Joint Committee to Investigate the Georgia Penitentiaries

Testimony of Hubbard Cureton and James Maxwell as asked by Henry M Turner

The Barbarism of Governor Bullock’s Chain Gang Slavery Exhibited from the Proceedings of the Joint Committee Appointed to Investigate the Condition of the Georgia Penitentiaries, Found in An Appeal to Loyal Religious People in Behalf of Kentucky (pp7-8)

May 5, 1870

Q. by Hon. Henry M Turner—Was any blacksmith work done on Sunday?

Ans.—Every Sunday

Q.—Did you get pay for Sunday and night work?

Ans.—No, no one was paid while I was there

Q.—Were there any women worked on the Brunswick Railroad?

Ans.—Yes; nineteen or twenty

Q.—Were they whipped on the bare skin?

Ans.—Yes; I saw their bare skin myself.

Q.—On what part of the body were they whipped?

Ans.—On the butt, and in the presence of the men.

Q.—Out on the works were the women required to wait on the calls of nature in the presence of the men?

Ans—Yes; they were required to do their BUSINESS right in the CUT where they worked, the same as the men did. It was taken out in wheelbarrows and carts.

Q.—Were the white and colored women mixed together?

Ans.-There were no white women there. One started there, and I heard Mr. Alexander say he turned her loose.

Q.—Did they have a doctor there?


Q.—What was his name?

Ans.—Dr. Griffin.

Q.—Were prisoners sent away from the work sick?

Ans.—Yes; they were sent to the stockade and put on the chain, by the doctor.

Q.—Do you know whether or not an inquest was held over the body of Roberson?

Ans.—There was not. I was there, and saw him put in the box.

Q.—Did you see Aaron whipped?

Ans.—I did; with the double strap. They stripped him stark naked and tied him with the shackles around the crosstie and then stretched him out, with his belly down on the crossties. He fell off and was then whipped on the privates. As we were going home at night he stopped and said, “Good-bye boys, I am going to die.” DeVancy then said, “If you want to die, I’ll help you.” He then whipped him about ten minutes, when he fell dead. He was buried just about day the next morning.

Q.—Did you ever know other convicts die from the effect of whipping?

Ans.—Yes; Smokey, alias Raney, four days after being whipped.

James Maxwell sworn.

Q.—Were prisoners required to work nights and Sundays?

Ans.—Yes; the carpenters and blacksmiths. Women were required to answer the calls of nature while they were at work.

Q.—How were the sick taken care of?

Ans.—They were sent to the hospital, but not taken care of as sick persons. I saw Dr. Griffin beat a man in there once with a big stick, who died in ten minutes afterwards. There was no inquest held over the body. I made the box and helped to put him in.

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