African American Deaths
Lawrence County, Tennessee
The information below is a compilation of articles taken from local Lawrence County, Tennessee newspapers and Giles County Historical Bulletins (with permission). It consists of obituaries, deaths by foul play and accidents, natural or otherwise. If you have additional articles on deaths and would like to place them on this web page, you can submit them to the Lawrence County Archives by email or regular mail. You may also obtain copies of the newspaper article from the archives by calling (931-852-4091) or by mail at 2588 Hwy. 43 S, Leoma, TN 38468.
Negro Killer is Captured Here; Smallwood and Bottoms Search Freight Train and Arrest Fugitive After Murder
14 January 1920 Lawrence Democrat
Old Darkey Dies Here Last Week
For Years a Familiar Figure About The Streets of the City, Dies As He Was Sitting in a Chair
Bob Bentley, an aged darkey, who for years had been a familiar figure about the streets of the city, died on last Saturday evening about 5:00 p.m., supposedly of heart failure. He was sitting in a chair when the end came, in his room of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Y. T. Garrett, on North Military street, for whom he had worked for years. He had been in the Neeley family for over thirty years, and although his mind was feeble, he was respected by the older residents who knew him. He has two brothers, living, Oscar and Charlie Bentley. Charlie is reaching the old age mark himself and has been an employ of the First National Bank here. Freemon and Company, undertakers.
14 April 1920, Lawrence Democrat
At his home in this city, Charley Bentley, colored, died on last Saturday after about 60 years of life, almost all of it spent in Lawrenceburg. For years he had been janitor of the First National Bank Building, and we, its occupants, had come to feel quite a sense of kinship and affection for this kindly, honest colored man who looked after our comfort and welfare during the working hours. He was one of the first four Lawrence Countians – two white and two black-that the writer ever knew. In the stormy legislative sessions of 1895-6, when Lawrence County had M. L. Gower the House and the late judge Jno. B. Simms in the Senate, Charley Bentley and John Fields both of Lawrenceburg were legislative porters, and the senior editor, then the "baby member" of the legislature, came to know and like them all. Of the four only Mr. Gower is now living. Judge Simms died before the expiration of his term and was succeeded by Capt. T. H. Meredith, in the extra session of September 1896, and he, too has passed on before, to that home beyond the skies.
For many years Charley was a member and an official of the St. John's Colored Methodist Church, and it was there that his pastor, Rev. S. T. Miller conducted the funeral services on Sunday, which were attended by many white people, showing the esteem in which this faithful friend of white folks was held by them. He leaves a wife and five children in whose heartfelt sorrow we truly sympathize.
16 August 1922, Lawrence Democrat Union.
West Point Negro Slays Another by Ambushing Blast
Lincoln McLean, colored, killed Will Blair, another negro, as he passed along a road in West Point last Sunday.
Officers stated that the killer had had domestic trouble involving the dead, and that he hid in a ditch and ambushed his victim as he came along. The death charge from a shotgun struck the deceased in the face.
The killer was said to have immediately given himself up to officers, who have been holding him without bail.
29 September 1939, Democrat Union
Elkton - Tol Bledsoe, one of Elkton’s most reliable Negro men, died at his home Sunday of pneumonia.
28 March 1895, The Pulaski Citizen
Boyd, Dr. R. F.
Well-known Colored Physician Succumbs to Attack of Acute Indigestion-A Native of Giles County
His large circle of acquaintances deeply regretted this morning to learn of the death of one of Nashville’s prominent and useful colored citizens in the person of Dr. R. F. Boyd. His death took place this morning at 8:50 at the Boyd infirmary on South Fourth Avenue, an institution established by him and where he had his residence.
Dr. Boyd was at the meeting of the Negro Board of Trade, of which he was President, last night until past 11 o’clock, after which he ate supper with a friend. This morning he was up and ate breakfast as usual, but drank very freely of iced tea. He was seized by a very severe attack of acute indigestion at 7:50. One of his trained nurses was called and gave him such relief as he suggested and Dr. F. A. Stewart was called. Dr. Stewart arrived promptly and took measures to relieve his patient but he passed away at 8:50.
Robert F. Boyd was born in Giles County, near Pulaski, July 8, 1855 and was 57 years of age. He graduated from Meharry Medical College in 1882, began the practice of medicine and has practiced here ever since.
He was a very vigorous, industrious man. He entered many fields of activity. He was a member of many social and benevolent organizations and took part in every movement for advancement and uplift to his people. He established the Mercy Hospital many years ago. It was used as a place to take care of colored patients and to furnish hospital advantages for students of Meharry before Hubbard Hospital was established. He gave some attention to the accumulation of this world’s goods and at his death was worth $50,000 to $75,000. He carried about $25,000 in life insurance. The funeral will take place Monday morning at 10 o’clock at the Auditorium.
25 July 1912 Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin 39, January 2013
Aunt Nancy Braden, a very highly respected old colored woman, died at her home Tuesday evening.
24 January 1895, Pulaski Citizen
Mrs. Mattie Bridgeforth
Mrs. Mattie Allie Bridgeforth, 68, teacher in the Pulaski Negro High School for 35 years, died at her home today after a short illness. She is survived by her husband, J. T. Bridgeforth, who was principle of the Negro High School for many years before his retirement last year and for whom the present high school built a few years ago was named; and four children, all of whom are teachers, John Bridgeforth, Mrs. Lenora Balletine, and Mrs. Roberta Greenfield, all of Giles County, and Mrs. Susie Nelsonof Indianapolis, Indiana. Funeral services will be held at one o’clock at the Pulaski A.M.E. Church. (Mattie Allie Parks Bridgeforth, the daughter of Balam and Catherine Parks was born ? ? 1872 in Giles County, Tennessee and died April 10, 1940, according to death certificate.) Pulaski Record, April 10, 1940. Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. 39, April 2013.
Rev. J. T. Bridgeforth
Negro Minister Dies.
Funeral services of the Rev. J. T. Bridgeforth, age 81, Negro minister and retired Principal of Bridgeforth High School were held Sunday afternoon at Campbell’s Chapel in Pulaski at 2 o’clock by the Rev. E. S. Rose. Burial was in Maplewood Cemetery.
Professor Bridgeforth, a retired minister and teacher, after forty years of service had been in ill health for some time and blind for the last five years.
He attended school in Giles County, attended A. &. I. State University from which he graduated in 1927 and also taught there for several summers.
He was principal of Bridgeforth High School, which was named in his honor due to the many educational contributions to the school. He served as pastor to the Lilburn A. M. E. Church and the Friendship A. M. E. Church until the last few months.
Survivors include a son, John W. Bridgeforth, Muskegon, Michigan; two daughters, Mrs. Roberta Greenfield, Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., and Mrs. Lenora Ballentine, Pulaski, a step-daughter Mrs. Margaret Hestor and a brother, Sam W. Bridgeforth both of Pulaski; six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. (James Thomas Bridgeforth, son of Watkins and Susan Bridgeforth was born August 8, 1872 in Giles County, Tennessee, and died October 11, 1953, according to his death certificate.) Pulaski Record, October 15, 1955. Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. 39, April 2013.
