CORONER'S INQUISITION, 1931-1936
NEWBERRY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
Transcribed and contributed by Edith Greisser

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Whitmire South Carolina in the County and State aforesaid, the 1st day of February A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty three before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of RALPH BYERS of Spartanburg, SC then and there being dead by the oaths of A. H. Walker, T. J. Abrams, J. B. Mize, W. W. Gilliam, S. P. Orr, E. P. Gaston 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 RALPH BYERS came to his death, upon their oaths do say that the said RALPH BYERS came to his death by an unavoidable automobile accident by jumping from a car and hitting a telephone pole and breaking his neck. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid RALPH BYERS 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/   A. H. Walker, foreman (L.S.)

/s/   J. B. Mize (L.S.)                                                                                                    /s/   W. W. Gilliam (L.S.)

/s/   E. P. Gaston (L.S.)                                    /s/  S. P. Orr (L.S.)                             /s/   T. J. Abrams (L.S.)

Inquisition held over the dead body of RALPH BYERS colored, at Whitmire SC, on February 1st, 1933

ml:namespace prefix = st2 ns = "urn:schemas:contacts" />Present CORONER I. H. WILSON

Examination by Coroner I. H. WILSON

MR. T. D. KINARD being duly sworn says:

Q.    Mr. Kinard, what position do you hold?

A.    Police

Q.    Were you called to the scene where this Negro got killed this morning and what time was it?

A.    It was around 5:30

Q.    Tell the jury just how you found things and what the fellow told you.

A.    When I got there I found the dead man lying on the side of the road in a ditch with his head back that way (Pointing in the direction of Newberry). He was lying on his back.

Q.    Go ahead and tell what the other Negro told you.

A.    I took him back to town.

Q.    What is his name?

A.    R. G. Foster. I took him back to town and locked him up and asked him where he had been. He said he had been in the lower part of the state. I asked him what part and he seemed to hesitate in telling me. I asked him if he had been down about Orangeburg and he said, “No” that he had been down to Columbia. He said that he lived in Spartanburg. I told him it looked to me like that he was messed up in some liquor deal and asked him if he hadn’t had some liquor. He said not. I told him it would be lots easier on him if he would come on and tell the truth. That is just about all he told me. I asked him what he was doing in Columbia. He said, “We just went down on a little business.” He said that it was the other fellow’s business. The dead man’s business. That is about all the questions I asked him.

Q.    You brought the Negro to town and locked him up?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Where was his car?

A.    He came to town in his car first and had that Negro there – Collins – with him. He had gone to Collins’ house and got him to come with him to hunt the law. He said he wanted the law to give himself up. That he did not know what to do.

Q.    Did he tell you how the other Negro got out of the car?

A.    He said he did not know he was out of the car until he stopped. He turned around and headed the lights down in there and found the Negro dead. That he carried him out to the road and laid him down.

MR. R. R. GILLIAM sworn says:

Q.    Mr. Gilliam, you are the Chief of Police here at Whitmire?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you go out to the scene of the accident this morning?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What time was it?

A.    About 5:50 when I got there.

Q.    Go ahead and tell the jury what you saw out there and what this Negro told you and anything else in connection with the case.

A.    He said that he had had a wreck down the road and killed a fellow and wanted to give up. Mr. Kinard was in the office and he could not find him down town so he came to my house. I came down town and got Mr. Kinard and we went out there. The Negro was lying in the ditch with his head back towards Newberry.

Q.    Did he tell you the Negro was in the car with him?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    The Negro was driving that you have locked up?

A.    Yes sir. He said he did not know how he got killed. He said he must have tried to get out of the car.

Q.    Did he say what happened to the car?

A.    He told me that a tire had blowed out.

Q.    Which one?

A.    He did not say.

MR. FELLERS:

Q.    Did you examine the car?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Could you tell which one it was that had blown out?

A.    It looked like the left front tire.

MR. WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Gilliam, did you find any whiskey in the car?

A.    No sir. It was not in the car. He left the whiskey back there at the Negro’s house.

Q.    What negro’s house? What is his name?

A.    Collins Livingston.

Q.    When did you find the whiskey?

A.    I was called to Mr. Wilks’ store and they found it there behind this Negro’s house.

Q.    Was this Negro drunk or drinking when he came to Whitmire?

A.    I could not smell any.

Q.    From what you saw did it look like he had been speeding?

A.    He must have been speeding from the looks of the place. For about 15 feet at one piece we could not find any car tracks.

Q.    He was speeding and driving reckless?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Who found the whiskey?

A.    When Collins went back to his house he said that his wife had already found it and that he called Mr. Wilks down there.

Q.    Do you think Collins knew anything about the whiskey?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Who found the whiskey?

