State of North Carolina, Wilson County }
Be it remembered, that on this the 8 day of May 1904, I Dr E.T. Dickinson Coroner of the County of Wilson attended by a Jury of six good and lawful men viz Geo Amerson L.E. Moore J.S. Walston W.E. Millinder P.P. Williams & J.D. Barnes, by me summoned for that purpose according to law, after being duly sworn and impaneled by me at W.W. Graves place in Wilson County did hold an inquest over the dead body of Fate Thomas and after examination into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased from the view of the corpse and all the testimony to be procured the said jury finds the following that is to say,
That Fate Thomas came to his death from a blow delivered with an ax in the hands of Bud or Jim Simms and that Bill Simms to be held as accessory to the crime. J.D. Barnes, J.S. (X) Walston, Geo. (X) Amerson, P.P. (X) Williams, L.E. Moore, W.E. Millinder
Inquest had, and signed and sealed in the presents of E.T. Dickinson, Acting Coroner of Wilson Co.
John Barnes being duly sworn says:
Bud Simms brought Geo Farmer out of the house and Fate Thomas got mad and cussed Bud Simms and Bill cussed Fate and Fate told Bill not to cuss him any moore and Bill cussed Fate again and then Fate hit Bill and Bud Simms hit Fate with something don’t know what it was but think it was a stick and when Bud hit Fate he knocked him down. I think he lived about ½ hours he asked for his hat. John (X) Barnes
George Farmer being duly sworn says:
I don’t know what it was first started about I heard Bill Simms call Fate Thomas a S of B and Fate said not call me another S of B and Bill said you is a S of B and then Fate hit him with his fist and then there was a general fight and Bud Simms walked up and hit Fate with some thing don’t know where it was an ax or stick but the lick knocked him down. Geo. (X) Farmer
Dave Ruffin being duly sworn says
All I know about it I heard Fate tell Bill Simms not to call him a nother S of B and Bill said you are a S of B and Fate hit Bill Simms with his fist and then there was a general fight and Bud Simms steps up and hit Fate Thomas with the ax twice I think he hit him the first time in the shoulder and the last time on the back of the head. Dave (X) Ruffin
Tom Farmer being duly sworn says:
Heard Bill Simms call Fate Thomas a S of B and Fate told him not to call him a S of B any moore and he called him one again and they went to fighting then Bud Simms came up and struck Fate Thomas twice with the ax and the second lick he knocked him down. The last lick he hit him on the head. Don’t know where he hit him first but think it was on his sholder. Tom (X) Farmer
I cannot positively identify Jim “Bud” Simms, Bill Simms, John Barnes, George Farmer, Dave Ruffin or Tom Farmer.
Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.