Coroner's Inquistions
 1919 - 1931
NEWBERRY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
Transcribed and contributed by Edith Greisser

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

Testimony taken at the INQUEST of ROBERT JOHNIKEN

HATTIE NELSON being sworn says:

I did not see it all. When I walked into the store I saw Bob Johniken in the a.m. coming up the railroad in the a.m. Saw him prior to the accident at the station. Had a conversation with him. He was going to get water.  I started ahead of him. After crossing the road near Robinson’s store it looked like the car was standing on the head of the engine. That was after I came out of the store. Did not see the cars until [I] passed the store door. I did not go up and look at Johniken. [When I] first saw the car it looked like it was standing on the engine or head. That is all I know about the accident. I heard something squeaking like an auto trying to stop.                                      HATTIE NELSON

C. F. WILSON being sworn says:

We were loading a load of lumber – heard the two cars making a noise. That is what attracted my attention. The cars rushed by the store. Mr. Kibler blew toot! Toot! Near where the Negro was lying. I went to the Negro after unloading the lumber. The Negro was lying on the road bank by the cotton patch. I could not tell who was driving either car – one a Maxwell and the other a Dodge. [There were] a couple of people with the Negro when I went up – Sam Robinson and others – a large crowd present. [I] do not know which car hit him.                            C. F. WILSON

SAM ROBINSON sworn says:

All that I saw was two cars pass my store, I was standing in the back door and heard them and looked around and went to the front and heard one of the cars blow a whistle twice. I saw something go down across the field and did not know what it was. [I] saw old man Bob before the accident – near the depot sitting under the trees – edge of the apple trees. I was the first to the body. When I got to him his feet were in the cotton patch with his head towards the road holding his body and asking me to help him. About that time several more darkies were there. The accident happened in Newberry County. I asked them to move him up under the trees where it would be cooler. Do not know who was driving the cars.                                                                                                 Sam Robertson

W. T. HOLLAND being sworn says:

On the morning in question I was out at the club with several people and when we left I was in the first car to leave. We proceeded down the road via small station to town. Must have been making 30 to 35 miles per hour. The road was dusty and very dry and the car coming behind just could hardly be seen for the dust. As we approached Helena the car behind us blew to pass. We were then approximately in the center of the cross road. When the car blew to pass I looked around through the rear window light of the car in which I was riding. I never saw the man who was struck at all until I looked through the window light. Immediately after the car blew I saw the tire and rim which had been fastened on the left of the approaching car by the running board and it was then that I noticed the Negro man that was hurt. It appeared to me that the tire struck him full from the body knocking him across the little ditch which was along the road. The car in which I was riding stopped immediately and the car which was following us pulled up behind. I got out and started back to see who was hurt. Mr. Kibler got out of his car about the same time. Mr. Kibler said to me that he had to go back and get his tire. I said, “What about that old Negro you hit back there?” He appeared very much surprised at the mention of hitting anyone and stated that he did not know that he hit anybody. We went back to where the crowd was collecting and did what we could to make the old fellow comfortable. Mr. Kibler went over into the cotton patch and got his tire and rim about 25 feet from the road. I did not see the car strike the Negro. The first I knew of the Negro lying in the vicinity was when the tire flew off and the Negro was thrown across the ditch. I then came to town with Mr. Kibler

W. G. HOUSEAL being duly sworn says:

That on or about the 15th day of July I went to see Robert Johniken which was the day he was hurt. He had a broken femur, or thigh bone, left side; also a broken left forearm, radius. He had a slight bruise on his head but this wound was not serious. He was suffering some pain from his broken bones. He was conscious. I held a conversation with him and he was rational. He also had a right scrotal hernia which I could not reduce. He told me it was an old hernia which to me was evident and assured me that he could reduce it. I saw him next morning and could not reduce his hernia, I was not uneasy about the fractures proving fatal but was uneasy about the hernia, so advised that he be taken to a hospital so he could be operated on for the hernia if necessary. I dressed his fractures and helped him get off on the train.

A few days later I called Dr. George H. Bunch in whose charge I placed the patient. Dr. Bunch told me that the fractures were not troubling the patient nor the hernia. That he left the fractures as I had dressed them but the patient was unconscious and suffering from uremic poisoning – that he had a bad case of Bright’s disease, which was serious. I do not consider that the fractures caused his death but his diseased condition – heart, kidney and arteries.

Sworn to before me this 24th day of July 1925                                           W. G. Houseal

This is to certify that the above printed testimony is correct.  I. H. Wilson, Coroner for Newberry County


THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY                                         October 19, 1925

NEWSPAPER CLIPPING:

NEGRO FATALLY INJURED WHILE RABBIT HUNTING

SILAS HENDERSON, a colored youth, was accidentally shot last Thursday by John Lark, also colored, while out rabbit hunting, according to testimony presented to the Coroner’s Jury which viewed the body of Henderson Monday morning and heard several witnesses testify. The Negro died Monday morning.

