Ten years after Caesar Wooten shot Mittie Strickland near Wilson’s railroad tracks, another man killed a woman near the Nash Street crossing. Initially, at least, this murder drew wide attention: A. Wilson Jones, the alleged killer, was a prominent African-American Republican Party leader in Wilson County, and his victim, his wife Nettie Vick Jones, was the sister of Samuel H. Vick.
As an early report from a Fayetteville paper notes, considerable confusion surrounded the crime. Jones fled in the aftermath, and a black constable searching for him got himself arrested after pulling a gun on a flagman.
Fayetteville Observer, 28 August 1897.
The Baltimore Sun claimed that friends of the victim’s family were threatening to lynch Jones.
Baltimore Sun, 28 August 1897.
A few days later, the Wilson Advance and Wilson Times offered more detailed versions of events. The Joneses, who were estranged, were overheard quarreling on Nash Street. Nettie rebuffed Wilkes, and he stabbed her repeatedly with a shoemaker’s knife. Wilkes then ran down Pettigrew Street to the home of one of Nettie’s friends, Annie Williams (reported earlier as Annie Battle), and shot her as she came to her door.
Wilson Advance, 1 September 1897.
Wilson Times, 3 September 1897.
Expressions of shocked sympathy rolled in from Nettie Jones’ contemporaries.
Raleigh Gazette, 11 September 1897.
Quickly, though, the hubbub died away, and a few brief updates in newspapers in early 1898 suggest that Jones was never caught.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: shoemaker Henry Jones, 55; wife Milly, 50; and sons Morris, 19, a bakery worker, and Wilson, 11.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Daniel Vick, 38, wife Fannie, 35, children Samuel, 16, Nettie, 14, Earnest Linwood, 12, Henry, 10, and James O.F. Vick, 8, plus Frank O., 20, and Marcus W. Blount, 26.
In the 1880 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Wilson Jones, 22, shoemaker.
On 13 December 1884, A.W. Jones, 24, of Wilson County, married Nettie M. Vick, 20, at Thomas Johnson’s. E.H. Ward, a minister, conducted the ceremony before John Moss, Alice Johnson and Thomas Johnson. (Per the 1900 census, Thomas Johnson was a mail carrier and, presumably, therefore an associate of postmaster Sam Vick. Alice was his wife.)