Statement of a Tennessee Freedman; and Proceedings in a Case against the Freedman's Employer

[Murfreesboro, Tenn., April 30? 1866]

Allen Cleveland Vs Andrew B Payne

Allen Says on Saturday April 28th Payne told me if my wife did not work he would fix her   Payne had ordered Sam Neal (his Colored foreman) to whip the hands if they did not do right & he would sustain him the Bureau might go to Hell–  I told Payne Sam Neal nor any other man should not hit my wife   Payne took up a rock & Said God Damn Your yellow soul I'll knock your God Damn brains out if you do not go away   I went toward the Cabin & stopped near the Wood pile at Tom Jones's house   he took up an axe & Said I'll Chop your God Damn brains out if You do not go to your Cabin

On Monday he Said he would Cut my God damn Throat if I did not take of my Clothes & go to work   I was coming to town   I left & he followed me Some way but went back.


[Murfreesboro, Tenn., May 2, 1866]

Harvey Pitman Sworn, Says I was present on Saturday morning & saw the affair between Allen & Mr Payne–  P said he would start them who wouldnt work after 12 Oclock. (we have the half of every Saturday) & if they didnt work they shouldnt eat his provisions   Allen Said “Mr Payne Sam Neal nor any other man shant hit my wife”   Payne Said I'll knock your God dam brains out with a Rock & took up a Rock   Allen walked of & stopped near the Wood pile   Payne said what do you stop where the Axe is for do you intend to hit me with it?  Allen Said No Sir I did not think about the Axe–  Payne then took up the axe & Said if you do not shut up your mouth I'll Chop Your God damn head open with this axe   Allen then went to his Cabin   I heard Payne Say to Allen on Monday morning if you dont get out of here Ill cut your God Damn throat   Allen went toward town

Tell the Bureau he may Kiss my ass He said to Allen “if you live in this country after this I'll give you my head”

Sam Robinson Sworn Says. Harvey Pitman has stated the facts correctly   I was present & saw & heard all that passed on Saturday morning between Allen & Mr Payne & I was present on Monday & heard all that passed between Allen & Payne & Saw Payne put his hand in his pocket to take out his knife & heard him say he would Cut his god damn throat   Payne has been in the habit of beating & abusing the hands.

Payne acknowledged the Charge & said he had a right to do as he did & he would do it at any time if any man interfered with his right to order Sam Neal to do any thing   he took it as a threat on him & Sam Neal both

Supt. endeavored to give defendant some good advice about governing his temper when he Commenced a Series of Curses on the Supt & Said “if you will come out in the middle of the street God damn you I'll show you what I'll do”

Supt fined Payne 50 Dollars which he refused to pay & left–no Constable or Guards being on hand

John Seage.
Supt F&AL.

Statement of Allen Cleveland, [30 Apr.? 1866], and proceedings in a case against Andrew B Payne, [2 May 1866], both filed with statement of John Seage, [2 May 1866], S-194 1866, Registered Letters Received, series 3379, TN Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. In the same file is a summons dated April 30, 1866, and signed by Seage as Freedmen's Bureau superintendent for Rutherford County; it ordered Andrew Payne to “appear before the Court of this Bureau” on Wednesday, May 2, to answer a charge of “threat to kill” Allen Cleveland. Following the trial, Seage forwarded Cleveland's statement, the summons, and the proceedings to the headquarters of the Freedmen's Bureau assistant commissioner for Kentucky and Tennessee, together with the following account of Payne's “most insulting” conduct at his office: “[H]e paced the floor & stamped his feet & Grinned his teeth at me  He damned the bureau & said ‘stick on your fine damn you I am full of money’  I replied ‘Mr Payne it has not been my intention to fine you at all  I have done that twice allready for brutally Beating colored people  I had intended to bind you over to keep the peace for 1 year  But from your abuse & general conduct I shall fine you 50 Dollars’  he replied I'll be God damned if I pay it & left the Office–” Payne's “General Character . . . is very bad for Gambling Drunkness & Licenciousness,” Seage added. “[H]e is ever engaged in fights & is dreaded by the Colored people every where in that nieghbrood.” A notation made at the assistant commissioner's headquarters reads “file for the present.”

Published in Land and Labor, 1866–1867, pp. 420–22.