The accident occurred on Thursday on J. A. Senn’s place near Bush River and five Negro youths were in the hunting party at the time Henderson was shot. The boys apparently ranged in age from 15 to 20 years.

The Jury was composed of J. H. Evans foreman, Ollie Bowers, Herman Halfacre, L. G. McCullough, M. J. Smith, and W.B. Sample.

The testimony at the inquest was as follows:

DR. J. K. WICKER sworn says:

I examined the body of Silas Henderson and found that he came to his death by a gun shot wound of the upper posterior of the left thigh which penetrated the abdomen. In my opinion the gun that shot him was not more than twelve feet away.                                                                                                    JOHN K. WICKER MD

WALTER HENDERSON sworn says:

I live on J.A. Senn’s place and was with John Lark, Rufus Abernathy, Marcellus Jackson and Silas Henderson on Thursday Oct.15 on a rabbit hunt. All had gone except me; had dogs with us. Brother Silas got killed. He bedded a rabbit, shot and missed it and then attempted to hit it with the gun barrel but the rabbit tore off with John Lark and Silas Henderson in pursuit. The rabbit jumped over a terrace and the dog ran between Silas and John, tripping them and causing the gun to go off. I was behind them but saw both of them fall together. He was shot near the back and fell on his side. We were all good friends and there was no fussing that day. I asked John why he shot him and he said, “I didn’t go to do it.” He remained with the boy until I returned and then helped me to carry him to the house. Gun exhibited. Identified as the one used by Lark on the day of hunting.

RUFUS ABERNATHY sworn says:

I was with the boys rabbit hunting and saw it all. His testimony was practically the same as Walter Henderson’s.

MARCELLUS JACKSON sworn:

Said he was with the boys hunting that day and his story of the affair was the same as Henderson’s.

BESSIE GARY sworn says:

I am the sister of the deceased. I saw him about four o’clock – about one hour after the shooting. Silas told me it was an accident but I can’t understand why he ran and did not show up while I was there. If he helped to bring him to the house I did not see him.

WALTER HENDERSON again sworn said:

John Lark did not run off and he was at the auto house nearby.

This is to certify that the above printed testimony is correct.            I. H. Wilson, Coroner of Newberry County

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Chappells in the County and State aforesaid, the 13th of November A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty five before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of S. A. DILLARD of Lexington County, then and there being dead by the oaths of L. H. Senn, Frank Summer, J. W. Goodman, J.C. Pitts, N. S. Pitts, and J. L. Holloway 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 S.A. DILLARD came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said S. A. DILLARD came to his death in Newberry County on Nov. 7, 1925 as the result of a collision of an automobile in which he was riding which was struck by a Ford truck driven by Esau Kinard and said death of said S. A. DILLARD was caused by Esau Kinard by mischance and with no malice on his part. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid S. A. Dillard  came to his death aforesaid by manner and by the means.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ J. L. Holloway, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Frank Summer (L.S.)

/s/ J. W. Goodman (L.S.)                                                     /s/ L. H. Pitts (L. S.)

/s/ N. S. Pitts (L.S.)                                                             /s/ J. G. Coats (L.S.)

                                                            TESTIMONY

W. B. DILLARD sworn says:

I am 24 years of age and live in Lexington. I saw Mr. Dillard killed in the accident. In the car at the time of the fatal accident were J. E. Henderson driver, Herman Dillard my father, S. A. Dillard, Mr. Henderson’s mother and his wife and myself. The accident happened between here and Saluda River Bridge. The road as far as I could see was straight and in good condition. There was a fill about 15 feet deep. I was in the Ford Touring Car with Mr. Henderson driving. We were making about 20 miles per hour and were starting to go up an incline. We were on the right hand side of the road going towards Greenwood with space enough between the car and the truck for two cars to have passed between us. It was a Ford truck running 15 or 20 miles per hour. There seemed to be nothing wrong with either car. We were on the right hand side of the road as far as we safely travel and the truck was on the right hand side as far as it could safely travel. Just as we came opposite it – the truck cut across the road and hit our left front wheel. At this place the road is about 30 feet wide. As I saw it – the Ford truck cut directly across the road and hit our left front fender. Our machine was caught and thrown over and it turned over at least three times landing against a tree at the bottom and cocked over on one side. I imagine my father and Mrs. Henderson were thrown out in the first turn over. There were several Negroes on the truck. I was the first to get back upon the top of the fill. The Negroes – sole occupants of the truck – ran and left the Ford truck running in the road with the machine reversed in its direction. The truck was lying on one side. The first person to come to our assistance were two young men out hunting. Mrs. Henderson was about 79 years old. My father died 24 hours after the accident occurred in a hospital in Greenwood. There was no evidence of drinking among the Negroes that I could see. The first time I noticed the truck it was trying to give us plenty of room. The road had been scrapped recently. We were on our way to Greenwood. At that time I heard no explanation of the wreck as I was looking after my father.                                                                                     W. B. DILLARD

