Vol. I. p. 350, line 2, "AEtherias," should be " AEthereas."
EXTRACTED from the REGISTRY Of the PREROGATIVE COURT
The testator then gives direction about the payment of the annuities; and, having bequeathed other property to his daughter, Mary Pearkes, he provides, in case of her non-compliance with the conditions, that his other daughter, Elizabeth Fowke, as the next in succession, shall be subject to the same obligations, and the same forfeiture upon non-fulfilment. He then proceeds:
And whereas by the laws of Virginia, persons possessed of lands and tenements, and leaving slaves thereon within that State, are authorized and empowered, by their last will and testament, or otherwise, to emancipate such slaves as shall belong to them: Now, in pursuance of such power and authority, I do hereby, by this my will, declare and direct, that all and every my slaves, with their issue and offspring, shall, within one year from and after my decease, be emancipated and made free; and in order to make a provision for my said slaves and their issue, I do hereby give, devise, and bequeath unto John Wickham, of Richmond, in the United States of North America, Esquire, and Matthew Toler, of Virginia aforesaid, gentleman, their heirs, executors, and administrators, according to the nature and quality thereof, all and singular my lands, tenements, and hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever situate in any part of the United States of North America, together with all the stocks of horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, and every other thing relating to the same estates ; and also all the plantation-tools, and other utensils thereunto respectively belonging or therewith used, upon the several trusts, and to and for the several ends, intents, and purposes hereinafter expressed or declared of or concerning the same, that is to say: Upon trust to take upon themselves the management and cultivation of my said estates, and yearly and every year, after deducting all necessary or proper expenses incurred, and also a reasonable annual allowance for their trouble in managing and cultivating the same, to divide the surplus rents and profits thereof to and amongst all and every my said slaves who shall reside and continue to be resident on any of my plantations and lands in America, including my proportion of the Great Dismal Swamp, when the same shall be divided, and the lands bought by Mr. Toler in the name of Mrs. Pearkes, but paid for by me, in equal shares and proportions, and their respective issue for ever, to and for their own use and benefit: first allowing such annual sum and sums out of the whole of the net rents and profits of my said estates for the maintenance of the children and widows of such of my slaves as shall be living at the time of my decease, and of those my said slaves who shall from age, infirmity, or any other cause be incapable of supporting themselves, as they my trustees or trustee for the time being shall think proper; and I do declare and direct, that in case any of my said slaves shall happen to die without leaving any issue, then, subject as aforesaid, the share or shares of him, her, or them shall be equally divided amongst the remaining slaves and their respective issue, such issue to take per stirpes: And I do hereby empower and direct my last mentioned trustees for the time being, or any of them, to sell and dispose of the produce of my said last mentioned estates, which shall be made and arise therefrom in the year in which I shall die, and apply the money arising from the sale thereof in building suitable houses for my said resident slaves and their respective families: Provided always, and I do hereby declare my will and mind to be, that in case the devise hereinbefore made to the said John Wickham and Matthew Toler, their heirs, executors and administrators, shall by any means whatsoever be rendered void or incapable of being carried into execution, then I give and devise the same lands, tenements, and hereditaments, unto the said William Fowke, Martin Perkes, Francis Gregg, and George Clark, their heirs, executors, and administrators, upon and for such and the same uses, trusts, and purposes, and under and subject to the same powers, provisoes, declarations, and agreements, as are hereinbefore expressed or declared of and concerning my estates in Great Britain: And I give and bequeath unto the said John Wickham, and Matthew Toler, their executors and administrators, all such sum and sums of money as shall at the time of my decease be due and owing to me from any person or persons whomsoever, residing in any part of the United States of North America; Upon trust, to collect in and receive the same several sums, and lay out and invest the same, or so much thereof as can be collected or gotten in, in the purchase of American stocks or funds, with power to alter and transpose the same at discretion: And I do hereby declare and direct, that the said John Wickham and Matthew Toler, their executors and administrators, shall stand and be possessed of and interested in the dividends, interest, and annual proceed to arise and be produced from such stocks and funds; Upon trust thereout to pay any yearly sum, not exceeding fifty pounds Virginia currency, as and for the salary or stipend of each of such four persons they from time to time shall think proper to employ and nominate, for the purpose of instructing the whole of my several slaves and their issue in the Christian religion, according to the Protestant doctrine as taught in England; And upon trust to apply the residue thereof in establishing schools for the education of the children and issue of the said slaves; and I do hereby declare and direct, that the said John Wickham and Matthew Toler, their executors and administrators, shall and may, by and out of the said trust estates and premises, retain to and reimburse themselves, all such costs, charges, and expenses as they or any of them shall be put unto in the execution of the trusts hereby in them reposed, and also all reasonable allowances for their trouble, and that they or any of them respectively shall not be charged, chargeable with, or answerable for the acts, receipts, neglects, or defaults of the others or other of them, &c,, &c.
