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

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at the Newberry County Court House in the County and State aforesaid, the 21st day of May A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of LILLIE MAE DAVENPORT of Newberry County SC then and there being dead by the oaths of John Miller, Forrest Lathrop, W. D. Gary, W. D. Boozer, Ray Boozer, A. P. Ramage 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 LILLIE MAE DAVENPORT came to her death, upon their oaths, do say that the said LILLIE MAE DAVENPORT came to her death by automobile wreck with a lumber wagon on May 7, 1930 which was carelessness of the driver James Chalmers. Aforesaid LILLIE MAE DAVENPORT died May 20, 1930. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid LILLIE MAE DAVENPORT 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 Miller, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ F. R. Lathrop (L.S.)                                                        /s/ W. D. Gary (L.S.)

/s/ Rae Boozer (L.S.)                   /s/ A. P. Ramage (L.S.)               /s/ W. D. Boozer (L.S.)

INQUISITION May 21, 1930

Direct examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON

JOHN H. VINES being duly sworn says:

Q. Mr. Vines, tell in your own way what you know about this accident.

A.  My wife had been sick for some time and on Thursday afternoon, I don’t remember the date, I asked her about riding. I thought it might help her. In the early part of the evening we took our ride toward Goldville. We got up beyond Kinards and I had just turned on my lights. It was not quite dark. I met a truck. He had on his lights and I turned on my lights in response to his lights. On down the road I saw this lumber wagon and also behind the wagon coming towards Newberry an automobile approaching. He had on his lights. I was talking to my wife and those with me, not thinking that he was trying to pass and coming on into the wagon. I was able to see the wagon myself and I thought this car was able to do the same thing. About the time I got 10 or 15 steps beyond the car it struck this lumber wagon. I did not want to bring my wife back. She was in no condition to see such things. I noticed that there were four Negroes, two Negro women and two Negro men occupants of the car. I think there were two on the wagon. When I got back opposite of the car I noticed this Negro woman lying there in a twisted condition. Apparently she had fallen out through the door trying to make her escape. These Negroes were running around like crazy people. I suppose they were dazed from the crash. I said, “Why don’t you take her out and lay her in a comfortable position?” After awhile one of the Negroes did take her by one of the feet and dragged her in the road and laid her there until we got a doctor. As far as the rest, I don’t know anything, only the crash. If there are any questions, I could answer them.

Q. How fast was the car approaching when you were meeting it?

A.  Really, I don’t know. As I say, it was coming on the opposite side. He had not crossed the black line and his lights were burning and mine too. I was not able to tell. His lights were approaching very rapidly and the contact that was made when it struck, if I am able to judge from that, he was getting around 40. I give a minimum of 40, that is a rough judge from the contact. He evidently was making around 40.Of course he made his first statement and said he was making 20 miles an hour. We got to pressing him and after awhile he said between 30 and 35.

Q. How far past the wagon had you gone when you met this car?

A.  I had gone 10 or 15 steps behind this car when the contact was made.

Q. You had passed the wagon some little distance?

A.  I was 10 or 15 steps. I couldn’t tell just exactly. I was close enough to hear the contact and the smashing of the glass. I ran on and turned my car and left my people in the car.

Q. Now, if you had not had on your lights and the Negro, that had the contact, had not had on his lights, could he have seen it?

A.  I think possibly so. It was light enough to see. It was just about dusk. The reason I had turned on my lights, I could have been driving safely and legitimately without lights, I had met a truck loaded with cotton coming towards Newberry and in respect for him having on his lights I turned on my lights and I left my lights burning. I think if the lights had been off he could have seen the wagon.

Q. Did the wagon have a light on it?

A.  I understand he had a light to light when night came but I did not see a light.

Q. Was the wagon on the right side of the road?

A.  Yes sir. The wagon and the car both were all the way on the other side of the black line.

Q. Anything else you know?

A.  No sir.

Q. This wreck occurred in Newberry County?

A.  Yes sir.

Question by JIM BRASEMAN:

Q. As you come back, had you got far enough by the wagon for this boy to go around me, if he had seen me? Were you far enough for him to go on the other side?

