State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How It's Made 1860's version


                      Panoramic View of Richmond in Ruins, from the Old Arsenal looking down the James River, April 1865.


A little astray . . ., while researching the the State Department of Historical Resources Marker Program I came across this recent sign approval (July 2012) . . .

 "The 'Confederate Ordnance Lab Explosion relays the story of the massive explosion' in March1863 that destroyed the building on Brown’s Island that housed an assembly production for cartridges and other ammunition. The “ordnance laboratory and complex” employed many women and children and at least 40 people were killed in the explosion, which was set off when “worker Mary Ryan accidentally ignited a friction primer according to the marker."
Not New Kent related, but interesting personally since I have always had an interest in Civil War military industry and industrial accidents. A niche interest perhaps (alright, definitely). It all started while researching my Great-Great-Grandfather's Civil War history. William Clark McPhail (1831-1885)of Eastover, North Carolina avoided conscription by serving in the State Salt Works at Wilmington. Salt was so important, employment at the works was a protected occupation.

 North Carolina State Salt Works

 Civil War Salt

Women in Civil War Arsenals

Confederate States Laboratory

Richmond Arsenal

The Danville Arsenal

The Washington Arsenal

Selma Naval Foundry

Bellona Arsenal

Mid-Lothian Mines

 Augusta Powder Works

 Confederate Ship Building

 The Nitre & Mining Corps

. . .and the big one . . .

The Comstock Lode










Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coming to a Road Near You . . .

This newly (OK, OK, 2010) approved State Highway Historical Marker is to go up in the vicinity of the fire tower on Williamsburg Road, perhaps at the intersection of Old Williamsburg Road or the crossover of  I-295. Commemorating events of the War of 1812(whose Bicentennial we are in the middle of ), the text reads . . .
"During the War of 1812, Virginia established three militia posts on the outskirts of Richmond to guard against possible British Invasion. Within a mile of this point was built Camp Carter (Sept. 1814-Feb.1815) under the command of Gen. John H. Cocke. Camp Holly Springs (April 1813-Feb.1814) was located five miles southwest at Route 5 near Newmarket Road, under Gen. Robert Porterfield. Camp Bottoms' Bridge (Sept-Nov.1814) under the command of Gen. William Chamberlayne, was two miles east at Bottoms Bridge. These posts were never threatened by British forces during the war."
The threat to the approaches to Richmond seemed very real after the British military moves in Hampton Roads over the summer of 1813, culminating in the Sack of Hampton in the middle of June. Militia from all over Virginia as well as North Carolina encamped on and behind the line of the Chickahominy to defend the capital of Virginia. I assume Camp Bottoms' Bridge would be on the high ground in Quinton to protect the approaches to the bridge. The information sheet on the marker principally relates to Camp Carter, but I believe there is more information to be found in the records, specifically in the Virginia Legislative Petitions. Some of the petitions from New Kent asking for state reimbursement, relate tales of losses from militia encamping on private land.

 "The Virginia highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the erection of the first historical markers along U.S. Rte. 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,400official state markers, most of which are maintained by Virginia Department of Transportation, a key partner with the Department of Historic Resources in the historical marker program."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Railroading 1908

COAL CARS LEAVE TRACK ON EMBANKMENT

Breaking of Arch-bar Causes Wreck on C. & O. Near Providence Forge.


An eastbound Chesapeake & Ohio Railway coal train was derailed at Providence Forge, about 30 miles east of Richmond, at 1:15 o'clock yesterday afternoon by a broken arch-bar on the track. Eight of the coal cars left the track and went down the side of the slight embankment besides the track. No one was injured.
 Wrecking trains were hurried to the scene from this city and Richmond and the wreckage had been sufficiently cleared away to allow the eastbound passenger trains to make the trip to this city yesterday evening. However, all of the derailed cars were not placed back on the track until late into the night.

Daily Press(Newport News), January 12, 1908

Friday, November 22, 2013

A List of Military Actions in New Kent 1861-1865

A tentative list of military events in New Kent during the Civil War . . .

April 1861. Seizure of Northern ships in the Pamunkey by militia.

May-July, 1862 Peninsula Campaign.

Aug 17, 1862 Reconnaissance toward Forge Bridge.