A.    Collins’ wife found it. I was tracking the car when Mr. Wilks came up.

Q.    How far is it from the place where the car went down the fill to where the whiskey was found?

A.    About a quarter of a mile.

COLLINS LIVINGSTON colored, being duly sworn says:

Q.    Just tell what you know about this.

A.    I don’t know anything about the whiskey. He came down there to the house and said that he wanted the law. He wanted to know where to find the law. I got up and put on my clothes and came on up to Mr. Abrams house. He told me that he had quit his job and for me to go up to Mr. Gilliam. I was so scared I could not find Mr. Gilliam’s house. I was not use to going to people’s houses that time of night. We came on back down to the mill and met two white boys and they told us where to find Mr. Gilliam’s house.  We went on back up there and that is all I know about it.

Q.    When he got you up the whiskey was already unloaded?

A.    Yes sir. Guess I did not see a thing. I did not smell any whiskey. I came right on from my house up here to help him hunt for the law. When I got back home from up here my wife had found the whiskey out behind the chicken house. I called Mr. Wilks and told him to come up there that I did not know what to do about it. I did not know anything about it. I had never seen the man before.

Q.    Who found the whiskey?

A.    My wife. She found it after it got day.

Q.    What time did he come to your house?

A.    It was about 4:00 o’clock when we got up here.

MR. T. D. KINARD recalled:

Q.    Did this Negro that was driving tell you where he was from?

A.    He told me from Spartanburg.

Q.    Did he tell you where the other Negro was from?

A.    He said, “We were from Spartanburg.”

DOCTOR’S CERTIFICATE

February 1, 1933

This is to certify that I examined the dead body of Ralph Byers and found the following injuries:

Fracture of the skull in the left occipital region; fracture of one or more cervical vertebrae; fracture of the left upper arm. Either of the first two injuries were sufficient to cause death.                        F. L. Webb, MD      Whitmire, SC

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry Court House, Newberry SC in the County and State aforesaid, the 26th day of January A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty three before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of JAMES GLASGOW of Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of R. W. Culbertson, James S. Burns, J. H. Long, T. H. Longshore, L.T. Abrams, H. D. Whitaker 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 GLASGOW came to his death, upon their oaths do say that the said JAMES GLASGOW came to his death by cranking a truck in gear and getting pinned between the radiator and a brick wall due to his own carelessness causing his death. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid JAMES GLASGOW 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/   H. D. Whitaker, foreman (L.S.)

/s/   Janes S. Burns (L.S.)                                                                                            /s/   J. H. Long (L.S.)

/s/   Leo T. Adams (L.S.)                                 /s/  T. H. Longshore (L.S.)                              /s/   R. W. Culbertson (L.S.)

Inquisition held over the dead body of JAMES GLASGOW colored, at Newberry SC, on January 25th, 1933

Examination by MR. CANNON G. BLEASE, Sheriff

MR. A. G. OXNER being duly sworn says:

Q.    Just go ahead Mr. Oxner and tell what you know about this thing?

A.    James Glasgow was out there putting up the truck. The truck choked down and he got out and cranked it up. I heard it crank and choke again. I said to Mr. Lathrop that that truck had killed that Negro. We went running around there and found that his left foot was fastened. I threw it out of gear and helped drag him out from where he was lying and then called to Mr. Patrick to get a doctor. I saw his eyes roll around once and then his muscles relaxed. That is all I know.

Q.    When did this happen?

A.    Last night, January 24th.

MR. WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Oxner, was it possible when he cranked the truck for it to have jumped in gear?

A.    He must have left it in gear. The gas throttle was half open.

Q.    Where was he when you got there?

A.    He was between the truck and the brick wall. It happened at the lower corner of the garage just as you go in the door. It crushed him against the brick wall.

MR. BLEASE:

Q.    Mr. Lathrop, do you know any more than Mr. Oxner?

Answer from Mr. Lathrop:  No sir, I don’t know any more about it than Mr. Oxner.

This is to certify that James Glasgow came to his death by an automobile accident, death due to a crushed chest and internal injuries.                                    January 26, 1933                                                     Thomas H. Pope MD


THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Whitmire SC in the County and State aforesaid, the 25th day of March A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty three before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of OLLIE MAY KING of Whitmire SC then and there being dead by the oaths of R. C. Gaffney, J. C. McCarley, W. H. Caldwell, W. A. Grady, A. I. Jackson, E. B. Farah 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 OLLIE MAY KING came to her death, upon their oaths do say that the said OLLIE MAY KING came to her death by walking into a spike on a light post, which was an unavoidable accident. The accident occurred March 18, 1933and she died March 23, 1933. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid OLLIE MAY KING 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/   R. C. Gaffney, foreman (L.S.)

