Coroner's Inquistions
 1919 - 1931
Transcribed and contributed by Edith Greisser



AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 8th day of June A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty four before E. M. Evans, Magistrate,, upon view of the body of MARCELLUS DAVIS of Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of C. F. Lathan foreman, H. D. Havird, W. S. Cameron, T. S. Shealy, D. D. Darby and J. P. Halfacre being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the state of South Carolina, where and by what means the said MARCELLUS DAVIS came to his death, upon their oaths, do say the said MARCELLUS DAVIS came to his death by a gunshot wound inflicted by Mabel Gowdy. And so the jurors upon their oaths aforesaid do say that the aforesaid Marcellus Davis came to his death in the manner and means aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, E. M. Evans Coroner, aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

/s/ E. M. Evans, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ C. F. Lathan, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ H. D. Havird (L.S.)                                                          /s/ J. P. Halfacre (L.S.)

/s/ W. S. Cameron (L.S.)             /s/ D. D. Darby (L.S.)                   /s/ T. S. Shealy (L.S.)                     


JOHN ADAMS died in Greenwood hospital as a result of injuries inflicted by his wife with a shot gun.

Coroner E.M. Evans went to Chappells Tuesday morning and held the inquest over the dead body of John Adams who died Monday in the Greenwood Hospital from a gun shot wound. The jury’s verdict was that John Adams came to his death from a gunshot wound inflicted by Ellen Leake.

Following is the testimony:

EUNICE ALLEN sworn says:

I was with Sheriff Blease Friday morning when Ellen Leake came to us with her mother, near A. P. Coleman’s house. We went to Ellen Leake’s home with her and she told us that John Adams had been away from home Thursday night and when he came home they had a fuss. She said she asked him where he had been. He said he had been off attending to his businesses. She said that they started to fussing. [He] said he told her he would kill or cut her. I don’t remember her exact words. She said he had a knife. I asked her if he started toward her and she said, “Yes sir, and I shot him.” She did not say whether the knife was open or not. From where she said she was standing and from where she said he was standing was about ten feet. She said she went to her father’s house and hid the gun under his house. She said she had had the gun at her house all the time. She said it was a double barrel breach-loader.                  EUNICE ALLEN

TOM HAILSTOCK sworn says:

I live with Mr. A. P. Coleman. I was at home last Thursday night. I live in calling distance to where Ellen Leake and John Adams lived. I heard a gun shoot and I got up and went to the front door and later to the back door. Ellen Leake came by with the gun on her shoulder and I asked her who done that shooting. She said, “It was me. I shot him because I am tired of him running over me. There he is. You can go get him if you want to.” She went on towards her mama’s house. She did not say anything to me about him having knife and anything drawn on her. I went down there and he was in bed. I did not see any knife. When I got there Jack Speake was there. I never heard them have a fuss. I was with him the day before the shooting until that night. He never mentioned any trouble between them.       TOM HAILSTOCK

LOU HOPE sworn says:

I am the mother of Ellen Leake. They brought me John Adams’ clothes Sunday and carried him to the Greenwood Hospital. This knife was in his overall pocket. It was not wide open. My boy brought them to me. I never heard them have a fuss. But she told me they had a fuss before this, maybe three or four days ago. When she walked in the door she said, “Mama, I done shot Johnny.” After you all (Talking to the sheriff) had been to my house she came back here. The gun was Anthony’s. It was a family gun. Ellen carried it down there herself.                       LOU HOPE

ZACK SPEAKE sworn says:

I was staying at John Adams and Ellen Leake’s home last Thursday night. The first thing I heard about the fuss was when the gun shot (I was asleep). I heard Johnny calling me after the gunshot. He said, “Sister has shot me.” I asked him what it was about but he said nothing. She asked him where he had been. I said I reckon I’ll go about a doctor for him. He told me he didn’t want me to go and I asked him why. He said, “Ellen says she is going to shoot me.” I did not see any knife anywhere.  There was a dim light in the house. Ellen did not say anything to me. The door was open between the kitchen and where they stay at. I never knew them to have a fuss before.                    ZACK SPEAKE


This is to certify that John Adams came to his death from the effects of a gun shot wound inflicted June 19, 1924. I found on examination a large ragged wound in the right groin.                                  W. O. HOLLOWAY MD

The verdict of the jury was as follows:

John Adams came to his death from a gunshot wound inflicted at the hands of Ellen Leake on June 19, 1924. From the effects of same wound he died June 23, 1924.

The jury was composed of the following:

J. L. Fellers foreman, C. – Dominick, J. F. Sharpe, N. S. P---, J. J. Boazman and J. W. Stewart.



URIAH SHIFT sworn says:

I saw BANDER GARRETT in Dominick’s store. Ed Richardson came in and said, “Where are you going?” He then jerked me and hit me on the side of the head. Bander Garrett called Daisy and Ed Richardson commenced to shoot. He shot five times at Bander Garrett. One ball struck me in the arm. Bander Garrett was getting back when shot. I didn’t see anyone else with a pistol. Ed Richardson went away after the shooting.                       URIAH (X) SHIFT

DAISY DAVIS sworn says:

I saw Bander Garrett at Dominick’s store. Uriah Shift and me were talking to Bander Garrett. Ed Richardson came up and slapped Uriah Shift and jerked me. Bander Garrett said, “Don’t jerk her while I am talking to her.” Ed Richardson then made after his pistol in his pocket. They were close together when the shot was fired. I was standing about three feet away. I saw no [one] else with a pistol.                                                          DAISY DAVIS

