Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/49
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Aiken to investigate the matter, aided by the Attorney-General and the District Attorney. The commissioners disregarded this paper, preferring to get at the truth from negroes, who were paid for their affidavits, which affidavits were prepared for the occasion, printed with blank spaces for the insertion of such matter as might be specially sworn to by the respective witnesses.
On Friday, September 14th, two negroes entered the dwelling of Mr. Alonzo Harvey, a planter of Silverton, Aiken county. Mr. Harvey was absent; they attacked his wife and child with clubs, seriously injuring them. Mrs. Harvey, fortunately, got her husband's gun, which, although not loaded, frightened the negroes and drove them off. In a short time, about a dozen white men, hearing of the outrage, assembled in pursuit of the assassins, and caught, a negro, Peter Williams by name, who, on being taken to Harvey's, was recognized by both Mrs. Harvey and her child, as one of the assassins. This negro, probably ill-guarded by the numerous body who had him in charge, contrived to get away, was shot and brought back wounded. On Saturday rumors were rife that the negroes were assembling in arms in the neighborhood of Rousis's bridges, to avenge the shooting of Williams. In the evening the whites also began to assemble. Information was received on Sunday that Fred. Pope, the leading negro in the assault on Mrs. Harvey, had sought protection with the armed negroes at Rousis's bridges. Angus P. Brewer, a special constable, armed with a warrant issued by Griffin, a colored trial justice and a Republican, with a posse of white men, proceeded to Rousis's bridges to arrest Pope. In a defile near these bridges this posse was, unexpectedly and without any challenge, fired upon by some negroes in ambush, and the fire was returned. Only a few shots were exchanged, and no damage done either side. The whites retired from the defile and sought to negotiate with their assailants. After a delay of more than two hours, caused by the reluctance of the negroes to respond to the advances of the other party, the blacks finally consented that if six unarmed whites, whom they named, would meet six negroes, also unarmed, they would abide by whatever decision the joint committee should agree upon. The whites assented and the committee met, the constable with his warrant being one of them. He exhibited his warrant and demanded the surrender of Pope, but on the assurance of the negroes that Pope was not at that time with them, it was mutually agreed that both parties should disperse and return quietly to their homes, both parties pledging themselves to this agreement. The whites dispersed, but`