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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.




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