J. F. MILLER sworn says:

I was standing at the back of the car talking to Eugene Teague when I heard the shots fired. After the shooting I ran around the car and saw a man on the ground. I went to him to see who it was. It was Bander Garrett. On examination I found no gun on or around him.                                                                   J. F. MILLER

RUSH BIRD sworn says:

Ed Richardson shot Bander Garrett. When Richardson was pushing Uriah Shift Bander Garrett said, “Ed, don’t be pushing that woman. She is not anything to you or me.” Then Ed stepped back and said, “What in the hell you got to do with it.” Garrett said, “I have nothing to do with it or you either.” Then Ed Richardson put his hand in his bosom. I then turned away. Then the pistol fired and I knew I was in 5 steps of that. I didn’t see anyone else draw a pistol.

                                                                                                    RUSH (X) BIRD

R. G. McGILL sworn says:

I saw Ed Richardson pass in front of the store going in the direction where the shooting took place. I saw the flash of the pistol – 2 shots fired rapidly then 3 more shots fired. I saw Bander Garrett run and fall. I heard no words between them.

                                                                                                    R. G. MCGILL

L. J. BROOKS sworn says:

I saw Ed Richardson go by the store. I heard 5 shots or more. It sounded to me and from the flash of the pistol that the shots came from more than one direction.                                                        LUTHER J. BROOKS

T. J. JOHNSON sworn says:

I was standing in front of Dominick’s store. I saw two women go to the water spigot. Bander Garrett and Rush Bird went in the same direction. In a few minutes Ed Richardson came along and went towards the women. I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. In a few minutes I heard the firing. After the shooting I saw Mr. Miller go to the spot and he searched to see if Bander Garrett was around and found he was not.    T. J. JOHNSON

M. W. OXNER sworn says:

I was standing on my porch and heard 8 or 10 shots fired.                                  M. W. OXNER

A. D. JOHNSON sworn says:

I saw the reflection of shots. I think there were at least 8 shots. Sounded to me like the shots came from different directions.                                                                                          A. D. JOHNSON

J. R. LATHROP sworn says:

To my best judgment there were 7 or 8 shots fired but I am sure there were 7 shots. J. R. LATHROP


I heard the shots last night. There were 7 or more.                                             VERNON BOBB


I heard 7 or 8 shots fired.                                                                        RICH ROBINSON



AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Kinards in the County and State aforesaid, the 17th day of August A. D., one thousand nine hundred and 24 before E. M. Evans, Magistrate,, upon view of the body of BANDER GARRETT of near Kinards then and there being dead by the oaths of J. F. Miller, A. D. Johnson, Jake Johnson, G. R. Johnson, Butler Campbell, John Johnson, G. B. Swygert being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the state of South Carolina, where and by what means the said BANDER GARRETT came to his death, upon their oaths, do say the said BANDER GARRETT came to his death by a gunshot wound inflicted by hands of Ed Richardson.. And so the jurors upon their oaths aforesaid do say that the aforesaid BANDER GARRETT came to his death in the manner and means aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, E. M. Evans Coroner, aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

/s/ E. M. Evans, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ A. D. Johnson (L.S.)               /s/ Jake Johnson (L.S.)                /s/ J. F. Miller, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ G. B. Swygert (L.S.)               /s/ John Johnson (L.S.)               /s/ Butler Campbell (L.S.)


J. P. PERRY sworn says:

I am an agent operator for the Southern RR at Peak (SC) and I held that position on the last Monday, Sept. 29, 1924. I made inquiry that day concerning where No. 66 was close on to 12:30 from the operator at Newberry. He said at Prosperity. Mr. Hedgepath, an extra gang foreman, for the Southern RR accompanied me to find out where the train was. When I came out of the office I called out “66 is at Prosperity”. This was about one-half minute after Mr. Hedgepath had asked me about inquiring. I did not see Mr. Hedgepath out there when I called out No. 66 was at prosperity. There was a big crowd out there. I saw Mr. Dailey standing there by his motor car when I made this statement. There were a big crowd of whites and Negroes standing around. Mr. Dailey was in hearing distance of me and he could have heard this statement. Mr. Hedgepath had asked me this same question about the same time every day for about a week and I thought he was going up the track to lay rails. If the train had been at Prosperity as reported I think Mr. Hedgepath or Mr. Dailey would have had time to have gotten to Pomaria before the train did. I got this information for Mr. Hedgepath and he did not ask me anything about an extra train and no one else asked me.

Question by Mr. Lefler:      Wasn’t it more liable for an extra train to come in about that time of day than it was for ‘66’?

Answer:        Yes, I believe so.

Q. The records show that’66’ left Prosperity at 11:54. Do you suppose that those people on either motorcar could have gone to Pomaria from Peak, leaving Peak the same time No. 66 left Prosperity?

