

Richard Sanford sworn deposes.
Fanny came to our place January 15th and left 19th of March,  She was to get $40– per year   we have paid her $8–   She agreed to do whatever she was told to do.  she has refused several times to obey orders.  I told her to clean the Rabbit, and she talked about in such a way, as to show she did not intend to obey.  I told her to stop she refused   I then picked up a little switch and struck her a few times and left her

Edie Sanford Sworn deposes.
On Tuesday the fuss happened.  On monday night defendent. sent Fannie word to clean a Rabbit for his sick brother.  she had not been doing anything all day, and so she was asked to do this,  She told me to tell them that she would not do it.  He told me to go back & tell her if she did not he would clean her next morning.  she then said that after that message, she would not anyhow.  Next morning she heard def.t talking–very loud and heard some blows struck, stepped to door and looked out and saw him strike her two or three times–dont know how many times he did strike her   it was about 100 ft. from where I was, to them.

Samuel Hollingsworth sworn deposes.
I live in the place with def.t was present on Tuesday morning when the fuss occurred,  I first saw def.t walking up to plaintiff talking, I was some 30 Yds off   I kept going on to the house;  I saw def.t pick up a stick, not a large stick & saw him strike her but once.  I was walking off did not go up as it was none of my business.

Fined– def.t Richard Sanford
$15 and gave him a severe reprimand–  Paid it March 26th 1866.

Fanny Tipton vs. Richard Sanford, 24 Mar. 1866, vol. 84, pp. 5–8, Docket of Trials, series 117, Huntsville AL Superintendent, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. In the docket, the case title, names of witnesses, and cause of action are on a facing page. The case was heard before Colonel John B. Callis, Freedmen's Bureau superintendent at Huntsville.

Published in Land and Labor, 1866–1867, pp. 401–2.