December 12, 2016

Freedmen's Bureau School Burned by Arsonists, Boyle, 1866


Click here for a list of my other Pulaski/Rockcastle/Laurel County KY articles


[August 24, 1866] -

Danville Aug 24, 1866

[?] Col. R. E. Johnston
Chief Supt. Six S. Dist.


I have the honor to report that a building built and used as a Freedman's Schoolhouse and owned by a Freedman named Jackson Davis was destroyed by fire last night in this town.

I have today initiated inquiries but have been unable to learn who were engaged in this outrage. There had been considerable excitement during the day, caused by the arrest of a Freedman charged with poissoning [sic] a man. During the evening this man and three others escaped from the jail which added to the excitement and probably led to the perpetuation of this outrage. At present I can merely inform you of the fact but hope in another report to give fuller information. The building was probably worth about $250.00. Will you please advise me what steps to take in this case. [1]


[August 31, 1866] -

JAIL STAMPEDE -- FOUR PRISONERS MAKE THEIR ESCAPE. -- Our town was thrown into a hubbub of excitement on Monday night by the report of fire-arms in the proximity of the jail, and a rumor spreading to the effect that the prisoners had made a stampede. Upon inquiry we learn that Mr. Williams, the jailor, about 7 o'clock on the night above-mentioned, went to the prison cell for the purpose of giving the inmates their supper. He opened the door partially and handed in some four places of provisions to one of the prisoners, and was engaged in passing in the remainder, when James Slaughter, one of the prisoners, sprang to the door, caught hold of it, and though vigorously resisted by the jailer succeeded in opening (it opened on the inside), simultaneously with which action he presented a pistol at the head of the jailer, exclaiming: "Resist and you die." Mr. Williams, letting go the door, ran his hand in his pocket for his weapons as Slaughter and three other prisoners ran rapidly out the door into the street. Williams drew his pistol, and, aiming at them, was just in the act of shooting when his wife and two or three other ladies, who had entered the passage on their way to attend a town exhibition, ran in between him and them, and thus momentarily prevented his firing. He ran quickly to the door, however, and fired three shots at the party as they ran out on the pike. Fearing, then, that the remaining prisoners might make an escape likewise, he ran back in the passage with both his pistols presented, and secured the safety of the remaining six. Mr. Williams thinks he must have wounded some escaping party, as they were but a few steps from him when he fired. The names of the prisoners who escaped were James Slaughter, indicted in the Garrard Circuit Court for murder, Holman Crawford (m.c.) indicted for larceny, George Washington (m.c.) indicted for larceny, and Lee (m.c.) imprisoned on suspicion of poisoning. It is believed that the pistol in the possession of Slaughter was given him by some of his friends who recently visited him in the jail. None of the party have yet been retaken. -- Danville Gazette. [2]


[August 31, 1866] -

FIRE. -- A small schoolhouse near the creek within the limits of the town was burned about 12 1/2 o'clock Monday night. It was occupied by negroes, we are informed. -- Danville Gazette. [ibid]


[1] Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Office Records, 1865-1872, NARA Publication M1904, Roll 94, Danville Letters sent Jun 1866 - Sept 1867, vol 3. Page 18, Image 25.

[2] Excerpts from "State News." The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. August 31, 1866. Page 1.

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