Statement of a North Carolina Employer

Rockingham Co NC  July 21 /65

Complaint against Dave and his wife Sarah

Sarah went on verry well untill about the first of July   She then comenced being verry contrary and complaining of every thing She had to do   She complained at Spinning 3 cuts and 30 threads of course wool and Said Mrs Gunn was working her all most to death and would go into the others houses trying to produce discontent where as She formerly in other years Spun 5 and Sometimes 6 cuts without complaint   Mrs Gunn then put her to Spinning cotton   She Give her 4 ounces of cotton to Spin the Same that an old woman about 65 and a woman about her age was Spining that was verry lusty without complaing   to get rid of her compaining Mrs Gunn give her 3 ounces to Spin and told her if She could not Spin that to Spin what She could and Spin it nice   She Spun 4 days 3 ounces a day and Still complained   on Monday the 17 She come to the Kitchen door in 30 Steps of Mrs Gunns room and complained and quarreled to the cook aloud so that Mrs Gunn might hear her So as Mrs Gunn might Say Something to her and have a quarrel   to avoid it Mrs Gunn left her room untill she ceased quarrelling   on the 18 She came in the morning called for her cotton in a verry unbecomeing tone of voice like She was angry   Mrs Gunn told her that the lot of cotton was out and She had Spun it So course that it would not answer her purpose   She had the scales in hand and immediately threw them down without any cause or provocation and comenced her insolence by Saying She Said So repeating Several times Slaped her fists to gether and walked the floor useing the most insolent language and Jestures and disputing Mrs Gunns word every time She Spoke   Mrs Gunn told her to leave the house several times but She would not

I John Gunn came in and found her going on to Mrs Gunn in the most insolent manner useing Such language and disputing what She Said in a way that I would not allow a white woman to do in my house   I told her to go out of my house which I repeated Several times before She would do so

She then went in the yard and turned round and if posible Moore insolent than before   I then went to her house and took her cotton and cards and brought them in my house and told her She could not work for me untill She apoligised for her insolence to my Wife and promised that She would behave and do what She told her to do   her husband David was not verry far off and came to breakfast and immediately after Started off Scolding verry insolently and Said he was going to hunt a house or home to move to   he was not far from me   I called him to me thinking of the difficulties he had before him with his large family and he haveing been a good Servant heretofore I told him he had best not be So hasty that if Sarah would apolagise to Mrs Gunn and promise to mind her and behave her Self as She ought that was all I asked and she might go to work   he went to his house and Staid afew minutes   I was North of the house about 100 yards and to avoid me Saying any thing more to him as I Supose he Started out South or front of the house   my wife allways thought a good eal of him and thinking of the dificulties he had to encounter called him to the front verander not knowing that I had talked to him   She told him She wanted nothing unreasonable and She knew he would have a hard time getting a home and provisions for his family   I came to the house in the time heard they were talking in the front verrander and went to him and told him we wanted nothing unreasonable but She must apolagise for her insolence and promise to behave   he Said he could not make her do so without whipping her and he hated to do that   I told him I did not wish him to do that but to wait and let her Sweat and See if She would not come into measures   he concluded to do So and I hoped the matter would be Settled But I think and he now says being influenced by others She came in the next morning quite insolent in my absence and called for her cotton in a verry abrupt and insolent manner and in a verry abrupt tone of voice.  Mrs Gunn told her that she could not get it unless She would promise to behave her Self and make her children do so the balance of the year   She verry abruptly told her She would not make any such promises that She would get her cotton when I come   She went to the Kitchen and repeated to the cook and those there She would make no such promises to be thrown up to her   when I came to the house She come in and called for her cotton very abruptly in voice and Jesture waveing her hand   Mrs Gunn told me She had refused to promise to behave her Self and make her children behave   I told her that was not all that I required   She must make acknowledgements for her behaviour the day before before She worked any moore for me   Mrs Gunn then stated that She told her She must promise to behave her Self and make her children behave before she got any cotton   She refused to do so and Said She would make no Such promises to be thrown up to her=  Sarah Verry abruptly disputed her word and Said she did not do any Such thing and Mrs Gunn told her our two daughters upstairs heard her Mrs Gunns daughter 18 yrs old My daughter upwards 16 or near 17 years old   She disputed that and my wife left the room   her daughter come to the door and told her She did say So   She Still disputed both of their words   I Saw She was determined to be insolent and make no acknowledgements   I told her to go out of the house   She far raved   I repeated go out of my house Several times   continued to Stay useing the most insolent language disputing what my Wife Said untill I got my buggy whip and told her if She did not go out of my house I would whip her   She Steped out at the door and turned round and Stated She did not care what She (refering to Mrs Gunn) or them Galls Said She was as clear of it as a new born babe   I told her to go from my door, go out of my yard   She repeated She did not care what She or them Galls Said She was as clear of it as an angel in heaven and went to her house useing great insolence and Stated as She went in at the door that Miss Katie had not Said she Said so, (Katie is my daughter by my first wife   my wifes daughter refered to is by her former husband Rev George Stevens)   Katie afterwards went to her door and told her She knew She did Say it for She heard it   She Verry abruptly replied She did not care if She did   Her husband David was not verry far off and Saw her as She come from the door and commenced being verry insolent and going on in a manner that I cant fully discribe   I tried to talk to him but it made him the moore insolent   I then told him to get another place where the people would treat them better   he insolently told me if I wanted him to leave I must go and get him a place my Self   he continued his insolence to so great an extent that I could not bear it any longer   I then on friday evening 21 July I applied to capt Gallowway and got the order for the police to remove him–.

[John Gunn]

Statement of [John Gunn], 21 July 1865, Records Relating to Court Cases, series 2660, Greensboro NC Subassistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives.

Published in Land and Labor, 1865, pp. 142–44.