We give place elsewhere to an obituary notice of Aunt Alsie Brown, a colored woman much respected in this community for two generations. In addition to what is there said of her progeny, which is known to foot up 211, she also had children in Louisiana, and their progeny if known would run these figures up to 300 or more. Her teeth were as good as they were a hundred years ago and pearly white, and it is said that she could crush a hickory nut with them as late as a week ago. She was born in Powhatten County, VA, a hundred and twenty years ago, and remembers well incidents and persons of revolutionary times. She frequently spoke of Gen’l. Greene, whom she knew well. She was by a generation the oldest person in this section of the country, and we expect perhaps the oldest in the United States.
5 June 1879, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Bulletin Vol. XXXVI July 2010
Negro Woman Shoots Herself
Eldrey Buchanan, colored, wife of Floyd Buchanan committed suicide Sunday evening about six o'clock by shooting herself with a shotgun, the load taking effect in the side of her head. Domestic trouble is said to have been the cause of the suicide.
23 August 1922, Lawrence Democrat News.
One of Lawrence county’s worthy negro citizens, deacon and trustee of the Holiness Church of god passes away.
The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the power, To tell just when the hand will stop, At late or early hour. Now is the only time you own, Live, love, toil with a will; Place no faith in tomorrow, for The clock may then be still.
Brother Stephen Buford, of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., was born April 8, 1847, departed this life April 1, 4:20 p.m. Age 87 years, 11 months and 23 days. Bro. Buford professed a hope in Christ in his early youth, he became affiliated with the African Methodist Church, and several loyally as a deacon for several years.
About the year of 1914, Bro. Buford desired to live a higher life, according to Isiah 35:8. And a highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness. It was at this time that he was aware of the true fact that he had to leave his name and be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name.
Isaiah 61:12. And they shall call them the Holy People. The redeemed of the Lord, and thou shalt be sought out a city not forsaken.
II Cor. 6:17. Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord and I will receive you.
Acts 20:32. We have the words of Paul to the brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Bro. Buford, we know, did enjoy the services at all times, and encouraged the ministers to preach the word. He proved to be a worthy citizen of Lawrence county for forty-seven years. He was thrice married, his first wife, Miss Delphi Mason, of Giles county, the second wife was Miss Mahala Rhodes, of Giles county. Third wife was Miss Sarah Frierson, of Lawrence county, this loving and dear wife was so patient during his illness, she was always ready and willing to do all she could. Bro. Buford endured his illness with much patience, for one year and six months he didn’t seem to worry over his condition at all.
Sister Ashley and her brother, Roy, were very, very dutiful at all times, ready and willing to render such services as they were able. He leaves to mourn their loss, nine sons, and two daughters, sixteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Rest from thy warfare, the battle is over, Hang up the armor, the vict’ry is won. Hear the sweet trumpet that calls thee to glory, Join the glad hosts ‘neath the unsetting sun. Glory awaits thee, O brave Christian soldier, Glory, such glory as heart never knew. Glory unsending, increasing in splendor, Glory that God has reserved for the true. Lena Rhodes, Reporter
11 Apr. 1935, Lawrence News
Negro Killed In Fall From Train Near Ethridge
Roy Buford, aged 35 years, was killed last week, when he fell or jumped from a freight train near Ethridge. Buford was a respected colored citizen, living north of this city. He is survived by his wife. He was employed by the Lawrenceburg Pressed Brick company and was also a farmer. Burial occurred in Mt. Ararat Cemetery.
21 April 1939 Democrat Union
Worthy Negro Dies
John Carter, colored, one of the most worthy members of his race, died Saturday night, aged 55 years, after a brief illness. He had been living with Capt. T. G. Arthur's family for fifteen years, serving as cook and general utility man about the home. He was always reliable, courteous and honest, and his death is regretted by both white and black. He was buried Monday. McClanahan & Wall, undertakers.
17 Jan. 1915, Lawrence Democrat News
Aged Colored Lady is Buried Monday
Margaret Carter (colored), age 63, died of heart failure June 1 at her home here. She is survived by her husband and a host of friends. Burial was at the colored cemetery across Shoal Creek Monday conducted by Rev. Smidgett ("Shorty") Haynes. Margaret was the wife of Anderson Carter and was respected both among the colored citizens and the whites. (The cemetery was Mt. Olivet.)
7 June 1929, Lawrence Democrat Union.
Death Among Colored People
Reece Caruthers, who was somewhere in the eighties in years, died at his home here Sunday of stomache trouble and old age. He had been in failing health for some time. The body was buried Monday, McClanahan's hearse bearing it to its last resting place. Uncle Reece did not know his age, but he was well along in years and had been a resident of Lawrenceburg for a long time. He was a true type of the old time southern-darky which is becoming so rare and not many of the older white residents of the town but what have had Uncle Reece for help, at one time or another.
17 Jan. 1923, Lawrence News.
"Aunt" Miranda Harwell an aged negro woman was found dead in bed at her home near Buford one morning last week. Death being attributed to a stroke of paralysis. "Aunt Mandy" as she was familiarly known belonged to the ante-bellum type. She was highly esteemed, faithful and honest and was for many years a valued servant in the home of J.D. Rhea. Another old time negress "Aunt" Ellen Childs also died last week in the Buford section.
1 July 1915, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXII July 2006
Claggett, George Roberts
Negro Killed By Accident
George Roberts Claggett Shoots Self with Old Pistol
Lived Short Time
Victim Spoke One Sentence as He Fell to Ground
George Roberts Claggett, 19 year old son of George and Lula Claggett, colored, shot himself to death last Saturday afternoon while playing with an old pistol, the ball entering his lower abdomen and coursing upward.
Stories of the accident are widely different, but one eye witness of the affair gives the account that the deceased in company with several other negro boys, was playing marbles at the back of a negro house on Gaines street, and that George was caring an old pistol at the time. According to the story he took out the gun and stated that he intended to shoot the marble. "Watch me shoot that one in," he is reported as having said. The pistol fell from his hands when he stumbled and fired.
He fell to the ground and cried, "Tell mama and call a doctor," after which he lapsed into unconsciousness and never recovered.
His playmates carried him to his mother, about a block away, medical aid was summoned, but the boy was in a dying condition when the doctors arrived and nothing could be done to save him.
The remains were buried Sunday afternoon in the city cemetery for colored people south of Lawrenceburg. He had been employed by the highway department at the time of his death.
27Jan.1926, Lawrence Democrat Union.
Our city marshall tried to fill Jeanie Clark (col) with lead. On last Sunday just as the majority of the people were leaving the dinner table two shots in rapid succession met their ears, and those who could see the square saw the form of a burly negro stretched on the ground, it was soon learned that forbearance had ceased to be a virtue with the marshall, and that as a result of resisting arrest he had shot and perhaps fatally wounded Jeanie Clark who had become almost a terror to him, for it was a well known fact that George Gunselman, the city marshall, might have killed him a year or more ago and have but carried out his duty as a officer.
17 May 1895, Lawrence Democrat News
Lynnville - Old Uncle David Coffee, col’d, as good old negro, died on last Wednesday night, and was buried on Thursday at Elk Ridge. Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Volume XXXV, July 2009
Negro Freezes to Death
It is reported here that a negro man, Will Collier by name, was found on the West Point road frozen to death one night during the extreme cold weather of last week. He had built a fire by the roadside but when found this had been out for some time. It is said that he is well known here, he having cooked at some of the local restaurants at various times.