/s/   J. C. McCarley (L.S.)                                                                                            /s/   A. I. Jackson (L.S.)

/s/   E. B. Farah (L.S.)                                      /s/  W. A. Grady (L.S.)                     /s/   W. H. Caldwell (L.S.)

Inquisition held over the dead body of OLLIE MAY KING at Whitmire SC, on March 25th, 1933

Present CORONER I. H. WILSON

Direct Examination by CORONER WILSON

MISS MARY KING being duly sworn says:

Q.    Mary King, were you with Ollie May King when she got hurt?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Was she walking along, running or playing?

A.    She was just walking along.

Q.    Go ahead in a slow tone of voice and tell the jury how it happened.

A.    I was in front of her and she hurt her eye on a spike. This lady (Mrs. Lillie King) said, “Did you get hurt?” She said, “Yes, but it didn’t hurt much.”

Q.    Did she say, “It hurt me in my eye?”

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    When was this that it happened?

A.    Saturday night, March 18, 1933 at 10:20 o’clock.

Q.    Tell the rest that you know about it.

A.    That is all that I know about it.

Q.    Did you get a doctor at once?

A.    No sir.

Q.    When did you get a doctor?

A.    On Wednesday night, March 22, 1933.

Q.    What doctor did you call?

A.    Dr. H. B. Thomas.

Q.    How was the little girl suffering when the doctor came in?

A.    With her head. She was almost unconscious.

Q.    Did she ever become unconscious?

A.    Yes. That night she became unconscious.

Q.    Is there anything else you want to tell?

A.    No sir.

JURY:

Q.    Did she walk home all right?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    When Dr. Thomas arrived did he treat her for her eye?

A.    He examined her head and eye.

MR. WILSON:

Q.    Was there any other child along playing or kicking?

A.    They were with her but not playing.

LILLIE KING being duly sworn says:

MR. WILSON:

Q.    Mrs. King, you were with the little girl when she got hurt?

A.    I was walking along beside her.

Q.    Tell what you know in a slow tone of voice.

A.    We were walking along together and just as she got to the post she struck that and fell backwards.

Q.    Do you know she struck the spike?

A.    Yes, because when she struck it she fell backwards.

Q.    That happened Saturday night about 10:20 o’clock?

A.    Yes.

Q.    When did she die?

A.    Thursday night about 11 00 o’clock.

Q.    What kin are you to the little girl?

A.    Her aunt.

Q.    This happened in Newberry County?

A.    Yes.

JURY:

Q.    Mrs. King. When the child hit this post did she get dizzy?

A.    Yes.

Q.    How did she act?

A.    She held her hand over her right eye (Illustrated where the spike struck her) She said, “I Hurt my eye.” But came along and did not say much more about it. It was swollen and blue.

Q.    When did you tell the doctor about the child being hurt?

A.    I sent word to him Tuesday.

Q.    How was she suffering?

A.    She was suffering with pains in her head and across her eye.

MR. WILSON:

Q.    She did not tell her parents?

A.    No sir.

MISS MARY KING being recalled says:

JURY:

Q.    What relation are you to the child?

A.    Her sister.

Q.    Did she not think of telling her parents about the accident?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Miss King. When did they call the doctor?

A.    Wednesday evening.

Q.    Did they call the doctor after you told them?

A.    Yes sir.

MR. WILSON:

Q.    Is this girl’s mother living?

A.    Yes.

JURY:

Q.    Mary, did Ollie attend school Monday?

A.    No sir.

DR. H. B. THOMAS being duly sworn says:

MR. WILSON:

Q.    You are a physician?

A.    Yes.

Q.    When were you called to this Ollie May King?

A.    Wednesday night, March 22, 1933.

Q.    That was your first visit?

A.    Yes.

Q.    You are satisfied that the lick caused her death?

A.    Yes.

Q.    She died Thursday morning?

A.    Yes.

JURY:

Q.    Dr. Thomas. If you had seen the child when she was first hurt could you have saved her?

A.    No, because you could not tell until the trouble localized and it did not show up until Wednesday night.


DOCTOR’S CERTIFICATE

March 25, 1933

OLLIE KING, Whitmire SC

History of injury to the right eye:

On Saturday night March 18, 1933 by bumping into a light pole while drowsy, walking along home. Hitting eye against spike on pole, causing concussion, swelling, and infection. This had partly subsided, the eyelid and eyeball still swollen and reddened when first seen on the night of March 22, 1933 about eight pm. Pus was present in the lids. All of this was more subsided on the morning she died at eleven am.