A.  I think they could.

Q. How long do you suppose it would take a motor car to go from Peak to Pomaria?

A.  I think they could go therein nine or ten minutes and ordinary running they could make it in twelve minutes.

Q. Are you positive about the time it was when you asked about the train?

A.  It was close on to 12:30. After we give train orders we are not suppose to know where they are after they clear our board. The reason I did not ask Prosperity is because I thought Mr. Hedgepath and his men were waiting for the information from me and that from Mr. Lefler’s reply that the train was in Prosperity. I also thought that the train would be in Prosperity for No.18 according to the time of day it was. No.66 was a regular freight train and’18’ was a regular passenger train. I did not ask Prosperity or Pomaria where 66 was.             J. P. PERRY

T. S. LEFLER sworn says:

I am joint ticket agent and telegraph operator at Newberry for the Southern RR and CN&L RR and held that position last Monday. I could not say positively whether I received any inquiry from Mr. Perry as to where No. 66 was that day. Nos.65 and 66 are freights and stay in Newberry longer than any other trains on the road and I am asked about these local freight trains from morning til night from practically every agent on the road and there is no way possible to give definite information as to when they will leave my station and there is no possible way for me to state positive when they will be at another station beyond me. I will not state positively that Mr. Perry did not ask me where No. 66 was but I am of the opinion it was before 12:20 if I did receive the inquiry and answered the question because it is my custom to go to dinner immediately after the departure on No. 18 at 12:20. It is also my custom of telling operators and dispatchers when asked regarding local freights I say ‘about’. I may miss it ten minutes and maybe two hours. When the train leaves my station I have nothing more to do with them that day. It is not customary for me to give out information after the train is gone. There is no operator at Newberry after I leave at 12:20 until I return which is usually at 1:20. As for me stating that No. 66 was at Prosperity any railroad man would know that I could not tell. It may be one mile from my station or he may be 15 miles. Mr. Perry states that it was close onto 12:30 when I gave him this information No. 66 left Prosperity at 12:10 pm which was only 17 minutes before Mr. Perry claimed to have had a conversation with me and ordinarily No. 66 would have been at Prosperity. Due to the weather etc. there was very little work to do at Prosperity and No. 66 was there a shorter time than usual.

Question by Mr. Perry:      Didn’t Mr. Bunch call you and ask you if you had not told the operator at Peak about 12:30  that No. 66 was at Prosperity and your answer was “Yes, but I don’t know what time it was?”

A.  Mr. Bunch called me on the wire, if I remembered telling Peak. I think he said about 12 that ‘66’ was about Prosperity. My answer was, “Yes sir.” I told someone about 12 o’clock that ‘66’ was about Prosperity and I was not positive whom I told or the time of day it was but I think it was before 12:20.

Q. Mr. Lefler, had ‘18’ passed when you were in conversation about the train?

A.  No sir, I think not.                                                                                         T. S. LEFLER

W. O. HEDGEPATH sworn says:

I am an extra gang foreman for the Southern RR and was at Peak last Monday. I asked Mr. Perry, the operator, where No. ‘66’ was for the reason of getting a line on my rail gang and also in going to work. He told me he did not know but he would find out. About that time Mr. Dailey put his car on the track which was in the front of mine. He pushed off his car and started off. I waited on him until he got 150 or 200 yards. I got up on my motor car and told my men to shove me off. About the time I got even with the office Henry Eleazer, one of my laborers, asked me if I was going to wait to find out about No. 66. I told him no as we were not going far and Mr. Dailey was just ahead of me. I went on up the road until I got even with my camp car. Eleazer said, “Look out”, he thought he heard a train blow. I ran on around slow on my motor car. I got around the curve and I shut my motor off, saw the train standing, and I proceeded on to the other end of the trestle. I stopped and part of my force ran around to where the accident was. I set my motor car off and met my men coming back and said the conductor said bring my car and the dump car to bring those men to the station. I started to put my car back on. The train pulled down then and after he had passed I put on my motor car and dump car and saw Mrs. Dailey and her daughter and some colored women coming. I waited on her and carried her to the accident. I got the bodies then and brought them on to Peak and loaded them on No. 18 at Peak. I did not hear the agent when he said the train was at Prosperity. I would not think that Mr. Dailey as a rule would have gone on up the track had he not had an idea where 66 was. I have been running a motor car for about two years. The rules for running a motor car are: We are not supposed to run motor cars without using the proper signal (Red Flag). We are not suppose to get orders from agents but to use it as information. We are suppose to run motor cars in yard limits at a speed to stop one-half the distance you can see at dangerous points. I do not depend on information I receive from agents. I suppose it was 12:30 or 12:35 when I asked Mr. Perry to see where No. 66 was. I do not know whether Mr. Dailey had a red flag or not.

Question by MR. LEFLER: Why do you ask operators where the trains are?