24 Jan. 1917, Lawrence Democrat
Negro Killed in Family Quarrel
Jim Crowder Killed by Ferdy Crowley Saturday Night
As the culmination of a family quarrel in which liquor is said to have had a part, Jim Crowder, a negro man well known about the town is dead, and Ferdy Crowley, a stepson, is in jail charged with the killing. Crowder, it is reported, was drinking and threatened to kill his family, finally running them all away from home. With a pistol drawn he followed Crowley to where he had taken refuge in another negro cabin, and being denied admission, forced his way in striking a match when he had entered, presumably to find out the whereabouts of Crowley. At this juncture Crowley fired upon him with a shotgun striking him in the neck and killing him almost instantly. The shooting occurred some time after midnight just across the creek from Jackson Park. The Crowley negro was given a preliminary trial on Tuesday morning and released, the proof showing a case of self-defense.
29 July 1914, Lawrence Democrat Union.
Child Burned To Death Monday
Would-be Rescuer Is Just Seconds too Late
A negro baby was burned to death in a fire which destroyed the home of Pauline Dailey, on South Locust avenue, Monday afternoon, with a rescuer only seconds too late.
M. H. Setters, a truck driver for Dealers’ Transport, Louisville, Ky., gave this account:
"I arrived at the scene and saw the house afire. The baby was lying in a bed in the front room about four feet from the front door. I tried to get to the child, but was met with a wall of fire, with the ceiling about to cave in. However, the baby was still alive when I first arrived."
Chief Johnson said he thought the fire started around an old-type wood stove. The house was a mass of flames when the trucks arrived. The mother was said to have been across the street when the house caught fire.
15 December 1958, Democrat Union
Local Laconics - Rufus Daley, col., died Tuesday morning and was buried Wednesday at the cemetery.
17 January 1895, The Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Volume XXXV, July 2009
Maria Dickerson, colored, a well-known and most highly respected woman of this county, died Friday at 11 o’clock at a ripe age. She was born in Virginia and was owned in antebellum days by the late Col. Dickerson and having nursed all his children was known to them as "mammy." She was a good and faithful servant, had the respect of all who knew her, both white and black. Her funeral was largely attended and the remains interred Saturday morning.
6 August 1896, Pulaski Citizen
Morgan Dunn, 75 - This Negro blacksmith who served the Elkton section for more than 50 years died at the Baugh hospital, Decatur, Ala. He was sympathetic, friendly and was faithful to his white friends when sick. Mrs. Ida Puckett’s folk, Mrs. Fount Dunnavant, Mrs. Selvyn Rainey, Mrs. Mary Lizzie Austin, Mrs. O. J. Harwell – many more – of women miss him as he never failed to willingly respond when his services were needed. He was a valuable asset during his lifetime and I trust and believe will not be forgotten by his people.
July 2006, Giles. Co. Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXII
Old Negro ‘Yank’ Soldier is Dead
Died at his home in this city November 24, "Uncle Sam" Edmiston, an aged and respected colored man, who was 89 years old at the time of his death. He was a native of Giles County but had made his home here for a number of years. He was a soldier in the War of the Sixties, and was justly proud of the honorable discharge that proved his excellent record. He is survived by three daughters, a son and a host of friends who mourn his death. The funeral at the Baptist church on November 25 was conducted by Revs. William Watts and William Neal of his own race, and Elder T. C. King of Church of Christ. Freemon & Company were undertakers in charge of the funeral.
3 Dec. 1926, Lawrence Democrat Union
Negro Woman Dies Suddenly
"Aunt Rhoda" Edmundson died suddenly here Monday night shortly after midnight, after being taken violently ill about thirty minutes before the end came. She was the wife of "Uncle Sam" Edmundsen, a Civil War pensioner, and is survived by three children. She was about 75 years of age, and heart trouble was given as the cause of her death.
12 June 1923, Lawrence Democrat Union
When Ernest Estes, colored, fell a victim to the epidemic that has taken away so many in the past two weeks, our people both white and black sustained a real loss. Ernest was industrious and honorable, a good citizen. He died October 26, at the age of 23 years, 5 months and 19 days. He was a trusted employee of the L. & N. Railroad. He leaves a wife and two children, and was a __________widow of the ________near rela-______, respected________community. The funeral service were conducted by Rev.________, followed by burial in the Old City Cemetery, _______. Pall bearers were Sherman Franks, Luther Fields, James Crowder, Wes Craig, Bob Wigfall and John Haynes.
30 October 1918, Lawrence Democrat News
Suspect Murder In Negro’s Death
Old Darkey Found Dead in Chair, Circumstances Point to Murder, But Have No Definite Facts
John Estes, an old and respected colored man of this city was found dead in his room last Friday night with his neck broken, all circumstances pointing to foul play. John was known among all the residents of the city, for whom he had been working about the homes doing odd jobs and garden work. While no definite clues have as yet been established, the situation looks as if the old man had been murdered, from what we can learn from official sources.
We are informed that old John had a considerable sum of money on his person before going home that night, and after he was found dead, the money could not be found.
Another instance similar to this occurred last year when West Craig was found at his home with his neck broken, and his money gone. Freemon and Company, undertakers.
14 April 1920 Lawrence Democrat
Wife of Well Known Local Negro is Dead Here After Illness
Odie Estes, colored, wife of "Curly" Estes, well known local negro, died here March 22, following an illness of some time. The funeral was preached by the pastor of the A. M. E. church, and burial followed March 23, at the new colored cemetery across Shoal Creek. She is survived by husband and four small children. (Mt. Olivet Cemetery)
29 March 1927, Lawrence Democrat Union.
Negro Killed at Iron City
Iron City, Tenn., July 7, Sheney Smith (colored) shot and fatally wounded John Gracey (colored) Sunday morning. It is reported the Gracey negro came to the Smith negro's home intoxicated and was knocking and cursing the Smith negro's small sisters and brothers and threatening Sheney. He had also spoken disrespectfully to Sheney's older sister, it is said, and started in the house where she was. Sheney told him not to go in there and the Gracey negro ran his hand in his shirt as tho to get a gun, threatening Sheney at the same time. Sheney immediately unloaded a double barrel shot gun in his face. The Gracey negro lived two or three hours after the shooting. The Smith negro came to town and gave himself up to the officer who carried him to the county jail at Lawrenceburg.
8 July 1925, Lawrence Democrat Union
Esq. Merrit Eslick was called upon to hold an inquest over the remains of Martha Hancock, an old colored woman, who died suddenly on Monday morning.
14 February 1895, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Volume XXXV, July 2009
Tom Hardison, a worthy negro of this city, died Wednesday of influenza. He was about 35 years old and leaves a wife. Tom was a useful and worthy citizen. He had recently been employed by M. Spence who with others for whom he had worked speak in high terms of him and express sorrow for his death. Rev. S. T. Miller conducted the funeral service at the home in south-east Lawrenceburg on Saturday. Burial was at the Old Cemetery. (Possibly Old City Cemetery, but not sure.)
30 Oct. 1918, Lawrence Democrat Union
"Aunt" Miranda Harwell an aged negro woman was found dead in bed at her home near Buford one morning last week. Death being attributed to a stroke of paralysis. "Aunt Mandy" as she was familiarly known belonged to the antebellum type. She was highly esteemed, faithful and honest and was for many years a valued servant in the home of J.D. Rhea. Another old time negress "Aunt" Ellen Childs also died last week in the Buford section.