Nov 22, 1862.Reconnaissance from Williamsburg, Va.

Dec 17, 1862.Reconnaissance to Diascund Bridge and Burnt Ordinary, Va.

Jan 7 9, 1863.Expedition from Yorktown to West Point and White House, Va.

Jan 13, 1863.Expedition from Yorktown to West Point, Va.

Apr 16,1863.Affair on the Pamunkey River, near West Point, Va.

May 3,1863.Skirmishes at Hungary Station, Tunstalls Station, Hanovertown Ferry, and Ayletts, Va.

June 11, 1863.Skirmish at Diascund Bridge, Va.

Jun 20, 1863.Skirmish at Diascund Bridge, Va.

Jun 23-28, 1863.Expedition from Yorktown to the South Anna Bridge, Va.

Jul 1-7, 1863.Expeditions from White House to South Anna River and Bottoms Bridge, Va.

Aug 26-29, 1863.Expedition from Williamsburg to Bottoms Bridge, Va., and skirmishes.

Sept 25,1863.Capture of Confederate steamer near White House.

Nov 9-10,1863.Expedition from Williamsburg toward New Kent Court-House, Va

Dec 12-14, 1863.Expedition from Williamsburg to Charles City Court-House.

Jan 19-24, 1864.Scouts from Williamsburg, Va.

Feb 6-8, 1864.Expedition from Yorktown against Richmond, Va., including skirmishes at Bottoms Bridge and near Baltimore Store.

Feb 28-Mar. 4, 1864.Kilpatrick's expedition against Richmond, Va.

Jun 20, 1864.Skirmish at White House/ Sheridan's Raid.

Jun 21, 1864.Skirmishes at White House or Saint Peters Church and Black Creek, or Tunstall's Station/ Sheridans's Raid.

Jun 23, 1864.Skirmish at Jones Bridge/ Sheridan's Raid.

Jan 30, 1865 Scout of the Chickahominy.

Feb 23-24, 1865.Expedition from Yorktown to West Point, Va.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Notorious in the Neighborhood": The Drake Divorce Petition II


 The findings of the New Kent Court re the petition . . .