A.  For my own protection and to keep from delaying the trains. Those orders are information and not rules.

                                                                                                    W. O. HEDGEPATH

S. P. RAMPEY sworn says:

I am the section foreman for the Southern RR at West Alston. I came over the river for dinner and after I had finished I came on back about 12:30 or 12:35 or something like that. Mr. Joe Stoudemire and Miss Alma Dailey were both just in front of me - or behind me – I do not remember which. I hollered at James Dailey. I said, “Where are you going in the rain?” He said, “To Pomaria, ahead of No. 18.” In the meantime his men were pushing the car on the rail. He was behind the car as it came behind the tool house. He hollered at Mr. Perry, “How about No 66?” Mr. Perry said, “He is at Prosperity.” At that I walked on down towards the trestle. While walking down to the trestle Mr. Dailey left out. As I walked up on the track I heard the whistle blow. Mr. Hedgepath’s car was just starting off. I hollered to them and pointed up the road. One of his men looked back. Mr. Perry walked up. I said to Mr. Perry, “You told that fellow No. 66 was at Prosperity.” I said, “I believe he is going to hit that boy.” Miss Alma Dailey threw her hand up to her left side and said, “My God, Mr. Rampey, don’t scare my heart out.” Mr. Perry said, “He said that he was at ‘P’ (Which stands for Prosperity)”. Mr. Stoudemire and myself started on and heard the train blow out the flag. I said to Mr. Stoudemire that the train has hit that boy. We walked on and looked back at the water mark on the bridge. We said, “Mrs. Dailey is going up that way now.” If I had been in Dailey’s position and had received the information he did from Mr. Perry I would have watched on these curves more so knowing No. 66 was so close. The accident was within the yard limits. If 66 had been at Prosperity I think Mr. Dailey would have had time to have gotten to Pomaria.

DR. G. A. PINNER sworn says:

I am a practicing physician and live at Peak and examined the dead bodies of James W. Dailey, Heyward Meetze, Killian Chapman, Jim Henderson, Charley Brown and in my opinion death was due to injuries received in a collision between Dailey’s motor car and freight train No. 66 operating on the Southern RR track.

                                                                                                    Dr. G. A. Pinner

J. W. EDWARDS sworn says:

I was conductor on train No. 66 of the Southern RR yesterday operating between Hodges and Alston. This was on September 29, 1924. When we were approaching Peak the train had slowed down for yard limits, was running about 5 or 6 miles an hour. I was riding on the fireman’s seat box. We were rounding the curve about 26-1/2 mile post. I saw the motor car approaching and told the engineer to “Look out, hold her”. He immediately applied his brakes in emergency. The train moved about one car length and was struck by the motor car, which was running about 25 or 30 miles an hour. The motor car contained five men. Three of the men, Heyward Meetze, Killian Chapman and James Henderson were thrown off on the fireman’s side of the engine. After I got off of the engine I found James Dailey and Charlie Brown in front of the engine. Engineer Hall and myself helped James Dailey off of the front of the engine. I then moved the motor car off of the track and left Mr. George Bishop in charge of the injured men and I came to Peak for a doctor. Mr. Hedgepath put the injured men on his car and brought them to Peak. When I first saw the motor car it was about 150 feet from us. It was on a curve. The parties on the car had their heads bent over as if protecting themselves from the rain that was falling. My train was abut 30 minutes late. The gentlemen that got hit had no right of way on the track at the time. The section men are suppose to go to and from their work on motor cars and keep out of the way of trains. When the motor car hit the train we were barely moving if at all. This happened at 12:33 pm.

                                                                                                    J. W. EDWARDS

J. B. HALL sworn says:

I heard the testimony of Mr. Edwards and was the engineer on No. 66. We were approaching Peak at the 26-1/2 mile post. Conductor Edwards was sitting on the fireman’s seat and called to me, “Look out, hold her.” I immediately applied brakes in emergency. I stood up and leaned out the window so I could see around the sharp curve to see what obstruction there was. I saw a motor car just in front of me. I sat back down and threw the reverse lever in back gear. I heard the motor car crash into the pilot of my engine and when I looked out of the window again I could see the feet and legs of men lying on the engine. I got down and went to the front of the engine and with the assistance of conductor Edwards, helped Mr. James Dailey from off of the engine. On the other side of the engine I found fireman Cobb moving those other men to see how badly they were hurt. Those three men were apparently dead. I did not handle either of the three men but got up on the engine and backed up enough to get the motor car from under the front of the engine. We left trainmaster Bishop in charge of the injured men while we came to Peak for a Doctor. There is a little private crossing just before where we had the accident and blew for this place just about the cattle guard. I had my engine under control for the yard limits. I had no orders to make up any lost time.                                     J. B. HALL

R. R. COBB sworn says:

I am a fireman on train No. 66 of the Southern RR operating between Hodges and Peak on the 29th September 1924. As we approached Peak running about 4 or 5 miles per hour, I had just swept up the deck of the engine on a piece of straight track and just as we started to round the curve. I started to step up and sit down when Conductor Edwards, who was sitting on a seat, hollered, “Hold the engine Joe”. I looked out the window of the engine quick and saw three men in the air. We stopped about that time. I got down and found that one man was killed instantly. I went to two others and turned them over and they were unconscious. I called the brakeman to help me move these men up the hill. I laid their heads between the cross ties so as to keep the rain off of them. Mr. Hall blew the proper signal.                                                   R. R. COBB



INQUISITION taken at Newberry in the County aforesaid the 5th day of October 1924.