A.  Not at the rate of speed he was making.

MR.GEORGE VINES being duly sworn says:

Direct examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON:

Q. Tell in your own way what you know Mr. Vines.

A.  Mr. Wilson, I can tell practically the same tale my brother told. He came past the house and asked me and my wife to go riding with him and we started out and we decided we would go toward Goldville and just as he said when we met this truck loaded with cotton coming toward Newberry. They had their lights on and he turned his own. We went on a piece further and I saw this wagon coming loaded with lumber and the car. I reckon it was 200 or 300 yards behind when we saw the wagon. By the time we passed the wagon the car just headed right into the back of the wagon.

Q. How far could you have seen that wagon without the lights on the car? Was it light enough that you could see it?

A.  I believe it was Mr. Wilson. It just had begun to get dusk a little.

MR. QUATTLEBAUM:

Q. At the rate the Ford car was running when it met the car you were riding in, if he could have seen the wagon, could he have cut to the left side of the road?

A.  I don’t believe he could for we had not gone by the wagon over 10 or 15 yards. I don’t believe at the rate he was going that he could have cut to the left. He might have missed the wagon but he would have turned over.

GETTYS YOUNG being duly sworn says:

Direct examination by CORONER WILSON:

Q. Just tell how it happened in every way.

A.  I can’t tell just how it did happen. We were coming down the road about dark and saw a car coming. We did not see the wagon at all. We were coming down a hill and about the time we passed the car we hit the wagon. I was the first one out and I went up the road and stopped another car and I went on back. The one that was driving – he had never come to himself. I took the girl by the arm and laid her out on the road.

Q. That the girl that got killed?

A.  Yes sir. I laid her out there and that is about all I know about it.

Q. You were riding on the front seat?

A.  No sir, on the back seat.

Q. Did you see the wagon before the car hit it?

A. No sir.

Q. Were lights on the car?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. On the wagon?

A.  No sir.

Q. Who was driving the car you were in?

A.  James Chalmers.

Q. Was the girl that got killed in the front seat with him?

A.  Yes sir.

MR. QUATTLEBAUM:

Q. You know anything else about it?

A.  No sir.

Q. You remember meeting this car they were talking about that had just met the wagon?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Was it dark?

A. Yes sir. It was about dark. We put on our lights when we left Kinards, when we left her house.

Q. Whose house?

A.  Lillie Mae Davenport’s.

Q. How far on this side of Kinards?

A.  I don’t know how far.

Q. One mile or two miles?

A.  About two miles.

Q. It was not dark enough but what you could have seen the wagon down the road?

A.  We could have seen it if we had—

Q. If you had been looking straight in front of you, could you have seen the wagon?

A.  If we had not been meeting this other car we might have seen it.

Q. How fast were you going?

A.  30 or 35 miles.

MR. T. M. FELLERS:

Q. If you had not been facing that car, you could have seen the wagon?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Any lights on the wagon?

A.  No sir.

MR. WILSON:

Q. Could you have driven around this wagon after meeting this car?

A.  No sir, not hardly.

Q. Not room enough to drive between the car and the wagon?

A.  No sir.

Q. Did you see the wagon before the car hit it?

A.  No sir. I didn’t know what we had hit until we hit it.

Q. Were you looking down the road when it happened?

A.  I noticed the wagon as we were going into it. I didn’t know it was a wagon until I got out. I knew it was something.

Q. If you were in the back seat, you could not have seen it anyway, could you?

A.  I don’t know.

Q. Were two in the front? Two in the front and two in the back?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. If it had been light enough you could have seen it?

A.  Yes sir.

JESSIE YOUNG being duly sworn says:

Direct examination by CORONER WILSON:

Q. Tell in your own way what you know of this accident.

A.  I asked this boy to take me to my home.

Q. Which boy?

A.  James, the driver. Coming down the road I asked him if he minded if I asked Lillie Mae to go with us.

Q. The girl that got killed?

A.  Yes sir. And he said no and I told him we would drive by for her. So we went on down the road after we got her. Just riding along. We met this car and didn’t see anything of the wagon at all and we were riding about 30 or 35 miles an hour. Next thing I know – we had had a wreck.