Virginia

Pleas and proceedings before the Honorable, the Judge of the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for the County of New Kent at the Court House in the 14th day of May 1834-Be it remembered that heretofore, to wit: on the 13th day of March 1834, come Louise W. Drake wife of Ro. Drake by James Semple Jr. Esq. her attorney and filed in the Clerk's Office of the Circuit Supr. Court of law and Chancery for the County of New Kent a statement in writing of the Causes upon which she intends to found a petition for a divorce, which writing containing the statement aforesaid is in the words and figures following-
The Statement of Louise W. Drake wife of Robt. Drake to be filed in the Superior Court of Law & chancery for the County of New Kent. She represents that in 1822 (Nov 30th) having found a strong attachment to her present husband, she intermarried with him, with approbation of her friends, who deemed it a prudent connection. That they resided together for six or eight eight years, with only occasional slight interruptions to their matrimonial felicity- during which time, she may safely affirm that her duties as the wife of the Robert were performed faithfully, honestly, & devotedly; nor did she ever have sufficient cause to doubt the propriety of her choice, until in an evil hour her husband formed an improper connecion(sic) with a young woman residing in the neighborhood - He urged her so strongly to take this girl into the family that she at length consented to it, from a desire to conform to his wishes, altho she could not see the necessity for having such an intimate of her family. About the last of Jany: 1830 this girl named Rebecca Hall, came to live with them; From that period his affections were rapidly alienated from his wife- sometimes he would not speak to her for several days & he became almost a Stranger to here bed. In this state of things She gave birth to - child, and while in Confinement She was treated with marked & studied coldness, and cruelty by her husband who did not even furnish her with those things usually deemed necessary to one in her situation Frequently under the pretext of business he would go at night into the room in which the said Rebecca slept while she was in bed & spend hours there: At length, instigated by the pangs of jealousy, but too well founded, on one occasion when she She observed his entrance just before day, She moved softly to the door and actually caught him in the embrace of the said Rebecca. As might be expected a quarrel ensued & he left the house with the declaration that he would never again live with his life. He did however return, and they lived together until the birth of her Second child in April 1832. During this interval, he treated her more coldly & cruelly than ever, and while in child bed She suffered severely not only from his entire neglect, but even for the want of necessaries, allowed to females in the sorest class in Society in her Situation that her existence was endangered- whether sick or well nothing but meat usually bacon, or Salt fish, & bread, constituted her fare, nor was she aided by a servant however sick she might, except upon one occasion, when he permitted a neighboring Physician who had from charitable motives called to see her while ill, to send a little slave to wait on her, & was this slave while with her was fed by the same charitable neighbor refusing to let her accept the services of the slave, on any other conditions. When her last child was little more than one month old; finding that her ill treatment must ultimately cost her her life, if she remained under(?) the same roof with her husband, She quitted his house, & with her children lived on the charity of her friends & relatives, until April 1833- He repeatedly sent her messages during intervals forbidding her return & declaring her would never live with her again; However, finding he might be Compelled to maintain her if he persisted in that course & wishing to get her in his power to punish her still further, he at that time ordered her to return to his house- hoping that his lost affections might be recovered by her obedience, She again trusted him & was again deceived- She remained with him till Nov 1833- or rather she should say, She lived in his house for she seldom saw him, & he in fact lived with his paramour, but a few hundred yards distant, to to whom to whom(sic) he furnished a house & horse & many of those comforts he denied his wife. To render his cruelty more refined - at the same time that he would not to speak to her & would not scarcely notice his children, all intercourse with her own relatives was forbidden positively, & thus she lived an involuntary recluse though in the house of her husband & surrounded by her numerous relatives. Despairing at last of making any impression upon his hardened conscious, she was forced to abandon his house & seek some consolation in the society of her poor old mother, on whose husband she is now thrown for her support; She believes and charges, that he has for several years had kept up habitually a criminal intercourse with the woman whose name has been mentioned and this she believes is notorious to the whole neighborhood: She has been compelled to rely on charity for necessary clothing for an infant child, even while in his house & since she quitted it, no mark of attention to his children has ever relieved the Cold & Cutting cruelty he has shown to their mother.

And now at this day, to wit: at a Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery, begun & held for New Kent County at the Court house on the 14"-day of May 1834, being the day first herein mentioned came the parties by their attorneys, and by their consent this cause is docketed , and thereupon came a jury to wit, Jac S. Poindexter, Thomas B. Sherman, William A. Green, Julius Martin, Will H. Vaiden Sr., St. Geo T. Coalter, John Slater, John Tandy, Saul T. Williamson, Jno. M. Ferguson, Edward C. Mosby and Joseph C. Parkinson, who being sworn well and truly to enquire whether the charges contained in the plaintiffs statement be wholly true, & if not wholly true, how far they are true, upon their oaths returned a verdict in these words "We the jury find the allegations charged in this cause to be substantially true." Saul T. Williamson

        A copy teste
                Jno. D. Christian c c

Monday, November 18, 2013

Eat Your Hearts Out . . .

. . . present day hunters . . .

Schools Close for Hunting
Providence Forge, VA.,
Nov. 22 (AP)- Schools in game-rich Charles City and Kent Counties shouldn't be plagued too much this year with truants during the hunting season. Pupils were given this entire week off.
Schools boards in the two counties granted a three-day holiday the first of the week to coincide with the hunting season. With the traditional two-day Thanksgiving holiday and Saturday, the young hunters have six days in the woods.
G.M. Hodge, Superintendent of Schools in both counties, said the pupils always get a three day holiday when teachers attend workshop sessions. These workshops were scheduled to coincide withe the start of hunting season in an attempt to cut down on the usual absentee rate.


-The Washington Post, Nov 23, 1961

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Raid on Burnt Ordinary II

 The below map is centered on the Olive Branch Church area(basically Norge), approximately three miles east of Burnt Ordinary . . .
Map from the Confederate Engineer Bureau in Richmond, Va. General J.F. Gilmer, chief engineer.


NOVEMBER 9-10, 1863.Expedition from Williamsburg toward New Kent Court-House, Va.

Report of Lieut. F. Charles Hume, C. S. Army, commanding Peninsula Scouts.

