Last Monday in Taylors township, this county, Jesse Howard, a Negro Republican registrar for the coming election, assaulted his father-in-law Green Ruffin, a respectable inoffensive old man of ninety years of age. It seems that Green’s hog had got out into Jesse’s field and although the crop had been gathered and Green had kept his hog out a long time, yet Jesse became so enraged as to pick up the hog and throw him over the fence, breaking its back. Greene who was cutting cane near by, seeing the hog fall, ran to the fence, still having his cane knife in his hand. When he saw Jesse he expostulated with him when the latter jerked a rail from the fence and struck Greene breaking his right arm. Greene said, “you have broken my arm.” Jesse answered “yes and G__D__ you, I will break the other.” And changing the rail he struck Greene again and broke his left arm.
Jesse was up before M.M. Matthews, J.P. but we have not heard the result. Such outrages as this should not go unpunished.
— Wilson Daily Times, 9 October 1896.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Green Ruffin, 36, wife Tamer, 30, and children Ora, 3, and Martha, 2, plus Nicey Watson, 58. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Green Ruffin, 57, wife Tamer, 47, and children Orah, 14, Martha, 11, and Stephen, 3. [In 1896, then, Green was probably closer to 60 to 70 years of age than 90. Not that that excuses anything.]
On 17 August 1889, Jesse Howard, 22, son of Deal and Rhoda Howard, married Martha Ruffin, 21, daughter of Green and Tamer Ruffin, all of Taylors township.
The couple is not found in the 1900 census. Did Martha leave after Jesse thrashed her father? Was Jesse prosecuted? Did Martha die?
On 5 June 1901, Jesse Howard, 33, son of Delius and Rhoda Howard, married Zillah Woodard, 32, daughter of Alfred and Sarah Woodard.