Q. You were on the back or front seat?

A.  Back.

Q. Was it dark or was it light enough that you could see?

A.  Just about dusk.

Q. Too dark to see a wagon in front of you?

A. Yes sir.

Q. This happened in Newberry County?

A.  Yes sir.

JIM CHALMERS being duly sworn says:

Direct examination by CORONER WILSON:

Q. Start and tell what you did from the time you got in your automobile, where you went, who was with you and everything.

A.  Gettys Young was with me and Jessie Young and Janie Belle Rikard and her husband. I let Janie Belle and her husband out. The next stop was at Kinards. Jessie asked me if I would mind stopping and getting Lillie Mae Davenport to go with us.

Q. The girl that was killed?

A.  Yes sir. I was going down the road. I didn’t see the wagon until I hit it.

Q. You were going toward Newberry?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What kind of car were you driving?

A.  1928 Coach.

Q. Ford Coach?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Tell what else you know.

A.  I don’t know anything else.

Q. Did you meet an automobile before you hit the wagon?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Did you have your lights on?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Were lights on the wagon?

A.  No sir.

Q. If you had not had your lights on could you have seen the wagon, was it light enough that you could have seen the wagon?

A.  No sir.

Q. How fast were you driving?

A.  30 or 35 miles an hour.

Q. Between 30 and 35 at the time of the wreck?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What was the first thing you remember doing after the wreck?

A.  The first thing after the wreck was get out.

Q. What else?

A.  I didn’t do anything at the present time.

Q. Somebody was hurt. Didn’t you do anything for her?

A.  The boy in the back of the car had got the girl out before I came to my senses. I helped them take the girl up to the house.

Q. Whose house?

A.  Evelyn Boyd’s.

Q. What else did you do?

A.  Went to the well and drew two buckets of water.

Q. Didn’t anybody go for a doctor?

A.  Mr. Alan Boyd phoned for a doctor.

JOHN H. VINES:

Q. Wasn’t there about ten or fifteen minutes you didn’t know anything?

A.  Yes sir. About ten minutes.

JIM BRAZEMAN:

Q. Where did you turn the lights on at?

A.  When we left Kinards.

JIM BRAZEMAN being duly sworn says:

Direct examination by CORONER WILSON:

Q. Tell what you know.

A.  I was coming down the road.

Q. What road?

A.  The national highway through Kinards and Cap’m there went by me. I was looking across the country and Cap’m spoke and I looked around to see who he was and in looking I saw the car coming and he was coming so fast that I kept my eye on him. I have seen lots of them come right up to the wagon and stop, but he came on up and I saw the lumber cover the frigate. When I got up from the bank I asked him if he didn’t see the wagon and they said no. Cap’m asked him how fast he was going and he said 20 miles an hour and he asked him again and he said 25 or 30. I didn’t ask him how fast he was going.

Q. Jim, did you know who was driving this automobile that passed you?

A.  I don’t know him by name. I know that man yonder but I don’t know this one.

Q. How fast was this car approaching?

A.  Not thinking boss, but nothing but the truth is all I am going to tell – it didn’t seem that he was more than 25 or 30 yards. I hadn’t quit looking at him when the car went under me.

Q. Did the car have lights on?

A.  I didn’t think so. I was so scared I couldn’t say he did or he didn’t. He said he did.

Q. It knocked you off the wagon?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What was the first thing you did?

A.  I called to Evelyn Boyd to come and turn the mules back from across the road. They had broken the breast chain. When he caught hold of the mule, he began to kick and he said nobody but Jim can do anything with this mule and they brought me up there and I spoke to her. I talked to her and he led her. I think Cap’m tied the breast chains together.

Q. Were you on your right hand side of the road?

A.  Yes sir. He locked the wagon wheels with his springs. I was only nine inches from being off.

Q. Was it dark?

A.  It was kind of dusk.

Q. Did you have a light on your wagon?

A.  Yes sir. I didn’t have it lit. I was going to light it when it got dark.

Q. How far up the road could you have seen?

A.  Up to Mr. Bud Miller’s.

Q. Could you have seen 400 or 500 yards?

A.  Yes sir. I could have seen down there. I had met Mr. Dub Riser and his colored folks told me he had got home before dark.

Q. Do you haul lumber over that road often?

A.  Yes sir, heaps at night.

Q. You carry a light?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. And you were on your right hand side and he was on his right hand side?