1 July 1915, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin Vol. XXXII July 2006
Ellie Haynes Dies At Age Of 48
Well Known Local Colored Man Dies Here of Heart Failure At Age 48 Years.
Ellie Haynes, colored, well known Lawrenceburg darky, died here Monday after a heart attack. He was 48 years old and had lived his life here. Ellie was buried in the old city cemetery Monday with Freemon & Co. in charge.
Ellie was a faithful old darky of the old school, and had many friends amoung his "white folks" as well as among his own race.
4 Feb. 1927, Lawrence Democrat Union
Haynes, L. B.
Negro Dies Of Knife Wounds
Former Local Negro Brought To This City For Burial Last Monday Afternoon
L. B. ("Buckshot") Haynes, former Lawrenceburg negro boy was buried Monday afternoon after he died in Nashville from knife wounds at the hands of an assailant whose name was not learned. Haynes was the son of Bert and Mae Haynes, and the body was accompanied here by a large delegation of Rock City Lodge No. 386 I.B.P.O.E. of W. Rev. Z. W. Hill was in charge of the services.
5 July 1935, Democrat Union
The death angel visited the home of Mrs. Ida Blair, colored, at West Point, on January 13th, 1926, and claimed for its victim her sister, RoAnn Herrin. She was 75 years old, a member of the M. E. Church, also a member of the Household of Ruth. She told her pastor she was willing and ready to die. Rev. S. M. Carmichael conducted the funeral, assisted by Rev. David Kelly, Rev. Carmichael preaching a very interesting sermon from the subject "On this rock I will build My church." The Ruthans performed their duty both at the house and at the cemetery.
The good white people that she used to work for gave the robe. The undertaker’s wife, Mrs. Mayme Williams gave $5.00 on the beautiful casket that the Ruthans purchased from the Williams new undertaker’s establishment. Many thanks to white and colored for their kindness shown us during the illness and death of my only sister. May God keep you and save you in the end. Ida Blair and Family.
20 January 1926, The Lawrence News
"Aunt" Malinda Keeling, an antebellum negress said to have been 105 years died recently at Buford. "Aunt Malinda" claimed that she was stolen from her parents when quite small in Africa and brought to Virginia where she resided until some years before the Civil War when she was bought and sold by traders to parties in this county where she has lived since. "Aunt Malinda" enjoyed the confidence and respect of all who knew her.
25 November 1915, Pulaski Citizen
Through the intelligence of a letter from West Point I learned of the death of Uncle Stephen Kelly (col). While very possibly this death did not bring a single tear, and there were no bowed heads, grief stricken, I cannot but feel a degree of sadness. This old negro was faithful to the utmost, he regarded his "white folks" as the dearest creatures on earth, always ready even in his last tottering years to do the slightest bidding, whether naturally or whether by experience as a slave he was always polite and could be trusted in a most trying capacity. While I am not a lover of "niggers" and especially not of the equality kind, I could not banish the fact that in my heart there was the kindest feeling for Uncle Steve. There's no positive record of his age yet the record shows him to have been nearing, or quite near, ninety years old. For the last few years he has been maimed to the extent that manual labor was too telling on him. And quite well I remember the summer of 1903 I last saw him, he says, "Buddy, my white folks won’t let me suffer, Steven ain't got much longer here." Then with bared head he further said "can't you give the old nigger a dime." Never did I more willingly give a dollar than to that deserving old man. He's gone and gone to meet "Massa in the cold cold ground." I look back to the years gone by when Uncle Steve would take me on his knee and tell me about Brer Bear and Brer Rabbit. Such negroes as Uncle Steve are few, one in ten thousand commands the respect of all people who knew him. Uncle Steve has gone, a new generation is coming on in West Point. But in years to come the memory of the good old darky will hover in the little town.
25 November 1904, Lawrence Democrat News
"Kid" Lightning", former local prizefighter, and a popular Lawrenceburg negro, was killed last week at Old Hickory when he was stabbed by another negro.
9 September 1932, Democrat-Union
Uncle Henry King, colored, of Pulaski, is probably the oldest person in the county. His wife stated recently that he was 110, or 111. He has no written record of his age. But he was a young man, and worked on the railroad, when they were building the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, and this was before the War Between the States—about 80 years ago, and Uncle Henry must have been about twenty or thirty at that time.
19 February 1941, Pulaski Citizen
Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXVIII January 2012
(NOTE: There are five articles on the murder of Jack Linam and the
trial that followed, but only two have been included in their entirety, since
other articles contain basically the same information along with other court
news not pertaining to this trial. The article 14 June 1922, Lawrence News has
been omitted; article 22 July 1922, Lawrence Democrat and 29 September 1922, Lawrence Democrat
are excerpts. If you are interested in reading the other articles, you may
contact the Lawrence County Archives at
Jack Linam Shot To Death On His Porch
Four White Men Held There For A Special Term of Court Set for First Week in July
In The Jail At Columbia
A fusillade of pistol shots, barking angrily in the night startled the people of the town from the square, east and south, on last Saturday night at about 10 o'clock. At so early an hour most people were awake and the sharp staccato of high power guns was so unusual and so incredible, this near to the square and at that hour that few could realize or easily believe that murder had been done. Officers who had been warned of possible disturbance and others attracted by the firing, went quickly in the direction of the shots, to find Jack Linam, colored, lying dead on his porch with nine bullet wounds in his body. There were marks of other bullets on the porch and walls, and a number of empty pistol shells were picked up by various people. A part of the shells were for lead bullets and some for steel jacketed missiles. Chief of Police John W. Howard, who handled the subsequent arrests and collection of evidence with promptness and skill stated on the stand that marks on the house showed shots were fired from three directions, though the only eye-witness, a small negro boy who was badly scared, said he saw only two men firing.
From the description of the men, Chief Howard arrested in a short time, Hensley Jarrett and Houston Bishop on the charge of first degree murder. The men were in an east side pool room when placed under arrest, and showed great surprise and denied knowing anything even that any negro, had been killed, or shooting had occurred.
Later, George Jarrett, Clay Bishop, younger brothers of the first named men and Walter Coleman were arrested and held for the preliminary hearing on Tuesday of this week.
The case came to be tried at one o'clock, before Justice J. W. Garrett. The Circuit Court room was filled with men and women from both town and country, whose intense interest held them for about 4 hours, hot and perspiring, but unwilling to miss the testimony of a single witness. Women auditors, especially, were disappointed when their counsel did not call the defendants to the stand, or put on a single witness in their behalf, or even cross-examine the state's witnesses. Evidently they preferred to allow the state to show its hand and to give no intimation of the character of defense to be made in the later trial of the case.
W. H. Lindsay and H. D. Derrick were associated with Gen. White in the prosecution and Judge Robt. B. Williams and Noble L. Freemon appeared as counsel for the defendants. Both sides had stenographers to take the evidence, indicating that this is to be one of the hardest fought law suits in the history of the court. Mack Gilbreth for the State and Miss Ruth Dennis for the defense were the stenographers. At the opening of the trial Gen. White moved to dismiss the indictment against Walter Coleman, it appearing clearly that he was in another part of the town at the time of the shooting. He was then made a state's witness. Defense waived the reading of the indictment and pleaded not guilty.