J. E. HENDERSON sworn says:

I live in Lexington. I have heard the testimony of Mr. Dillard and what he said is correct. I was driving the car and making about 20 miles per hour. I was driving a Ford Touring car with 6 people in it and was endeavoring to go up a slight incline when the truck struck us. It hit my car under the front fender and threw my car over the embankment and I was pinned under the car and was the last one to get out. The two people who came to our rescue I believe was Mr. Coleman and Mr. Scurry. The negroes did not render any assistance in getting us out and to the hospital. When I got out the truck was in the middle of the highway and cocked upon the right side headed towards Greenwood. Nothing indicated that the truck would cut into us. When [it] struck me someone hollered. I talked to the driver of the truck about 40 minutes after the accident. I asked the driver why he ran from us. And he said, “I don’t hardly know. The steering is kind of tricky. I ran off because the other Negroes ran.” Mr. Johnson, owner of the truck, and Mr. Dominick sent the injured to the Greenwood Hospital. My mother had bruises all over her and her knee cap might be broken. She is 69 years old. The driver apparently lost control of the truck all at once. The sands at the side should not have caused the car to have skidded. How ever – sometimes a small rock causes cars to swerve. I have been driving a car for about 12 years. The car was mine and it was badly damaged. The driver of the truck appeared to be 19 or 20 years old.

                                                                                                    J. E. HENDERSON

LEROY BROWN sworn says:

We were in the truck and Esau Kinard was driving the machine. We were coming from Dyson in the truck and it happened about 2 o’clock, just above Chappells. Esau was a good driver and has been driving a car and truck for about 12 months. Esau came near running into the fill and one of the Negroes on the truck told him not to run into the fill – to get into the road. He struck a sand bed – then lost control and struck the car. When the car struck I ran because I was scared and after going down as far as the railroad I came back. I told them let’s go back and get Mr. Hobson’s truck. The sand was about 4 inches deep and had just been scrapped and this is what caused the truck to turn across the road. We were going back to help the injured and get the truck. I was thrown out of the truck and when I came to myself I ran off.                                                                                                 LEROY BROWN

EUNICE ALLEN sworn says:

I live in Chappells and am a mechanic – also in the mercantile business and am the Constable for the Magistrate here. The day of the accident I went to the wreck. About five minutes later after learning of it I went to the truck lying on its left side facing Greenwood. The car was lying in the fill on the left side against a tree. I believe the car would have landed on its wheels had it not lodged against a tree. The old gentlemen and the lady were sitting down by the side of the fill. I saw the other people there and did not see any Negroes. Esau came later and admitted he was the driver of the truck. I know him. I then examined the place and it is my opinion that the Negroes were on the proper side of the road, not over one and one-half feet from the edge of the fill. The road had just been scrapped and there was soft dirt, mostly sand. I know sand will turn you because I have turned over twice in a sand bed. I examined the cars after the wreck – found nothing loose at the steering wheel. I examined the brakes of the truck the next day and they appeared to be good. I asked Mr. Henderson what he wanted me to do? And he said he would leave it to me – said he didn’t know what to do. He said it would not do the old man any good to arrest the Negroes at this time. Mr. Henderson said. “The Negro was making about 18 miles and he was making 20 miles when the truck cut left right and ran into me. Had it been a second later the Negroes would have gone over the fill on the other side [where] the car turned over. It seemed like loose dirt turned him into us,” and Mr. Henderson agreed. I believe the Negro thought he was going off the fill. It looked like both were trying to avoid an accident. He seemed to be a good driver. In my opinion if he had not gotten too close to the fill I don’t believe it would have happened. When you hit sand it depends on how you hold the wheel and whether you have your mind on your business.                                                             EUNICE ALLEN

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Cecil Fellers in the County and State aforesaid, the 29th of November A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty five before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of CEPHUS WILLIAMS of Newberry County  then and there being dead by the oaths of J. L. Boozer, Lindsey Boozer Jr., J. P. Fellers, C. E. Fellers, C. E. Lester, C. F. Lester 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 CEPHUS WILLIAMS came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said CEPHUS WILLIAMS came to his death by a pistol shot wound at the hands of Arthur Williams on November 29, 1925. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid Cephus Williams came to his death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ J. L. Boozer, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Lindsay Boozer Jr. (L.S.)                                                /s/ C. L. Lester (L.S.)

/s/ J. P. Fellers (L.S.)                  /s/ C. E. Fellers (L.S.)                  /s/ C. E. Lester (L.S.)

