Thursday, June 29, 2017

A brutal beating

I ran across this story almost by accident.  I had been to the Madison County court archives in the Huntsville library to look up another court case.  I knew the Rumps had lived here so I looked them up in the index of "loose papers" and found the names of 3 of my ancestors.  There was a lengthy deposition of a civil case, Augustus Rump vs. George Moore et al., and there were some grand jury findings (not sure of the legal term) saying my Augustus (my 4th great-grandfather), Sophia (4th great-grandmother), and Fred (3rd-great-grandfather) had been beaten by these men.  There was also an order that apparently said Augustus was liable for court costs for Mr. Moore, which I think means he lost the civil case.  (If someone can verify the legalese I'd be grateful.)

Back row: Fred, Johanna, Will Rump
Front row: Sophia and Augustus
These documents led to a discovery of a newspaper article (thanks to a kind soul on Facebook's Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness).
Oct. 23, 1881 story from the Montgomery Advertiser describing the event.
Here are my transcriptions of the documents.  A. C. W. is Augustus Christian Wilhelm Rump (1862-1923), a German sailor who immigrated about 1867.  (That is a story in itself.)  Anna or Sophia is Anna Sophia Diederike Hinrichs who came in 1868 with the first three children.  Fred is their son Friedrich or Frederick, who was brought to America at about age 5.

By the way, please feel free to comment if you have any information to contribute.

The State of Alabama -- Madison County

Before me, WILLIAM RICHARDSON, Judge of said Court, this day personally appeared A. C. W. Rump and made oath that he has probable cause for believing and does believe, that before the filing of this complaint,
Joseph Hambrick and George Moore did assault and beat affiant with a piece [?] of wood

17 Oct 188[1] [year unclear]

The State of Alabama -- Madison County
Circuit Court, February Term, 1882
The grand jury of said county charge, that before the finding of this Indictment, James Soloman did assault and beat Mrs. Sophia Rump.


The State of Alabama -- Madison County
Circuit Court, February Term, 1882
The grand jury of said county charge, that before the finding of this Indictment, James Soloman did assault and beat Fred Rump with a cow hide stick or whip having in his possession at the time a gun with the intent to intimidate the said Fred Rump and prevent him from defending himself.

Augustus Rump
Geo. F. Moore, [?]
Duty[?] to Mary & Martha Webster
Filed the 31st day of January 1881
Thomas J Taylor
Clk CC
The State of Alabama, Madison County, In the Circuit Court
Augustus Rump, Plaintiff
George F. Moore, et als, Defendants

Cross-interrogation profounded by the defendants to Mary Webster and Martha Webster, witnesses for plaintiff, to whom interrogatories-in-chief have been profounded.
[list of questions]
Brandon Cooper, atty for defdts.

Plaintiff nominates John Cooper Esqr and Lewis Thornton Esr or either of them of Tuscumbia Alabama to take the deposition of Anna S Rump
David P Lewis atty for plff
Leslie Thomas J Taylor MCC (?)