It is not a usual thing in the South to see white men so vigorously prosecuted for killing a negro, and such interest displayed in punishing whom ever may have been guilty of Jack Linam's death, proves this case a most unusual one. This paper will not give a detailed statement of the testimony of witnesses out of deference to the suggestion of the judge that such a publication makes it more difficult to secure a jury when the case comes up for trial. We shall content ourselves in making a general statement of the state's proof on which the defendants are held to await the action of the grand jury, and perhaps a final trial in the circuit court.
The state's witnesses heard in the trial were: John W. Howard; Virgil Conway; George Harris; John Richardson; Walter Coleman; white men, and Jim Crowder; John Wesley English; William Buford and Will Steele; colored.
A condensation and linking together of their testimony is to the effect that: The four defendants having sent word that they were coming to "have fun with some negroes," did come, and forcing the little English negro to go with them to Jack Linam's house and after asking several other negroes about Estes, Ollie Wigfall and Jack Linam and making threats against them, finally shot Jack to death without a word, as he was about to enter his own doorway. The state's contention then from the testimony is that the men separated, two older giving the pistols to George and Clay, came rapidly to town and to the pool room where they were found. The younger boys, it is charged took the pistols and went down near the bridge where they were to get in the car when signaled and all go home. After the two older men were arrested they asked Virgil Conway to take the car and blow the horn near the bridge for the other two. This he testified he did and that they came out from the east side of the road, but he saw no pistols. George Harris later saw these boys give some pistols to Hensley Jarrett's wife at Leoma.
At the conclusion of the testimony some discussion on the question of bail was indulged in by counsels. Gen. White said that he had no feeling against defendants and would undertake to give them a fair and speedy trial, so that if innocent they would be quickly released and that as a rule he would agree to a bond in almost any case, but that this case was so unusual, he would be untrue to his duty to the public, did he not insist on bond being disallowed.
Judge Williams argued that bail be granted, and especially to the younger boys, whom no witness had identified and against whom the evidence was not strong nor the presumption great. He asked for bail in an amount that would not be prohibitive and thus a punishment but only sufficient to guarantee their appearance for trial.
Justice Garrett in rendering his verdict said that the older Jarrett and Bishop would not be allowed to make bail, and that while he believed that the younger men, 22 and 17 years old respectively were present and perhaps aiding and abetting, he could understand how their relationship might have caused them to stay with their brothers, and try to help them escape without being guilty of first degree murder. He said their action was bad enough but with this view he would allow bail of $10,000 each as to them.
This bail has not been made as yet and the four accused men have been taken to the Columbia jail for safekeeping, owing to the fact that the local jail is being rebuilt.
Gen. White, Chief Howard, and other officials have asked that Judge Turner have a special term of the grand jury to consider this case, as the regular term will not convene for about three months, and it is probable that this will be called about the first week in July.
16 June 1922, Lawrence Democrat
Special Session of Circuit Court
A special term of Circuit Court convened here Thursday, with J. G. Crews of the local bar as special judge...... The grand jury returned indictments against Hensley Jarrett, Houston Bishop, George Jarrett, and Clay Bishop for murder in the first degree in connection with the slaying of Jack Lynam, a negro, who was shot to death on the porch of his house in the suburbs of Lawrenceburg on June 10.
George Jarrett and Clay Bishop are out under $10,000 bond allowed them by Justice Garrett in the preliminary hearing. The other two accused men were denied the bond and are in the Columbia jail.
Judge Turner has set a special term of court for July 18 and it is possible that the case of the four men may be set for trial at that time, but of course nothing definite is known as to that matter.............
7 July 1922, Lawrence Democrat
Excerpt from article:
Judge Turner’s Strong Charge
The Jack Linam Murder Case Will Not be Tried at this Term of Court
The murder case against the Jarretts and Bishops accused of killing Jack Linam, will not be tried at this term of circuit court, it has been announced.......... The juries are as follows: Grand Jurors - F. C. Wisdom, foreman, Braley Owens, Geo. Keeton, Thos. Galloway, T. S. Springer, Will Flatt, R. C. Jinkins, W. J. Turner, Edgar Mabry, J. J. Grissum, James Smith, J. S. Gunnell, T. J. Frazier, Albert Augustin. Travis jurors - W. P. Fleeman, W. P. Crews, Hicks Sutton, R. W. Lantz, Mark Slagle, F. L. Short, Alvin Crabb, W. N. Wynn.
29 September 1922, Lawrence Democrat
Four Men Acquitted
Jury Acquits Jarrett and Bishop Boys on Charges of Murder of Jack Linam
George Jarrett, Houston Bishop, Hensely Jarrett and Clay Bishop were acquitted of the charge of murder, in circuit court here last week. The case had been under way for several days.
The trial was one which created much interest, the courtroom being crowded through the hearing.
H. D. Derrick, W. H. Lindsey and Looney B. White represented the state, while the defense lawyers were Noble Freemon and R. B. Williams. The jury was in session several hours before determining their verdict. The defendants were charged with the murder of Jack Linam, a negro, who was shot at the porch of his home here several months ago.
15 December 1922, Lawrence Democrat
Killing Occurs In This City At Negro’s Home
Will Allen Confesses to Fatal Shooting of Negro
Shotgun Tears Gaping Hole
Bill Lockridge Killed Instantly At Early Hour Thursday
That Wm. Lockridge, well known negro here was killed by Will Allen another local negro was the decision of seven men who sat as a jury of inquest over the ghastly remains in the office of Freemon & Co., undertakers on Thursday afternoon of this week. The inquest was held by Coroner F. C. Wisdom and the jury was as follows: Charles Ray, J. C. Daniels, C. R. Sager, John Moore, G. C. Wall, J. R. Hollis, Lon Brewer. Bill Lockridge, who was himself under indictment for assault with intent to commit murder, on the person of another negro, was found dead about five o'clock Thursday morning in the street in front of the home of Charley Parker who had married his grandmother and where he would stay occasionally. Examination showed that he had been shot at close range with a shotgun making a ghastly wound as large as a man's hand over heart. No doubt he was killed instantly. Will Allen, whose wife it is alleged had left him, and was living with the slain man, was arrested and accused of the crime, and while at first denying it finally admitted the shooting but claimed that is was done in self-defense. His confession was secured by Chief of Police, J. B. Green and was also made to Wm. Boulie his employer. Evidence was presented at the inquest that Allen had gone to Porter Norred on the night before the killing and tried to get a pistol, saying that he had been bullied, imposed on and run over until he could not stand it any longer.
10 May 1929, Lawrence Democrat Union
One Dead, One Hurt In Wreck
Car Strikes a telephone pole and goes over bank Sunday night.
Abe Long, colored, is dead, and Vance Hicks, white man, was seriously injured in an automobile wreck Sunday night, which happened on the Rockdale road near the I.A.C. commissary, when the driver, Ed Arms, colored, attempted to light a cigarette and lost control of the car. Hicks was rushed to the Vanderbilt hospital immediately after the accident and is said to have a fair chance for recovery. Mt. Pleasant Record.
1 Feb. 1929, Democrat Union
Campbellsville - Old Aunt Moriah Mason, one of the most respectable and trust worthy colored women of the county, died at her home on last Sunday evening, after a short illness with pneumonia, and her remains were interred at Salem on Monday evening.
1 May 1913, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin Vol. XXXVI Jan. 2011
"Aunt" Amanda Maxwell, col., wife of "Uncle" Cas Maxwell, dec’d died Tuesday morning at the home of her son, Willis Bramlett, aged 89 and was buried at the City Cemetery.
