The College and Reconstruction 49
the Society adjourned in order, and the members thronged around
Ramseur, who was on the floor when the call came, and offered to
rescue him from the officers and help him escape. Ramseur, however,
begged them to desist and went with the officers, casting a last
lingering look at the old College Building as he was departing
surrounded by six rusty bayonets in a conveyance called a hack. He
was carried first to Raleigh, and there charged with murder, and sent
to Columbia, South Carolina, since it was alleged that the crime was
committed there. In reality he was arrested because he had been
reported by a traitor as being a member of the Ku Klux in his native
county of Cleveland, and it was on this charge, technically, being a
conspirator, that he was tried, when he was brought before Judge
Hugh L. Bond in the Federal court then sitting in Charleston. He was
found guilty by a jury consisting of eleven negroes and one white
man, and sentenced by Judge Bond to serve eight years at hard labor
in the prison at Albany, and to pay a fine of 81,000. He reached the
Albany prison June 22, 1872, chose coffin-making as his
"profession," and worked at that until January 18, 1873, when he was
released by pardon.5
Soon after Ramseur began his prison sentence, Professor Charles E.
Taylor, who had been at the College only a year, began to work to
secure his relase. In this he seems to have had the support of former
Governor W. W. Holden.6 It was, however, the personal appeal of Dr.
Taylor to President U. S. Grant that
5 See The Papers of Randolph Abbott Shotwell, published by the North Carolina
Historical Commission, III, 225, and Appendix. Shotwell states that Ramseur along
with 20 other citizens of South Carolina was "convicted for political purposes by
Judge Bond's Star Chamber Court at Columbia." Ramseur himself, whose trial was
deferred on acount of his illness, says in an article "From College to Prison," in the
Wake Forest Student, II, 193 ff., that his trial was in Charleston.
6 News Item in the Biblical Recorder, October 2, 1872. "Ku Klux Convicts.
Attorney General Williams says that the cases of the Ku Klux convicts now in
Albany penitentiary will be examined separately, and those who were mere dupes
and victims will probably be pardoned. Gov. Holden is investigating the case of the
young Ramsour (sic), and hopes to secure pardon for him, if proofs of his innocency
can be obtained; but those desiring pardons should keep their cases entirely free
from all entanglements with party politics."
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