I saw Ann Griffin on the street last night. I was with her about 11 o’clock. I asked Johnny Shears and she asked him to carry us home to change clothes to go to the party out about the Box Factory and he did. I saw Charley Green in town before we went to the party and he was in the car and Pearl Rice was sitting in the car with him and Ann Griffin walked up and Pearl jumped out of the car. Annie told Charlie, “If you don’t behave I will cut you. You just say so.” Then she opened the car and jumped in beside him and he jumped out on the other side and I said, “I don’t want to get in any trouble about you.” Then Annie got out of the car and walked on up the street after Pearl Rice. She said, “You got Charley.” And Pearl said, “No.” And then Hillie Buer and Pearl got in Charley’s car. Then Ann and I got in John Shears car and Charlie passed by at this time and Johnnie drove off behind him. Johnnie was taking me home to change clothes. On our way to my house we found Charlie standing in his yard. After changing clothes and started to the party we caught up with Charlie at Mr. Jones. We did not know where the party was so we decided to wait and follow Charley as he knew where the party was. So when we got up the road Charley turned off the road and turned out his lights. This was passed where the party was but we did not know it at that time as we were following Charley to find out where the party was. Just then Johnnie drove his car up and stopped but he didn’t cut his lights off. “Charley, what’s wrong with your Ford. I thought you could drive it.” John was not driving fast. Just then, Lily Bell Brown and Pearl Rice got out of the car and went up the road a little piece. Ann got in back of Charlie’s car about that time. Pearl Rice got in Charlie’s car. Ann Griffin ran up and cut Pearlie Rice and then got in John Shears car. Charley Green came to the car and asked her what she meant by making a disturbance in his car. Anne Griffin didn’t say anything at the time. Charley tried to pull her out of the car. [He] got [her] back as far as the running board and she sat back down in the car. Charley then shot three times. It sounded to me like he was slapping her. I saw the reflection of the shots. At that time I felt blood running down my arm. I got out of the car and asked someone to take me to the doctor. Charley brought me as far as Little Mount Zion Church and went home. Ann was on the front seat of the car and Charley was standing on the ground on the right of the car. I was sitting on the back seat of the car on the left side. Claud Golding was sitting on the rear by me. There was no one on the seat with Annie at the time of the shooting. Annie was sitting down when the pistol was fired. I didn’t see her make any attempt to do anything. Annie asked Charley [why he was] hitting her. Annie jumped out of the car between the first and second shots and fell on the ground. Just as she jumped the pistol fired the second shot. I don’t know if Annie spoke[after] the shots were made. I don’t know if the knife was in her hand when [she was] shot or not.                                                                                 ROSEBEE MORRENY

INQUEST over the dead body of TOMMIE BROWN              Nov. 17, 1924

ANNIE BROWN sworn says:

Henry Samuels and his son George came to Tommie Brown’s house and asked Ida Brown if she wanted to leave and go home with them and she said yes. Tommie Brown told her she was not going. Henry Samuels then got his gun out of his buggy. I grabbed hold of the gun and asked Henry if he was going to kill Tommie, but he didn’t say anything. He pushed me away from him and gave the gun to his son George Samuels. George got behind the buggy and shot Tommie. Tommie was sitting on the ground with a gun in his hand and when he told Ida she was not going he was getting up – when he was shot. After Tommie was shot he fired at George and then fell dead.                                                                                                                           ANNIE (X) BROWN



AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at HILL PLACE in the County and State aforesaid, the 17th of Dec. A. D., one thousand nine hundred and 24 before E. M. Evans, Coroner, upon view of the body of TOMMIE BROWN, then and there being dead by the oaths of W. E. Longshore, J. P. Boozer, E. P. Pitts, E. C. Johnson, G. E. Jones, T. P. Pitts being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the state of South Carolina, where and by what means the said TOMMIE BROWN came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said TOMMIE BROWN came to his death by a gun shot wound at the hands of George Samuels. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid Thomas Brown came to his death by manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, E. M. Evans Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

/s/ E. M. Evans, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ W. E. Longshore, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ E. C. Johnson (L.S.)                                                       /s/ T. P. Pitts (L. S.)

/s/ O. S. Miller (L.S.)                                                           /s/ G. E. Jones (L.S.)

/s/ J. P. Boozer (L.S.)                                                          /s/ E. P. Pitts. (L.S.)



AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at the home of Raze Brown in #7 Township, Newberry County, State of South Carolina on Feb. 15, 1925 before me I. H. Wilson, Coroner, for Newberry County.

This is to certify that MABEL BROWN came to her death from a gun shot wound in the heart.

Feb. 15, 1925                                                                                         W. O. HOLLOWAY MD

BENNIE BROWN being sworn said:

The first thing I knew I heard a pistol shoot. Holley Brown and Mabel Brown were playing. As soon as the pistol fired I asked him if he had shot her. He said no, he had not shot her. As soon as he said he had not shot her I got up and opened the door. I knew Hollee Brown had the pistol. I left Hollee Brown in the house. I am the brother to Hollee. I heard Mabel ask Hollee for cigarettes and he gave it to her. It was about twenty five minutes after she asked for a cigarette before I heard the pistol fire. No quarrelling and no harsh words.                       BENNIE (X) BROWN

EVA BROWN being sworn said:

Hollee Brown and Mabel Brown were standing up to the fire place. She asked him for a cigarette and he gave it to her. They both sat down on chairs. She put her hand to his head and he shot her. Hollee Brown said, “You don’t believe I will shoot you.” She said, “No.” He said he did not have no better sense than to shoot her and he shot. I saw the pistol when he shot. He got up and ran. I saw him get the pistol out of his pocket. They seemed to be friendly. They were not tussling when the pistol shot was fired.                                                            EVA BROWN

RAZE BROWN being sworn says:

The first thing I heard was the report of the pistol. I said, “Wasn’t that a pistol shot?” I saw the children running to the room where I was hollering. When I came in the room where the shooting was I saw no one but Mabel. She was shot. She did not make any statement. Only she said, “Oh Lordy.”                                      RAZE BROWN

L. M. PLAYER being sworn said that:

Hollee Brown made a statement to me that “Mabel Brown asked for a cigarette and she ran her hand in my pocket and got the cigarette and she felt my pistol. I gave it to her. When she looked at it she handed it back to me, holding the pistol by the barrel. As I caught hold of the handle of the pistol it fired. I did not pull the trigger.”

