The colored jailer.

For at least five years, and presumably more, Tilghman McGowan was the jailer at Wilson’s town hoosegaw. He is known primarily from unflattering mentions in the newspaper.

Here, he is deservedly chastised for beating a small African-American boy:

8 20 1887

Wilson Mirror, 20 August 1887.

Here, he is mocked for allowing an inmate to escape at dinner time:

9 13 1887

Wilson Mirror, 13 September 1887.

And here, he and his unnamed wife receive a treacly double obituary:

2 17 1892

Wilson Mirror, 17 February 1892.

McGowan’s hut may have been lowly, but he seems to have owned it, and in late 1894, a half-acre lot he’d owned just across from Maplewood cemetery was sold at auction. (I have not found evidence of any probate records for McGowan, so do not know whether the sale was occasioned by an estate settlement.)

12 19 1894

Wilson Mirror, 19 December 1894.

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Setta Whitfield, 37, domestic servant; Gross Conner, 18, a white news dealer; Tillman McGown, 35, farm laborer, wife Charity, 36, and children Amy, 17, Lucinda, 15, Aaron, 20, Ira, 5, Delia A., 7, Nathan, 3, and Courtney, 1.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Tilman McGown, 43, wife Charity, 49,  and children Delia A., 18, Ira R., 15, and Nathan, 13.

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