A.  Yes sir.

MR. JOHN H. VINES recalled:

Q. Do you remember about the time in the afternoon that the sun set?

A.  I don’t but you can get the calendar and see what time it was on that special day. It was between 7 or 8, quite a  few minutes before 8. I left home a good bit before 7 and spent a good bit of the time talking with Mary Cromer and I drove along and I know my car model makes that distance in 35 minutes.

Q. How long after the sun set was it when the wreck happened?

A.  A short while. I had turned on my lights, as I said, as more of a courtesy to the fellow in the truck. He had on his lights and I turned on my lights. I could look out and see very plainly on the outside. It was not dark. I am confident that I could have seen the wagon a good distance without my lights on.

Q. What day of the month was this?

A.  I really don’t know.

DOCTOR’S CERTIFICATE:

I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from 5/7/1930 to 5/20/1930. That I last saw her alive on 5/20/1930 and that both occurred on the date stated above. The cause of her death was as follows:       Fractured skull.

Columbia SC                                                                                 N. A. Jenkins  MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at the Newberry County Court House in the County and State aforesaid, the 12th day of July A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of ERNEST KINCAID of Newberry County SC then and there being dead by the oaths of R. L. Tarrant, J. H. Caldwell, Henry Brown, T. F. Cromer, W. A. Davenport, F. L. Evans 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 ERNEST KINCAID came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said ERNEST KINCAID came to his death by gunshot (pistol) wound by the hands of Dave Fellers on July 11, 1930. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid ERNEST KINCAID 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/ R. L. Tarrant, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Henry Brown (L.S.)                                                                   /s/ T. F. Cromer (L.S.)

/s/ W. A. Davenport (L.S.)           /s/ F. L. Evans (L.S.)                   /s/ J. H. Caldwell (L.S.)

INQUISITION July 12, 1930

MARY WILLIAMS being duly sworn:

MR. CANNON G. BLEASE:

Q., Where do you live and what is your name?

A.  Mary Williams

Q. How old are you?

A.  15 years old.

Q. Where did you say you lived?

A.  Out on Mr. Budd Matthews’ place.

Q. Where were you last night?

A.  At home.

Q. Where were you yesterday afternoon?

A.  Out at the Pike.

Q. Tell what you know about this shooting.

A.  Yesterday afternoon I was there at the filling station about 7 o’clock when Ernest Kincaid came home from work. Dave Fellers came up in a car and Dave and Ernest Kincaid sat down in the car. Dave Fellers told Ernest Kincaid that he saw that he had got an ‘English haircut’ and Ernest Kincaid said, “Yes” he had. Dave Fellers said, “Let me see your haircut.” Then Dave told Ernest that he was going to get him a Negro.

Q. Dave told Ernest that he was going to get him a Negro?

A.  Yes sir. Then he pulled out a pistol that was in the car.

Q. Where was the gun?

A.  Over in the top of the car.

Q. What kind of car was it?

A. Whippet.

Q. How many seats?

A.  A two-seated car.

Q. Where was Ernest sitting?

A.  On the front seat with Dave. Dave was sitting under the wheel.

Q. Where were you?

A.  Just right outside the car.

Q. What did they do?

A.  They were just sitting there and after awhile Dave told Ernest that he was going to shoot him. Ernest said, “Look out here Negro, let me alone.” Dave told him that he was going to get him a Negro tomorrow and that it was him that he was going to get. Just then he reached up and got the pistol and shot him. Ernest said, “Oh Lordy Dave, you have shot me.”

Q. Dave shot him?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Know anything about what they could have had a fuss about?

A. No.

Q. Running with the same girl?

A.  No.

JURY:

Q. Was Dave Fellers drinking?

A.  No sir, not that I know of.

MR. BLEASE:

Q. You live in Newberry County?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. You were out at the Pike yesterday July 11th?

A.  Yes sir. I don’t know whether it was the 11th, but it was yesterday.

Q. Was Dave Fellers mad?

A.  He wasn’t laughing. He didn’t crack a smile.

JOHNNIE DEWALT being duly sworn says:

MR.C. G. BLEASE:

Q. Where do you live?

A.  I live out behind Mr. Ben Milton’s store. The first house after you pass his store.

Q. Tell what happened.

A.  Friday evening about 6 o’clock Dave Fellers and Ernest Kincaid were sitting in the car at the filling station just this side of Mr. Ruff’s store. Ernest told Dave that he had got him a hair cut. Dave then said, “I am going to cut me a Negro and I am going to kill me one tomorrow.” He pulled out his pistol and Dave told him to look out. I turned around and then heard one shot and Ernest fell out of the car and said, “Dave, you have shot me – call a doctor.”

