Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Category: Crime

He should have been hung.

A pardoned villain. A fellow named Carroll, a free negro, has been arrested and imprisoned for horse-stealing in Wake county, N.C. This is the third offence. According to law he should have been hung for the second offence, but escaped, in consequence of some technical discrepancy in the proceedings. – He runs a slim chance of escape in the present instance; and surely if the penalty is strictly agreeable to the turpitude of his crime, he deserves it, especially for the third offence; but for ourselves we never could perceive the reason, the justice or righteousness of the law in such cases. Horse-stealing we regard as a high misdemeanor, but one which can only deserve incarceration in a penitentiary. – What! Deprive a human being of life for a stealing a horse? Horrible.

The Newbernian and North Carolina Advocate, 26 August 1843.

He is guilty of assault; she, of murder.

On Tuesday, therefore, the criminal docket was taken up, when Lewis Chavers, a free man of color, was put upon his trial for an assault and battery on Mr. Drury Kemp, a white man. Chavers was found guilty of the assault, which was of an aggravated nature, and fined one hundred dollars, and ordered to be sold for the payment of the fine. …

On Thursday, Harriet Durham, (a free woman of color,) charged with the murder of Grace, a negro woman, the property of Mr. John Pennington, of this county, was put upon her trial, and pleaded not guilty. The evidence in this case was entirely circumstantial. It seemed, from the proofs, that the prisoner and the deceased slept together in the same log-cabin; that on the night the murder was committed several of the witnesses were in the cabin with the prisoner and the deceased, and that they observed the signs of ill will between them; that the witnesses left the cabin about midnight; that next morning, about sun-up, one of the witnesses discovered the deceased lying in the jam of the chimney outside the cabin, with her skull broken; that the prisoner was interrogated by the witness before the body was found, as to where the deceased was, and that the prisoner said she did not know, but that somebody had called upon the deceased that night in a low voice, and asked her to come out of the cabin and go to a certain place; that another witness, after the body was found, told the prisoner she might as well confess herself the murderer, for she would have it to do; that the prisoner was afterwards asked why she had killed Grace, and that she answered because Grace had threatened to kill her; that the prisoner admitted she had struck the deceased two blows with a very heavy iron pestle, which caused her death. It was further in evidence that there was no way of getting into the cabin but through the door, which was fastened inside every night with a strong pin; that the iron pestle, which had been rusty and out of use before, was found that morning bearing the marks of having been scoured in the ashes; that blood was sprinkled upon the bed-clothing, on the floor, and upon the walls and loft of the cabin; that there was blood upon the door-sill, and evidence upon the ground outside the door of some one’s having been dragged upon it; that part of the bed-clothing had been washed, and that the blood had dried upon them in circles; that they were scortched in some places, and a portion of an old rug, the property of the deceased, cut out and hid or destroyed. This was the substance of the evidence on the part of the State. The prisoner offered no evidence. The case was opened by Hugh McQueen, Esq., for the prisoner; he was replied to by the Attorney General, and as the prisoner offered no testimony, was entitled to the concluding argument. This argument was more upon the facts than his opening speech, and was consequently extended to greater length; and we believe the opinion of all who heard it was that it eminently sustained his reputation for ability and ingenuity. The verdict of the Jury was, Guilty.

The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh), 12 April 1843.

 

The proof was point-blank.

Grandison, a free boy of color, was out upon trial charged with larceny for entering in the night-time and robbing a store of Mr. S.J. Rickert, of this place, of money and merchandise a few months ago. The proof was point-blank, and Grandison was sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes on his bare-back at this time, be imprisoned ‘till May term, and then receive thirty-nine lashes and be discharged.

Iredell Express (Statesville), 15 April 1859.

In the 1860 census of Iredell County, South of the River, 20 year-old Grandison, no last name, is listed in the household of white farmer James A. Kennedy, working as a servant. He is also noted as a convict.

Blows inflicted.

CORONER’S INQUEST.

Coroner H.R. Perkin held an inquest yesterday (Sunday) morning, at the Restaurant of Mr Morrell on Front Street, over the body of a free boy named James White who died very suddenly after a fight with another negro named George Holden. From the evidence brought before the Jury it appears that White was in the employ of Mr. Morrell, and that on Saturday evening about 6 ½ o’clock, whilst he was passing a door in the rear of the Restaurant, leading into a side alley, the negro boy Geo. Holden came up and was ordered off by the deceased; some words passed between them, when George struck White, and a scuffle then took place in the alley. They parted, and White returned to the door from whence the fight commenced, (George running off down the alley towards the river,) took his seat on a pair of steps and in a few moments fell forward and died in about fifteen minutes. A small bruised place being observed on the left side, a post mortem examination was made by Dr. A. R. Medway, assisted by several other Surgeons, when it was found that White’s spleen was enlarged to such an extent that when the blow was given by George, the spleen ruptured thereby producing death.

