Rough on rats.


Wilson Mirror, 4 January 1888.

North Carolina, Wilson County

Personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace of said County, John Thigpen who being duly sworn complains and says that on the 5th day of March 1899 Irvin Forbes died in said County, it is generally believed from being poisoned by his wife Lucy Forbes. /s/ John Thigpen

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 7th day of March 1899 } J.W. Lancaster J.P.


State of North Carolina, Wilson Co

Be it remembered that on this the 7th day of March 1899 I, John K. Ruffin, Coroner of the County of Wilson, attended by a jury of good and lawful men viz J.C. Ellis, Robt. Bynum, J.R. Dildy, Stephen Craft, W.J. Mercer, and Eli Felton, by me summoned for that purpose, according to law, after being by me duly sworn and empaneled, at Saratoga in the County aforesaid, did hold an inquest over the dead body of Irvin Forbes (Col); and after examination into the facts & circumstances of the death of the deceased, from a view of the corpse, and all the testimony to be procured, the said jury finds as follows, that is to say, that the said Irvin Forbes came to his death by causes unknown to the Jury.  /s/ J.C. Ellis, Robt. Bynum, Jno. R. Dildy, Stephen Craft, W.J. Mercer Jr., Eli Felton.

Inquest had and signed and sealed in the presence of John K. Ruffin, Coroner of Wilson Co.


Lucy Forbes being duly sworn testifies as follows, I was the wife of the deceased Irvin Forbes my husband came home between nine and ten o’clock on Saturday morning complaining of being sick saying that his foot and crippled leg pained him staid in bed all day, and Sunday morning before day I became alarmed and sent for some of the neighbors, he died that morning not speaking or recognizing any of the neighbors who were present I got a box of Rough on Rats Thursday night I intended to use on my bedsteads to kill bed bugs. I put bed bug poison away in a certain box at my home never having opened it I can go and get it and show it to the jury now.

Having been sent home for the Rough on Rats by the jury of inquest she returned and made the following statement To wit I cannot find the box of Rough on Rats somebody has moved it from where I put it. I searched in the box where I put it and several others but could not find it anywhere.  Lucy (X) Forbes


I, J. Ellis being duly sworn testifies as follows I saw the deceased on Friday and he seemed to be in good health. I bought Rough on Rats for the deceased’s wife on Thursday in Wilson at her request, and she was in store in Saratoga to receive it Thursday afternoon. She told my wife she intended to use it to kill bed bugs but her husband objected to her using it for fear of accident.   /s/ J. Ellis


George Bynum being duly sworn testifies as follows On being sent for I went to the house of Irvin Forbes and found the deceased dead I told his wife he was out of the way and she seemed in much distress.  George (X) Bynum


Stephen Barnes (Col) being duly sworn testifies as follows Between Four and five o’clock Sunday morning Lucy Forbes sent for me I went found the deceased Irvin Forbes in bed unconscious. I don’t know he was dead at that time or not before I got to his house I found his wife Lucy outside of the house appearing to be in much trouble and anxious for me to get in the house.  Stephen (X) Barnes


J.F. Thigpen being introduced and sworn says Irvin Forbes lived on my place and died Sunday morning March 5/99. Did not know he was sick Saturday. Day before his death was able to do his regular work up till Saturday. He had told me more than one time that his wife and he did not live on good terms, and that she was worthless to him as a wife told me she had threatened to take his life two or three weeks ago, and that she thought more of other men than she did of him told me more than once he thought she was too intimate with other men     /s/ John Thigpen


W.R. Jones being duly sworn testifies as follows about two weeks ago the deceased Irvin Forbes told me his wife had killed his dog and she said she was going to kill me told me she was no service to him as a wife and was a drawback. Told me about months ago his wife thought more of and did more for other men than she did for him.   /s/ W.R. Jones


Jerry Eason (col) being duly sworn testifies as follows The deceased told me about two weeks ago he loved his wife but she did not love him told me she had said if she knew of anything that would kill him she would kill him stone-dead Deceased Irvin Forbes was my half brother. The deceased and wife had been married about six or eight years and had four children    /s/ Jerry Eason


Jack Evans (Col) being duly sworn testifies as follows The deceased and myself were first cousins and the first day of this year like deceased wife told me she wished her husband was dead have seen the deceased several times lately and he was in good health as far as I knew.  Jack (X) Evans


Wilson Mirror, 25 July 1888.

  • Irvin Forbes — on 20 February 1890, Irvin Forbes, 23, of Saratoga township, son of Wash Forbes, married Lucy Ruffin, 22, of Saratoga township, daughter of Lizzie Ruffin. Witnesses were Nelly Jane Best, Jane Bynum and Andrew Eason.
  • Lucy Forbes
  • George Bynum — perhaps, in the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: George Bynum, 65, wife Ally, 63, and son Joshua, 23. See also Jerry Eason entry below.
  • Stephen Barnes
  • Jerry Eason — Jerry Eason, 23, son of Wash Forbes and Agie Eason, married Mary Bynum, 23, daughter of George and Feriby Bynum, on 3 January 1889 in Saratoga township. Witnesses were Abraham Bynum, Gray Bynum and Robt. E. Bynum. In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Jerry Eason, 36; wife Mary, 35; and children Hattie, 10, Ad, 9, Georgianna, 8, Fairbee, 7, Lou, 3, and Charley, 3 months.
  • Jack Evans

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.


    1. The inquest concluded that Irvin’s death was due to unknown causes, rather than poisoning, so Lucy was not indicted. However, I have not found her or their children in Wilson County records after.

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