And I do request as a particular favor of my Steward, Matthew Toler, and of all his children after his decease, and of the several brothers and sisters of the said Matthew Toler, and their respective children, that he and they respectively will use his and their utmost endeavors, as long as they shall respectively live, to attend to the comfort and happiness of my slaves and their issue: Provided always, and I do hereby declare my will to be, and direct, that if the general Assembly of Virginia will be pleased to adopt any other plan more beneficial to my slaves and their families and issue, as well as to the State, that the trustees of my American property shall conform thereto in the disposition of that property, any thing before contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
FIRST CODICIL, to the said Will,
(Dated 22d June, 1808,) the said Codicil bearing date the 16th day of December,
1809, is as follows.
And considering that it may be impolitic, and perhaps improper in the legislature of Virginia, to liberate so many as two hundred and seventy-four slaves, which by my last return was the number I possessed, --in that case, I desire they may be kept together for the joint benefit of my two daughters, who are natives of that State, during their lives, and the whole to the survivor, it being my intention to make them as nearly equal as I can in all things, and after their decease to my cousin Josiah Sellick and his heirs for ever.
The FOURTH CODICIL to the said will is as follows.
Considering the great increase of my negroes, there being upwards of one hundred under ten years of age, and as they grow up, the land I at present possess in Virginia may not be sufficient to employ them to advantage, I direct that my executors may be enabled to sell three thousand pounds of the five per cents. of the stock I hold at present in that fund, to enable Matthew Toler, my present steward, or whoever may act for me in that capacity at the time, to be laid out in addition to the land I at present hold, in the most convenient lands adjoining any other lands as it can be bought, subject to the approbation of John Wickham, Esq., where the negroes so growing up may be worked for the benefit of my daughters jointly during their natural lives, and to the survivor during her life, and at both their deaths to Josiah Sellick, my cousin, and at his death to his family in such a manner as he directs, doing justice as nearly as possible to each of them, let the three thousand pounds above mentioned be increased to five thousand pounds, provided it can be laid out with safety. SAMUEL GIST (L.S.).
Proved at London, with four codicils, 10th February, 1815, before the Worshipful Samuel Pearce Parson, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate, by the oaths of Martin Pearkes arid Francis Gregg; Esq., two of the executors, to whom administration was granted, being first sworn duly to administer. --Power reserved to William Fowke, the other surviving executor. --William Fowke, the other surviving executor, renounced the probate, 7 April, 1815.
27th of August, 1827, administration (with the will and four codicils annexed)
of the goods, chattels, and credits, of Samuel Gist, late of Gower Street,
in the Parish of St. Gilesin-theFields, in the county of Middlesex, Esq.,
deceased, left unadministered by Martin Pearkes, and Francis Gregg, two
of the surviving executors, and two of the residuary legatees in trust
named in the same will, was granted to Josiah Gist (formerly Sellick),
Esq., the first named tenant in tail, and as such the residuary legatee
named in the said will, having been first sworn (by commission) duly to
administer --William Fowke, the other surviving executor and surviving
residuary legatee in trust named in the said will, having formerly (Sic
in the extract) renounced the probate and execution of the same, and four
codicils as the letters of administration with the said will and codicils
annexed, of the goods of the said deceased --James Gist, a devisee for
life, named in the said will, died in the life-time of the said testator,
JOHN IGGULDEN. Deputy Registers.
W. F. GOSTLING.
SOME Advertisements from the Southern Newspapers are here inserted. They will give some faint idea of the atrocities practised under the system which prevails there.
give the above reward for their apprehension and confinement in jail, so
that I get them again; or Twenty-five Dollars for the apprehension and
confinement of either of them, so that I get him again.