The State of Alabama
Colbert County
The deposition of Anna S Rump a witness sworn on the 15 day Feby. 1882 at Tuscumbia in said state & a certain cause therein deciding between Augustus Rump Deff. & George Moore et al. Dfdt.  The said Anna S. Rump being first duly sworn….
I am the wife of Augustus Rump.  In October 1881 a party of men seven or eight pushed open the door of my house I was in and some of them came to the bed side.  I began to cry out.  They told me to hush & asked where my husband was.  My husband got up & got in to a bed with the children.  Some of the party who came in then said let us go upstairs & another replied let us light a match.  Some of these struck a match & saw my husband in the bed with the children they then pulled him out of the children’s bed, breaking some of the slats in the effort.  I got up & made a light & looked out of the door & saw a main pointing a gun in the house.  I called out to  my son who was up stairs.  He came down & his father called on him for help & he replied he could do nothing but plead.  He went on the porch & they took him also.  My son started out of the front door first but seeing the man with the gun there, went out of the back door on the porch.  The men took my husband & son off.  I started to follow but one of them caught me by the arm & slapped my mout.  I told him I felt like I would die.  He said he would stay there with me.  He pulled his mask or disguise off of his face & asked me if I knew or had ever seen him before.  He said he was from Tennessee & that “this has cost me $500 already.”  I kept on calling on the party to bring my husband back, but the man with me would not let me halloo & told me to hush, that they were not going to hurt my husband much, that he himself would ---- for all he could & then ----- again.  We went a piece in the lawn & I kept on about my husband saying I wished they would bring him back.  The man said they would bring him back, they would not hurt him much, that as soon as he would whistle they would bring him back.  I kept on about my husband & the man said well, he would go on up the road a piece with me if I wished him to be paid he would act like a gentleman with me if I loved him like he loved me.  Then I went back to the house & told the children to put on their clothes & go with me.  The man told me I had better be quiet.  Then he went off to where the others went.  I went to next neighbors & for two young ladies Misses Webster to go home with me when I got back they had brought my husband back & were standing around the house.  The man who called himself “Tennessee Man” said it was my talking that [done?] it.  I had said nothing except to tell some of my neighbors that George Moore had tried to pull my husband off his horse to whip him.  After this was over, the man called “Tennessee Man” came back to where I was with my husband in the house & told me if I ever told anything of this they would come back & do something to me.  They had taken our ??? out which they had, but put it back saying they had stolen nothing.  When my son came back his face was swelled up & he was crying.  I asked him if the men had hurt him.  He said they did.  I saw big stripes & lumps on his back & shoulder blade.  My husband looked very badly too.  He had great big stripes all over his back too.  The stripes were bloody.  They had taken him off bare footed.

To the 2nd Intterog. In chief she saith:
The man who came pulled my husband out of bed & took him barefooted.  My son off at the time I have said about the last of the month about 3 weeks in Oct. can’t tell time exactly.  Husband worked away & would come home ???? night, think it was about his 8” (8th)
Twice in Oct.  When my husband & son were brought back by these men who took them from the house they both had been badly beaten & had stripes from their shoulders down on them.  The man who caught son by the arm when I cried out slapped me in the mouth when I tried to cry aloud.

To the 3” Intng she saith
I was about 8 men in the house there were nine when they came back in the yard & I think three in the road.  I think in all twelve.

To the 4”...
After my husband was taken off I went to Mr. Websters.  Miss Mary & Martha Webster come home with me & Jos [?] Webster & Lee Allen came after I got back.

The men who committed the violence returned to the house before the ladies had come home with me.

We had all gone to bed before the men came.  It was about 15 minutes before one [?] o’clock in the night.

My husband had gone to bed when these men came & asked where he was & took him out from the bed & from the house.

When in the house they didn’t say anything about what they were going to do, but said where is he light match & spoke of going up stairs.  There were about 12 of them.

9” I don’t recollect anything now not told of.

Some notes on this story:
  • I have only seen her listed as Sophia or Sophie in the American records so it is nice to corroborate her first name Anna that is in the German records.
  • I did not know Augustus worked for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.  This perhaps explains why they moved around quite a bit--in the 1870 census they are listed in both Morgan County (Valhermoso Springs) and Huntsville city.  Shortly thereafter they were in the Big Cove community of Madison County (quite coincidentally about a mile from where I live now).  By the 1880's they were in Tuscumbia.  The newspaper states this happened in Huntsville in 1881 but the deposition was apparently taken in Tuscumbia.
  • It is quite interesting to find a story like this and learn so many details of something that happened over 130 years ago that no one in the family even knew about.
  • On the other hand it is quite disturbing that my ancestors were treated this brutally.  (I guess it could have been worse.)
  • A granddaughter of one of Fred's sisters has passed along a family story that Sophia would not let anyone in the family speak German.  Perhaps she didn't want them to be mistreated as foreigners.  (This is just speculation, I have no idea what prompted the incident.)
  • It's kind of funny to me that the kind wanted it known he was from Tennessee so she calls him "Tennessee Man".
  •  This quote is really creepy if Tennessee Man is referring to himself ("I kept on about my husband & the man said well, he would go on up the road a piece with me if I wished him to be paid he would act like a gentleman with me if I loved him like he loved me.")  --or is he referring to her husband?

1 comment:

  1. Follow-up story here: