The Florida in the Civil War Message Board

Post war violence in Walton Co.

Walton Co. definitely contained some rough elements after the war. In the run-up to the November 1867 election for delegates to a state constitutional convention under the Congressional Reconstruction plan (an election largely boycotted by Democrats), Jackson County's Freedmen's Bureau officer (and later Congressman) Charles M. Hamilton and prominent African American leader Emanuel Fortune ventured over to Walton County to organize potential voters. Fortune relates the following anecdote in his testimony in late 1871 during the Congressional "Ku Klux Klan" hearings:
"I went with Colonel Hamilton to Walton County to inform the people there of the constitutional convention, and to get the republicans there to go in favor of the convention. He and I went into the court-house; the audience, of course, were generally back country people, very poor people. After the meeting, at which he and I both spoke, we were informed that while speaking there was some disposition for a disturbance. After the meeting we all dispersed, and in going to the hotel some colored men came to us, and we were advising them what to do on the day of election. After they came several more came, and there was a right good bunch around us, some eight or ten. The white fellows, who were off at a store not very far off, got very bitter about it, as they did not want us to communicate with them at all. They came hustling up toward us, and Colonel Hamilton, I suppose, got mad, for he spoke very abruptly to them. They pitched right in for a fight, and there was quite a scuffle. Men were going to cut him in the back, but I kept them off. One picked up a rail and it broke in two, and they turned and fled. It all ended by his tripping in the wild grass, and this fellow got on him and choked him. That ended the fight, because he considered that he had the best of it."

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Post-War Battle in Walton County
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