Q. What did Dave say?

A.  He didn’t say anything.

Q. Told Ernest that he was “Going to get me a Negro tomorrow?”

A.  Yes.

JURY:

Q. Neither one of them drinking?

A.  No.

MR. BLEASE:

Q. Where does Dave Fellers live?

A.  On the same street with Mr. Summer.

Q. What street and which Mr. Summer?

A.  I don’t know the name of the street, but it is the same street Mr. George Summer lives on.

Q. Little George Summer?

A.  Yes.

BELT COOPER  being duly sworn says:

Q. What is your name?

A.  Belt Cooper.

Q. Tell what you know.

A.  They were all sitting in the car when I passed. I went on up to Mr. Ruff’s store and told the chaps to stop making so much fuss. About that time I heard the report from the pistol and I turned around. At first I thought it was a blow-out on a car. I turned around and went back to the car and Dave picked Ernest up and carried him to a doctor.

Q. Did Dave tell you anything?

A.  No.

Q. Did the boy dying say anything?

A.  No sir.

I examined the body of Ernest Kincaid. I find that his death was due to a gunshot wound of the upper left part of his abdomen.                                            July 12, 1930                       John K. Wicker  MD


 THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at B. W. Watkins, near Chappells, in the County and State aforesaid, the 8th day of October A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty before J. W. Wilson, Magistrate, acting Coroner, upon view of the body of ROBERT DEVORE of Newberry County SC then and there being dead by the oaths of J. L. Fellers, W. I. Berry, L. E. Werts, R. E. Johnson, J. W. Wallace, B. W. Watkins 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 ROBERT DEVORE came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said ROBERT DEVORE came to his death by a pistol shot wound inflicted by Homer Heather in October 7, 1930. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid ROBERT DEVORE came to his death by means and manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, J. W. Wilson, acting Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.                                                               /s/ J. W. Wilson, Magistrate, acting Coroner (L.S.)

   /s/ J. L. Fellers, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ R. E. Johnson (L.S.)                                           /s/ W. I. Berry (L.S.)

/s/ L. E. Werts (L.S.)         /s/ J. W. Wallace (L.S.)   /s/ B. W. Watkins (L.S.)

LILLIE WATTS sworn says:

I live on Mr. Fant Watkins place in Newberry County. I was at home yesterday afternoon between 7 and 8 o’clock last night. I heard 2 shots made down at Mr. Watkins pasture. I heard Robert Devore calling me. [He] told me to come to him and I went to him. I got to him about 5 minutes after I heard the shots. He was down on his all fours and he told me to don’t be afraid of him. He was shot. I asked him who shot him and he told me Homer Hester and I asked where was Homer and Rob said Homer was gone. He didn’t say why he shot him. I then went and let his people know it and I went back with his people and waited until Dr. Holloway came. I stayed there until they brought him home. This happened Oct. 7, 1930 in Newberry County.                                                                     LILLIE WERTS

MISSIE JOHNSON sworn says:

I am a sister to Robert Devore. I went over to where he was shot and Robert said he knew me and laid his head in my lap. He said Homer Hester shot him but didn’t say how or why he shot him. He said he shot him in the stomach.

                                                                                                    MISSIE JOHNSON

DR. W. O. HOLLOWAY sworn says:

I am a practicing physician at Chappells. I was called to see Robert Devore about 8 o’clock last night. I found him in the woods, came to a path in the pasture. He told me Homer Hester shot him. He didn’t say why. I have examined the dead body of Robert Devore and I find that he came to his death by a gunshot wound in the upper part of the abdomen. I find only one wound. I picked up this pistol about 15 feet from Robert Devore’s body.  W. O. HOLLOWAY  MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Brock & McGill’s store, Kinards SC, in the County and State aforesaid, the 11th day of October A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of BOOKER T. SHAW of Laurens County SC then and there being dead by the oaths of J. F. Miller, J. L. Young, M. L. Cannon, B. F. Griffin, Joel Smith, J. N. Sligh 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 BOOKER T. SHAW came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said BOOKER T. SHAW came to his death in a collision of an automobile in which he was riding and a truck. That the said automobile was driven by John Fields Hunter and the truck by Baxter Albert and that the careless driving of John Fields Hunter and Baxter Albert was responsible for the death of the said BOOKER T. SHAW. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid BOOKER T. SHAW 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, Magistrate (L.S.)