She had not been well for some time but was up and about as usual but was taken with an attack of heart trouble and soon died.
"Aunt Mandy" was the mother of five children all of whom survive her, one is in Cincinnati, one in Kansas City and another in Oklahoma. Willis Bramlett and Gabe McKissack’s wife are the ones living here.
12 September 1907, The Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society, Vol. XXXVI January 2011
"Aunt" Becky Maxwell, one of the old antebellum darkies, died Thursday at her home on the Columbia Pike, not far from the old factory site.
She was ninety years old and had been in feeble health for some time. She was the "black mammy" of all of Mr. and Mrs. Ed H. Martin’s children, and was found unconscious in her house by Dave Martin, who paid her daily visits to see how she was getting along, and died soon after.
"Aunt" Becky came from Alabama in 1827, she being one year old then. She later moved to Nashville, but returned to Giles County later belonging to Miss Nancy Wilkinson’s mother, until sold to W. P. Maxwell, Sr.
After the war she always had the deepest affection for her mother and his family and resided with them.
She was the mother of Buck, Frank, George, Lizzie Maxwell and a grandson, Robert Maxwell, who is a letter carrier in Birmingham, attended the funeral.
25 May 1911, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Vol. XXXVI Jan. 2011
Local Laconic - Clark Maxwell, a well-to-do and highly respected colored man who has loved on and managed the farm of Mrs. Dave Martin north of town for the past fifteen or twenty years died with consumption at his home last Thursday evening.
1895, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin Vol. XXXVI July 2010
Samuel Mitchell, Colored, died at his home near Sumac, Tuesday night, aged 106. He was buried on the B. F. Moore farm. He was a good man and served with Mr. Moore in the Confederate Army during the war. Pulaski Citizen, January 30, 1908. Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. 39, April 2013.
Local Laconics - Henry Mitchell, col., died at his home in Bellview Tuesday night.
13 December 1894, The Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Volume XXXV, July 2009
B. McLaren (Col.) Dies From Wounds
Boyd McLaren, col., died here Monday morning as the result of cuts received at the hands of Porter Naard, col., Sunday night. The two negroes got into a difficulty about midnight Sunday night at the home of Jenella Witherspoon, col. Just how the fight started no one seems to know, but when some of the other darkies reached them Naard was alleged to have been cutting on McLaren.
McLaren was horribly cut about the face and body. The knife penetrated his heart and one to his lungs. The gash in his heart was closed with two stiches and he lived for several hours.
Immediately after the fight Naard who is an ex-convict, having been sent up from Paris for murder and later parolled, left the scene of the fight and has not been seen since. Sheriff Morrow notified officers in the surrounding counties to be on the lookout for him, but so far he has been able to evade them.
Lawrence News, 29 March 1934
Last Thursday evening, John McMillon, colored, who lives on the farm of W. H. Aymett on Buchanan Creek, fell from a fence, on a broken hoe handle, which struck in his side and resulted in his death, Friday morning.
19 September 1895, The Pulaski Citizen
Gower - John Partee, col., fell to the bottom of the well and was instantly killed.
29 August, 1895, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin Vol. XXXVI, July 2010
Arthur Pearson Hanged
Arthur Pearson (col.) who raped a 14-year-old girl near Clifton last fall, paid the penalty of his awful crime at Waynesboro Thursday last. The Citizen says: Sheriff Griggs tied the noose and sprung the trigger, which let the drop fall. He performed the unpleasant duties of his office in the execution with care, and with a cool mind and steady nerve, and although the performance of his duty was a severe ordeal, there was not a hitch in the entire proceeding, so well had the sheriff arranged all the details."
15 February 1906, Lawrence Union
One of the best and most successful negroes who ever lived in Giles County is dead. Jarret Phillips……
13 December 1894, Pulaski Citizen, The Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, July 2009
Obituary of Fanny Pinkleton
“Aunt” Fannie Pinkleton died on Wednesday night at the advanced age of 78 years. Ms. Fannie loved everyone and enjoyed the respect, confidence and tender regard of all who knew her, both white and colored. In her childhood, she belonged to Constatine Perkins of Williamson County, TN. She married John Pinkleton, a black smith, and raised a family of children, and lived long enough to see her children and grand children grown up and doing well. Pulaski Citizen, September 3, 1908, Giles Co. Historical Society Bulletin Vol. 39, April 2013.
Trio of Children Burned to Death In Neighbor City
Three negro children, hardly more than babies, and the only children of Walker Pollock and wife, of Wrigley, Hickman county, were victims of a horrible death last week when the home was destroyed by fire Tuesday, said the Hickman County News Thursday. The mother of the children had gone on an errand and the children were locked in the home for safety during her absence. The bodies of the victims were found huddled in a charred mass in the smoldering ruins. The three children were girls, aged four and three years, and a boy aged one year.
3 Dec. 1929, Lawrence Democrat Union
Second Killing In One Family Occurs Here
Pistol Charge Is Fired Into Mouth; Two Admit Guilt
Mose Porter, 28-year-old negro of this city, died from a gunshot wound inflicted Sunday night at the home of Daisy Davis, colored, on
West Burger Street.
Reports were that the negro, before he died, stated that James Webster had done the shooting. He was also said to have told officers that he had done the shooting and it was said that neighbors said they saw him fleeing the premises after the affair. Later, the negro came in and surrendered.
Officers also stated that Daisy Davis told officers that she did the shooting. She was locked up in the county jail Sunday night. The dead man was shot in the mouth with a .38 caliber pistol, it was said, and died on his way back from the local hospital. The motive for the shooting was not definitely established.
A brother of the slain negro was killed just a few weeks ago in a similar manner, when he died almost instantly from a gunshot charge in
25 October 1940, Democrat-Union
Negroes Remain In Jail Pending Murder Charge
Three Lawrenceburg negroes remain in jail here pending disposition of their cases in connection with murder charges. The charges were placed following the death of Andrew Reed, whose body was found hanging in a tree at the home of Mattie Caruthers, apparently a "suicide." Further investigation bore out suspicion that the negro was murdered, and resulted in the arrest of Tom Caruthers, Jack Claggett and Sam Claggett.
24 November 1941, Democrat Union
Aunt Patsy Reed, an old colored woman died here the 24th at the ripe old age of 92 years. She was held in the highest esteem by her many white friends as well as her own race. She was no where spoken against and if I am not wrongly informed she died within less than a mile of where she was born. She had drawn a pension for many years.
3 May 1923, Pulaski Citizen
Rhodes, Charles A.
Sixteen Year-Old Colored Boy Dies After Long Illness
Funeral services for Charles A. Rhodes, 16, who died in Nashville after a long illness, were conducted here Friday of last week. Services were in charge of Elder C. W. Grey, evangelistic minister of the Church of God, assisted by Revs. J. H. Reeves and S. C. Haynes. Burial was in Simonten cemetery. He was the son of G. T. Rhodes of this city.
25 October 1929, Lawrence Democrat Union
Iron City Negro Kills White Man
Liquor-Crazed Black Is Slain After Rampage In Florence
Three Men Shot
Chief Deputy Davis Of Florence Shoots Him To Death
Jim Adams, 40, employed by the National Life & Accident Insurance Company of Florence as a salesman, and a resident of Waterloo, near Florence, is dead. Night Chief of Police J. Will Young, and Assistant John Bennett are in the hospital at Florence suffering from gunshot wounds from the gun of Neal Roberts, Iron City negro, who ran amuck with a double-barreled shotgun about 11 o'clock Thursday night, being later killed by Deputy Sheriff J. O. Davis after Roberts had fired two shots at him.
