Sunday, October 04, 2009

Oct. 3 & 4, 1869

The next two days were comparatively calm. Dickinson continued to be frustrated in his attempts at initiating legal proceedings into the McClellan and Granberry murders. It would be best, he reluctantly concluded, to "await the return of quiet."

On Monday, the 4th, prominent white citizens drafted an account of the past week's events, which they sent to Governor Reed and the Weekly Floridian newspaper. The letter's authors insisted that Rogers had shot the McClellans and strongly suggested that Granberry was complicit in that murder. They "felt compelled to state" that Rogers was to blame for "much of our troubles" because of his "domineering manner" and "repeated acts of oppression" as constable. The letter's authors advised, however, that the situation was now under control and that "[o]ur people are doing all in their power to keep down further violence, and we expect to be able to do so."

On the same afternoon Samuel Fleishman was summoned to a meeting at Coker's store with leading citizens, which was then adjourned to the next morning. Fleishman was one of the few openly Republican whites remaining in Jackson County. In the days following the picnic shootings, a rumor spread in Marianna that Fleishman had advised blacks gathered at his store to avenge the slaying of Stewart Livingston and Wyatt Young by murdering whites. Various versions of this story circulated.

After dark fell, the night riders again set out. Their target that night was Henry Reed, a freeborn black carpenter. At one o'clock in the morning, Reed heard a knock on his door. A voice told him that Dickinson was waiting for him at the courthouse. Reed saw through this ridiculous ruse and replied that he was too sick to go out and Dickinson would have to wait until morning. The besiegers insisted he come out. When Reed announced he was getting his coat and hat, he was told he would not need them and to come out immediately. Reed's fifteen-year-old son, William, jumped out of a window and, as he ran past the garden gate, a blast of buckshot missed him except for nicking his ear. Reed peeked outside and seeing a double-barreled shotgun pointed at him, quickly closed the door. Now the night riders were more insistent, yelling that they would bring more men to tear the house down and would blow out Reed's brains if he didn't comply. Reed's wife, Harriet, began to cry, fearing that her son was already dead and her husband was to be murdered momentarily. Reed observed the men guarding the back of his house move around to the front and he quickly leapt out the back-window. He ran in the darkness toward the Ely house where he hid underneath until the next afternoon.

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