Diagnosis:

Cerebral (Brain) abscess causing death by respiratory failure from an infection in the eye.                      H. B. Thomas, MD

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry Court House in the County and State aforesaid, the 11th day of May A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty three before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of FANNIE STEPHENS of Newberry SC then and there being dead by the oaths of J. W. Johnson, P. B. Mitchell, G. E. Jones, T. G. Graham, H. L. Dukes, Wilson Clary 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 FANNIE STEPHENS came to her death, upon their oaths do say that the said FANNIE STEPHENS came to her death by being struck in the head with a brick or some blunt instrument at the hands of Will Smith. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid FANNIE STEPHENS 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/   James W. Johnson, foreman (L.S.)

/s/   Thomas G. Graham (L.S.)                                                                                    /s/   P. B. Mitchell (L.S.)

/s/   G. E. Jones (L.S.)                                      /s/  Wilson Clary (L.S.)                    /s/   H. L. Dukes (L.S.)

Inquisition held over the dead body of FANNIE STEPHENS colored, at Newberry SC, on May 11th, 1933

Examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON

DR. E. H. MOORE being duly sworn says:

Q.    Dr. Moore, you were called on to make an examination of this dead woman?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    How long would you say she had been dead?

A.    I would presume she had been dead anywhere from 18 to 20 hours.

Q.    You may tell the jury how you found her.

A.    I found this woman in a condition of rigor mortis. In sudden death or people dying in good health rigor mortis comes on very slowly and varies anywhere from 6 to 10 hours before coming on. In death resulting from wasting diseases it comes on early and varies from 4 to 6 hours after death. The condition is one in which the muscles are contracted causing the body to be stiff. That is known as rigor mortis. After rigor mortis passes off the body becomes limber again and it occurs anywhere from 18 t0 20 hours. I would safely say she had been dead anywhere from 18 to 20 hours. There was also some evidence of decomposition which of course would add to the idea that she had been dead for quite some time.

Q.    How long do you think a person could live in the condition she was in?

A.    She might have lived indefinitely and she might have died in a few minutes. I did not determine just what took place in the brain but I figure that the cerebral artery was ruptured and that she probably did not live an hour. I could safely say that she probably did not live over an hour. The fracture took place at the base of the brain. That is where the important blood supply is. Judging from the oozing of the blood I would conclude that some important blood supply had been ruptured. That being the case she only lived a very short time probably.

EVE COLEMAN being duly sworn says:

Q.    Where do you live?

A.    On Boozer Street.

Q.    In Newberry?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Newberry County?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Does anyone live in the house with you?

A.    My son and Mandu.

Q.    Who is Mandu? Is that Will Smith?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    How long has he been living with you?

A.    He has been living with me since the snow and sleet was. I don’t know exactly how long that has been.

Q.    Been there ever since?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Was he at your house Saturday?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Was he there all day?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    There that night?

A.    He left Saturday evening and went to town.

Q.    What time?

A.    Right around sun-down.

Q.    Sun down?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What time did he come back?

A.    I could not say. I did not look at the clock.

Q.    Was it 9:00 o’clock when he came back?

A.    It was later than that because I did not lay down until after 10:00 and I had been asleep and woke up when he came.

Q.    You got up and opened the door and let him in?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What kind of clothes was he wearing?

A.    Overalls and overall jacket.

Q.    The same overalls and overall jacket that he had on when I arrested him?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What did he say when he came in?

A.    He told me to come back in the kitchen and eat something with him that he had bought up town. I told him that I was not hungry. He said that he had some liver and that I had better salt it down. I went and salted it down. And that is all he said.

Q.    Anything else you know about it?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Was he there Sunday morning?

A.    Yes sir. Sunday morning while I was cooking breakfast he came in with a little book in his hands and said that he wanted me to learn some songs. He got the little book from down at the trash pile. I left him there at the house and when I came back he was there. He left the house during the afternoon and went down to the trash pile and came back with three more little books.

Q.    What time was that?

A.    I don’t know – about the middle of the afternoon.

Q.    Did he go anywhere after that?

A.    I don’t know anything about it if he did.

Q.    He went to bed that night?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you see him Monday morning?

A.    Yes sir. He ate breakfast Monday morning and then he left to go on the job.

Q.    When was the last time you saw Fannie Stephens?

A.    Not since Thursday of last week.

Q.    Where was she then?

A.    At her house.

JURY:

Q.    Where did you say he got the little books from?

A.    From the trash pile.

Q.    He had been working?

A.    Yes sir. But he did not work last week. He worked the week before. He left Monday morning to go on the job but did not get any work.

ADDIE DENNIS being duly sworn says:

Q.    Addie, where do you live?

A.    Boozer Street.

Q.    Newberry?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Newberry County?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    How close do you live to Fannie Stephens’ house?

A.    Across the street.

Q.    In front of it?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you go over to her house Monday afternoon?

A.    Yes sir. This here girl called me and me and a crowd of women went over there.

Q.    All of you went over together?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you go in the house?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you see the dead woman?