A negro woman by the name of Margaret Key went to the police station about 10:45 o'clock Thursday night and asked the officers to come and get Roberts, who had threatened her life and who was shooting promiscuously in the negro district. The Officers went immediately to the scene and as they drove past the place, he opened fire on them, shots entering their heads, backs and shoulders.
Policeman Bennett, who was driving the car, jumped out after ditching the machine and went back to get the assailant, but failed to find him. Chief Young became so seriously ill that it was necessary to take him to the hospital.
The police officers then went to the office where they called the sheriff, and Sheriff Morrison gathered his forces and began a search for the negro. After about an hour's search they located him trying to make his escape through the lanes of about 200 men who had formed a watch line around the vicinity in which he was hiding.
Chief Deputy Davis saw him crawling through some weeds coming toward him. He called him to halt and then Roberts opened fire on him, both loads missing, one shot only hitting his coat. Davis killed the negro as he stood behind an old truck.
Before the sheriff's forces saw him, Roberts halted Adams, his son and Sam Mangrum, all of whom had been to Sheffield to an old fiddlers' contest where Mr. Adams, Sr., was awarded the second prize. As they passed en route to East Florence to get another automobile before leaving for home at Waterloo, the negro called them. As they stopped the car the negro stated that he had to go to Tennessee and had to go "now." They told him they would carry him. But as he attempted to get into the machine he evidently discovered that the occupants were not negroes as he thought. He refused to get in and backed off 15 or 20 feet and fired twice, both the charges striking Adams in the arm almost in the same spot, tearing the arm nearly off. Adams bled to death before he could be taken to the hospital. Mangrum, who was driving the car, was shot through the hand.
It was first reported that the negro had been mobbed by the angry citizens who were very much wrought up over the tragedy.
On talking with as Iron City man Saturday a representative of the paper was told that Roberts was a dangerous man when drinking, that he was quick to resent anything he thought was an imposition.
The body of the negro was brought to his home Saturday on the morning train.
26 October 1926, Lawrence Democrat Union
Dangerfield Rodes, one of the oldest and most reliable colored men Pulaski ever had, died last Friday morning of pneumonia, aged 76 years. He has long been identified with the building business in Pulaski, being a reliable mason and moulder and was universally respected and trusted for his integrity and energy. His death is a loss to Pulaski.
2 March, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Bulletin Vol. XXXVII, Oct. 2011
Local Laconics - Will Rodes col. died at 3 o’clock Sunday afternoon.
1895, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, July 2009
Bina Rosa, colored, aged 57 years died at her home here Saturday night about midnight of pneumonia. Her husband has been a servant in the Harvey family for a number of years and Aunt Bina was an estimable colored woman and will be missed by the white people as well as by her husband and family.
The remains were shipped to Montgomery, Ala., Sunday for interment there by Freemon & Co., Undertakers.
17 January 1923, Lawrence News
Old Aunt Binnia Rose, wife of Lee Rose, died Sunday January 14 The body was shipped to Montgomery Alabama for burial. Aunt Binnia was the old negress who for years was a servant in the Harvey family. Freemon & Co. in charge at Lawrenceburg.
19 January 1923, Lawrence Democrat News
Henry Sands, Jim Stevenson, and Esau Meese, all colored, engaged in a difficulty in which Sands was cut several times. After things quieted down, Sands started for his home, a mile away, but did not arrive. Sunday morning search was made and he was found a short distance from the scene of the difficulty, dead in a sink hole.
27 June 1895, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, Oct. 2009
Sister Addie Smith (colored) age 53 years, died Tuesday morning at 5 o’clock, at Iron City. Her suffering was a long time and so much. She leaves to mourn her departure, one sister, Etta Allen, two three daughters, five sons and four grandchildren, to mourn her loss.
She told her people some days ago that she prayed not to weary them much longer, that an angel was going to steal her away.
To the bereaved ones I say weep not for sister Addie is not dead just fallen asleep. We know that she is resting and hope to meet her again. Written by one who was near to her.
25 February 1925, Lawrence News
Bryson - A good old ante-bellum negro, gone, Martha Stevenson, born on the property of Elisha Bennett in 1848, bought by T. C. Stevenson at 12 years old. She has lived with Mr. Stevenson ever since; partook of the benefits of his wholesome family government and religious training; was an acceptable member of the white folks M. E. Church South at Bee Spring for 14 years; and six years ago moved her membership to Dellrose colored church, but worshipped most all the time with the white folks at Bee Spring. Aunt Martha is said to have possessed the characteristics of her race in a very marked degree, kindness, meekness and a disposition to oblige others. Mrs. Stevenson emphasizes it, that "If Martha ever gave me an unkind word or look I never knew it." She died in the triumphs of a living faith, at the home of T. C. Stevenson. (Giles County, TN)
July 2006, Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXII
William Stewart departed this life on Nov. 23, 1935 at 3:20 o’clock. William was born January 28, 1932, age 12 years, 10 months. William was the youngest son of Rosie Stewart. She departed this life when William was only 15 months old. He was the grandson of aunt Jane and Wess Stewart. He was left with the grandmother to care for. She did all that she could for him, she was never too tired to help William.
He became crippled when he was 3 years of age and remained a cripple until death. He bore his pain cheerfully and always had a smile for everyone.
William went to school, he liked it fine until he couldn’t go any longer. He loved his teacher, Mrs. Vera, she was his thought most of the time. William realized the change was near for he talked with his grandmother a lot.
He leaves to mourn his departure, three brothers, Lewis Stewart, of Lawrenceburg, James and Charles, of Louisville, Kentucky, Minnie Rhodes of Ark., two uncles, Jim H. Stewart of Ind., and S. R. Stewart, of Ind. and dear grandmother and a host of friends. Weep not, for he is our loss and Heaven’s gain. His foot steps will be silent and his chair vacant. All was done that loving hands could do, but God knew best. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. Blessed be the name. Written by a friend, JENNIE AMIS
6 Dec. 1935, Democrat Union
Sykes, Rillar Abraham
Mrs. Rillar Abraham Sykes, 104-year-old Negro woman who was thought to be the oldest citizen of Pulaski and perhaps of Giles County, died Friday, March 17, at the home of her daughter on McLean Street.
Funeral rites were conducted Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Original Church of God with the Rev. A. W. Witherspoon officiating and burial was in Maplewood Cemetery.
The daughter of the late Balam and Catherine Smith Parks, "Aunt Rillar" was born Aug. 23, 1856 at Lawrenceburg. She was married in 1874 to William Sykes of Pulaski, who died in 1927. They were the parents of seven children.
She was widely known as an accomplished seamstress and did dressmaking for the public until her eyesight failed.
Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Mauton Phillips of Pulaski and Mrs. Ganell Nunley of Detroit, Mich.; one son William A. Sykes of Pulaski; fifteen grandchildren; twenty-one great grandchildren; and nine great-great grandchildren.
22 March 1961, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin Vol. XXXV Oct. 2009
Death of Old Darky’ Mourned
Many White People Attend Funeral of Edna Tucker, who died in this city Tuesday morning.
