A condition of ill-feeling.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

State v. Shadrach Manuel, 72 NC 201 (1875).

This indictment for malicious mischief was tried in Cumberland Superior Court.

At trial, the State introduced evidence of the “condition of ill-feeling” between Shadrach Manuel and  Sylvia Jenkins. He had threatened injury to her person and property, and in August, 1873, he had killed a couple of her hogs and had chopped her ox on the hip with an axe, seriously wounding the animal, which had be stitched and was unable to work until he healed.  Also, her hogs and ox were in the habit of breaking into Manuel’s field of the defendant and injuring his crop, and he had complained to her and threatened to kill them if they did not stop.

Manuel argued in his defense that he could not have committed “malicious mischief” because  the ox had only been wounded and had recovered from its injuries, and thus was not destroyed.  Manuel was convicted and appealed to the State Supreme Court, which held that malicious wounding of cattle, short of destruction, is not an indictable offence at common law. Judgment reversed.

In the 1870 census of Flea Hill, Cumberland County: Shadrack Manuel, 48, farmer, wife Sarah, 36, and children Martha J., 17, Dolphus W., 13, Fredrick B., 10, Shadrack, 7, John M., 5, Mary M., 3, and Elizabeth A., 6 months.  [Sidenote: Shadrach Manuel cannot be definitively identified in the pre-War censuses, but he is is likely to have been a member of one of the free colored Manuel families of Cumberland or Sampson County.]