A.    I did not go near her.

Q.    Did you see her pretty well every day?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    When did you see her last?

A.    I saw her Saturday evening at 6:30 o’clock.

Q.    You did not see her Sunday?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Were you at home all day?

A.    Yes sir. I was there from the time I got home from my work.

Q.    Do you work on Sunday?

A.    Yes sir. I got home Sunday about 2:30 o’clock.

Q.    You did not see her in the afternoon?

A.    No sir.

Q.    The next time you saw her was when she was found dead?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Do you know who had been staying with her?

A.    Texanna Martin and Mandu.

Q.    How long has it been since he left there?

A.    I don’t know.

Q.    A week, two weeks, three weeks or how long?

A.    Longer than that but I don’t know just how long.

Q.    Do you know why he moved?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Is that all you know about it?

A.    Yes sir.

TEXANNA MARTIN being duly sworn says:

Q.    Where do you live?

A.    I live on Davis Ave.

Q.    Where did you live before you moved there?

A.    I lived with Aunt Fannie.

Q.    How long did you live with her?

A.    From the 15th of September until the 3rd of this month.

Q.    Until the 3rd of this month?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Was there anybody else staying there while you were there?

A.    Mandu. He lived there when I moved there.

Q.    Now who is Mandu?

A.    I don’t know. Mandu is all I know.

Q.    Is that Will Smith? The one I arrested?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    And you call him Mandu?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    In which room did Mandu sleep?

A.    In the kitchen part.

Q.    Did he always sleep in the kitchen?

A.    As far as I know.

Q.    Who else was living there when you moved?

A.    Albert Kelly.

Q.    Do you know of any trouble that they had between themselves?

A.    I do not know anything about it.

Coroner I. H. WILSON:

Q.    Was Mandu and Aunt Fannie kin?

A.    No sir. Not that I know of.

ALBERT KELLY being duly sworn says:

Q.    Where do you live?

A.    Drayton Street.

Q.    Where did you stay before you moved there?

A.    I stayed with Aunt Fannie Stephens.

Q.    How long did you live with her?

A.    About a year.

Q.    Did Will Smith live there too?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Why did he move?

A.    Me and him had some words and he cursed Cousin Fannie out and I ran him off.

Q.    He cursed her out?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What about?

A.    Just mean I guess.

Q.    What did he say to her?

A.    He had some stew back there on the stove and she went back there to get some of it and he told her not to get it. He cursed her and told her if she got it he would hit her.

Q.    He was talking about hitting her?

A.    Yes sir. Then he took his stuff and left.

Q.    Did you hear him say anything else to her?

A.    No sir.

Q.    When was that - that you heard that?

A.    That was before he moved. He has been left about two or three months.

Q.    He cursed her out before he left.

A.    Because she wanted some of his stew he got mad at her.

Q.    Do you know of any other trouble that they had between themselves?

A.    No sir. I don’t know.

MR. H. A. QUATTLEBAUM being duly sworn says:

MR. WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Quattlebaum, what position do you hold in the county?

A.    Deputy Sheriff.

Q.    You made an arrest in the case of the murder of Fannie Stephens?

A.    Yes.

Q.    Who did you arrest?

A.    Will Smith. The following is what we found:

        On Monday afternoon May 8th about three o’clock the sheriff’s office was notified that Fannie Stephens was found dead in her home. Sheriff Blease, Mr. Taylor and myself went to Fannie Stephens’ house on Hardeman Street in the City of Newberry SC. We found her body lying across the bed on its back, her feet hanging out on the floor. She was undressed and we found about a half a brick lying beside her head. There was a good deal of blood on the bed clothes and also on the brick. There was evidence of foul play. The coroner ordered a post mortem. Sheriff Blease told me to go ahead and made an investigation and see what I could find out so I started the investigation that afternoon. Later that night Dr. Moore told me that her head had been crushed. I went to the undertaker’s place and Dr. Moore showed me where the skull had been crushed on the right side of her head. Then Tuesday afternoon May 9th I received certain information. I arrested a Negro named Will Smith, took him to the jail and started questioning him and he made this statement:

“You all say you have me connected with this thing and I don’t see any way to get out of it so I will just take it all on myself and say that I hit her.”