                                                                                                    L. M. PLAYER




Aged Negro Woman killed by a Ford car

FRANCES MARS, 80 year old Negress, died from injuries received Saturday night.

Frances Mars, a Negro woman about 80 years old was fatally injured Saturday about 6:30 in the afternoon at Kinards when she was struck by a Ford Car driven by Ben Kinard, colored. The woman died that night.

The coroner’s jury on Sunday decided that the accident was unavoidable and the Negro was released on bond granted by Coroner Wilson to appear at the Court of General Sessions should the solicitor see fit.



Inquisition over the dead body of JACK ROBERTSON/ROBINSON

BILL WILLIAMS colored, sworn says:

[I was] sitting on my porch last night (Can’t tell what time) probably between nine and ten o’clock. I heard some men quarrelling. About ten minutes after that I heard a shot. The first shot I heard a man cuss. The second shot I heard a man fall to the ground, The third shot came in front of my house and hit the palings in front of Mr. Camel Havird’s house. After that a horse came running towards my house and as I threw up my hand the horse turned. After that belt and a little white boy said they didn’t know who shot. About this time the horse fell in a ditch by the house. I told Belt to take the horse loose from the wagon and not let him kill himself and he appeared frightened. He said, “I ain’t going to do nothing.” A man came along and asked him to untangle the horse and not let him kill himself. The man cut the horse loose from the harness. The wagon had turned over in front of my house. Joe Williams’ boy said to me, “Don’t let the man burn up. He is afire.” We went down and had the boy put the fire out. After I heard the shooting I suppose it was three minutes before I saw Belt. Belt did not have time to stay and put the knife in Jack’s hand. I asked Mary Todd who lives nearby and she said she didn’t know who did the shooting. I saw Jack lying with his face downward and a sharp knife grasped in his left hand, opened. I know Jack Robinson personally. I suppose he weighed 150-170 pounds. He was larger than Belt. I have seen Jack Robinson visit the woman’s house. The woman does not bear a good reputation. It was impossible to jump out of the wagon at the back as it was closed.                            B. W. (X) WILLIAMS

RALPH WILLIAMS sworn says:

On my way to town last night I passed Bill Williams’ home and saw an upturned wagon and a man holding the horse. The horse appeared frightened. I stopped the car and asked if anyone was hurt? Bill Williams replied that no one was hurt at the wagon but a man was shot in the lane. I asked if he was dead and some of the ladies said they didn’t know but that he was lying in the ditch. They were afraid and asked me to go see if he was dead. Bill Williams and I agreed to go to him. When I got to him I pressed him in the back and asked him who he was. I saw fire on the arm and Mr. Williams requested that I put it out. Then someone came up and struck a match and it was then that I recognized that it was Jack Robertson lying across the ditch with his arm almost outstretched and his face downward with a knife in his left hand. I saw Belt holding the horse with a pistol in his hand (I think it was a black magazine)

                                                                                                    RALPH WILLIAMS

MARY TODD sworn says:

I don’t know anything about the shooting as I was lying on the bed when I first heard it. I heard some fussing but didn’t know who it was. It was down the road a short distance from my house. I didn’t see either Belt or Jack during the day. I didn’t see the shooting and didn’t hear anyone call me.                                   MARY TODD

GEORGE DAVIS  sworn says:

I was with Belt on the wagon. As I go with him sometimes on Saturday to help deliver groceries. I was with him when he had a fuss. Then I got off and ran. We had gone down the lane to deliver groceries to Alonzo Lane. We had to go by this woman’s house to get there. We had turned around and started back towards town. Belt stopped the wagon in front of the house. Then I saw a woman going to get some water. Belt told her to bring him a match. Jack who was aside a tree brought two matches out to him. Belt again called the woman and Jack said I want you to quit messing up with this woman. Jack had a knife in his hand. Belt said twice, “Don’t you come up to me.” Jack went around the wagon on the side where Belt was. I saw the knife in Jack’s hand. Jack called Belt (an oath) Belt did not cuss him. Jack used an oath when Belt called the woman. We did not stop at the woman’s house going to town. I was behind Williams on the corner when I heard the shot. I did not know he had a pistol with him until I heard him shoot. I have been with him before on Saturday nights and have never heard of anyone rocking him and do not know why he had the pistol. Belt and Jack had a fuss last Saturday night in front of the same house. They had some words and Belt told him that he did not want any trouble.                                                                                                   GEORGE DAVIS


I arrested the Negro called Belt Boozer last night at Nesley’s store where he is employed as delivery boy. He admitted to me that he had killed Jack Robertson. I put him in the car and brought him to town where the doctor took five or six stitches in his left hand where it was cut. I found Jack Robertson in the position as described by the witnesses preceding me. I saw powder burns on Jack Robertson’s arms evidently indicating they were close together.

                                                                      CANNON G. BLEASE, Sheriff for Newberry County

The bloody knife was presented to the Jury.

Dr. Robert L. Mayes sworn says:

This is to certify that I have examined the body of Jack Robertson and find a puncture wound of the left chest about two inches to the right of the anterior axillary line, sufficient to cause death. Also burns about the upper left arm.

