Digital Library of Georgia > Civil Unrest in Camilla, Georgia, 1868

Affidavit of Washington Jones: Albany, Georgia, 1868 Sept. 23

author: Howard, O. H.
date: September 23, 1868
extent: 3p
summary: In this affidavit taken on September 23, 1868 in Albany, Georgia by Freedmen's Bureau subassistant commissioner O.H. Howard, freedman Washington Jones, a thirty-eight-year-old worker on Stokes Walters's plantation in Mitchell County, gives his account of the Camilla Riot. The riot took place when Republicans together with freedmen came to Camilla to hold a political rally on September 19, 1868 and were met there with violent opposition from townspeople. Jones states that as many as three weeks previous he had overheard white men Robert Warren and Sam Dickerson talking about their intentions to perpetrate violence if Republican John Murphy came to Camilla to speak. Jones also states that he had not heard any of the freedmen planning violence beforehand. Despite what he heard, Jones went to Camilla with only a walking stick, where he saw James Johns fire the first shots, followed shortly by shooting from white men in the stores on either side of the gathering. Less than two minutes later, Jones fled the scene with the other freedmen as the whites pursued. Though he saw another freedman shot, Jones made it home safely by sundown.
repository: DeSoto Trail Regional Library (Camilla, Ga.)
collection: Civil Unrest in Camilla, Georgia, 1868

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Affidavit of Washington Jones, (Colored)

State of Georgia, -- -- -- -- Dougherty County ;

Before me, O. H. HOWARD, Brevet Major United States Army,
2nd Lieut. [Lieutenant] 5th Artillery, S. A. [Sub Assistant] Commissioner Bureau R. F. & A.
L. [Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands], personally came Washington Jones, cold. [colored] -- who, being duly sworn, deposes and says that he is thirty eight years old, that he is making a crop this year at Stokes Walters plantation in Mitchel County, that he learned from the colored people, [deleted text: [illegible text]] who could read the advertifsments [advertisements] that there would be speaking in Camilla on the Saturday, on which the difficulty occurred.

Deponent further states, that he heard Robert Warren, white, say to Sam Dickerson cold [colored] about three weaks [weeks] ago; [deleted text: that] ,, [deleted text: [illegible text]] You know, Sam, that if Murphy comes to this county to make a speech and we tell him to stop, that we will have to shoot him down if he does not do it; this is our country and we intend to protect it or die."

Deponent further swears that he did not hear a single esprefsion expression on the part of any colored man to commit any violence on Camilla or its citizens; but were, from what Warren and other white men said, [deleted text: that] fearful that

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a collision would take place but still deponent went to Camilla without any arm with nothing to defend himself but a walking stick.

When the firing comenced [commenced] deponent was on the public square at Camilla and saw James Johns, whom he knew well, fire [deleted text: a] one shot straight in to the band waggon [wagon], the first shot, which was fired., Immediately after Johns ' firing the Sheriff of Mitchel County, or at least the one, whom deponent thinks to be the Sheriff, Henry Smithfired two shots out of a double barrelled shot gun at the band waggon [wagon] . [added text: and with them alot of man from Coxes Store fired also] As these men fired some men sitting on the left hand side of the street under some bushes fired also, and immediately afterwards a body of white men at [deleted text: [illegible text]] Gib Maples Store fired and also from Heeths Store. As soon as the man at Coxes Stores commenced firing [deleted text: [illegible text]] the number of the colored people commenced firing towards Henry Smith, James Johns and the people at Coxes Store, some of them already running when they fired. It was not two minutes before the whole square was cleared of colored people and about forty white

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men came from behind the Court house in a sweeping gallop, yelling & coursing [cursing] in pursuit of the fleeing colored people, deponent at that time halting in a small peace [piece] of bottom about fifty yards from Coxes Store anxious to see what was going on and endeavouring [endeavoring] to keep the people from scattering as they were about to do. About three miles from Camilla [illegible text] along with Murphy, he saw Dal. Walker standing behind a house, but was allowed to pafs [pass] unmolested. Saw [deleted text: [unclear text: S]] Dal Walker and some others, which he did not know pursueing [pursuing] Murphy and Phil Joiner, saw them shoot at, a colored man on the road. Deponent got home unmolested three houres before Sundown on Saturday evening.

Washington [added text: his] X [added text: mark.] Jones.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, at Albany,
Ga., this 23d day of September, A. D. 1868.
[Signed] O. H. Howard
Brevet Major U. S. Army,
2nd Lieut [Lieutenant] . 5th Artillery, S. A. [Sub Assistant] Commissioner,
Bureau Refugees, Freedmen & Ab'd Lands [Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands] .

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