HEADQUARTERS PENINSULA SCOUTS,
November 10, 1863.40 p. m.
LIEUTENANT: The enemy has returned to Williamsburg with his wagons (thirty) filled with corn, gathered from the fields of Mr. George Hawkins, Mr. Martin, and Allen Richardson. I will as briefly as possible explain why so little in jury (1 man mortally wounded and 1 horse killed) was inflicted on the enemy by my party. On the morning of the 9th, I sent my men on the telegraph road with standing instructions to ambush and fight the enemy should he appear. Contrary to my custom, I had just ridden to the Centreville road to make some disposition of my men who had been posted on that road, when one of them galloped up with the information that the enemy was up in force, and that I would find all my men at a certain point near the telegraph road, where they had agreed to await my coming. Arrived there, I found only 8 men, the rest having become alarmed at the extensive line of skirmishers thrown out to trap them, and took refuge in the woods; and with this party I have been unable to meet until this evening, after the enemy had passed down the road. Thus left with so small a party (Sergeant Hughes having 9 men on the Centreville road), I went up to the vicinity of the enemy's camp and remained quite near him all night, his position in the open field, with his pickets very near the camp, rendering it impossible for me to effect any surprise. At daylight I came through the woods to a point near the Burnt Ordinary, and fired a single shot twice at intervals at his mounted pickets, but found it impossible to provoke the squad to a skirmish. Leaving this open country, I came down toward the Six-Mile Ordinary, where I had agreed to meet the men, now very hungry, as early as they could get rations and follow me. While they were thus dispersed the Yankees moved toward Williamsburg. Aware of their return, I collected 3 men all I could get together and ambushed the roads at Pettits. Two cavalrymen passing I shot one from his horse, mortally wounding him; the other was fired on, but I fear escaped without in jury. The enemy at once deployed his infantry skirmishers on both sides the road, and swept the timber for hundreds of yards. We escaped them. I regret very much the little service rendered where so much was expected, but the above are the true circumstances, and I will be satisfied with the inference you may draw from them,This they promised will not be their last visit, but they intend robbing every farm on the Peninsula before stopping. I think it quite likely. They throw out infantry skirmishers on both sides of the road when they approach timber, thus rendering ambushing anything but an easy matter.
I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. CHARLES HUME Lieutenant, Commanding.

Lieut. S. W. WARDLAW, Adjutant Holcombe Legion.

Note the Piggott name common in the area, which I believe Hume (and Wardlaw) took as "Pettit."

 . . . more upcoming on the resourceful Lieutenant Hume.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Raid on Burnt Ordinary I

The enemy on the Peninsula.

Some excitement was created upon the arrival of the York River train yesterday afternoon, which brought the intelligence that the Yankees had again made their appearance in considerable force on the Peninsula, and that their actions indicated an advance on this city. Later in the evening, however, a courier arrived, bringing the news that during Monday night a negro regiment, a regiment of cavalry, and some artillery, advanced about twelve miles this side of Williamsburg, where they had pitched their tents, manifesting no disposition to proceed any further. The impression is that their designs only for plunder, and that no advance is meditated at this time upon Richmond. In either case ample preparations have been made, and they have only to make a demonstration to insure a signal repulse.

It is known that a few weeks ago Major General Foster, who has been strongly reinforced at Fortress Monroe, had organized a diminutive "on to Richmond," which was on the eve of starting, when an order from Washington countermanded his orders to move, and relieved him from the command of the department. It is also certain that the force at Fortress Monroe has been made of considerable size, and that at Newport News there is a very large encampment, under the command of Brigadier-General Heckman, of New Jersey.


The Daily Dispatch; November 11, 1863.

From the Peninsula.

The Yankee advance on the Peninsula, which was noticed in yesterday's paper, proves to have been but a raid of a foraging party from the Federal forces at Williamsburg. They came up to the neighborhood of the Burnt Ordinary, where they succeeded in loading some twenty-five or thirty wagons with plunder of different descriptions, and then returned. Up to sunset yesterday evening there was no further indication of an advance in that direction.