Smithfield, April 11. JNO. H. PURDIE.
Terms, four months credit for an approved endorsed note and mortgage until final payment, acts of sale to be passed before Louis T. Caire, Notary Public, at the expense of the purchaser.
N.B: The above described negro was brought to this place on Sunday morning last for sale, at his own request, and gave the young gentleman under whose care he was, the slip the same evening.
promptly attended to. We can at all times be found at our residence, west
end of Duke Street, Alexandria, D. C.
Oct. 3. FRANKLIN AND ARMFIELD.
THE following CONFESSION was published Nov. 5, 1831, by T. R. GRAY, of Jerusalem, Southampton, Virginia, with an address to the public and an attestation from the judicial court, in whose presence it was read to NAT TURNER, and acknowledged by him to be correct.
SIR,--You have asked me to give a history of the motives which induced me to undertake the late insurrection, as you call it. To do so I must go back to the days of my infancy, and even before I was born. I was thirty-one years of age the 2d of October last, and born the property of Benj. Turner, of this county. In my childhood, a circumstance occurred which made an indelible impression on my mind, and laid the ground work of that enthusiasm, which has terminated so fatally to many, both white and black, and for which I am about to atone at the gallows. It is here necessary to relate this circumstance --trifling as it may seem, it was the commencement of that belief which has grown with time, and even now, sir, in this dungeon, helpless and forsaken as I am, I cannot divest myself of. Being at play with other children, when three or four years old, I was telling them something, which my mother, overhearing, said it had happened before I was born. I stuck to my story, however, and related some things which went, in her opinion, to confirm it; others being called on were greatly astonished, knowing that these things had happened, and caused them to say in my hearing, I surely would be a prophet, as the Lord had shewn me things that had happened before my birth. And my father and mother strengthened me in this my first impression, saying, in my presence, I was intended for some great purpose, which they had always thought from certain marks on my head and breast --(a parcel of excrescences which I believe are not at all uncommon, particularly among negroes, as I have seen several with the same. In this case he has either cut them off or they have nearly disappeared).
My grandmother, who was very religious, and to whom I was much attached --my master, who belonged to the church, and other religious persons who visited the house, and whom I often saw at prayers, noticing the singularity of my manners, I suppose, and my uncommon intelligence for a child, remarked I had too much sense to be raised, and if I was, I would never be of any service to any one as a slave. To a mind like mine, restless, inquisitive, and observant of every thing that was passing, it is easy to suppose that religion was the subject to which it would be directed, and although this subject principally occupied my thoughts, there was nothing that I saw or heard of to which my attention was not directed. The manner in which I learned to read and write, not only had great influence on my own mind, as I acquired it with the most perfect ease, so much so, that I have no recollection whatever of learning the alphabet; but to the astonishment of the family, one day, when a book was shewn me to keep me from crying, I began spelling the names of different objects. This was a source of wonder to all in the neighbourhood, particularly the blacks; and this learning was constantly improved at all opportunities. When I got large enough to go to work, while employed, I was reflecting on many things that would present themselves to my imagination, and whenever an opportunity occurred of looking at a book, when the school children were getting their lessons, I would find many things that the fertility of my own imagination had depicted to me before; all my time, not devoted to my master's service, was spent either in prayer, or in making experiments in casting different things in moulds made of earth, in attempting to make paper, gunpowder, and many other experiments, that although I could not perfect, yet convinced me of its practicability if I had the means*.
I was not addicted to stealing in my youth, nor have ever been. Yet such was the confidence of the negroes in the neighborhood, even at this early period of my life, in my superior judgment, that they would often carry me with them when they were going on any roguery, to plan for them. Growing up among them, with this confidence in my superior judgment, and when this, in their opinions, was perfected by Divine inspiration, from the circumstances already alluded to in my infancy, and which belief was ever afterwards zealously inculcated by the austerity of my life and manners, which became the subject of remark by white and black. --Having soon discovered to be great, I must appear so, and therefore studiously avoided mixing in society, and wrapped myself in mystery, devoting my time to fasting and prayer. --By this time, having arrived to man's estate, and hearing the scriptures commented on at meetings, I was struck with that particular passage which says: "Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven, and all things shall be added unto you." I reflected much on this passage, and prayed daily for light on this subject. --As I was praying one day at my plough, the spirit spoke to me, saying, "Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven, and all things shall be added unto you."