CANNON G.BLEASE sworn says:

I received a message that a Negro was killed this Sunday morning about 5 o’clock. Said he was killed near Mr. Cecil Fellers. I, in company with Deputy Taylor went to Lindsay Boozer’s where I met Mr. Boozer and Deputy Quattlebaum coming from where the killing took place. We were told by Mr. Boozer that Arthur Williams had killed Cephus Williams and that Arthur was with Mr. Eugene Lester in the St. Luke’s community. We went to Mr. Lester’s and found he had already gone to Newberry to take Arthur Williams to jail. We went on to jail where we found Williams. Arthur Williams said he went to the home of Leeanna Oxner and that she wanted him to take a woman friend to Prosperity and he did. When he came back he told Leeanna that he was sleepy and then he went in the side porch room to take a nap and that he saw Cephus pass the window where he was standing and then turned and looked in the window and that he shot Cephus Williams. He said Cephus had a hand in his hip pocket. The reason he shot was that Cephus had told several people that he was going to kill him.. He also said that Cephus drew a pistol on him about two weeks ago at the same house and that about two months ago he was at this woman’s house and Cephus shot Leeanna Oxner in the foot. I asked him if Cephus tried to do anything to him when he shot the woman and he said no.

                                                                                                    CANNON G. BLEASE

LEEANNA OXNER sworn says:

I live here in this house. Last night we had been to a supper on Mr. Feller’s Place. I came home with my four children and Lilia McCorley, a woman who lives at Prosperity. Arthur Williams came over to my house from supper and took Lillia McCorley to Prosperity. Then he came back here to my house about 3 o’clock in the morning and asked me to let him stay all night and asked me to fix a bed and he went in the room. I stayed in the next room to him with my four children. About the time I dozed off to sleep I heard pistol fire. I jumped up and called my little boy. I told him to get up – there was somebody shooting. I opened the door and called Arthur and asked him what was the matter. I called him again and he never answered until he cracked the door. I asked him was that him shooting? He said yes. I asked him who was it he shot. He said, “C. Williams, I reckon.” And he said, “I will kill before I be killed.” He then went and got in the Ford and left. Arthur Williams and C. Williams never had a fuss here before. I never saw nor heard C. Williams draw a pistol on Arthur Williams at my house. Arthur never has told me Cephus ever drew a pistol on him. Arthur Williams was here about two months ago when Cephus shot me in the foot out in the yard on the edge of the porch. I had hired Arthur to bring me home from Church that night.                                LEEANNA OXNER

This is to certify I have examined the dead body of Cephus Williams and found that he came to his death from a pistol shot wound. The ball entered just above the inner end of the stomach and ranging toward the heart.

November29, 1925                                                                        Dr. J. I. BEDENBAUGH MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at MOLLOHON MILL OFFICE in the County and State aforesaid, the 21st of Dec. A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty five before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of SAM GILLIAM, of Newberry then and there being dead by the oaths of E. L. Crump, C. A. Shealy, J. W. Shealy, E. F. Newberry, Bachman McEntire, M. E. Darby 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 SAM GILLIAM came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said SAM GILLIAM came to his death by being crushed by a coal car and said coal car having been struck by a train of cars on the Columbia, Newberry and Laurens RR on December 21st 1925. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid Sam Gilliam came to his death by manner and means aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ E. L. Crump, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ C. A. Shealy (L.S.)                                                          /s/ J. W. Shealy (L.S.)

/s/ M. E. Darby (L.S.)        /s/ Bachman McEntire (L.S.)                  /s/ E. F. Newberry (L.S.)

F. H. JONES being duly sworn says:

We were unloading a car of coal and Sam Gilliam was down under the car between the door and the wheels or axle and he was knocking out a bolt or something to get the door open. Just as the door opened the coal fell and he was trying to get out when the train came shifting in. I got out with my flashlight and waved it to try to stop the train but they failed to stop and went right into the other car – pushed it back some six feet. Then we had to get them to pull the car before we could get Sam out. That is about all I know about it.

Q. How many cars on the chute at the time?

A.  Only one car.

Q. Was it a loaded car?

A.  Yes sir. One end was open and the other we were working on.

Q. Had the car been reported empty?
A.  No sir.
Q. That car was under your supervision?
A.  Yes sir.

BEN PENNY being duly sworn says:

Q. Did you see this accident?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. Tell what you know.

A.  Well, this man Sam Gilliam was under the car letting down the door and I heard the train coming and I ran out  
        and began to holler to them to stop but they did not do it.

Q. Which side of the coal chute were you on when you waved for them to stop?

A.  By the warehouse on the west side.

Q. Could you see the engine of the train crew?
A.  I saw two of the boys but not the engine.

CHARLIE HARRIS being duly sworn says:

Well Sam came to let the car door down for us and while he was under the car the coal waste must have got on his feet and some piece fell across his lap. About that time the train came shifting in and we all ran and hollered and signed them not to come but they came on anyway.

Q. Which side of the car were you on?
A.  Left hand side next to the boiler room. I was sitting right by the car holding the light. I was sitting just like I am
       sitting now kicking the door down like we always do.