I told him I did not want him to say that he killed Aunt Fannie unless he did do it. Then he said he wanted to talk to some of his people before talking anymore. He asked me to take him up to see his sister. I told him I could not take him out of the jail then. I told him I wanted him to go ahead and tell me the truth and just how it happened. Then I noticed he had on an overall jumper and on the left side of it was blood stain about the size of my hand. I asked him how he got that blood on him and he said it wasn’t blood but later admitted it was blood and that he had been helping Mr. Summer butcher and he guessed that was how it got on his clothes. I talked on with him and he said he would tell the sheriff the truth about it. I came downstairs and the sheriff and myself went back up in the jail. In the presence of the sheriff and myself he said he went by Aunt Fannie’s house Sunday night and he went in her room and that she was lying on the bed and that he saw a brick right bedside her head and that he picked up the brick and dropped it and he guesses that was the way she got hit. Sheriff asked him if he did anything to Aunt Fannie besides drop the brick on her head. He answered no – he did not try to do anything to her and that at that we left after locking him back in the cell. Wednesday afternoon I went back to the jail and talked to him again and he said he guessed he was mistaken about Sunday night because it rained Sunday night and he said it must have been the night before it rained. He said that he went by Aunt Fannie’s house and that it was up in the night awhile when he got there and she was in the bed and he asked her how she was feeling. He still says that the brick was in the bed and that he picked it up and dropped it. I took the shirt off of him and the sheriff called the office of the Governor’s secretary to have him make arrangements to have a test made to see if it was human blood. I carried the shirt to Mr. Powell at the Baptist Hospital. He told me I could get his report this morning. At 11:30 I got in touch with him and he told me that it was taking him a little longer than he expected before I could get a report on it. That is just about as far as I have gotten in the case. I have some other evidence which we will not hear at this time.

JURY:

Q.    Will Smith admitted that he killed her?

A.    He first said, “You all say you have got me connected with this thing and I don’t see any way to get out of it so I will just take it all on myself and say that I hit her.” He now varies in his statement and says that he picked up the brick and dropped it and he guessed that was the way she got hit. I did not mention about the brick being in the bed at all. He said he got the brick from right beside her head and dropped it.

DOCTOR’S CERTIFICATE

To whom it may concern:

This certifies that I examined the body of Fannie Stephens and after removing the scalp I find the skull to have been fractured just about and in front of the right ear which I consider ample cause of death.

                                                            Respectfully,                                     E. H. Moore, MD                                      5/8/1933

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 31st day of May A. D., one thousand nine hundred and thirty three before I. H. Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of NANCY RUTHERFORD of Newberry County then and there being dead by the oaths of R. L. Tarrant, J. C. Foy, James L. Burns, H. L. Spears, John Swittenberg and A. C. Mills 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 NANCY RUTHERFORD came to her death, upon their oaths do say that the said NANCY RUTHERFORD came to her death by accident due to reckless driving by James Clary. Accident happened on May 30, 1933 and she died May 31, 1933. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the aforesaid NANCY RUTHERFORD 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/   R. L. Tarrant, foreman (L.S.)

/s/   John Swittenberg (L.S.)                                                                                       /s/   J. C. Foy (L.S.)

/s/   H. L. Spears (L.S.)                                    /s/  James L. Burns (L.S.)                /s/   A. C. Mills (L.S.)

Inquisition held over the dead body of NANCY RUTHERFORD May 31st, 1933

BESSIE LEE RENWICK being duly sworn says:

Examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON

Q.    Bessie Lee, were you on this truck that Nancy Rutherford was on when she was killed?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Go ahead and tell how it happened.

A.    I was behind Nan and all I know when we went to turn the curve the truck went out of the road, hit the ditch and he turned back into the road and when he turned back into the road it turned Nan off the truck. I heard Johnny say, “Nan is dead.”

Q.    Where was Nancy riding?

A.    Right in front behind Johnny.

Q.    On the seat with him?

A.    No sir. On the right side.

Q.    On the frame?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did he turn to the left and throw her off to the right?

A.    The church is on the right hand side and he turned to the right of the road and he turned back to his left and when he turned to his left that threw her off the truck.

Q.    Who was driving the truck?

A.    A Clary fellow.

Q.    James Clary?

A.    Yes sir. Jim Clary.

Q.    He is a white fellow?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Who does this truck belong to?

A.    To William Johnson I think.

Q.    Why were you on this truck?

A.    Nan was going to carry her husband dinner and she asked us to pick berries. That is where we started.

Question by MR. D. J. TAYLOR:

Q.    How many on the truck?

A.    Five women.

Q.    What were the names?

A.    Louise Burton, Louise Jenkins, Louise Aull, we call her Zoney, Johnny Austin and James Rutherford.

Q.    No one else besides them and the driver?

A.    No sir.

CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Tell the jury what part of the county this happened in.

A.    I don’t know much about that place. It was right in front of Seekwell Church.

Q.    Did he stop?

A.    He could not stop right then. He had to drive a piece before he could stop.

Q.    Any white boys on the truck besides the driver?

A.    That is all.

Q.    He was going back to the sawmill over in Maybinton to get another load of lumber?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    She was taking her husband’s dinner?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    How far were you from the saw mill when this happened?

