Letter to Governor Patton in 1866 - "Do not want you to show your face"

From the Gov. Robert M. Patton Administrative Files, 1866 November Correspondence, SG023023, Folder 28
Transcribed by Peter J. Gossett

Florence Ala Nov 3 1866
His Excellency
Gov. R M Patton

I deem it proper to inform you that I have received a letter, of which the following is a true copy:

"Winston County Alabama"
"William Wood
So Called Judge
Of the 4th Judicial Circuit of Alabama
We the Loyal Citizens of said County do hereby notify you not to attend the Circuit Court at Houston to be held the first Monday in November next, for we positively do not want you to show your face here in our loyal County."

I had previously heard through gentlemen acquainted with the population of that county that I would not be suffered to hold a Court there, and that my life would be in danger if I went into the County, but I had determined to go any how, until I received this communication. And having good reason to believe that although no names are signed to it, it contains the sentiments of a large number of the people residing in that County. I deemed it prudent to accept the advice of a number of gentlemen of the bar, and other citizens, and not to attempt to hold a court.
The letter was received yesterday, and the time appointed for holding the court next Monday, which does not give me time to communicate with you, and ask for Military Aid. Besides, I regard it as better for the peace and welfare of the country, that there should be no courts rather than hold them under the protection of the bayonet_ at least in that County.
No great injury can result from the failure to hold Court, as there are not a dozen cases on the docket, and most of them of a trifling nature, as I am informed.
Similar letters have been sent I am informed, to members of the bar, forewarning them not to attend Court.
This County was organized about ten years ago. They have not yet built a Court House, Jail, or Offices for Probate Judge or Circuit Clerk. There is but one house as I am informed at the place called Houston, and it is a mere mockery to attempt to hold a Court there.

I have the honor to be
Very Respectfully
Your obt Sevt
W.B. Wood
Judge 4 Judicial Circuit

I enclose you the original letter.

Florence Nov 3, 1866
Hon W B Wood.
Is forewarned by
Lawful men not to
Attempt to hold the
Circuit ct of Wins-
ton County