Q. Did you help wave the train down?
A.  No sir. Mr. Jones waved them down

Q. Could you see the train crew?
A.  Yes sir, some of them were on the hind box.

WASH PITTS being duly sworn says:

I was under the car trying to let the door down and Sam Gilliard was under there trying to get it open and he got it loose and it dropped down and caught his leg by some way and about this time somebody hollered, “The train was coming.” And we ran out and I told the man not to come on back and ran over to him but he came on back.
Q. If Sam’s leg had not been caught he could have gotten out alright, could he?
A.  Yes sir.

FRANK CHRISTY being duly sworn says:

I was unloading the coal car. Me and Sam Gilliam and Penny and Wash Pitts and when they got the car open they said the train was coming. Mr. Jones kept on waving the train to stop but they backed on back and struck the car.
Q. Did the train hit the other coach before he fell?
A.  No sir, he was underneath the car and when the train ran back it hit him.

S. GRADY LEVER being duly sworn says:

I do not know anything about it but I had been up there and asked Mr. Jones what he had to do rode back and caught the cotton car that was placed on the platform and rode back to the switch and switched them up so as to get them right and I had stayed at the switch as I always do and one of the men came back and told me we had killed a man.
Q. Who was the man that came back?
A.  Will Hilton. I was up there and saw the man and they said he was in the coal car. I had already told Mr. Jones I
     had a car to place on the lower end of the chute and I could not move the one he was working with. I do not

     know anything more.
Q. Who was directing the signs of the shifting?
A.  The brakeman.
Q. You were not?
A.  No sir. I had given them instructions what to do but I was at the switch.
Q. You had two cars of coal to put on the chute?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. You did not intend to bother the car they had?
A.  No sir, but the track was slippery and hard to go around a curve and we were making every effort to get into
     the chute where they unloaded domestic coal.
Q. How many cars did you have?
A.  Five cars – two cotton and some others.
Q. Upgrade all the way is it not?
A.  After you get in this little dip down grade and then up.

Q. If they had seen Mr. Jones signal they should not have had any trouble stopping, would they?
A.  I do not know. The track being slippery and being hard to get up grade after slipping down – I do not know. It

     would not have been but about ten feet between cars to get the cars placed.

     WILL HILSON being duly sworn says:

All I know about it is we were shifting in there and cars were about a car-length to the car and I saw the hands hollering and waving and I commenced signaling down and after I coupled up they said a fellow was dead but I could not see him before.
Q. Could the engineer see you?
A.  The fireman could – I was on that side.
Q. Is that all you know about it?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. As soon as Mr. Jones asked you to stop did you sign it down?
A.  I did not see Mr. Jones.
Q. Who told you?
A.  The colored hands.
Q. As soon as you saw them waving did you commence stopping?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. How near were you to the car standing till when you saw the colored folks waving?
A.  About 30 or 40 feet. About a car length.
Q. When those gondola doors are open they clear the track?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. Then when you moved the car back there was no danger in that causing the crush?
A.  I do not know about that but they say he was fastened in there already.

DOC ABERCROMBIE being duly sworn says:

I do not know anything about it anymore than I was on top of the car and I heard them hollering and they stopped immediately and some fellows on the other side hollered, “Back up, back up, you have caught a man.”
Q. How far were you from the loose cars on the track?
A.  Three cars back.
Q. What did you do when you saw the signal?
A.  Stopped.
Q. You say you were about three car lengths from the loose car?

A.  Yes sir.
Q. And you flagged the train?
A.  I was three car lengths back on the train.
Q. How far was the front part of your train when you first saw the signals?
A.  It was done coupled up.
Q. Did you see Will Hilton signal the fireman?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. Was that before it struck?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. You saw him signal but you did not see who was signaling him?
A.  No sir.
Q. Have you an emergency signal for an immediate stop?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. And you gave them that?
A.  Yes sir.

WADE MATTHEWS being duly sworn says:

I do not know anything. I saw or I was watching the brakeman and about a car length I saw him sign down and they stopped as soon as they could and I did not know what was the matter.
Q. You saw Will Hilton signal stop and you signaled the engineer and he applied his emergency [brakes]?
A.  Yes sir.

T. L. CANNON being duly sworn says:

Well we were shifting the cars up there and I was looking out for a signal. Also the fireman. And the first thing I knew I noticed the fireman. I don’t know his name – signing down and I took his signal to back up and I hollered and I asked them what was the matter? He said I had killed a man.
Q. Was that after you had coupled the loose car?
A.  Yes sir.
Q. Did the fireman give you a signal to stop?

A.  I forget – they are all pretty much alike.
Q. Did your firemen signal you for a stop of any kind?
A.  Yes sir.

This is to certify that I have this day examined the dead body of Sam Gilliam of Newberry SC and find death due to contusions of the abdomen. Right leg broken just above the knee also.