*When questioned as to the manner of manufacturing those different articles, he was found well informed on the subject.
QUESTION. --What do you mean by the Spirit?
ANSWER. --The Spirit that spoke to the prophets in former days; --and I was greatly astonished, and for two years prayed continually, whenever my duty would permit --and then again I had the same revelation, which fully confirmed me in the impression that I was ordained for some great purpose in the hands of the Almighty. Several years rolled round, in which many events occurred to strengthen me in this my belief. At this time I reverted in my mind to the remarks made of me in my childhood, and the things that had been shewn me --and as it had been said of me in my childhood by those by whom I had been taught to pray, both white and black, and in whom I had the greatest confidence, that I had too much sense to be raised, and if I was, I would never be of any use to any one as a slave. Now finding I had arrived to man's estate, and was a slave, and these revelations being made known to me, I began to direct my attention to this great object, to fulfil the purpose for which, by this time, I felt assured I was intended. Knowing the influence I had obtained over the minds of my fellow servants, (not by the means of conjuring and such like tricks --for to them I always spoke of such things with contempt,) but by the communion of the Spirit, whose revelations I often communicated to them; and they believed, and said my wisdom came from God. I now began to prepare them for my purpose, by telling them some thing was about to happen that would terminate in fulfilling the great promise that had been made to me. About this time I was placed under an overseer, from whom I ran away; and after remaining in the woods thirty days, I returned, to the astonishment of the negroes on the plantation, who thought I had made my escape to some other part of the country, as my father had done before. But the reason of my return was, that the Spirit appeared to me, and said I had my wishes directed to the things of this world, and not to the kingdom of Heaven, and that I should return to the service of my earthly master: --he who knoweth his Master's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, and thus have I chastened you." And the negroes found fault, and murmured against me, saying, that if they had my sense they would not serve any master in the world. And about this time I had a vision --and I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened --the thunder rolled in the heavens, and blood flowed in streams --and I heard a voice saying, "Such is your luck, such you are called to see, and let it come rough or smooth, you must surely bear it." I now withdrew myself as much as my situation would permit, from the intercourse of my fellow servants, for the avowed purpose of serving the Spirit more fully; --and it appeared to me, and reminded me of the things it had already shown me, and that it would then reveal to me the knowledge of the elements, the revolution of the planets, the operation of tides, and changes of the seasons. After this revelation in the year 1825, and the knowledge of the elements being made known to me, I sought more than ever to obtain true holiness before the great day of judgement should appear, and then I began to receive the true knowledge of faith. And from the first steps of righteousness until the last, was I made perfect; and the Holy Ghost was with me, and said, --"Behold me as I stand in the Heavens! " --and I looked and saw the forms of men in different attitudes --and there were lights in the sky to which the children of darkness gave other names than what they really were --for they were the lights of the Saviour's hands, stretched forth from east to west, even as they were extended on the cross on Calvary for the redemption of sinners. And I wondered greatly at these miracles, and prayed to be informed of a certainty of the meaning thereof --and shortly afterwards, while laboring in the field, I discovered drops of blood on the corn as though it were dew from heaven --and I communicated it to many, both white and black, in the neighborhood --and I then found on the leaves in the woods hieroglyphic characters, and numbers, with the forms of men in different attitudes, portrayed in blood, and representing the figures I had seen before in the heavens. And now the Holy Ghost had revealed itself to me, and made plain the miracles it had shown me. For as the blood of Christ had been shed on this earth, and had ascended to heaven for the salvation of sinners, and was now returning to earth again in the form of dew, --and as the leaves on the trees bore the impression of the figures I had seen in the heavens, it was plain to me that the Saviour was about to lay down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and the great day of judgement was at hand. About this time I told these things to a white man, (Etheldred T. Brantley,) on whom it had a wonderful effect; and he ceased from his wickedness, and was attackcd immediately with a cutaneous eruption, and blood oozed from the pores of his skin, and after praying and fasting nine days he was healed; and the Spirit appeared to me again, and said, as the Saviour had been baptised, so should we be also; --and when the white people would not let us be baptized by the church, we went dawn into the water together, in the sight of many who reviled us, and were baptised by the Spirit. After this I rejoiced greatly, and gave thanks to God: and on the 12th of May, 1828, I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the serpent; for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first.
QUESTION. --DO you not find yourself mistaken now?
ANSWER. --Was not Christ crucified? And by signs in the heavens that it would make known to me when I should commence the great work, and until the first sign appeared, I should conceal it from the knowledge of men. And on the appearance of the sign, (the eclipse of the sun last February,) I should arise and prepare myself, and slay my enemies with their own weapons. And immediately on the sign appearing in the heavens, the seal was removed from my lips, and I communicated the great work laid out for me to do, to four in whom I had the greatest confidence, (Henry, Hark, Nelson, and Sam). It was intended by us to have begun the work of death on the 4th July last. Many were the plans formed and rejected by us; and it affected my mind to such a degree, that I fell sick, and the time passed without our coming to any determination how to commence: still forming new schemes and rejecting them, when the sign appeared again, which determined me not to wait longer.
Since the commencement of 1830, I had been living with Mr. Joseph Travis, who was to me a kind master, and placed the greatest confidence in me; in fact, I had no cause to complain of his treatment to me. On Saturday evening, the 20th of August, it was agreed between Henry, Hark, and myself, to prepare a dinner the next day for the men we expected, and then to concert a plan, as we had not yet determined on any. Hark, on the following morning, brought a pig, and Henry brandy; and being joined by Sam, Nelson, Will, and Jack, they prepared in the woods a dinner; where, about three o'clock, I joined them.
QUESTION. --Why were you so backward in joining them?
ANSWER. --The same reason that had
caused me not to mix with them for years before.
I saluted them on coming up, and asked Will how came he there; he answered, his life was worth no more than others, and his liberty as dear to him. I asked him if he thought to obtain it? He said he would, or lose his life. This was enough to put him in full confidence. Jack, I knew, was only a tool in the hands of Hark; it was quickly agreed we should commence at home ( Mr. J. Travis's) on that night; and until we had armed and equipped ourselves, and gathered sufficient force, neither age nor sex was to be spared (which was invariably adhered to). We remained at the feast, until about two hours in the night, when we went to the house and found Austin; they all went to the cider press and drank, except myself. On returning to the house, Hark went to the door with an axe, for the purpose of breaking it open, as we knew we were strong enough to murder the family if they were awaked by the noise; but reflecting that it might create an alarm in the neighborhood, we determined to enter the house secretly, and murder them whilst sleeping. Hark got a ladder and set it against the chimney, on which I ascended, and hoisting a window, entered and came down stairs, unbarred the door, and removed the guns from their places. It was then observed that I must spill the first blood. On which, armed with a hatchet, and accompanied by Will, I entered my master's chamber: it being dark, I could not give a death blow, the hatchet glanced from his head; he sprang from the bed, and called his wife --it was his last word; Will laid him dead with a blow of his axe, and Mrs. Travis shared the same fate as she lay in bed.
The murder of this family, five in number, was the work of a moment, --not one of them awoke; there was a little infant sleeping in a cradle, that was forgotten until we had left the house, and gone some distance, when Henry and Will returned and killed it. We got here four guns that would shoot, and several old muskets, with a pound or two of powder. We remained some time at the barn, where we paraded; I formed them in a line as soldiers, and after carrying them through all the manoeuvres I was master of, marched them off to Mr. Salathul Francis's, about six hundred yards distant. Sam and Will went to the door and knocked. Mr. Francis asked who was there; Sam replied it was him, and he had a letter for him, on which he got up and came to the door; they immediately seized him, and dragging him out a little from the door, he was dispatched by repeated blows on the head; there was no other white person in the family. We started from there for Mrs. Reese's, maintaining the most perfect silence on our march; where, finding the door unlocked, we entered, and murdered Mrs. Reese in her bed, while sleeping; her son awoke, but it was only to sleep the sleep of death: he had only time to say, who is that? and he was no more. From Mrs. Reese's we went to Mrs. Turner's, a mile distant, which we reached about sunrise on Monday morning. Henry, Austin, and Sam, went to the still; where, finding Mr. Peebles, Austin shot him, and the rest of us went to the house; as we approached the family discovered us, and shut the door. Vain hope! Will, with one stroke of his axe, opened it, and we entered and found Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Newsome in the middle of a room, almost frightened to death. Will immediately killed Mrs. Turner with one blow of his axe. I took Mrs. Newsome by the hand, and with the sword I had when I was apprehended, I struck her several blows over the head, but not being able to kill her, as the sword was dull. Will turning around and discovering it, despatched her also. A general destruction of property, and search for money and ammunition, always succeeded the murders. By this time my company amounted to fifteen, and nine men mounted, who started for Mrs. Whitehead's, (the other six were to go through a bye-way to Mr. Bryant's, and rejoin us at Mrs. Whitehead's.) As we approached the house we discovered Mr. Richard Whitehead standing in the cotton patch, near the lane fence; we called him over into the lane, and Will, the executioner, was near at hand, with his fatal axe, to send him to an untimely grave.
As we pushed on to the house, I
discovered some one run round the garden, and thinking it was some of the
white family, I pursued them; but finding it was a servant girl belonging
to the house, I returned to commence the work of death, but they whom I
left had not been idle; all the family were already murdered, but Mrs.
Whitehead and her daughter Margaret. As I came round to the door I saw
Will pulling Mrs. Whitehead out of the house, and at the step he nearly
severed her head from her body with his broad axe. Miss Margaret, when
I discovered her, had concealed herself in the corner, formed by the projection
of the cellar cap from the house; on my approach she fled, but was soon
overtaken; and after repeated blows with a sword; I killed her by a blow
on the head with a fence rail. By this time, the six who had gone by Mr.
Bryant's, rejoined us, and informed me they had done the work of death
assigned them. We again divided, part going to Mr. Richard Porter's, and
from thence to Nathaniel Francis's, the others to Mr. Howell Harris's,
and Mr. T. Doyle's. On my reaching Mr. Porter's, he had escaped with his
family. I understood there that the alarm had already spread, and I immediately
returned to bring up those sent to Mr. Doyle's and Mr. Howell Harris's;
the party I left going onto Mr. Francis's having told them I would join
them in that neighborhood. I met these sent to Mr. Doyle's and Mr. Harris's
returning, having met Mr. Doyle on the road, and killed him; and learning
from some who joined them, that Mr. Harris was from home, I immediately
pursued the course taken by the party gone on before; but knowing they
would complete the work of death and pillage at Mr. Francis's before I
could get there, I went to Mr. Peter Edwards's, expecting to find them
there, but they had been here also. I then went to Mr. John T. Barrow's;
they had been here, and murdered him. I pursued on their track to Capt.
Newit Harris's, where I found the greater part mounted, and ready to start;
the men, now amounting to about forty, shouted and hurraed as I rode up;
some were in the yard loading their guns, others drinking. They said Captain
Harris and his family had escaped, the property in the house they destroyed,
robbing him of money and other valuables. I ordered them to mount and march
instantly, this was about nine or ten o'clock, Monday morning. I proceeded
to Mr. Levi Waller's, two or three miles distant. I took my station in
the rear, and as it was my object to carry terror and devastation wherever
we went, I placed fifteen or twenty of the best armed and most to be relied
on, in front, who generally approached the houses as fast as their horses
could run; this was for two purposes
to prevent their escape, and strike
terror to the inhabitants, on this account I never got to the houses, after
leaving Mrs. Whitehead's, until the murders were committed, except in one
case. I sometimes got in sight in time to see the work of death completed,
viewed the mangled bodies as they lay, in silent satisfaction, and immediately
started in quest of other victims. Having murdered Mrs. Waller and ten
children, we started for Mr. William Williams's, having killed him and
two little boys that were there; while engaged in this, Mrs. Williams fled
and got some distance from the house, but she was pursued, overtaken, and
compelled to get up behind one of the company, who brought her back, and
after showing her the mangled body of her lifeless husband, she was told
to get down and lay by his side, where she was shot dead. I then started
for Mr. Jacob Williams, where the family were murdered. Here we found a
young man named Drury, who had come on business with Mr. Williams; he was
pursued, overtaken, and shot. Mrs. Vaughan was the next place we visited,
and after murdering the family here, I determined on starting for Jerusalem.