A large crowd of people were in attendance at the funeral of Edna Tucker, who died here Tuesday, following a paralytic stroke from which she never regained consciousness. Many of her white friends were present at the church and heard the eulogy of Dr. Edwards of the Salem Church in Nashville. Edna was one of the best know and beloved of the older negroes of Lawrenceburg. She was 54 years of age.
25 February 1927, Lawrence Democrat Union
We the Church of God, at Nashville Tenn., Whereas it has pleased the Almighty to take from our midst Sister Rosie Tucker. How we will miss her from our home and church. It was indeed a pleasure to have her in our midst, we realize she is not dead but sleeping. When Christ who is our light shall appear with him in glory. She knew when this earthly tabernacle dissolved she would have another building not made with hands but eternal in the heaven. Rosie you have gone from us, but you shall ever be in our heart and minds, you have left a vacant seat in our pew. In the morning of the general resurrection, when the dead in Christ shall rise we know you will be in that number.
We think of John when he was writing the spirit told him to write blessed are the dead that die in the Lord says the spirit they may rest from their labor and their works do follow them. She is gone but her kind words and good deeds will follow her. We bow our hearts in humble submission to him that doth all things well. And now she shall ever be with the Lord.
26 Jan. 1926, Lawrence Democrat Union
Dead Body of Negress Found; Thought Dead From Heart Failure
St. Joseph, Route One, Dispatch
Meagre news has reached here of the finding of the dead body of a negress at the far end of Shoal creek bridge, on the highway, 10 miles south of here. Death was attributed to heart failure as no signs of violence could be found.
27 January 1928, Democrat Union
Mob at Waynesboro
A negro in Wayne County, who some time ago was arrested and committed to jail in Waynesboro for an outrage upon a white girl about 12 years old, was shot and killed by a mob Monday fore-noon. The infuriated citizens boldly and without disguise went to the jail and demanded the prisoner, and upon being refused promptly fired upon Sheriff Bumpass, two or three shot taking effect. The sheriff then opened the jail door and told the prisoner to make his escape if he could. He made the attempt and ran some distance before the mob succeeded in bringing him down. He finally fell before the shower of bullets, his body riddled by balls. We gather these facts just as we go to press.
22 August 1883, The Press
Tarple - A negro girl died almost instantly last week from eating snow on the
farm of Mr. Geo. Suttle.
7 February 1895/The Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, July 2009
"Uncle Bill" Watts Death's Victim
Rev. Wm. Watts, colored, age 70 years, died Sunday morning at 5 o'clock at his home in the west part of Lawrenceburg, after a long life spent here. "Uncle Bill" had been ill six weeks and the end was not unexpected. He is survived by one son and his wife. Funeral was at the Colored cemetery across Shoal Creek, conducted by Rev. Davis of the Baptist church. "Uncle Bill" was a member of the I.O.K.S. and of the Baptist church. He had many friends among the white population as well as among the colored people. (Mt. Olivet Cemetery)
24 December 1929, Lawrence Democrat Union
John Welch, 28, was stabbed to death by his wife Saturday afternoon, following an altercation, the details of which have not been ascertained. The man was employed as a porter at a local hotel, but the killing occurred outside the building. The negress was immediately remanded to jail without bond.
The case will probably come up for preliminary hearing and then turned over to the Grand Jury during the current session of Circuit Court.
The woman is the former Frances Vaughan, and she, according to officers, stabbed her husband twice through the heart.
14 April 1944, Democrat Union
Green Wells, colored, who shot and killed John Fly, a prominent white farmer in Maury county Saturday last, was captured near Iron City, this county, Tuesday. The news spread like wild-fire over Maury and a mob was at once organized at Ashwood for the purpose of lynching the murderer, who was being taken to Columbia on the north-bound passenger train. A dispatch to Sheriff Garner requested him to stop the negro here for safe-keeping, which was done. The mob soon ascertained what had occurred and several boarded the accommodation train coming to Lawrenceburg. A dispatch was immediately sent requesting the prisoner to be removed to Pulaski. In charge of the sheriff and his deputy he was hurried to that place at once. When the men arrived they soon found out that their bird had flown again. Each getting a horse, with lightning speed they pursued the party, overtaking them about eight miles east of here. All came back to town Tuesday night and yesterday morning started for Columbia. But by this time Green Wells has undoubtedly been landed on the other shore to answer for his diabolical crime.
28 May 1891, Lawrence Union
A colored woman by the name of White fell dead at her home in Bellview one day last week.
1895, Pulaski Citizen/The Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, July 2009
Lynnville-Henry White and wife, colored, who live in a small house on Col. Higdon’s place, left home in the afternoon, leaving three or four small children. While playing around the fire, the clothing of one of them, a seven year old child, caught fire. They all became frightened and ran from the house to the yard. Before assistance could be rendered every vestige of clothing was burned off and the child’s body so badly burned that it died within a few hours.
2 January 1896, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXVI, July 2010
Henry White, one of the best of the old type negroes of the County, died at the home of his son, Oscar White at 3:45 a.m., October 25. Henry is believed to be 113 years old, and was born in slavery. His owner, Mr. Newt White, was also his friend and benefactor when freedom came. Henry was a shoemaker by trade. The old negro was in full possession of all his faculties up to the very end, and only last week his pastor administered the sacrament of the Last Supper to him, and Henry remarked that he was not in pain, only weak and not able to move about as he wished. He was a devoted member of the Primitive Baptist Church and a remarkable man in many ways. He is survived by his son Oscar, two daughters, his wife, Anna, and a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. William Cheek for whom the son, Oscar, has worked for many years sent a beautiful floral token of their appreciation.
27 October 1943, Pulaski Citizen/Giles County Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, July 2009
Negro Girl Killed By Man in Alabama
Jennie Wigfall a negro girl about 21 years of age and a daughter of Bob Wigfall of this place was killed by a negro man as the result of a quarrel between them at Watertown, Ala., last Wednesday afternoon. The man used a shotgun and shot her once in the face. A second shot went astray. She was buried here Saturday.
12 January 1916, Lawrence Democrat
Aged Colored Person Dies
Uncle Rob Wigfall died at his home north of town last Monday. He was a person esteemed by his neighbors, and will be greatly missed. He was buried on Tuesday.
16 June 1922, Lawrence Democrat Union
At his home in this city, Willie Wigfall, colored, died of heart failure on last Saturday. He was a well known colored man, and leaves a wife and child besides other relatives.
16 August 1922, Lawrence Democrat Union
Negro Man Found Burned To Death
Found Sunday Morning on Lonely Road With Body Burned to Crisp by Forest Fire.
Wise Young, colored, met his death in a most tragic manner on Friday night of last week. His body was found Sunday morning near a lonely road in the woods, crisped by the forest fires which had swept over it. It was three miles out of Waynesboro on the Lawrence road.
The old negro was a resident of Wayne County, and was unable to hold employment, being over 70 years old. He had no home, except at the county farm where he stayed part of the time. He seemed to have had acquaintances in Lawrence and Maury County, where he plodded back and forth from time to time. It is supposed that he was on his journey to one of these places when he became exhausted and lay down by the wayside to rest or die and was overtaken by the fires of the forest.
4 May 1923, Lawrence Democrat Union
Last Updated February 4, 2013 by Kathy Niedergeses
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