12/21/1925                                                                                   FRANK D. MOWER MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at J. A. Burton’s Place in the County and State aforesaid, the 3rd of July A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty six before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of HASKELL WERTS of Newberry County  then and there being dead by the oaths of C. E. Abrams, J. E. Neel, E. L. Werts, M. D. Sheppard, G. W. Suber, J. W. Bannister 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 HASKELL WERTS came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said HASKELL WERTS came to his death by gun shot wounds at the hands of Joe Jones. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid Haskell Werts came to his death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ C. E. Abrams, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ J. E. Neel (L.S.)                                                    /s/ J. W. Bannister (L.S.)

/s/ E. L. Werts (L.S.)                   /s/ M. D. Sheppard (L.S.)             /s/ G. W. Suber (L.S.)

ESCO LINDSAY being duly sworn says:

I was in the room putting on my clothes. Haskell Werts was on the organ stool. When I came in Joe Jones was sitting on the trunk. When Thomas Burton was coming up the road and Haskell asked who it was. Haskell got up and came to see who it was. Haskell said, “It sure is.” Joe Jones said, “Sure was Thomas A. Burton.” Joe Jones and Haskell Werts got to the door at the same time. Haskell fell up against me and Joe said, “Get back boy,” and Haskell said, “What are you talking about? I have a right to see as well as you” Then Joe said, “Get back boy – I’ll do you like a ribbon rider.” Then Joe got his pistol out of his bosom and snapped it two or three times towards Haskell’s face and about the third time it fired. Joe said, “There that pistol shot that boy. I would not have shot him for nothing.” Then Joe throwed his pistol down and went on out of the door. Then John Henry Werts asked, “Who shot that pistol?” John Henry said, “What are you doing shooting in there?” They were not fussing and had never had any words.

                                                                                                    ESCO LINDSAY

JOHN HENRY WERTS being duly sworn says:

I was in the house playing the organ and Haskell Werts went to the door and said, “Yonder comes Babe Burton’s little boy” and Haskell said, It sure is”. Joe Jones went to the door and said, “Get back boy,” and Haskell said, “I got a right to see as well as you.” I did not hear him say anything else. I did not see the pistol until after it was shot. When I went in the room Haskell was on the floor and Joe was out in the yard. Joe said he would not have shot Haskell for nothing. They had not been quarrelling or fussing that I know of.        JOHN HENRY WERTS

I hereby certify that I examined the dead body of Haskell Werts and find that he came to his death by gun shot wounds of his head. I found a penetrating wound through his left eye ball and extending into his brain.

                              July 3, 1926                                                    J. K. WICKER MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at C. W. Buford’s Place in the County and State aforesaid, the 4th day of July A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty six before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of TOM HIGGINS of Newberry County  then and there being dead by the oaths of J. C. Smith, W. W. Riser, J. H. Gresham, G. T. Gresham, Andrew Voyle, K. C. Jones 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 TOM HIGGINS came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said TOM HIGGINS came to his death by pistol shot wounds at the hands of Arthur Gallman. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid Haskell Werts came to his death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ Jule C. Smith, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ J. H. Gresham (L.S.)                                                      /s/ Andrew Voyle (L.S.)

/s/ K. C. Jones (L.S.)                   /s/ W. W. Riser (L.S.)                  /s/ G. T. Gresham (L.S.)

RAMEY TOLAND being duly sworn says:

They started to fussing. I heard Tom Higgins cursing. I went and got Tom Higgins and took him across the road. Somebody said, “Turn him loose and I am going to shoot Tom Higgins. Come on up in the crowd.” A pistol fired twice. I don’t know who fired it. When the pistol fired he fell up against me. The shooting took place in Newberry County. I don’t know that it was Arthur Gallman who did the shooting. The shooting took place about 9 o’clock pm, July 3, 1926.                                                                                RAMEY TOLAND

ALMA BAKER being duly sworn says:

Tom Higgins started around the house and Arthur Gallman asked him where was he going and Tom Higgins asked Arthur Gallman, “What in hell did he have to do with it?” Arthur Gallman pulled out his pistol and said he was going to shoot Tom Higgins. Me and Ella Bell Jackson tried to take his pistol away from him. We could not take it away from him and me and Ella Bell went on in the house. I went in the house when the pistol fired. I don’t know who shot the pistol. This happened in Newberry County Saturday night July 3rd 1926.       ALMA BAKER

JANNIE GLASGOW being duly sworn says:

Arthur Gallman and Tom Higgins were at our car and they started cursing at each other and I told Ramey Toland to take Tom away from there. I did not see any pistol. I was sitting in the car when this happened. I was sitting in the car about 40 yards away when the pistol was fired twice. I did not see Arthur shoot Tom. [There were] too many people between me and Arthur and Tom.                                             JANNIE GLASGOW