In consideration with above fact, the verdict of the Jury was that the deceased came to his death from blows inflicted by George Holden.

George made his escape immediately after giving the blow, and is still at large. George is a slave, and belongs to Mr. Thos. Holden, of this town. White was a free boy, and is said came from Kittrell’s Springs. It may not be improper to say that there was an old grudge between the two boys, which led to the fight on Saturday night. – Daily Journal, 26th inst.

North Carolina Argus (Wadesboro), 29 October 1863.

Not guilty.

New Hanover Superior Court. – Last week the Spring term of the Superior Court for this county was held in this town – his Honor Judge Dick, presided. The only case which created any public interest, was the trial of John Martin (a free Mulatto) and Menus Stow (a Slave,) for the murder of Edward Kinsley, in December last. This case occupied the attention of the Court from Thursday morning till Friday afternoon about 5 o’clock. The Jury, after retiring for about half an hour, returned a verdict of “not guilty,” whereupon the prisoners were set at liberty.

Wilmington Journal, 1 May 1846.

With the intention of holding her as a slave.

HABEAS CORPUS CASE. – Yesterday forenoon, His Honor Judge Person, had Elizabeth Post, a free woman of color, brought before him on a writ of habeas corpus, the facts as we learn them, being, that Elizabeth was sold or hired out for a term of years, by the court of Cumberland county, and her term of the balance of it, was assigned by the original hirer or purchaser, to James Bryant of Bladen county. Day before yesterday said Bryant brought the woman down to Wilmington on board one of the steamboats, on the Cape Fear, and during the passage down she overheard some conversation, leading her to believe that it was designed to carry her out of the State with the supposed intention of holding her as a slave. On a representation of the facts to His honor, he issued a writ for the production of the woman, when upon an examination of the case it appeared beyond question that she was a free woman, and she was consequently set at liberty. We believe she was found on board the Manchester cars. No one appeared to contest her claim. – Wilmington Journal.

Weekly Raleigh Register, 9 December 1857.

Two Washington Tabourns?

Horse Stealing. — Washington Taborn, a free coloured man, has been committed to the jail of Moore county, charged with having stolen the horse of Mr. Isham Sims, of this county — the same that was recently advertised in this paper. Taborn having been once tried and found guilty of a similar offense, a second conviction will sibject him to the punishment of death!Ral. Register.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 30 September 1830.

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Washington Taburn, a free negro, who was sentenced to be hung in Granville county, and who effected his escape last Spring, has been apprehended in Northampton county, and committed to jail.

The North-Carolina Star, 27 September 1833.

Blame it on the grog shop!

Attempt to Murder. – On Monday evening last, the citizens of the heart of our town were alarmed by loud cries of Murder! On repairing to the spot, it was found that a coloured man named Ephraim Hammond, had been struck on the head with a brick, by which his skull was shockingly fractured. Suspicion having attached to two white men, named Frederick Jones and Allen Rowell, they were taken up, and after examination, fully committed for trial. There is little or no hope of Hammond’s surviving the injury.

It would be improper to detail any of the circumstances connected with this horrid affair, except to state, that it appears to have been produced by an occurrence on the same evening, at a gambling table at one of those sinks of iniquity, a Grog shop! kept by one of the prisoners, and in the same building recently occupied by Wm. M. Anderson, who, only six weeks ago, vacated it to take up his abode in Jail for the murder of Madison Allen.

When will our County Court do its duty towards the suppression of these nuisances? – Fayetteville Observer.

The People’s Press (Wilmington), 2 February 1838.

Carried off by a mulatto hauling corn.

Two Hundred Dollars Reward.

RANAWAY on the 18th September, my negro woman JENNY, aged about 28 years, abot 5 feet high, dark complexion, looks surly unless spoken to, at which time she is very pleasant. She ranaway sometime previous and was taken up in Robeson county, N. Carolina, in the neighborhood of Shoe Heel Depot, working about under the pretence of being free. She was carried off by one Lewis Oxendine, a mulatto who was hauling corn at that time, from my plantation. I will give the above reward for her delivery to me or in any Jail so that I get her. I will give one hundred dollars more for proof sufficient to convict any person of harboring her.

My address in Brownsville Post Office, Marlborough District, South Carolina. JOHN A. HODGES. Dec. 6, 1863.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 28 March 1864.

One harbored slaves, the other drove away with them.

A negro named Noah C. Hanson charged with harboring two runaway slaves last summer, the property of the Hon. Walter Colcock, was tried in the criminal Court at Washington on Saturday and found guilty. He was fined 1000 dollars and to stand committed until the same was paid.

The Old North State (Elizabeth City), 15 March 1851.

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Warner Harris, free colored, for driving away Chaplin’s carriage containing the two slaves belonging to Messrs. Stephens and Toombs, was ordered to pay a fine of $150 in each case.

The Old North State (Elizabeth City), 15 March 1851.