Testimony taken by


to inquire into

Volume I Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872

Reuben Bryant sworn and examined by the chairman.
Question: In what part of this county do you live?Answer: On the lower side.
Question: In what township?Answer: Pacolet Depot Township.
Question: What do you follow there?Answer: Farming.
Question: How long have you lived in this county?Answer: Ever since I was 
Question: How old are you?
Answer: I shall be 67 years old on the 16th of October, if I live to see it;
so my parents say; 67 or 68.
Question: Have the Ku Klux been at your  house at any time?
Answer: Yes sir; they call themselves Ku Klux.
Question: Proceed and state to the committee all that occurred at that time 
nd when it was.
Answer: It was the last of last May. It was the same night they were at  
General Bates and was somewhere about the last of May  I cannot tell the 
exact day of the month. I didn't expect to be called, and I didn't memorize 
Question: Go on and tell what they did and said.
Answer: They came sometime after midnight. When I found them out they had 
the house surrounded, and they hallooed and told me they wanted some guns, 
and if I would get up and give the guns to them they wouldn't hurt me; and 
if I did not they intended to have them. I told them if they promised not 
to hurt me I would get up and give them the guns. I knew that if they 
intended to have them they would have them.
Question: What guns had you there?
Answer: It was a couple of  United States guns that my son had brought 
there for me and my tenant. I had them wrapped up securely. They have to 
be wrapped up securely. I never shot them at all. One was upstairs and the 
other downstairs, to be there if I wanted to use it at any time.  I gave 
them the first one, the one I really claim. I didn't consider it his, but 
it was in my care. I told them I claimed no other.  They told me I was a 
God damned liar. That there was another gun there, and they intended to 
have both. They didn't come into the house. I had given them one, and the 
other I had, and blundered up for the other; they wouldn't let me get a 
Question: Was that all that occurred with them at that time?

Answer: They didn't hurt me at that time. They talked, some of them, very 
Question: What did they say?
Answer: They cursed me when I opened the door; the one I call the captain 
and another man was standing on one side and the other the other, and he 
seemed to be very boisterous and called me a God damn old hypocrite and a 
traitor and a turncoat; the captain  I called  him that  took notice; none 
of the rest did. He appeared to be a moderator; he tried to keep order; he 
said he had always heard I was a gentleman. He had always understood I was 
a gentleman and I should not be hurt. 
Question: Was this all that occurred?
Answer: Do you want all the talk that I can recollect that they said?
Question: Tell us all they said and did, without special questions.
Answer: They told me I must go and have my name registered in The Spartan; 
that I was a Democrat; I had always been a Democrat; and when my son came 
out as a Republican candidate, of course I voted for him. I voted the 
Republican ticket that time only, and it was an easy matter to do that, 
because I had always been a Democrat; that had been my principles; they 
said they intended to kill my son just as certain as he was then living or 
anything could be, if he did not go immediately and announce his principles 
nd have it published in the paper; they said nothing was any surer than that they were certain to kill him.
Question: What son?Answer: The only son I had then. Dr. Javan Bryant.
Question: Had he been a candidate for the legislature?Answer: Yes sir.
Question: In pursuance of that did you publish a notice in the paper?
Answer: I sent up a little notice: "This is to certify I have always been a 
friend of my country and a Democrat in principle, although I did at the last election vote a Republican ticket."
Question: Would you have done that if it had not been for this visit and 
Answer: By no means; and when I came to this place I was advised by one of 
the prominent lawyers not to do it; that they all knew my principles and 
did not blame me a bit for voting for my son.
Question: What motive led you to make this publication?
Answer: They said they would visit me again and play hob with me if I did 
Question: Was it the apprehension of that?
Answer: Yes sir; I didn't want to be killed; it was very easy for them to 
do it, and I would not have belied my conscience hardly to have saved my 
Question: How many of these men were there?
Answer: I could not tell you, if was to guess; they were all around the 
house besides those before the door. 
Question: How were they dressed?
Answer: It was in the night; they seemed to be one  color and  another; 
the one I called captain was spotted all over. The one who stood by was the 
one who talked so impudently.  
Question:  Did you recognize any of them?
Answer:  I couldn't swear positively to any of them. I could tell you who I 
believed this one was who talked so mean and impudent. Would that do any 
Question:  Tell us why you believe so.
Answer: You see they all talked somewhat Irish.  The captain made very good 
Irish in his speech. The others would disguise their speech this way and 
that way;  they were not so well trained in it. They asked me where I got 
the guns, and how. I told them, and this one spoke and says, "what is the 
reason he didn't give them to me." And then he spoke in his own language 
that word. 
Question:  Did you recognize him from that?

