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

Affidavit of John Bird: Dougherty County, Georgia, 1868 Sept. 21

author: Howard, O.H
date: September 21, 1868
extent: 2p
summary: In freedman John Bird's affidavit, taken by Freedman's Bureau subassistant commissioner O.H. Howard in Dougherty County, Georgia on September 21, 1868, Bird gives an account of a funeral he attended. The funeral was for freedman Jerry Davis, a victim of the Camilla Riot, an episode that occurred in the town of Camilla, Georgia on September 19, 1868, when Republicans and freedmen came to the town to hold a political rally and met with violent opposition from the townspeople. Davis's funeral was held on Sunday, September 20, at the plantation of John Cutliff. Bird states that at about 10 P.M. a group of approximately fifteen white men on horses arrived, threatening to kill freedman Chestly Hooper. According to Bird, the men were dissuaded from violence by Cutliff and left the scene without further incident.
repository: DeSoto Trail Regional Library (Camilla, Ga.)
collection: Civil Unrest in Camilla, Georgia, 1868

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Affidavit of John Bird (Freedman.)
[added text: 13X]
State of Georgia, Dougherty County

Before me, O. H. Howard, 2nd Lieut [Lieutenant] 5th M. S. [U. S.] Artillery, Brevet Magor [Major], Sub-Asst Com'r [Sub Assistant Commissioner] B. R. F. & A. L. [Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands] personally came John Bird, freedman, who, being duly sworn, deposes and [added text: [] says [deleted text: [illegible text]] that an Sunday evening, Sept. 20. 1868. he attended the funeral of one Jerry Davis, freedman, who was shot and killed in the [deleted text: killed] affair at Camilla on Saturday, and whose body the deponent brought from Camilla, to Mr John Cutliff 's plantatin [plantation] .

That before his [illegible text] from the graveyard he went to the [illegible text] at the plantatin [plantation] aforesaid .

That about 10. P. M a body of white men, about fifteen in number, none of them known to deponent, galloped up on horses in front of Mr Cutliffs' house. That Mr Cutliff demanded of them their business, One

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of them replied "We came after a G - d d - d nigger Chestly Hooper to kill him."

That Mr Cutliff replied, " Mow [Now] you are making it hard for all of us in this county, by your conduct, you had better go back to your homes, [deleted text: [illegible text]] this portion of Georgia has been spared from the war, but if you persist in your conduct we shall be overrun with soldiers here, and it is just what the scalawags and carpet baggers" want, or words to that effect.

That one of the party replied Well John I'll take you at your word, we'll go back home, but if I ever catch that nigger I'll kill him. They then rode off.

John [added text: his] X [added text: mark] Bird
Sworn to and subscribed
before me at Albany Ga.,
this 21st day of Sept. 1868 .

[Signed] O. H. Howard

Brevet Major U. S. A. [United States Army]
S. A. [Sub Assistant] Commissioner

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