Affidavit of John Leslie – Papers relating to crimes committed by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama

National Archives Microfilm Publications Microcopy No. 666
Letters received by the office of the Adjutant General (Record Group 94) (MAIN SERIES) 1871 -1880 Roll 67, 1872
Papers relating to crimes committed by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama, 1869 – 1879 Huntsville, Ala.

Sept. 23rd, 1869

John Leslie makes affidavit in regard to preaching being broken up by disguised men on 12th Sept. 1869, and he being shot at Sept. 13/69 and his home entered forcibly, his wife struck and his son whipped &c. State of Alabama County of Madison On this 23rd day of September 1869 personally appeared before me, Clerk of City Court of Huntsville in and for the County and State aforesaid John Leslie, resident on the Bolling place two miles from Clattsville, Madison County, State of Alabama, who being duly sworn deposes and says that on Sunday morning the 12th of September I was with other colored people attending preaching at the Widow Bland’s when our services were broken up by five men dressed in disguise riding into the grove where we were holding our meeting pointing their pistols at us saying “we will give you all five minutes to get away from here, we are going to stop this nigger preaching, there shall not be anymore under two months,” and we all left at the same time. There came from the opposite side some five or six white men (not disguised but armed). I asked two of them whether we could not hold our meeting there, Mr. Coon Williamson and one Alfred Clutcher said they had nothing to do with it and were not the men. On the following Monday night the 13th of September, about nine 9 O’clock I think, as I stepped from my home into the yard I saw over twenty men disguised riding up to the fence. They came through the gate into the yard, when I saw them I ran away upon which they called to me to halt but I continued to run and they fired eight shots at me. I ran into the woods, stayed there until near daylight. On my return home I learned that they had left after shooting at me, but they or another party returned about midnight, broke open the door of my house, searching all over the house for guns, they hit my wife on the face, took my son who is 13 years old out of the house into the road, made him take off his shirt, beat him with switches, carried off a gun he had borrowed from an neighbor. I am afraid to stay there from threats made by this band of disguised men against my life.

(signed) John (X) Leslie

Witness: John G. Blackwell Sworn to and subscribed to before me this 23rd day of September 1869 and I hereby certify that the foregoing was carefully read to the affiant before he signed his name by making his mark.

(Signed) James N. Bone Clerk, City Court of Huntsville

A True Copy

James Miller 1st Lieut. 2nd Infantry Post Adjutant