Answer: I can tell you who I believe he was; but will I not be in danger? I 
have not told anybody yet.
Question:  That is for you to judge.
Answer:  They might come and devour me. (pausing). I don't want to pull 
down a sword upon my own head. They have got the one I believe was there 
already indicted for Ku Kluxing at another place, bound over to court.  
That is one I believe it was. It is for his conduct at another place the 
same night.
Question:  I think you had better give us the name.
Answer:  But you'll publish it, won't you?
Question: It will be in the testimony when it is published.
Answer:  I cannot swear positively to him, understand that. I tell you he 
spoke in his own language one word, and his behavior and his general talk 
comported with the man I believe it was and his size and all.
Question:  Is that the only one you recognized?
Answer: Yes sir. I suppose I am sworn to tell my opinion.
Question:  You are sworn to tell the whole truth about it.
Answer: I believe it was John Vandiver. He is indicted for going into 
General Bates house the same night.
They recognized him, and he is now bound over for it. 
Question: Was this the same night that the visit was made to General Bates 
Answer: Yes sir so I understand. I was not at General Bates.
Question: Was this the only visit they ever made to your house?
Answer: The only visit they ever made that I know of; that I am sure of; 
but I believe they were there another night, a portion of them; but I didn't
see them.
Question:  Were you at home the second night?Answer: No sir.
Question: Where were you?
Answer: I was lying out in the woods, if you want to hear the truth, trying
 to save my life, and my wife too. I had no other family.
Question: What took you to the woods?
Answer: I was afraid they would come and devour me.
Question: Had there been any threat made?
Answer: They threatened that night that they would give me four days to do 
it, and some prominent friends advised me not to. They said my politics 
were so well known, and I didn't have my name put in that paper, and the 
four days had expired, and I was afraid. If they had asked I would have 
give them everything I had in the house.  
Question: You say your wife lay out?Answer:  Yes sir.Question:  How old is 
Answer: 26.Question: A young wife? (note: Joanna Harvey)
Answer: Yes sir; and as right and fine a woman as any, I reckon. She has 
brought me a fine son (note: Edward Green Bryant) since that time, just a 
few nights after that. She was in a bad fix to see that awful looking gang 
there that night.
Question: Are there other people in your neighborhood who have been lying 
in the woods?
Answer: The neighborhood, sir, is generally under the dread and fear, if 
you can believe what they say. I believe what I have heard them say of the 
Ku Klux. You see I live on the road, and they pass there frequently, right 
along my house.
Question: Have you seen the Ku Klux pass?
Answer: I have seen men pass I believed were them.
Question: But when they were in disguise, riding as such?
Answer:  No sir. I didn't see them in disguise.
Question: Who did you refer to as passing along the road?
Answer:  Those that they said were Ku Klux.
Question:  Have there been many instances of people lying out in the woods?
Answer: I have heard of many, very many, instances.  They said General Bates 
laid out for weeks previous to this, afraid to be in his own house.  But 
this is only what I have heard. I have told you all that I know myself.
Question: Have people told you they laid in the woods for this reason?
Answer: I have heard it rumored all around.  I have an old neighbor between 
80 and 90 years old, as he says  he lives almost in sight of me  as harmless
a man as there is in the state, a hard working old man. His children have 
all left him to work for his living in his old age. These men went there 
and threatened to shoot the poor old man, and abused him tremendously. 
Question: Who was that man?
Answer: Joseph Harvey. His daughter wanted to know what they wanted. She 
said they had done no harm. One of them said, "It is that damn old father 
of yours we are after." She turned and hallooed and screamed, and the old 
man raised up in bed; but she kept between them and him, and begged so 
powerfully, though they cursed a great deal, they didn't hurt her. This I 
had from them.

Transcribed by:

Glenna Bryant Kinard
540 Gleneagles Ct.
Lithonia, Ga. 30058