Our number amounted now to fifty or sixty, all mounted and armed with guns,
axes, swords, and clubs. On reaching Mr. James W. Parker's gate, immediately
on the road leading to Jerusalem, and about three miles distant, it was
proposed to me to call there, but I objected, as I knew he was gone to
Jerusalem, and my object was to reach there as soon as possible; but some
of the men having relations at Mr. Parker's, it was agreed that they might
call and get his people. I remained at the gate on the road, with seven
or eight; the others going across the field to the house, about half-a-mile
off. After waiting some time for them, I became impatient, and started
to the house for them, and on our return we were met by a party of white
men, who had pursued our blood-stained track, and who had fired on those
at the gate, and dispersed them, --which I knew nothing of, not having
been at that time rejoined by any of them, --immediately on discovering
the whites, I ordered my men to halt and form, as they appeared to be alarmed.
The white men, eighteen in number, approached us in about one hundred yards,
when one of them fired, (this was against the positive orders of Captain
Alexander P. Peete, who commanded, and who had directed the men to reserve
their fire until within thirty paces,) and I discovered about half of them
retreating, I then ordered my men to fire and rush on them; the few remaining
stood their ground until we approached within fifty yards, when they fired
and retreated. We pursued and overtook some of them who we thought we left
dead; (they were not killed;) after pursuing them about two hundred yards,
and rising a little hill, I discovered they were met by another party,
and had halted, and were re-loading their guns; (this was a small party
from Jerusalem who knew the negroes were in the field, and had just tied
their horses to await their return to the road, knowing that Mr. Parker
and family were in Jerusalem, but knew nothing of the party that had gone
in with Captain Peete; on hearing the firing they immediately rushed to
the spot, and arrived just in time to arrest the progress of these barbarous
villains, and save the lives of their friends and fellowcitizens ;) thinking
that those who retreated first, and the party who fired on us at fifty
or sixty yards distant, had all only fallen back to meet others with ammunition.
As I saw them reloading their guns, and more coming up than I saw at first,
and several of my bravest men, being wounded, the others became panic-struck
and squandered over the field; the white men pursued and fired on us several
times. Hark had his horse shot under him, and I caught another for him
as it was running by me; five or six of my men were wounded, but none left
on the field; finding myself defeated here, I instantly determined to go
through a private way, and cross the Nottoway river at the Cypress bridge,
three miles below Jerusalem, and attack that place in the rear, as I expected
they would look for me on the other road, and I had a great desire to get
there to procure arms and ammunition. After going a short distance in this
private way, accompanied by about twenty men, I overtook two or three who
told me the others were dispersed in every direction. After trying in vain
to collect a sufficient force to proceed to Jerusalem, I determined to
return, as I was sure they would make back to their old neighborhood, where
they would rejoin me, make new recruits, and come down again. On my way
back, I called at Mrs. Thomas's, Mrs. Spencer's, and several other places:
the white families having fled, we found no more victims to gratify our
thirst for blood, we stopped at Major Ridley's quarter for the night, and
being joined by four of his men, with the recruits made since my defeat,
we mustered now about forty strong. After placing out sentinels, I laid
down to sleep, but was quickly roused by a great racket; starting up, I
found some mounted, and others in great confusion, one of the sentinels
having given the alarm that we were about to be attacked; I ordered some
to ride round and reconnoitre, and on their return the others being more
alarmed, not knowing who they were, fled in different ways, so that I was
reduced to about twenty again; with this I determined to attempt to recruit,
and proceed on to rally in the neighborhood I had left. Dr. Blunts was
the nearest house, which we reached just before day; on riding up the yard,
Hark fired a gun. We expected Dr. Blunt and his family were at Major Ridley's,
as I knew there was a company of men there; the gun was fired to ascertain
if any of the family were at home; we were immediately fired upon and retreated,
leaving several of my men. I do not know what became of them, as I never
saw them afterwards. Pursuing our course back and coming in sight of Captain
Harris's, where we had been the day before, we discovered a party of white
men at the house, on which all deserted me but two; (Jacob and Nat;) we
concealed ourselves in the woods until near night, when I sent them in
search of Henry, Sam, Nelson, and Hark, and directed them to rally all
they could, at the place we had had our dinner the Sunday before, where