H. J. QUATTLEBAUM, Deputy Sheriff of Newberry County being duly sworn says:

On the night of July 3rd 1926 I received a message that there was a Negro killed at W. W. Riser’s Place. Myself and E. C. Bedenbaugh went to where the killing took place and found that Tom Higgins was killed and was told Arthur Gallman did the killing. After searching all night we found Arthur Gallman at Kinards. He admitted that he did the killing.                                                                                    H. J. QUATTLEBAUM

I examined the body of Tom Higgins and found that the cause of death was a gunshot wound in the head. The ball passed through the brain.            July 4, 1926                                      W. A. DUNN MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Whitmire in the County and State aforesaid, the 4th of July A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty six before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of JAMES EPPS of Whitmire, Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of John Shannon, O. N. Beaty, E. R. Palmer, E. C. Stroud, A. H. Dallas, Grady Cofman 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 JAMES EPPS came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said JAMES EPPS came to his death by gun shot wounds out of his own hands. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid JAMES EPPS came to his death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ John S. Shannon, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ O. N. Beaty (L.S.)                                                           /s/ A. H. Dallas (L.S.)

/s/ E. R. Palmer (L.S.)                 /s/ Grady Cofman (L.S.)              /s/ E. C. Stroud (L.S.)

SUSAN EPPS being duly sworn says:

I was in the house and Munro Johnson came in and he asked, “Where is James Epps?” And I told him to look in the kitchen door. He wasn’t there and Munro then got up and left. I heard one pistol fire. I told the children to go look [for] where James Epps was? And they said they didn’t know. And I went to the door and told them to look and see if he hadn’t taken that pistol and shot himself. They told me to look under the head of the bed and the pistol was gone. Then I went running down across the field and called him, James Epps and he didn’t answer. Then I looked over towards the bushes and saw him lying on his face and went to him and called him and turned him over and I saw that he had done shot himself. I am James Epps’ mother. He had never made any threats to kill himself. Monroe Johnson went in the opposite direction across the street from my home. He had been away from the house about 15 minutes. He said he was bothered but did not know what about. I saw one gun that was on him and it belongs to him. I know it was his gun. He never made a habit of carrying the gun.         SUSAN EPPS

IDA EPPS being duly sworn says:

James Epps told me to go down to Alice’s Grille and get some ice to make some ice water. He had been saying for some time that he was bothered but did not know what about. We never had any kind of fuss. He said that he had had plenty of money but have to come to beg for bread. I am James Epps’ wife.                      IDA EPPS

Dr. E. G. ABLES being duly sworn says:

That he was called to view the body of James Epps near Whitmire and found a bullet wound apparently from a 38 calibre that had entered through the 5th rib about three inched from the mid sternum of the heart line and coming out through the left shoulder blade about 4 inches higher than the point of entrance, the bullet apparently passing through the heart. There was powder burns around the wound of entrance – no hole through the clothes in the front. The gun was apparently fired under the clothing. Or the clothes pulled back.                       E. G. ABLES MD

Deputy Sheriff of Newberry County, H. J. QUATTLEBAUM being duly sworn says:

July 4, 1926 I was called to where James Epps was shot, near Whitmire and found on his body a 38 calibre pistol – his gun strapped to the front of the body by the trigger guard, with 2 empty cartridges in it. One was an old cartridge  and one was a new freshly fired cartridge. One cartridge had been snapped on – had not fired – and One cartridge that had not been snapped on.                                                             H. J. QUATTLEBAUM

7/4/1926                 This is to certify that I have examined the body of James Epps and find that he came to his death as the result of a gun shot wound in the breast. The bullet apparently penetrating the heart.          E. G. ABLES MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Brehmer Bros. in Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 21st of July A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty six before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of LULA BENJAMIN of Whitmire, Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of W. F. Chappell, W. W. Farmer, James H. Chappells, J.E. Johnson, John Brehmer, N. F. Johnston 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 LULA BENJAMIN came to her death, upon their oaths, do say that the said LULA BENJAMIN came to her death by gun shot wound at the hands of Odell Suber. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid LULA BENJAMIN came to her death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ N. F. Johnson, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ James F. Chappell (L.S.)                                                /s/ John Brehmer (L.S.)

/s/ W. F. Chappell (L.S.)              /s/ W. W. Farmer (L.S.)               /s/ J. E. Johnson (L.S.)

CARRIE SUBER being duly sworn says:

Lula Benjamin and Sam Chalmers they were playing. Lula Benjamin cut Sam Chalmers with a switch. Sam Chalmers told Lula Benjamin that the switch hurt him. Odell Suber told Lula Benjamin not to hit Sam Chalmers “If you do I will shoot you” and when he said that he shot Lula Benjamin. Odell Suber had the gun in his hand when Lula Benjamin hit Sam Chalmers. This happened in Newberry County on July 21st 1926.            CARRIE SUBER

SAM CHALMERS being duly sworn says:

Lula Benjamin cut me three times with a switch. I told Lula Benjamin that switch hurt me. Odell Suber said, “Don’t cut that boy with that switch, if you do I will shoot you.” And then the gun fired.             SAM CHALMERS

