KKK Trials

Proceedings in the Ku Klux trials at Columbia, S.C., in the United States Circuit Court, November term, 1871

The testimony of these Ku Klux Klan trials of 1871 is absolutely chilling.  Here are just a couple examples of text from the trial transcripts.

The Testimony of Andy Tims:

 

Q.. Tell us the story in your own way ; how about it ? •

A. It was the way I first found him—he was hanging up by the neck

by a rope.

Q. Tell all the particulars you know about it ; what occurred that ' night that he was hung ; and what about him, as far as you know?

A. That night, sir, I think it was something after 2 o'clock, there Avere three diguised men came to my house, came up cussing and swearing a great deal.

Q. Tell what they said.

I J A. They said : " Here we come—we are the Ku Klux. Here we come, right from hell," and two rode up on one side of my house, and one to A the other. They commenced with their guns and beat at the doors, and hollering "G—d d—n you, open, open the doors." I told them I would, and jumped out of bed, and before I got to the door they bursted the latch off, and two came in, and one got me by the arms and says, " we want your guns." I told them I didn't have any guns ; there was one there, but not mine. It was turned over by some of the company. Thev got the gun, and asked for the accoutrements belonging to the gun, and I got them for them ; and after they got these things they asked for a pistol ; I told them I didn't have any pistol at that time ; and then they asked if I knev; where Captain Williams lived ; I told them I did; how far? they asked ; I told them about two miles, I think ; says he, "we want to see your captain to-night; we don't want any more of you to-night." Upon this they got on their horses ; asked me if I knew any of .them; I told them I did not know them; hnt they got on their horses and bid me good night ; when about between fifty and one hundred yards from ray house they stopped, talking very lowly to each other ; I didn't know but what they were going to come back ; I jumped out and made—well, I started down across to the other house, and met up with Henry Haynes and Andrew Bratton; they heard them and left their houses.

Q. Were they colored men ?

A. Yes, sir ; then we went down to Captain Williams' that night; when we got there Mrs. Williams was sitting in the door ; I asked her — I called before I got to the house for Williams, and she said

— Mr. Stanbery. ^N^ever mind what she said. Mr. Corbin, Go on and tell what she said.

The Court. No.

Q. Go on and tell what you found ? ,

A. Williams was not there.

Q. What occurred there ?

A. Then we went from there ai'ound and passed where Mr. Williams' company were, and got them and went back to John S. Bratton's, and there found a good portion of the company there.

Q. What company ?

A. Of Williams' company—the militia ; we then followed the course which the Ku Klux had went ; Ave tracked them then, by bayonets and accoutrements, &c., they had dropped along the road, until they came to Mr. Robert Lindsay's ; then we noticed a great many tracks left the road ; we went on from there past Mr. Ed. Crawford's, and on past Mr. Mendiuhall's ; the company thought that they saw hQi'se tracks—a horse and a mule track—that led into Islv. Mendinhall's lot, but Mr. l^Iendinhall's stables were locked ; we went on from there, on several tracks, to Mr. Garwiu's, and there we found a mule Avhich was muddy and sweating, with saddle ; very fresh tracks, which we did think had come from the road, which we tracked out from the road ; they tracked directly from Mr. Lindsay's ; Ave tracked them directly from there ; we then went into the blackjacks, and concluded to hunt for Williams; we AA^ent across the country to Williams', and before Ave got to the house we saAv the tracks, where they had come out of the field ; Ave pursued on until we came to Avhere the horses Avere hitched, which I thought was about one hundred yards; we saw Williams hanging on a tree.

Q. W s he d d ?

A. When I found him he was dead, sir.

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Testimony of Amzi Eainey:


Amzi Raincy, a Witness for the prosecution, being duly sworn, testified
as follows :
Q. Where do you live ?
A. On Mr. Gill's place. ^
Q. In York County ?
A. Yes ; in York County.
Q. HoAV long have you lived in York County?
A. I have been born and raised there.
Q, How old are you ?
A. About twenty-eight years old.
Q. Have you been a voter in York County ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you voted ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Nobody has ever questioned jouv right to vote there, have they?
A. No, sir.
Q,. D'id you vote at the last election ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Vote for A. S. Wallace ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Vote the rest of the Republican ticket ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, will you tell the jury whether the Ku Klux raided on you, and what they said and what they did to you ? Tell us all about it?
A. Well, on a Saturday night, about ten o'clock

Q. When was that ?

A. It was about the last of March, as near as I can recollect. I was laying down—I laid down at the first dark—and was laying down ])y the fire. The rest done been alied, and, about ten o'clock, my little daughter called me, and said : " Pappy, it is time we are going to bed ; get up ;" and just as I got up, and turned around, I looked out of the window, and I sec some four or five disguised men coming up, and I ran np in the loft, and they came on ; come to the door ; and when they come to the door, thev commenced beatine: and knocking. " God damn you, open the door! open the door! open the door !" and commenced beating at each side—there is two doors—and they commenced beating both doors, and mj wife run to one of the doors, and they knocked the top hinges off of the first, and she run across the house to the other, and agin that time they got the two hinges knocked ofi^ the other door, and the bolt held the door from falling, and she got it open—that is, she pulled the bolt back and throwed it down, and when they come in, they struck her four or five licks before they said a w-ord

Mr. Johnson, We olSject to all this, may it please your Honors.
The Court. Let him go on.