they would find me, and I accordingly returned there as soon as it was
dark and remained until Wednesday evening, when discovering white men riding
around the place as though they were looking for some one, and none of
my men joining me, I concluded Jacob and Nat had been taken, and compelled
to betray me. On this I gave up all hope for the present; and on Thursday
night, after having supplied myself with provisions from Mr. Travis's,
I scratched a hole under a pile of fence rails in a field, where I concealed
myself for six weeks, never leaving my hiding place but for a few minutes
in the dead of night to get water which was very near; thinking by this
time I could venture out, I began to go about in the night and eaves-drop
the houses in the neighborhood; pursuing this course for about a fortnight
and gathering little or no intelligence, afraid of speaking to any human
being, and returning every morning to my cave before the dawn of day. I
know not how long I might have led this life, if accident had not betrayed
me, a dog in the neighborhood passing by my hiding place one night while
I was out, was attraded by some meat I had in my cave, and crawled in and
stole it, and was coming out just as I returned. A few nights after, two
negroes having started to go hunting with the same dog, and passed that
way, the dog came again to the place, and having just gone out to walk
about, discovered me and barked, on which thinking myself discovered, I
spoke to them to beg concealment. On making myself known they fled from
me. Knowing then they would betray me, I immediately left my hiding place,
and was pursued almost incessantly until I was taken a fortnight afterwards
by Mr. Benjamin Phipps, in a little hole I had dug out with my sword, for
the purpose of concealment, under the top of a fallen tree. On Mr. Phipps
discovering the place of my concealment, he cocked his gun and aimed at
me. I requested him not to shoot and I would give up, upon which he demanded
my sword. I delivered it to him, and he brought me to prison. During the
time I was pursued, I had many hair-breadth escapes, which your time will
not permit me to relate. I am here loaded with chains, and willing to suffer
the fate that awaits me.
I will not shock the feelings of humanity, nor wound afresh the bosoms of the disconsolate sufferers in this unparalleled and inhuman massacre, by detailing the deeds of their fiend-like barbarity. There were two or three who were in the power of these wretches, had they known it, and who escaped in the most providential manner. There were two whom they thought they left dead on the field at Mr. Parker's, but who were only stunned by the blows of their guns, as they did not take time to re-load when they charged on them. The escape of a little girl who went to school at Mr. Waller's, and where the children were collecting for that purpose, excited general sympathy. As their teacher had not arrived, they were at play in the yard, and seeing the negroes approach, she ran up on a dirt chimney, (such as are common to log houses,) and remained there unnoticed during the massacre of the eleven that were killed at this place. She remained on her hiding place till just before the arrival of a party, who were in pursuit of the murderers, when she came down and fled to a swamp where, a mere child as she was, with the horrors of the late scene before her, she lay concealed until the next day, when seeing a party go up to the house, she came up, and on being asked how she escaped, replied with the utmost simplicity, "The Lord helped her." She was taken up behind a gentleman of the party, and returned to the arms of her weeping mother. Miss Whitehead concealed herself between the bed and the mat that supported it, while they murdered her sister in the same room, without discovering her. She was afterwards carried off, and concealed for protection by a slave of the family, who gave evidence against several of them on their trial. Mrs. Nathaniel Francis, while concealed in a closet heard their blows, and the shrieks of the victims of these ruthless savages; they then entered the closet where she was concealed, and went out without discovering her. While in this hiding place, she heard two of her women in a quarrel about the division of her clothes. Mr. John T. Baron, discovering them approaching his house, told his wife to make her escape, and scorning to fly, fell fighting on his own threshold. After firing his rifle, he discharged his gun at them, and then broke it over the villain who first approached him, but he was overpowered, and slain. His bravery, however, saved from the hands of these monsters, his lovely and amiable wife, who will long lament a husband so deserving of her love. As directed by him, she attempted to escape through the garden, when she was caught and held by one of her servant girls, but another coming to her rescue, she fled to the woods, and concealed herself. Few, indeed, were those who escaped their work of death. But fortunate for society, the hand of retributive justice has overtaken them: and not one that was known to be concerned has escaped.