                                                                                June 16, 1925          R. L. MAYES MD

The verdict of the Jury was that the deceased came to his death from a pistol shot wound in the hands of Belt Boozer.

The following composed the Jury:

Wyche Dickert foreman, J. P. Thompson, Z. W. Padgett, H. B. Franklin, J. P. Davenport, F. M. Baxter

This is a true testimony.               I. H. Wilson, Coroner



A newspaper clipping:                  June 16, 1925


Party Out Joy Riding Sunday Afternoon Comes To Grief When Car Hits Embankment While Running Forty-Five Miles Per Hour.

HENRY SPEARMAN, Negro, died early Tuesday morning at a hospital in Greenwood where he had been carried some time Monday suffering from injuries sustained in an automobile accident Sunday afternoon about 4:30 near Old Town on the Newberry/Chappells Highway.

Coroner Wilson held an inquest late Tuesday afternoon and the testimony brought out showed that the party, Henry Spearman, John Spearman, Tommie Burton and Mose Jackson, all Negroes, were out Sunday afternoon for a spin and were making 45 miles per hour when the Ford Touring Car in which they were riding ran into an embankment by the side of the road and turned over two times or more, seriously injuring Henry Spearman who died Tuesday morning from the effects of the wreck. The car was being driven by Mose Johnson, who according to members of the party, was trying to scare the members of the party with his supposed skillful knowledge of fast driving. He is now sick in bed and just as soon as able will be arrested and brought to jail. The testimony at the inquest is as follows:

JOHN SPEARMAN sworn says:

I was in the car with Henry Spearman, Tom Burton and Mose Johnson. Mose was driving Sunday afternoon June 14, about 2:30.We drove from Church up the road and returned just before we got to Church. Tommie Burton said, “Cut down, you are going too fast.” Mose winked his eye at Henry Spearman and said that he was going to scare Tommie Burton. Then the car hit the bank of the road and turned over twice. I got up first and went back and found Henry Spearman on the ground and picked him up and carried him to his house. He said his back was broken and he could not walk, but was conscious. Tommie Burton got up without aid but Mose could not. Mose was not drinking. We turned around at Mr. Hipp’s place. None of us were drinking and did not smell any whiskey. We were running pretty fast, about 45 miles per hour I reckon.

EDWARD HARMON sworn says:

I heard the car running like it was going at the speed of about 45 miles per hour. I went to the car after the accident and saw Henry and John Spearman and Mose Johnson. John Spearman was up trying to pick up Henry Spearman. Mose and Henry looked as if they were dead. Henry said he could not walk. I saw no whiskey bottles and did not smell any whiskey. Henry Carter was with me. We went on back to the church and were the first to reach the accident. We hurried to the church to report the accident. I have on different occasions seen Mose Johnson on a mule going at a reckless speed. I have ridden in a car with him on one occasion. He drove about forty five miles per hour and I was glad to get out and if he had not let me drive on our return I would not have returned with him.

HENRY CARTER sworn says:

I was on the side of the road near the church and heard the car turn over and I rushed over there to see what was the matter. I saw Mose Johnson, Henry Spearman and John Spearman. John Spearman was trying to get Henry Spearman up. I did not see Tom Burton. I stood there a few moments and hurried back to church to tell others. I came back with the crowd and saw Wash Carter carry Mose Johnson away. I do not know who carried Henry Spearman away.

Z. O. WHITTLE sworn says:

Esau Kinard came to my house Sunday evening about 4:30 and said that Henry Spearman wanted me to send him a doctor, that he had been in an accident. I told him to go tell Dr. Holloway to come to my house and we would go down. We got to Henry Spearman’s about five o’clock. We found him in the hall on a cot. He said he and Mose Johnson had an auto to turn over with them. Dr. Holloway gave him an examination. Henry Spearman seemed to be paralyzed from his chest down. He could use his right hand fairly well but his left hand very little and had no use at all of his legs. Dr. Holloway said he did not find a fractured bone but symptoms indicated the fracture was pressing the spinal cord. He came back the next day and decided that there was a fracture pressing the spinal cord just below the neck. Dr. Holloway said there was no chance for him to live without an operation and a very slim chance then. I took Henry Spearman to Greenwood Monday night to a hospital and was present at the operation. Henry Spearman died under the operation. Henry Spearman lived on my place.

The verdict of the jury was that Henry Spearman came to his death June 15 by injuries sustained in an automobile wreck on Sunday, June 14.

The following composed the Coroner’s Jury: Jim Alewine, J. C. Butler, Pink Hawkins, J. C. Berry, G. W. Summer, C. L. Leitzsey foreman.

This is to certify that the above testimony is absolutely correct.

I. H. Wilson, Coroner for Newberry County



A newspaper clipping:                  June 22, 1925


Finds Usual Verdict Without Placing Blame For The Accident Upon Anyone

Coroner I. H. Wilson summoned a jury if inquest into the death of Mrs. Nancy Parrott who was struck and killed by the ‘Cannon Ball’, the passenger train on the Southern RR Monday morning about 8 o’clock, the inquest being held in the Southern passenger depot Monday evening at 8 o’clock, the entire train crew being summoned to testify.