-The Daily Dispatch; November 12, 1863.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Armistice Day

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
Washington


16 September, 1937


To whom it may concern:

The records of this office show that James Whitfield Timberlake, born August 28, 1889, at Barhamsville, Virginia, enlisted in the Marine Corps December 15, 1917, at Parris Island, S.C. After completion of recruit training at that place, he was transferred to Qunatico, Virginia, joining the 138th Company, 2nd Replacement Battalion. With that organization, he embarked in the U.S.S. Henderson March 13, 1918, and went ashore in France March 27, 1918. He was assigned to the 76th Company, 6th Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps, April 26 1918, and participated in active engagements against the enemy in the Toulon Sector, April 26 to May 13; Aisne Operation, June 1 to 5; Chateau-Thierry Sector (Belleau Wood), June 6 to July 16; and in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, July 18 and 19, 1918, on which date he was severely wounded in action and died. He had been assigned Army serial #304,710.

His remains are now permanently buried in Grave #10, Block "C", Row #11, Oise-Aisne Cemetery #608, situated near Seringes et Nesles, Department of Aisne, France.

At the time of his enlistment, Private Timberlake stated that his next of Kin was Mrs. Hallie M. Timberlake, mother, Barhamsville, Virginia.

R.H. Jeschke
Major, Asst. Adjutant and Inspector
U.S. Marine Corps.


Furnished to:
S.W. Lacy, Clerk
County of New Kent
New Kent, Virginia.


-from a letter in the New Kent County World War One Memorial Book in the mircroform records of the Library of Virginia.



"Regimental increments arrived in France during late 1917 and early 1918. Upon arrival, the 6th Marine Regiment joined the 5th Marine Regiment and the 6th Machine Gun Battalion to form the 4th Brigade, U.S. 2nd Division (Regular), American Expeditionary Force. The early spring was devoted to training under French tutelage."
"The U.S. 2nd Division was attached to the French XX Corps to conduct a counterattack near Soissons in mid-July. The 6th Regiment was held in reserve when the initial assault waves went over the top on 18 July. The next day, the 6th Marine Regiment stepped off, advancing alone from Vierzy toward Tigny, but was stopped short of the objective by intense artillery and machine gun fire. Casualties were extremely heavy, estimated at 50 to 70% in most units. First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates (a future commandant of the Marine Corps) reported only about two dozen of more than 400 men survived and added '... There is no one on my left, and only a few on my right. I will hold."[7] Regimental losses during the Aisne-Marne Offensive numbered 1,431; 19 July 1918 is the single costliest day of fighting in the history of the 6th Marine Regiment."
 From the Wikipedia entry on the 6th Marine.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Grant Tragedy V

Triple Execution In New Kent County.The Last Act In the Grant Tragedy—An Interesting Narrative.

[correspondence or the Richmond Daily Dispatch]

New Kent C.H., Va., March 13. 1858.

At an early hour this morning, a vast multitude assembled to witness the execution of Major Morris, Henry and Dick Bradley, the murderers of James C Grant. A few minutes past 10 o'clock A. M., the sheriff, John S. Lacy, Esq. with his deputy, Chas. A Hewlett, Esq., proceeded to the jail, for the purpose of removing the chains from the prisoners and to shroud them in robes of black cambric; when they were led out of their cell. Capt. Braxton Garlick, with the Troop, escorted them to the gallows. 
On their arrival, the Rev. George B Simcoe, one of their spiritual advisers, delivered a very solemn and impressive sermon. At the conclusion of this be prayed very fervently. They were then asked if they had anything to say. Henry and Dick said they wore prepared to meet their God. Major Morris said he had fallen a victim to the gallows through the persuasion and advice of his friends; who admonished those around him never to repose too much confidence in friends. 
The halters having been properly adjusted to the beam and their necks when they first ascended to the scaffold, the fly was drawn from the drop and at 12 o'clock PM they were launched into eternity The night preceding their execution was devoted to prayer and supplication. At intervals they sang the very melancholy hymn, commencing "Hark from the tomb!" As I gazed through the iron gates of the prison window into their cell, I could but feel sad at so woeful a spectacle. Thus last act of this bloody drama has been performed, and the curtain, I trust, has fallen never to rise on a similar tragedy in New Kent or elsewhere. This is the fourth execution which has occurred in New Kent since the great calamity that befell the county in 1787.


