Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998 Page: 15
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The Freedmen's Bureau in Colorado County, Texas, 1865-1868
Ames could not raise the $100 bail, and, because it was the lowest sum required
by law, it could not be reduced. As Hallettsville had no jail and the court did not meet for
another two months, Ames was placed in the custody of two deputies, who proceeded to
chain him with a trace chain and carry him around town. The second day after his arrest,
Ames gave the sheriff the slip but was recaptured the following day. Finally, on April 24,
Ames procured enough money to post bail and was freed. Some malicious person told Ames
that it was Stevenson who had ordered him to be bound hand and foot, but the agent, when
asked, said he had simply recommended that he be sent to Columbus to jail.28
Ames was furious about being chained and led through the streets of
Hallettsville. Foster, the county judge, after examining the situation declared that Ames had
not been maltreated by the sheriff. To restart the school, which had been make considerable
progress, Stevenson visited Hallettsville. After assessing the situation, he concluded that
Ames had forfeited the respect of the "White Union people" and the freedmen. He cited the
fact that Ames had difficulty raising bail as evidence of "what esteem he is held by them
[the community]" and the fact that Ames had been living with a black woman, which
"naturally" engendered much feeling against him. He believed that such "strong feeling"
against Ames existed that should the matter come to trial, he would receive the maximum
punishment. He recommended that the prosecuting attorney be encouraged to drop the case,
but withdrew any further support for Ames as a teacher in the future.29
Stevenson had to deal with another serious allegation against the instructor of
the freedmen's school in Alleyton, N. B. Roach, who was charged with fornication.
Stevenson believed that the charge was "purely malicious" and hoped that the case would
go immediately to trial. However, the case was continued. Soon, a group of men threatened
Roach's life. Stevenson moved to prosecute, but was dissuaded by the brother of one of the
individuals who had threatened Roach. This man offered to guarantee Roach's safety if
Stevenson dropped the matter. Roach agreed and the complaint was withdrawn. Soon,
however, additional threats were made. Stevenson blamed the district attorney for not
trying or dismissing the case, as Roach was under bond.30
28 Louis W. Stevenson to J. P. Richardson, May 2, 1868, Assistant Commissioner, Letters Received,
S-194; A. K. Foster to Stevenson, April 15, 1868, Field Records, vol. 71, p. 60; Tate Williams to Stevenson,
April 16, 1868, Field Records, vol. 71, p. 80; Hugh Ames to Richardson, April 26?, 1868, Field Records, vol.
71, p. 68, all in BRFAL, RG 105, National Archives.
29 A. K. Foster to Louis W. Stevenson, April 30, 1868, Field Records, vol. 71, p. 76; Stevenson to
J. P. Richardson, April 23, 1868, Assistant Commissioner, Letters Received, S- 188; Stevenson to Richardson,
May 2, 1868, Assistant Commissioner, Letters Received, S-194, all in BRFAL, RG 105, National Archives.
30 Louis W. Stevenson to Charles A. Vernou, October 31, 1868, Assistant Commissioner, Operations
Reports, S-326, BRFAL, RG 105, National Archives.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998, periodical, January 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151402/m1/15/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.