/s/ John F. Miller, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ B. F. Griffin (L.S.)                                                 /s/ John L. Young (L.S.)

/s/ J. N. Sligh (L.S.)                     /s/ M. L. Cannon (L.S.)                /s/ Joel Smith (L.S.)

Inquisition over the dead body of BOOKER T. SHAW

Testimony taken at Brock & McGill’s store at Kinards on Oct. 11, 1930


 

H. M. MEARS sworn says:

I live in Columbia SC. I was riding on the truck tonight. I got on the truck about 12 miles below Columbia. I was riding on the front seat with the driver and his wife on the front seat. I was coming to Clinton looking for work. We were on the highway. Something hit behind where we were sitting. It was an automobile. When it struck I said, “Hold your nerve Jim – we done done something.” He kept driving on. A school boy was standing on the running board of the truck, right hand side. They came to the conclusion it was a minor lick. The driver kept driving on. The cotton caught on fire about 6 miles after we had the collision. We stopped and unloaded all of the cotton but 3 bales. I got off the truck there. When I told him to hold his nerve and to stop – something had happened, he says, “I think it was a fender scratch or something” and didn’t think any damage had been done. I was going to report it when I got to Clinton.”

I got in the car with Mr. George Harris. Mr. Harris said he heard there was a darky got run over down the road. I told him I did not see any darkey run over about the truck. Harris said, “Let’s go to the police headquarters at Clinton and I said, “Alright.” We went to the chief and told about it. The truck was on the right hand side of the road – plumb over.

The car coming down the road was making good speed and close to the line. The truck was running about 20 miles an hour. It was dark. The truck had lights on it. The other man had good bright lights.

I believe the shoulder of the truck hit the car. The driver never gave any reason why he did not want to stop. Saw the car coming as far as I could see up the road.                                   H. M. MEARS

GORGEANNA ALBERT sworn says:

I live about three miles from Hartsville. I was riding on the truck tonight with my husband. All I know – the car was coming down the road and just as we passed – it hit the rear of the truck and Baxter said, “You reckon we hit that car?” Boy said, “No I don’t think you hit it – go on ahead.” The white man says to Baxter, “Hold your nerve.” Baxter says, “You all see I was on my right side”. We had not stopped to tell anybody about it until the police stopped us. We were going up the road to the firehouse to get cotton put out. Baxter was smoking way down the road. We weren’t running fast. The other car was running real fast. Both truck and car had lights.        GEORGEANNA (X) ALBERT

JOHN FIELDS HUNTER sworn says:

I live in Laurens. I was going to Newberry to play for a dance. I was driving a Buick Touring car and James Miller was on the front seat with me and Booker T. Shaw and Jim King were on the back seat. I had a rack with a car of drums on the left hand side of the car but they didn’t extend the running board. When the truck hit the car I lost control of the car and it ran over in the ditch. The fender caught the top of the car and knocked it back on us and before we could get out the truck was gone almost out of sight. It increased its speed. My car did not turn over. James Miller asked me and Jim King were we hurt and we said no. Then he called Booker T. and he failed to answer. Then we pulled the top of the car back. We saw blood running from the mouth. And we brought him up here in a Ford. We were running about 25 miles an hour. The car belongs to Charlie Franklin. I am or was on my right side of the road. The truck was clear of the line but the body of the truck was what hit us. The collision of the truck caused the death of the boy.

                                                                                          JOHN F. HUNTER

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Mr. Fred Cromer’s Place Township No. 4, in the County and State aforesaid, the 16th day of November A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of NEUT ABRAMS of Newberry County SC then and there being dead by the oaths of R. C. Carlisle, H. L. Felker, C. M. King, I. G. Cromer, Clarence Glenn, Jim Glenn 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 NEUT ABRAMS came to his death, upon their oaths, do say that the said NEUT ABRAMS came to his death by a gunshot wound by the hands of Odis Brown on November 16, 1930. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid NEUT ABRAMS 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, Magistrate (L.S.)

