Deposition of Dean Reynolds, colored – 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

Deposition of Dean Reynolds, colored State of Alabama County of Madison

On this 5th day of August 1869 personally appeared before me a clerk of the Circuit Court in and for the county and state aforesaid Dean Reynolds, late of Morgan County, but now living in Madison County, State of Alabama, who being duly sworn deposes and says that on or about the 15th of January 1869, on Saturday night between the hours of 10 and 11 o’clock, I was aroused from sleep by hearing knocks against the door of my house (which is on the plantation of Mr. Henry Davis four miles below Whitesburgh, South side of the Tennessee river in the county of Morgan State of Alabama) and voices saying “God dam you, get up and open this door.” I said “who is there” someone replied “by God we are just from hell, get up and open the door,” I said no one who goes to hell ever returns back again” the voice said “by God we have come out of the moon tonight and are come to kill you,” then they tried to burst the door open. I put a prop against it and then they knocked down some boards which were nailed over a window, and came into my house that way, five men disguised, their faces were covered with masks of different colors. One of the men caught me by my shirt collar saying “God dam you what ever you are going to do, do it now.” I knocked him down with my fist then an other man jumped on me putting his arms around me trying to throw me down but I threw him down. While I had these two men down two others with guns in their hands which they used as clubs struck me over the head with them. I saw the blows coming and raised my right arm to defend my head, and the blows broke my arm above the wrist and my head was cut by the blow. I hollowed “murder” then they hollowed out “kill him, kill him,” and one of the other men came up saying “is he dead” the others said “no,” he then struck at me with his gun, I then raised my left arm up to defend my head the blow broke my arm in two places above the wrist this was done by the third man with his gun, one of the party said “is he dead” an other said “no” the first one said “let us kill him” and the second said “come let us go it will betray us,” and the one who had spoken first saying “lets kill him” struck me in the side with his gun knocking me over, they then left. In the fight I tore the masks off the faces of three of the men and I recognised Davis Bell as being the first man who attacked me, David Terry as the second man who did so trying to throw me down. John Moore and Tom Travis struck me over the head with their guns breaking my right arm, at the same time the masks had fallen off of their faces. George Sisscomb is the one that struck me over the head and broke my left arm in doing this his mask fell off of his face and I recognised him as well as the rest of them they all live in the neighborhood. My wife ran out of the house, crying murder and Frank Dunlap who was holding his horse which is creamed colored, and guarding the horses for the other men struck my wife over the head with his gun knocking her down and hurt her very badly, he did not have on any mask. I was in bed for over twelve weeks from the injuries received that night and am unable to do work even at this day, and I am in a destitute condition being compelled to leave that neighborhood and my crops to the mercy of these men. I further swear that I had been warned by many persons that these men had threatened my life and it was not safe for me to stay there but I stayed hoping to get my crops gathered and sold so as to leave there. I am a preacher and preached in that community, had been in the Army of the United States as a Soldier that they said was the reason they were going to kill me. (signed) Dean (X) Reynolds Sworn and subscribed to before me this 5th day of August A. D. 1869 and I hereby certify that the above and foregoing was carefully read by the affiant before signing his name by making his mark (signed) Jas. H. Bone Clerk Circuit Court Head Quarters Post of Huntsville Alabama, August 19″, 1869 His Excellency Governor Wm. H. Smith Montgomery, Ala. Governor Enclosed I have the honor to transmit to your excellency a communication from one of my officers at Sumerville, Morgan Co. It is extemely desirable that the perpetrators of the attack upon Reynolds should be rearrested and brought to justice. Reynolds is here and I can and will send him to testify in the case. I have no power to interfere or I should certainly do so. The civil officers should be forced to do their duty. Not one of these disguised assassins has ever been brought to justice. I hope if you have the authority that you will direct the rearrest and examination of these men. With great respect I am your Excellency’s Obedient Servant (signed) S. W. Crawford Bvt. Maj. Genl. Commanding Executive Department State of Alabama Montgomery, Aug. 26″, 1869 Maj. Genl. S. W. Crawford Huntsville, Ala. General, by direction of the Governor I acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 19th inst. with enclosures in regard to lawlessness in Morgan County. The Governor directs me to express to you has sincere thanks for the information you so kindly furnish upon this subject. Official communications will be immediately sent to the proper civil officers in Morgan County in which they will be peremptorily directed to employ all lawful means in their power to bring offenders to justice and take all needful precautions to preserve life and property in the future. Very Respectfully Your Obed. Servt. (sd) D. L. Dalton Governor’s Secretary