A few notes. The troop mentioned as commanded by Braxton Garlick is New Kent's troop of militia, the New Kent Light Dragoons. Three years later during the Civil War, the Dragoons, then known simply as the New Kent Cavalry, were commanded by Telemachus Taylor, the defense counsel.
You will notice the constant use of the word "tragedy" in describing these events. I believe this was done purposefully to evoke the 1825 Beauchamp–Sharp murder, better known as the Kentucky Tragedy, which was possibly the most well known murder in the several decades leading up to the Civil War.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Grant Tragedy IV

The Grant Tragedy in New Kent-
Trial and Conviction of the Murderers.


correspondence of the Richmond Daily Dispatch

New Kent C.H. Va., Feb 16, 1858
A court of Oyer and Terminor for the trial of three slaves, implicated in the murder of James C. Grant, has been sitting four day. Owing to a very large number of witnesses sworn and examined in this case, the Court has been unable to try more than two up to the time of my writing, namely major Morris and Henry Bradley, who have convicted and sentenced to be executed of Friday, the 19th day of March next. I deem it only requisite your readers the most material facts which lead to the conviction of the unhappy culprits. 
I appears from all the evidence that I have been able to glean, that a most infernal conspiracy had been concocted by this hellish trio to destroy the life of Grant. Henry, not wishing to be the assassin of the young master, for fear of being detected, agreed to give Major Morris who lived in Henrico, twenty five dollars to perpetrate this atrocious deed. On the night of the murder, Major Morris met Dick Bradley on some obscene and remote part of Grant's farm and after arranging all the preliminaries, proceeded in the direction of G.'s house they halted and Dick Bradley assisted Major Morris in pulling off his boots and left them in the house where he discovered G. sitting at the supper table near a window. Major took unerring and deliberate aim at the back of G.'s ear, which was toward the window: the whole load of trooper's pistol took effect in his head and neck, which terminated the existence of Grant before he could say one word to his mother and sister, who were in the same room at the time of the commission of this bloody deed. Major then returned to the spot where he had left Dick Bradley, and informed him of the triumph of his mission. Here they separated, each going to his respective wife's house. Henry Bradley, at the time this tragedy was committed was removed two miles off at a neighbor's  where his wife lived. When the intelligence of the death of his master reached him, he took the precaution to call the attention of his friends to the fact that he (Henry Bradley) was then at this neighbors house, his object being, no doubt, to prove an alibi. The chief evidence adduced in the trial of each of those unfortunate men, was from negroes, and of the strongest and most corroborative character, and established the guilt of the parties convicted beyond the shadow of a doubt. 
Dick Bradley, after he had been arrested and incarcerated in the county jail, in order to escape the legal punishment he justly merited, endeavored to erase from the minds of the jailor and others, everything that was calculated to arouse the least degree of suspicion against him. He told them that Major Morris was the perpetrator of the crime, and was to receive twenty-five dollars from Henry Bradley after the commission of the murder. Dick Bradley sore to this in the trial of Major Morris and a portion of his evidence was substantiated by other witnesses several of whom deposed that they saw Major Morris in the neighborhood of the murder a few hours prior to its being committed. Dick Bradley also swore that Henry(his brother) had threatened to kill his master more than once. 
After hearing all the evidence, Mr. Telemachus Taylor appeared as counsel for the prisoners and Mr. Richmond T. Lacy for the commonwealth- Mr. Lacy commenced his remarks by reviewing the many flagrant violations of the law which had occurred within the limits of the county in the last twelve months, and particularly the one that had resulted in the death of Grant which he portrayed in the most vivid colors arguing that nothing would go so far in restoring order and tranquility as bringing the offenders of the law before a tribunal, and there inflicting the severest penalty of the law upon them. 
Mr. Taylor, in behalf of the prisoners, spoke at some length upon the testimony introduced, and closed his remarks by making a very pathetic appeal to the Court. 
The Court after hearing all the evidence and argument pronounced them guilty, and valued them. They were then conducted to jail to await their execution. 
Convicts having escaped from our jail heretofore the Court deemed it insecure appointed a guard consisting of four men to watch it until the 9th day of next March. 
Yours,

DYKE


New Kent C.H. Va, Feb. 17 1858
Since writing to you yesterday, Dick Bradley has also been condemned and will be executed on the 19th day of March next.