/s/ R. C. Carlisle, foreman (L.S.)

/s/ H. L. Felker (L.S.)                                                 /s/ C. C. Glenn (L.S.)

/s/ C. M. King (L.S.)                    /s/ J. G. Glenn (L.S.)                   /s/ Fred Cromer (L.S.)

Inquisition held over the dead body of NEUT ABRAMS, November 16, 1930

LETHA ABRAMS  being duly sworn says:


 

MR. I. H. WILSON:

Q. Tell the jury just what happened from beginning to end.

A.  I was talking to him - -

Q. Talking to who?

A.  I was talking to Neut Abrams this morning and telling him we did not have anything to eat, no shoes and no clothes to wear – that he was the cause of it and that I had just paid out $35 on him.

Q. You said that there was nothing to eat?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What else happened?

A.  He started cussing and he said, “Damn you – I will kill you and came in the kitchen where I was cleaning up and started to hitting me. Then this here girl told him to stop and he started toward her.

Q. What else happened?

A.  He started toward Otis and Otis told him to stop and he didn’t. Otis picked up the gun and shot.

Q. Where was Otis at?

A.  Sitting there in the house.

Q. Did Otis have the gun or did he get it?

A.  He got the gun after Neut had started after him with the stick.

Q. Neut Abrams your husband?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Otis your son?

A.  Yes sir.

JURY:

Q. That is all you know?

A.  Yes sir.

MR. WILSON:

Q. As I understand the facts you were in the kitchen cleaning up and telling Neut that you did not have anything to eat and Neut was out in the yard and came in with a stick and started beating you?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Was he fixing to leave or just standing around?

A.  Just standing around.

Q. He had not said anything before you started to tell him that you did not have anything to eat?

A.  No sir.

JURY:

Q. You all had not been having quarrels?

A.  No sir.

Q. Did Cracker say anything to him?

A.  No sir. Cracker had not said anything to him until he started at him with the stick.

MR. WILSON:

Q. Was the stick a large one or a small one that he started at Cracker with?

A.  I don’t know.

Q. This happened in Newberry County?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Did the boy have the gun in his hands when Neut started toward him?

A.  No sir. He got up and got it.

Q. How far was he from the gun?

A.  The gun was right inside of the door.

CELESTINE ABRAMS being duly sworn says:

MR. WILSON:

Q. Just go ahead and tell the Jury what you know about what happened this morning.

A.  Mama was telling him that we did not have anything to eat and that he ought to go to work. He was out in the yard and came in the house and struck mama.

Q. Struck her with what?

A.  A stick.

Q. What else happened?

A.  I don’t know anything else.

Q. Neut started toward Otis Brown with a stick?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Otis Brown shot him in the house?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What had Otis said to Neut?

A.  He hadn’t said anything. Neut just started toward him with the stick and Otis shot him.

Q. You did not tell Otis to shoot him?

A.  No sir.

Q. You did not say anything?

A.  No sir.

JURY:

Q. Who was talking about not having any rations?

A.  Mama

Q. Where was he?

A.  Standing out in the yard.

Q. He came back in?

A.  Yes sir.

MR. WILSON:

Q. What kind of stick did he have? Hoe handle, broom stick or a small stick?

A.  A little stick.

Q. Did he get the stick out in the yard?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. How many times did Otis shoot?

A.  Once.

Q. What did he shoot him with?

A.  Shot gun.

Q. Why did he shoot him?

A.  He started toward him with a stick.

Q. Otis did not have the gun then?

A.  No sir. He got it after dad started toward him.

Q. Did Neut say anything after he was shot?

A.  No sir.

Q. What did Otis do?

A.  Went out in the yard.

JURY:

Q. He had a big stick when he first started at your mama?

A.  Yes sir, the big stick.

MR. WILSON:

Q. How close was he on Otis?

A.  2 or 3 steps

Q. You did not tell Otis to put the gun down?

A.  No sir.

JURY:

Q. You did not tell Otis to shoot him?

A.  No sir.

MR. WILSON:

