During the War years and the first year of Reconstruction, racial killings were rare events in Jackson County, Florida. Charles Hamilton was asked to compile a list of murders occuring since the war began:
4/13/1861: JOE, a “slave” murdered. John D. Padget (white) of Jackson Co. was tried in October 1866 for the murder and acquitted.
2/13/1863: RUBEN, a “slave” was murdered in Calhoun Co. Fla. on the 13th of Feb. 1863, by Luke Lot (white). Lot was tried in the Circuit Court of the West Dist. of Fla., Judge Bush presiding, on the 2nd May 1866, verdict “not guilty” [NOTE: Luke Lot became a legendary figure of white resistance in the Florida, Georgia, Alabama border country during Reconstruction. Dale Cox suggests that Lot may have been instrumental in organizing the white community during the “Jackson County War”].
Spring 1863: (1) A negro was killed (shot), and (2) body of one drowned found in the Chipola River near the Natural Bridge, Jackson Co. “Their names, or the circumstances could not be ascertained. They were said to be ‘runaways.’”
12/13/65: WYLIE “freedman, was whipped to death …in Marianna, by Ashley B. Hamilton” (white) of Jackson Co. Hamiton was arrested and sent to Tallahassee under guard but escaped “at the Arsenal” (Chattachoochee?). Hamilton was tried in the Circuit Court at Marianna on October 18, 1863 (same trial as Padget) “and the jury returned a verdict of ‘not guilty.’”
“As far as I can ascertain no murders have been committed by Freedmen since the commencement of the War, in this District, all of which is respectfully submitted.”
(CMH to J Lyman, 10/24/66)