A.    I don’t know.

Q.    You did not get any further?

A.    No sir. We stayed right there. After James Austin hollered we drove a piece and went back and got water and camphor and let her smell it until we got back to town.

Q.    Who brought her to town?

A.    This truck, her husband and Mr. William Johnson.

Q.    What rate of speed was he driving when this happened and she fell off?

A.    I don’t know, he was going fast.

Q.    Was he going 20, 25, 30 or 35 miles an hour or what rate of speed. What is your idea? You know how fast anything is going?

A.    I believe about 50 or over.

Q.    This was in Newberry County?

A.    Yes sir. Right there at Seekwell Church.

Question by MR. D. J. TAYLOR:

Q.    Was anybody fussing?

A.    No sir. We had just quit singing.

Q.    There was no disturbance?

A.    No sir. No disturbance at all.

LOUISE BURTON being duly sworn says:

Examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON:

Q.    Were you riding on this truck when Nancy got thrown off?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Where were you riding?

A.    I was in the rear of the truck.

Q.    Where was Nancy sitting?

A.    She was sitting on the left hand side of the truck going out.

Q.    She was on the left of the driver?

A.    No sir, on the right of the driver.

Q.    Tell what you know about it.

A.    She was on the right hand side. He ran about as far from here to Mr. Hogge’s and I said, “Lord, where is Nancy?” He had to back up and we stayed there with her until he got back.

Q.    Did you see her when she fell off the truck?

A.    I did not see her when she left the truck.

Q.    Did the truck switch around?

A.    Yes sir. It switched in the ditch and got back in the road.

Q.    She fell in the ditch where you got her?

A.    No sir. She had crawled up towards Seekwell Church when we got back to her.

Q.    How fast was the truck going?

A.    I was behind. I could not see.

Q.    Was it going 15 or 20 miles an hour?

A.    I don’t know.

Q.    You had a rear seat?

A.    Yes sir. A rear seat in the back of the truck.

Questions by MR. D. J. TAYLOR:

Q.    Had any of you asked him not to drive so fast?

A.    No sir.

Q.    You did not get scared?

A.    I did not.

Q.    Was this a lumber truck?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did it have cross things to put lumber on?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    She was sitting on one of these things?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    On the end of it?

A.    Yes sir.

Questions by the JURY:

Q.    You did not see anybody push her off?

A.    No sir. Nobody pushed her off.

LOUISE AULL being duly sworn says:

Examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON:

Q.    Louise, you were on this truck too?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Tell what you know. Where were you sitting?

A.    I was on the left hand side.

Q.    Toward the back or the front?

A.    On the front.

Q.    Did you see Nancy when she fell off?

A.    When I knew anything she had fallen and the truck had stopped.

Q.    How far did it run?

A.    A good piece.

Q.    You did not know anything about it from the time she fell off until he got the truck stopped?

A.    No sir.

Q.    How fast was he running?

A.    Pretty fast.

Q.    About how many miles an hour.

A.    I did not watch it.

Q.    Fifteen miles an hour?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Twenty or twenty five miles an hour?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Which one? Was he going about 50 miles an hour?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Wasn’t anyone on the truck but you women and the driver and James Rutherford and Johnny Austin?

A.    That is all.

Q.    No lumber on there?

A.    No sir.

Q.    What sort of seat did you have on there?

A.    We were sitting on the cross piece that goes across that way (Indicating). She was on one end of that cross piece and I was on the other.

Q.    Both sitting on the same piece?

A.    Yes sir.

JOHNNY AUSTIN being duly sworn says:

Examination by Coroner I. H. WILSON:

Q.    You were riding the truck too?

A.    Yes sir. I was on there. I was working this week.

Q.    You work with Mr. Johnson?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    You go every trip?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Who was driving this truck when Nancy fell off?

A.    Jim Clary was driving.

Q.    He is a white fellow?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Whose truck was it?

A.    Mr. William Johnson’s truck.

Q.    Where were you sitting at?

A.    In the seat – me and another boy.

Q.    Toward the back?

A.    No sir, there isn’t but one seat. I was in the seat.

Q.    Just a seat for one and the driver?

A.    Two can sit in there. I was sitting down and the other boy was sitting between my legs.

Q.    Nancy on your right?

A.    She was on the cross bolster that runs across like that (Indicating).

Q.    You see her when she fell off?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did she try to catch?

A.    No sir. When the truck went in the ditch the hind end hit the ditch and when he switched it back in the road it threw Nancy off.

Q.    How come the truck [was] switched?

A.    He was running too fast to make the inside curve and the truck went in the ditch on the outside and he went to switch it back in the road and she fell off.