The testimony taken and the verdict rendered by the jury follows:

MRS. MARTHA SHEALY sworn says:

I knew the deceased and saw her about 8:30 this morning alive. The next time I saw her she was dead. The time between I saw her alive and dead was only a few minutes. The last time I saw her alive she was headed towards the store on Glenn Street, just beyond the RR crossing going from the mill. The engine of the train hit her at the Glenn Street crossing. I do not know who the officials in charge of the train were, but it was the early morning train on the Southern RR coming from the direction of Columbia to Newberry. I was at the Mill office with Charley Harmon when she was struck. No signal was given for the crossing, neither did the bell ring. I was close enough to have heard either. When it happened I went to Mrs. Parrott’s body, after death. The body was lying about two arm lengths from the railway tracks of the Southern on the right hand side coming to the depot. She wanted me and Charley Harmon to go with her when she separated from us at the mill office going across the railway tracks. Viewed her body and found it badly mangled. I did not see the train hit her as an automobile was between us. The train went up to about the old culvert when it stopped.                                                                                MARTHA SHEALY

J. Y. STODDARD sworn says:

I did not see the woman until she was hit, that is, came up over the pilot. I blow at the first crossing east of the big mill and blow the crossing east of that and when crossing I blow for the big crossing where the woman was hit – the bell was ringing all the time. I was blowing the whistle when the woman was hit. Just as I got on the crossing the fireman hollered. I threw the air emergency brake. We went by where the woman was hit and backed up. We were running about 45 miles per hour. We were running faster than usual because we were late – ran about 500 feet after the engine struck her. The engine was No.1105. It happened about 8:30. I was the engineer on the train. I did not see her before struck as she came from the fireman’s side. She was turned right over after the pilot hit her and was thrown probably 10 to 15 feet. We were drifting down hill. I have been an engineer on this run for about one year. The accident happened at the first crossing east of the Mollohon Mill. I always blow twice for that crossing. I always blow when on the crossing, because I have had quite a number of close calls at this crossing. The bell is automatic and rings until I stop. The lady did not approach from my side. There is nothing to obstruct the view of the fireman for about one-quarter of a mile – a pedestrian approaching could also see a train approaching for about a quarter of a mile away. The bell was turned on when I left Prosperity. The fireman could see her as there was nothing to prevent him from seeing her. The fireman did not call my attention that she was hit.                                                    J. Y. STODDARD

S. R. BAILEY sworn says:

As we were approaching the crossing I noticed a lady walking the two tracks. When she got to the CN&L she looked towards the train and kept on walking. When I saw she was going to step on the Southern tracks I hollered to the engineer. He blowed the whistle and she got faster, like a slow trot. That was the last I saw of her. She was crossing the tracks on the side walk at the Mill office. No one was with her. We were making about 35 miles per hour. The train was late. We always make up time up the road The engineer  knows more about making up time than I do. She did not hurry until the whistle blew. When it blew she picked up slowly. The train was about the distance of the station to the water tank when I first saw her. The whistle was blown at the lower crossing. The next time was when the woman was in danger – the whistle was blown twice for the crossing at the whistle board – nothing to keep me from seeing a quarter of a mile up the track as I could see that far. We were running fifteen minutes late. I did not see the lady one-quarter of a mile away – nothing to have prevented her from seeing the approaching train one-quarter of a mile away. There was nothing to obstruct her view that distance and she could have seen that distance if she had looked. I was sitting on my seat looking ahead and the bell was ringing. The bell stopped ringing after we hit her. The bell started again when the train was put in motion. When she stepped on the tracks we were about the distance of the station to the trestle when she looked towards the train. When I noted her danger she was about the distance of the station to the water tank from us. Then I called to Engineer Stoddard to stop. He used the emergency brakes. After the emergency brakes were applied we stopped two train lengths beyond the crossing. The train knocked the lady about the length of the waiting room when it struck her. I called the attention of the engineer as soon as I saw the danger and that she was going to cross the tracks. It occurred about 8:30 – the weather was clear and the sun was shining. I was too near to avoid hitting when I saw her. When we started again the bell was set in motion and rung until we got to Newberry and continued until reaching Helena. I have no idea how much the bell weighs, although it is of standard size. I have been on this run for about two years. Thoroughly familiar with the crossing as there are lots of travel.                        S. R. BAILEY

J. W. NIX sworn says:

I was back in the first class coach when the train stopped. I knew there was something wrong when the air went into emergency. I looked out on the left door side and could see nothing and then went to the other side from where I could see eight or a dozen people at the crossing. I could tell by the commotion that something was wrong. I do not know how or where he hit her as I did not see it. I know pretty well where we were. I had worked my train since leaving Prosperity and was headed the other way. The rear coach passed her body about the length of six coaches. We were running about 40 miles per hour. We took the siding at Pomaria for a freight train and it made us late. The ordinary rate of speed at this place is between 35 and 40 miles per hour. At this place we begin to work on the air. I know that it is against the law to blow the whistle within the city limits but we can blow the station whistle. I do not pay much attention to the blowing of signals except a flag station.                                                                     J. W. NIX

A Coroner’s Jury composed of W. E. Wallace foreman, S. S. Cunningham, J. F. Abercrombie, J. A. Price, N. R. Long and W.A. Clamp arrived at the conclusion that Mrs. Nancy Parrott came to her death by being struck by a locomotive of the Southern RR known as the ‘Cannon Ball’.

This is to certify that the above printed testimony is absolutely correct.

                                                                                I. H. Wilson, Coroner for Newberry County

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