A. They asked Iter v>ho lived here. She said, " Rainey—Amzi Raiuey." "What Amzi Rainey? What Amzi , Rainey ?" And she
said, "Amzi Rainey," and he struck her another lick, and says  : " Where is he? God damn him, where is he ?" And she says : " I don't know." And one said : " O. I smell him, God damn him ; he has gone up in the loft" He says: "We'll kill him, too," and they come up then. This kSam Good, they made him ligjit a light

Q. Who is Sam Good ?
A. It is a black man, that lives on the same place.
Q. You say he had come on with them ?
A. Yes, sir. And he lit a light, and they made him and my wife go up before, and he followed them up there, and I was in a box, and they said : " Oh, he is in this box, God damn him, I smell him ; we'll kill him!" and the other says: "Don't kill him yet;" and they took me down. This man that struck my wife first, ran back to her and says: " God damn her, I will kill her now ; I will kill her out ;" and the one that went after me, he says : " Don't kill her ;" and he commenced beating her then ; struck her some four or five more licks, and then run back and struck me ; he run back to her then, and drawed his pistol, and says : " Now, I am going to blow" your damn brains out ;" and the one by me threw the pistol up, and says : " Don't kill her." He aimed to strike me over the head, and struck me over the back, and sunk me right down. Then, after he had done that, my little daughter—she was back in the room with the other little children—he says : " I am going to kill
him;" and she run out of the room, and says: "Don't kill my pappy; please don't kill ray pappy !" lie shoved her back, and says ; " You go back in the room, you God damned little bitch ; I -will blow your brains out !" and fired and shot her, sure enough

Q. Did he hit her ?
A. Yes, sir ; he hit her ; and aftor he had done that, she went back into the room, and they commenced shooting over me—two shots over me, and two shots over my wife ; they shot about fifteen shots ; and I had a sleeve jacket on ; it was woolen, and they set fire to it—just in a light blaze of fire—and after that was done, they hollered to me: " Put out that fire, I would burn up, and damned if I wouldn't go to hell." Then my little daughter had catched her hand full of blood, got to the door, and just throwed it out; and they looked around and see that, and see her ; and then they took me

Q. Where did they hit your daughter ?
A. Kit her on the forehead ; the ball glanced ofi" from her head. Then they took me right off.
Q. Off where?
A. Off irp the road, about a hundred and fifty yards; and they wanted to kill me up there, and one said, " jSTo, don't kill hira, let's talk a little to him first." Then, he asked me which way did I vote. I told him I voted the Radical ticket. "Well,'' he says, "now you raise your hand and swear that you will never vote another Radical ticket, and I will not let them kill you." And he made mc stand and raise my hand before him and my God, that I never Vv'ould vote another Radical ticket, against my principle.
Q. Did you swear so.
A. I did raise my hand and swear. Then he took me out among the rest of them, and wouldn't let them shoot me, and told me to go back home.
Q,. Did they .make anybody else swear right there that they wouldn't vote the Radical ticket? Was Sam Good there?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did they do to hira ?
A. They asked hira which way he voted. lie says the Radical ticket, and they asked if he would ever vote any Radical ticket, and Sara told them " No, sir." And that was all that I heard passed 'twixt them and Sara.
Q. What did they do when you went home ?
A. After I went back, my wife, she hobbled out —
Q. When you left them, what did they do to you ?
A. Told me to run ; and throwed two big rocks after me, about the size of my fist.
Q. Did they hit you ?
A. No, sir ; one weut one side into a wood pile, and the other struck the chimney.
Q. Hov/ many of t]ie Ku Klux were there ?
A. It looked to me like there was about twenty-five.
Q. How were they dressed ?
A. Had on—some of them had on vvdiite gowns-, and some of them had on red ones, and had on false faces and something over their heads.
Q. Did you know any of them ?
A. No, sir.
Q. Didn't know any of them ?
A. Didn't know any of them.
Q. What time in the night was this ?
A. About ten o'clock—'twixt ten and eleven o'clock.
Q. Do you know what tliey did to your daughter in the other room ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you see it J^ourself?
A. I didn't see it ; have only her word for it.
Q. I won't ask you that then ?
A. I didn't see that.
Mr. Corbin. You may have the witness.



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KKK Trials