Q.    How fast was the truck going?

A.    Last time I looked he was between 45 and 50.

Q.    Nobody told him to slow down?

A.    No sir. I don’t say anything to anybody when they are driving.

Q.    Does he drive the truck often?

A.    That was the first time I saw him in a pretty good while until today.

Q.    Would you say he was a good driver?

A.    I don’t know anything about his driving.

Q.    This happened in Newberry County over there around Maybinton?

A.    I guess it was in Newberry – it was over in Maybinton.

JAMES RUTHERFORD being duly sworn says:

Examination by CORONER I. H. WILSON:

Q.    James, you were riding on this truck when this woman fell off?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What part of the truck were you on?

A.    I was in the front between his legs.

Q.    Between Johnny Austin’s legs?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Go ahead and tell what you know.

A.    When we came out of the curve he was making 45 or 50. He got too close to the curve and he got too close to the ditch and when he hit the ditch Nancy fell off and I hollered and told him she had fallen off. He ran a long piece and I didn’t get close to her.

Q.    Did you work on the truck?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Why were you on there? Were you going over there with the blackberry pickers and Nancy to take her husband’s dinner?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    You say that you noticed the speed and it was making 45?

A.    Yes sir.

LOUISE JENKINS being duly sworn says:

Examination by CORONER I.H. WILSON:

Q.    Louise, were you on this truck?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Tell what you know.

A.    I don’t know anything. I was sitting in the rear and when I knew anything Johnny hollered that she had fallen off. The truck ran a long piece before he could stop and then he backed back.

Q.    This happened Yesterday on May 30th?

A.    I don’t know the date. It was yesterday.

Q.    And she died today?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    How did you get her back to town?

A.    Mr. William Johnson brought her back.

Q.    Brought her on home?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you have a doctor?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did Mr. Johnson call the doctor?

A.    I don’t know who called the doctor.

Q.    The doctor came?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What doctor?

A.    Dr. Grant came first and then Dr. Houseal.

Q.    How long before Dr. Houseal came?

A.    I don’t know. I went on down to get my other sister.

Q.    Bessie Lee Renwick, Louise Burton, Louise Jenkins, Louise Aull, Johnny Austin and James Rutherford – is that all that was on the truck beside the driver?

A.    Yes sir.

MR. WILLIAM JOHNSON being duly sworn says:

Examination by CORONER I.H. WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Johnson, are you the owner of this truck that this woman fell off of?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Who did you have driving this truck?

A.    Jim Clary.

Q.    Is he a pretty good driver?

A.    I don’t know sir. Tell you the honest truth he had driven for me a few times empty. I thought he was a pretty good driver. He had not ever driven a load before.

Q.    And you stayed at the sawmill?

A.    Yes sir. He was riding on the truck with me. That is the first time I had seen him in a week or two. He went to the saw mill with me and I asked him if he wanted to drive that load for me and he said, “Hell, yes.” And he left out with the truck. I was at the saw mill. He and the Negro boy that worked with me and James Rutherford were on the truck. They came in and said that this woman had fallen off the truck and it killed her and they left her in the road. I loaded up and came on back over there and stopped and saw that she was still living. We got her on the truck and brought her to town.

Q.    Was the truck loaded?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Her husband works with you?

A.    Yes sir. He was at the mill. He stacks out. I drive the truck and have another to go along and help me unload. He was at the mill.

Questions by the JURY:

Q.    Can this truck make 45?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    They say it was making between 45 and 50. Can it do that?

A.    Yes sir. It can do it.

Q.    What kind of truck is it?

A.    A model Ford – a 1932 or 1933 model.

Q.    Does it have a speedometer on it?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you call the doctor?

A.    Yes sir. I went and got him.

Q.    Dr. Houseal?

A.    Yes sir.

LOUISE BURTON recalled says:

Examination by the JURY:

Q.    Louise, had Nancy Rutherford been accustomed to riding this truck and taking her husband’s dinner to him?

A.    She had occasionally. But she usually carried it and left it with Mr. Johnson.

Q.    Who invited you?

A.    Nobody. We asked him could we go fishing and he said yes and Nancy carried her husband’s dinner.

Q.    Who invited the others?

A.    Nancy asked him. She could not go unless all of us went.

Q.    In other words you all wanted to go and she asked for all of you to go?

A.    I guess she did. I didn’t go up in the lumber yard with her.

DOCTOR’S CERTIFICATE

May 31, 1933

I have examined the body of Nancy Rutherford. She had a deep laceration about 18 inches long in her back, extending from the lowest rib downward and across the spine, through the muscles of the back, exposing the left kidney. This injury was, in my opinion, sufficient to cause her death.                                                                         Robert W. Houseal
 

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