DYKE



The attorney for the Commonwealth is the Richmond T. Lacy who owned Eltham plantation and who is mentioned as such here.

And this is a milestone of sorts. This is my 200th post since this site was founded in March 2011.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Grant Tragedy III

New Kent Tragedy.— Our readers will remember the details  published by us on the 6th inst., of the murder of  James C. Grant, of New Kent Co. on the night of 3rd inst., while sitting in a room with his mother eating his supper. Yesterday was the time fixed upon for the examination of the three negroes— Richard and Henry, slaves to Mrs. Grant, the mother of the murdered man, and Major Morris, slave to Dabney Wade, of Hanover, who are now in jail, charged with that horrid crime. In order to give the particulars of this outrage, we visited New Kent Courthouse, but warned, on arriving there, that the examination had been postponed for two weeks, to secure the attendance of six or eight witnesses, whose testimony is considered important. We however, talked with many intelligent gentlemen in the neighborhood, who knew the Grant family well, and from them gleaned the following facts: Mrs. Grant, the mother of the deceased, owned some three hundred and fifty acres of land in her own right, one half of which she deeded to her son, James C. Grant. Some months after this she gave the other half, on which stood the old homestead, to her single daughter, Miss Catharine Grant, and when this deed was admitted to record, it is said that James became very much enraged with his sister, and probably threatened her with violence. In October or November, the old homestead was fired and burned, and Miss Grant at once charged her brother with being the incendiary. Mrs. Grant, after this, occupied her kitchen as a dwelling house her son and daughter, though at deadly enmity, remaining with her.
On the night of the 31st of December, Miss Grant says she was shot at by her brother. Whether  this was true or not, no one can say, but certain it is, that she left her mother's house at a late hour that night, in company with Dick, (one of the prisoner's) went to Mrs. Crump's plantation a mile or two off, and instead of going directly to Mrs. C.'s residence, stopped in the negro quarters, where Dick has a wife a servant to the house for Dr. Crump to visit her, alleging that she had been shot at and wounded. Dr. C. immediately obeyed the summons, and after examining Miss G.'s ankle where she said a shot had struck her told her that she had not been wounded by a shot or ball. Dr. Crump being a magistrate, Miss Grant obtained a peace warrant from him against her brother, and the day after, on learning that a warrant bad been issued for his arrest, James C. Grant swore out a search warrant against his sister Catherine, in which he charged her with purloining a number of his bonds and other valuable papers.— After both warrants were served, Monday, the 4th of January, was fixed upon for their trial. On Sunday vening, the 3rd inst., while James C. Grant was at supper, his mother lying on a bed in
one corner of the room, quite ill, and his half sister, who is a lunatic, sitting near the fire, some one fired at him through a window, putting four or live buckshot into the side of his head and killing him instantly.
On the 4th inst. An inquest was held over the body of the murdered man, but neither the half sister nor mother could give any clue to the assassin. The Coroner, however, from circumstance that came to his knowledge, had Dick, (one of Mr. Grant's servants,) lodged in jail, to answer for the crime. Dick at once declared himself innocent, but said if be were released he would point out the murderer. Of course, the justice would enter into no such agreement, and Dick flatly refused at that time to make any disclosures, but since then has stated that his brother Henry received $25 to kill his master, James C. Grant, but that Henry, to keep his hands clear of blood, gave $20 to Major Morris to do the deed for him, and that Major committed the murder. Henry and Major, we have before said, are now under arrest, on the statement of Dick, and in order to get witnesses to establish their guilt or innocence, the examination has been postponed. The neighbors, generally, incline to the opinion that Dick committed the murder, and that he was instigated to it by one who should have shielded the deceased from harm instead of plotting against his life. The day before yesterday Catherine Grant appeared at the court house, to answer to the search war rant under which she was arrested, but as the complainant was then under the sod, the charge against her was dismissed.
Before James C. Grant was murdered, and with out the knowledge of his Mother or sister, he made a will, leaving all his property, of every sort, to Mr. James Roper, of Henrico. As this will is with out a flaw, and will be sustained by the courts, his affectionate sister will not heir a dollar of his possessions. Messrs. J. P. Pierce and Telemachus Taylor have been employed to defend the prisoners.
The county of New Kent, with but a single exception, has never had her fair escutcheon stained with murder so foul before. About thirty years ago, a gentleman, named Ford, residing with his Wife on the York river, was brutally murdered by a negro fellow, then owned by Parson Robinson.— Mr. Ford, it is said, owned a negro woman who desired the fellow as a husband. Mr. F. did not wish the black ruffian about his plan, and to get rid of him, made the woman take up lodgings in the room with his wife and himself. One night after he had retired, the negro fellow came to the house, knocked at the door, and told Mr. K. he had come to release his wife. Mr. F. immediately got up, to order the ruffian out, and by way of intimidating him, took his gun in his hand. As soon as he stepped into the yard, the negro snatched the gun front his hand, shot him dead in his door, and then went into the house, where Mrs. Ford was lying ill and beat out her brains. The murderer was soon after captured and executed.

