Post Civil War Outrages
More than twenty-five thousand colored men of Kentucky have been soldiers in the Army of the Union. Many of them were enlisted against the wishes of their masters, and now, after having faithfully served their country, and been honorably mustered out of its service, and return tot heir homes, they are not met with the joyous welcome, and grateful words for their devotion to the Union, but in many cases are scourged, beaten, shot at, and driven from their homes and families. Their arms are taken from them by the civil authorities and confiscated for the benefit of the Commonwealth. The Union soldier is fined for bearing arms. Thus the right of the people to keep and bear arms as provided in the Constitution in infringed, and the Government for whose protection and preservation the solders have fought is enounced as meddlesome and despotic when through its gates it undertakes to protect its citizens in a constitutional right. Kentuckians who followed the fortunes of John Hunt Morgan, and did all in their power to destroy the nation, go loaded down with pistols and knives, and are selected as candidates for high positions of honor and trust in the state. The loyal soldier is arrested and punished for bringing into the State the arms he has borne in battle for his country. That you may have a bird’s-eye view of the protection afford the freedmen of Kentucky by the civil law and authorities, I have the honor to invite your attention to the following extracts from communications received from our correspondents in that State:
C. P. Oyler of Covington, writes as follows: “Jordan Finney, and family (freedmen) lived in Walton, Kentucky; they owned a comfortable home. Two of the daughters were wives of colored soldiers and lived with him. Returned rebel soldiers hereinafter named combined to drive this family from the State. They attacked the house three times, abused the women and children, destroyed all their clothing, bedding, and furniture to the value of $500, and finally drove them from their homes. The names of the perpetrators, so far as known, are Allen Arnold, John Arnold, Franklin Yowell, Woodford Fry, L. Snow, and Robert Edwards; all live in Walton, Kentucky. An attempt was made to bring these parties to justice, but it failed, as colored testimony could not be received. This same man Finney has a daughter held as a slave by Mr. Widen Sheet, of Boone County, whom he values at $1000. Sixteen armed men resisted Mr. Finney and an expressman when they went for the girl, and beat them cruelly with clubs and stones.”
Excerpted from the Report of the Joint Select Committee to Inquire Into The Condition of Affairs in The Late Insurrectionary States. Made to the two houses of Congress, February 19, 1872. The Kentucky portion of the report was dated February 14, 1866. The Walton excerpt is on pages 263-264 of the report.