Q. This happened in Newberry County?

A.  Yes sir.

PERSHIAN ABRAMS  being sworn:

MR. WILSON:

Q. Go ahead and tell these men what you know about what happened this morning.

A.  He shot him. Otis shot Neut.

Q. What did he shoot him about?

A.  Because he was fighting mama.

Q. What was he fighting your mama about?

A.  I don’t know.

Q. Your mama was not fighting him?

A.  No sir.

Q. You do not know what he was fighting your mama about?

A.  About the rations.

Q. Your mama was telling him about not having any rations?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Tell some more. What did he do when he came back out from the yard?

A.  Otis shot him.

Q. Where was Otis at?

A.  Standing by the window.

Q. He did not have the gun before Neut came in the house?

A.  No sir.

JURY:

Q. Where was the gun?

A.  Over there by the table.

Q. How long had they been fussing?

A.  For about two or three weeks, since Neut got out of jail.

Q. What were they fussing about?

A.  Because he wrecked the car.

MR. WILSON:

Q. What did Otis do when he shot him?

A.  He walked out in the road.

GEORGE ABRAMS being sworn says:

MR.WILSON:

Q. Tell these here men what happened this morning?

A.  Dad, he was fighting us.

Q. Dad was fighting you all?

A.  Yes sir. He was fighting all of us.

Q. What was the fighting about?

A.  I don’t know.

Q. Go ahead and tell them what happened.

A.  Cracker got the gun and shot dad.

Q. Cracker shot your dad?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. Where were you at.

A.  Standing in the door.

Q. Saw him shoot him?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What was your dad doing when Cracker shot him?

A. He was going toward Cracker.

Q. What had Neut been doing?

A.  Hitting mama.

Q. Hitting her with what, his hand, stick or what?

A.  With a stick.

Q. What had Otis been doing?

A. Nothing.

WICKLEY BLAIR being sworn says:

Mr. WILSON:

Q. You do not live here?

A.  No sir.

Q. What were you doing here then?

A. Pa had sent me over here to tell Neut about the school business. He was setting by the fire and I told him and he got up and said that he would go and see him about it.

Q. He got up and left out of the house?

A.  Yes sir.

Q. What did you do?

A.  Set in there by the fire.

Q. Where did he go?

A.  He went out in the road and then came back in the yard.

Q. Did you hear them say anything?

A.  No sir.

Q. Where were they?

A.  In the kitchen.

Q. Did you hear Otis say anything?

A.  No sir

Q. Are you telling the truth about this thing?

A.  Yes sir. I am telling the truth.

Q. Did you hear anything?

A.  No sir. I didn’t hear them say anything.

Q. You did not hear them fussing?

A.  No sir.

JURY:

Q. Were your ears stopped up?

A.  No sir, the door was shut.

MR. WILSON:

Q. When he was beating her you did not get up and go in there?

A.  No sir.

Q. You heard the scuffling and then the gun shot?

A.  Yes sir.

JURY:

Q. Where was Neut when you got here?

A.  In there by the fire in the next room.

Q. After you told him what did he do?

A.  He got up and started across the road.

Q. Where was Otis when you got here?

A.  He was in the next room I think.

Q. What did you do?

A.  Went on in by the fire.

Q. Was the gun in the room where you were?

A.  No sir.

MR. WILSON:

Q. What did you do when the gun was shot?

A.  I tried to get out through this here room and the doors were locked so I went back through that room and on out in the yard.

Q. You did not know that Neut was shot?

A.  I went out through there.

Q. Well, who shot him?

A.  Otis I suppose – he had the gun.

Q. You do not know why Neut came back from across the road?

A.  No sir.

Q. He did not say anything when he came back in the house?

A.  No, I just heard them scuffling.

Q. You were not in the room with them?

A.  No sir, I was in there by the fire.

Q. You do not know what they were fussing about?

A.  No sir.

Q. When you came out who had the gun?

A.  Otis had the gun.

Q. You do not know why he came back?

A.  No sir.

This is to certify that I have this day examined the body of Neut Abrams and find that his death was caused by a gun shot wound which entered the left cheek and penetrated into the brain.

November 16, 1930                                                                                 E. O. Hentz  MD

 

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