Affidavit report by John Bonyne relating to Capt. A.W. Brown and Morse Brown, Cross City, Florida, and alleged peonage, ...


Material Information

Affidavit report by John Bonyne relating to Capt. A.W. Brown and Morse Brown, Cross City, Florida, and alleged peonage, June 10, 1921 (4 pages)
Series Title:
Affidavits from investigators re: Brown case. 1921
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 1
Folder: Affidavits from investigators re: Brown case. 1921


Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Duval -- Jacksonville

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:

Full Text
John Bonyne JC oksonvillef a. 6/10/2n1 /1&2/1
Capt. A. W.Brown, and
Morse Brown Cross Oity, Fla. Alleged Peonage

At Savannah. Ga.

Acting on information received from a oonfidential

source, agent located negress named MOLLIE SUIRE, who stated

that she was held in peonage for 12 years; that she has received

several beatings in the stockade because Capt. Brown thought she

was drinking. She further stated that she received several

whippings because she did not obey all the rules of Capt. Brown's

turpentine camp. She states that she has been in the camp for

12years, but the only reason that she got away from the camp was

because her health failed and she couldnot work any more. She

stated that this has been her first opportunity to get away from

the oamp in 12 years; that while she was working for Capt.Borwn

she has been moved to different camps and was always guarded.

She further stated that a white man by the name of WALTER WRIGHT

is the night guard on the camp; that this place is surrounded

by a big barb wire fence so no one can get away at nights; that

after supper ev' rybody is looked up; that there is no one in the

world that can get out of this camp because if anybody writes a

letter to any of their Ielatives this letter has to be given to

Capt.Brown before it is mailed. If Capt.Brown finds there is

anything in the letter against his camp he will destroy the letter.

She further stated that if a letter oame to anybody at this camp

that Capt. Brown will open it and read it and if there is anything
Wash. Jax.U.S.Attorney Heeley -


that he doesn't want the people to know he will destroy it. MOLLIE

SQUIRE stated that she has a friend, LEE RICHARDSON, who has been

working at the camp for two years and has been trying to go home

to Savannah; that Capt.Brown claims he owes him $12. and has been

owing it to him for the last two years. She further states that

they are not allowed to come cts ide of the camp grounds to go to

the Post office or Telegraph Office; that whatever they may require

for their own use such as clothing, drugs or ay other articles,

they have to buy from a big store vhich belongs to Capt. Brown.

MOLLIE SQUIRE resides at 550 Oliver St., Savannah, Ga;

Agent next interviewed ROSA WHITLOOK at 550 Oliver St.,

Savannah, Ga., who stated that her husband has been working for

Capt. Brown at Cross City, Fla., for two years. She received

several letter from her husband to come to see him; that in

February she decided to go to Cross %ity to see her husband; that

she went there and spent about two weeks with him and then decided

to return to Savannah to her mother. She stated that she told her

husband that she needed some money to go home with; that her

husband told her that he could not furnish her with money because

he was in dept to Captain Brom for $50.00, and Capt. Brown would

not let him have the money for her to return to Savannah because

times were awfully hard. She stated that on one occasion Capt.

Brown came and tole her she would have to remain in the camp with

her husband; that she told Oapt. Brown that she could not do so

without her furniture; thaO Capt. Brow then told her that he

had a large store in aamp and she could get anything she wanted;

that he, Capt. Brown, wanted her to remain there with her husband;

that that was the rule of his camp; no negro could leave his
7-R7? i


camp without his consent. ROSA WHITLDCK stated that she saw that

Erie could not help herself as her husband and other members of the

camp told her that there was no way in the world to get out of this

camp except to run away and that this was impossible for anybody

to do because the camp is guarded by2men at night and day; she

stated that Uapt. Brown told her he wou d pay her $4.80 per month

to cook and wash for each man. She wtated that she was taking care

of eight men; that Ehe had the privilege of staying with her husband

in a shanty at nights; that she finally succeeded in paying for a

bedstead, purchased from Capt. Brown's store; that she then told

Capt. Browmi that she would come to Savannah and ship her furniture

to Cross City, f'la., so she could be with her husband; that she

got a little money by saving it; that Capt. Brown told her she coul

take her trunk provided she would return to the camp, which she

agreed to do. She stated that that is the only way she managed

to get away. She stated that no man in camp is allowed to have a

pistol or a knife, but there is a certain crowd in the camp that

Capt. Brown furnishes with guns providing they look out for

officers who may come to this camp; She stated that while she was

at this camp the men who work there are locked up at ng ht under

heavy key and a guard walks around all night; that no one can"

leave the grounds without passing by Capt. Brown's house or that of

his nephew, Morse Brown; that they live right in the gate

entrance to this camp; that she has seen men, women and children

in this camp who nave been working for years and who have never

had an opportunity to leave the camp because they are guarded;

that if a man or woman dies in the camp they are buried in the

camp cemetery and that Brown seldom notifies any of their


relatives or friends. She stated that her husband has written

her lots of letters but that she seldom receives them because

Capt. Brown reads them before they leave camp and if there is

anything against the camp in the letter it is not sent so that

no one may know what is going on in the camp.

ROSA WHITLOCK stated that if an agent could see her

husband EDDIE WHITLOCK (dipper) and LEE RICHARDSON (chipper)

GEORGE JACKSON ( chipper), that they would give agent the history

of this camp; that she knows these men have been beaten dozens

of times while she was there; that they are not allowed to

discuss this matter in the stockade at night, if they do they

get another beating before they go to work. She stated that Capt.

Brown has a crowd of negroes who are informants who notify him if

anybody makes remarks abcut him or the caIp. She stated that the

people who have been in this camp for 15 years have never seen

an outside person, nor any of their relatives' because no outsiders

are allowed to visit the camp. She states that people on the chain

gang are better off than the people in this camp the only

difference being, they get paid off once,a month, such as capt.

Brown sees fit to pay them; that they don't dare go out of camp

to spend their money they have to buy everything at Capt. Brown's

sto re.

In agent's opinion ROSA WHITLOCK is an intelligent

negress and knows what she is talking abotft.