Proceedings in a Case between a Tennessee Freedwoman and Her Employer

[Springfield, Tenn., May 24, 1866]

Loucy Jane Boyd
L. W. Willis             Statement of Loucy Jane Boyd   I was hired to L. W. Willis 13th November 1865 to remain with him 12 months   Soon after I commenced work I was engaged in gathering corn some distance from home, in company with mr Willis his son and others   Willis sent me into a remote part of the field by myself to gather peas   he soon fallowed me caught me in his arms threw me down and had el[i]cit intercourse with me   I am about 15 years of age   Mr Willis is a very stout man   About the 1st of Febuary 1866 Mr Willis sent me to the corn crib fallowed me there and by force had intercourse with me   in a fiew days afterwords he caught me at the same place and affected his purposes again.  about the 12th of May while I was in the woods hunting a cow he attempted the same thing again   I out ran him went to the house and communicated the fact to my mother for which he gave me a severe whipping and drove me from the premises   I attempted to hollow upon each occasion but was prevented by his threts.  Swon to before me this 24th Day of May 1866

D. D. Holman             
Superintend &c

Statement of Walton Boyd.  I raised Loucy Jane Boyd being the only one I owned   she was raised in the house   she remained with me untill she went to L. W. Willis   she is about 15 years old and has always benn a smart industrio[us] girl and I always regarded her as virtuous

Sworn to before me this 24 day May 1866

D D Holman     
Supt &c


B. H. Boon    I have known Loucy Jane Boyd always regarded her as truthfull & virtuous.  Sworn before me this 24th May 1866

D D Holman
Supt &ct      

The Deft presented 2 or 3 witnesses of litle consequence and attempted to prove an allaby and discredit Loucy Jane Boyd but failed to do so   The character of the Deft is bad as he has benn Indited once or twice before for simular attempts on white women.  The within papers are submitted for your consideration

Most Respectfully yours

D D Holman                     
Supt[e] Bur R[o].C.T

Loucy Jane Boyd vs. L. W. Willis, 24 May 1866, enclosed in D D Holman to Brevt Maj Gen O. O. Howard, 18 Sept. 1866, H-201 1866, Registered Letters Received, series 3379, TN Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. The defendant, Larkin W. Willis, was charged with rape. Daniel D. Holman, before whom he was tried, was the Freedmen's Bureau superintendent for Robertson County, Tennessee. Holman's ruling is in the same file. “[T]he court not being fully satisfied that the charge of Rape is fully sustained but being fully satisfied beyond all dought that the Deft is & was guity of elicit intercourse with said Loucy Jane Boyd in several diffrent occasions contrary to Law & morrals,” Holman fined Willis $250, plus court costs. (Statement of D D Holman, [24? May 1866].) In mid-August, General Clinton B. Fisk, the bureau's assistant commissioner for Tennessee, directed Holman to send the papers in the case to his headquarters and to “withhold any farther action . . . until orders have been received from this office.” Two weeks later, when the papers had not arrived, Fisk told Holman to “[r]emit the fine & dismiss the case.” (Capt H. S. Brown to D. D. Holman Esq, 15 Aug. 1866, and Bvt Maj General Clinton B. Fisk to D. D. Holman Esq, 30 Aug. 1866, both in the same file.) Taken aback at the reversal and suspicious that Fisk had been influenced by Willis's attorney, with whom Fisk was personally acquainted, Holman appealed to General O. O. Howard, commissioner of the bureau; Howard in turn referred the case to General John R. Lewis, who had recently succeeded Fisk as assistant commissioner. In response, Lewis speculated that Fisk's reasons for the dismissal were “the very singular judgement” Holman had rendered and “the very unsatisfactory delays in the case.” General Howard sustained Fisk's action. (D D Holman to Brevt Maj Gen O. O. Howard, 18 Sept. 1866, and endorsements of A. P. Ketchum, 27 Sept. 1866, Bvt. Brig. Genl. J. R. Lewis, 8 Oct. 1866, and Stuart Eldridge, 23 Oct. 1866, in the same file.)

Published in Land and Labor, 1866–1867, pp. 426–27.