 -the Richmond Daily Dispatch, Jan 15, 1858.




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Grant Tragedy II

The New Kent Tragedy. — We gave an account yesterday morning of the horrid murder of Mr Jas.Grant of New Kent county, on Sunday night last, while sitting at the supper table with his mother and one of his sisters. The murderer it seems approached a window to the dining room in rear of Mr, Grant, and discharged a gun loaded with buck shot directly into the back of his head, fourteen of the missiles passing entirely through it killing him instantly. Soon after the murder several of the neighbors were called in, and enquiry's(sic) were at once instituted with the hope of discovering the murderer, but no satisfactory conclusion was arrived at. On Monday a Coroner's inquest was held, when Mrs. and Miss Grant were examined, but the jury were unable to learn any particulars pointing to the murder, the servants on the farm were also examined, and from their testimony the Coroner had a yellow fellow named Dick, slave to Mrs. Grant, arrested and committed for the murder. Dick had been allowed the use of a gun with he shot squirrels for his old mistress at various times A gentleman directly from the neighborhood, informs me that Mrs. Grant had two or three daughters, one of whom was shot at on the night of the 27th of December, immediately after which she fled her home and had not returned when her brother was murdered. The statement of Dick went far to implicate him in the murder, and he may yet give his motive for the crime,


-the Richmond Daily Dispatch, Jan 6, 1858.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Grant Tragedy I

The Late Tragedy in New Kent
(correspondence of the Richmond Daily Dispatch)

New Kent C.H. Va., Jan. 4, 1858.

The very startling intelligence of a most brutal murder perpetrated upon the person of James C. Grant, reached this place this morning, which has created the highest state of excitement through out the whole neighborhood.
 Mr Grant resided in the vicinage of the Cross Roads, which is immediately on the stage road leading from Richmond to Williamsburg.
Prior to the Perpetration of this black and heinous crime, there had occurred various family feuds, which would have resulted in litigation, but for the sudden demise of Grant.
 His sister, Miss Kittie, alleged that he shot at her with the intention of killing her, whereupon the deceased charged his sister with having purloined some very valuable papers from his desk, consisting chiefly of bonds and accounts.
Soon after nightfall, on last evening, between the hours of six and seven o'clock, after he had returned to his home from feeding his stock, he took a seat the tea table, which was in the form of a crescent, and sitting between the door and window, but fronting somewhat diagonally with the latter. While in the act of raising a cup of coffee to his mouth, some fiend in human shape discharged a pistol through the window at him. The pistol was loaded with bullets five of which took effect in his head and neck, killing him instantaneously. The impression prevailing the community is that one of the white members of the family was instrumental in having Grant shot. 
A negro man named Dick, having manifested some indications of alarm before the coroner's jury, was arrested and committed to jail. 
When all the disclosures shall have been made relative to this murder, they will be as black as hell.

Yours,

Dyke


Dyke was the Daily Dispatch's sometime New Kent correspondent.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Cow Jumped Over the . . .Mower?



The Times of Richmond, April 2, 1902 . . . yes, the same day as the Devil captured article
. . . it was a Fortean time in New Kent.
And this is the same W.P. Tunstall of exploding chicken fame . . .

 Do mules and cows play together?