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at the Sheriff’s office in the County and State aforesaid, the 10th day of October A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty six before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of MARY COUNTS of Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of Jno W. Robinson, C. C. Schumpert, R. G. Wallace, E. C. Bedenbaugh, J. C. Smith, E. B. Purcell 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 MARY COUNTS came to her death, upon their oaths, do say that the said MARY COUNTS came to her death on October 9th 1926 apparently from infirmities of old age, probably brought about by being struck by an automobile driven by Mrs. L .L. McSwain on September 15, 1926. This was absolutely an unavoidable accident. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid Mary Counts came to her death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ John W. Robinson, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ C. C. Schumpert (L.S.)                                                   /s/ E. B. Purcell (L.S.)

/s/ R. G. Wallace (L.S.)               /s/ E. C. Bedenbaugh (L.S.)         /s/ J. C. Smith (L.S.)

TESTIMONY

JOHN COUNTS being duly sworn says;

Mary Counts is my mother. She is 88 years old. I saw her when she was run over on Sept.15, 1926. It was in front of Mr. Frank Hunter’s place. A car passed me and struck her. I was behind the car. The car was coming towards town. And I was coming to town. The lady that was driving the car was not driving fast. My mother was walking across the road, angling. I saw the car hit her and the lady driving the car pulled onto the right. I picked my mother up and took her out of the road. Mr. Wilson, the coroner, helped me take her back to the house. The lady that hit my mother told me to get any doctor I wanted to get. The lady got the doctors and brought them out there. The same doctors have been alternating on my mother ever since.                               JNO COUNTS

MRS. L. L. McSWAIN being duly sworn says:

I was driving the car that struck the old colored woman. I had been out to the County Home and was coming to town. It was around 5:30 or 6 o’clock. The old woman walked out of the house and walked in the road. I was running about 20 miles per hour. I blew the horn and put on the brake and pulled out to the right side of the road. The old woman crossed over to the right hand side of the road when I struck her. Soon after I struck her Mr. Wilson Brown came up. I offered to assist him with the woman and he told me to come to town after a doctor. And he would take care of the woman. I came to town and got Dr. Mower and Dr. Pope. I accompanied the doctors out there. It was impossible for me to avoid striking her.                                                          Mrs. L. L. McSWAIN

DR. FRANK D. MOWER MD

This is to certify that Mary Counts of Newberry died Oct. 9, 1926 of a fracture of a leg and the infirmities of old age.

Oct. 10, 1926                                                                                          FRANK D. MOWER MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Whitmire in the County and State aforesaid, the 15th day of October A. D., one thousand nine hundred and twenty six before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of WILBUR HALL of Whitmire, Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of W. H. Odell, G. W. Burgess, Joe S. Eison, C. H. Matthews, W. B. Hughes, Z. T. Proctor 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 WILBUR HALL came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said WILBUR HALL came to his death by being struck by an automobile on Oct. 15th 1926 driven by R.L. Yarborough and that it was an unavoidable accident. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid WILBUR HALL came to his death by means and manner aforesaid.

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

/s/ I. H. Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ W. H. Odell, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Z. T. Proctor (L.S.)                                                         /s/ G. W. Burgess (L.S.)

/s/ C. H. Matthews (L.S.)                       /s/ Joe S. Eison (L.S.)       /s/ J. E. Johnson (L.S.)

TESTIMONY

E. C. THOMAS sworn says:

I live in Whitmire. I saw the accident. It was after dark. I was coming out Grant Street 23 steps from an intersection at Grant and Central Ave. driving a Ford car and saw somebody - could not tell who it was. I was coming down Grant St. and saw the car coming down Central Ave. going in the direction of Newberry and I got a view of a child five or six feet and quick as the car hit the child I heard someone in the car talking loud, but I couldn’t tell what they were, saying as I was too far away. I went to the end of the intersection and stopped and I went to this car that struck the child which was already standing still. Some man had the child in his arm, one of Mr. Yarborough’s. Elly asked me to get a doctor. It seemed that this car was running about 8 or 10 miles per hour as well as I could judge when it struck the child.                                                                       E. C. THOMAS

Re WILBUR HALL, a boy aged 4 years:

I was called about 7:30 pm on 10/15/1926. Found the child dead. The findings were: contusions on the right side of the head about 3 inches above the ear; probably a fractured skull; a small laceration about the size of a pea on the top of the head in the median line; bruised wound of the right lower jaw; multiple fractures of the left arm above the elbow; death due to trauma.                                                             E. G. ABLES MD

I was called about 7:30 pm on 10/15/1926. Found the child dead. The findings were: contusions on the right side of the head about 3 inches above the ear; probably a fractured skull; a small laceration about the size of a pea on the top of the head in the median line; bruised wound of the right lower jaw; multiple fractures of the left arm above the elbow; death due to trauma.                                                                  H. B. THOMAS MD
 

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