Coroner’s Inquest over body of Willie Crank Dec 21st 1896
State of North Carolina, Wilson County }
Be it remembered that on the 21st day of December 1896 I William Harris a Conroner of said County attended by a Jury of Good and lawful men viz: J.F. Farmer, G.W. Ryan, Tom Hadley, Jas. Harris, R.C. Andrews, Wm. Hines col. by me summoned for that purpose according to law after being by me duly sworn and empanelled at Maggie Wade’s House in the county aforesaid did hold an inquest over the dead body of Willie Crank and after inquiring into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased from a view of the corpse and all the testimony to be procured the Jury find as follows that the said Willie Crank came to his death from a wound received in his head from the discharge of a pistol in the hands of Albert Tucker (col) /s/ J.F. Farmer, G.W. Bryan, Thos. J. Hadley Jr., James H. Hariss, R.C. Andrews, William Hines
Evidence of Witnesses
1st Witness — Easter Baldin col — was sitting on box & Albert Tucker was sitting on same box with his head in my lap & Willie Crank the deceased came around to window & said Easter & Tucker look like 2 old apes whereupon Tucker shot Willie through window & Jim English who was in house with us ran out & saw deceased & came back in house & said Tucker man you killed deceased. All of us went out & found deceased lying in a tub of water with left hand in his pocket. We bought him in house all 5 of us viz — Jim & Tom English, Maggie & Tom Wade & myself were in the house of Maggie Wade /s/ Easter Bolling
2nd Witness — Maggie Wade Me & my bro Tom Wade, Jim & Tom English & Easter Baldin were all in my house. I was laying across my bed nursing my baby & Easter was sitting in Tuckers lap. Deceased came around to window & knocked at window saying hello Mag, then said Easter you & Tucker look like 2 monkeys (or something like that) sitting there & thereupon Tucker pulled out his pistol & shot him through the window. Knew it was deceased from his voice. Occurred early in the night. As soon as the shooting, Jim English run out of house & i said why Tucker you have shot Willie. Tucker said no I reckon not. Tom English run out of house & said Lord Mag Willie is shot. Then Tucker went out of house & with Jim brought deceased in my door & his pistol dropped out of his pocket. /s/ Maggie Wade
3rd witness — Tom English col age about 14 we 5 witnesses all in Maggie Wage’s House & also Albert Tucker & deceased. Deceased went out to water closet & came back to window & nocked at window & said Tucker you & Easter sitting up there like 2 monkeys trying to play pretty. Tucker said get away from there before I shoot you & then pulled out his pistol & shot him. Tom (X) English
4th witness — Tom Wade col. Evidence same as the others. See below.
5th witness — Jim English col. Evidence about same. See below.
6th witness — Mattie Lewis col. Heard pistol shot & about 1 Hour afterward heard Albert Tucker kiss Easter Baldin & tell her that he would shoot any man for her. Gave her some money & told her to meet him in Rocky Mt Monday. Emiline Scott, Tom Jones & Lucy Scott & me followed Tucker from here up from as far as Wootten & Stevens shop & there Tucker ran away. Mattie (X) Lewis
7th witness — Dr Albert Anderson. About 7 1/2 o’clock I was called to Little Richmond and found a negro in a house no 2 with a gun shot wound entering the sckull about 1 1/2 in above left eye. There was brain tissue coming out of the opening and some hemorrhage. Breathing was irregular and stertorous. Circulation was good. From his Symptoms I thought he would die in few hours. /s/ Albert Anderson
4th witness — Tom Wade col. Willie Crank (deceased) came to window & knocked & said Easter you & Tucker look like two monkeys sitting there. Tucker said get away from there & drawer his gun out & shot Willie. /s/ Thomas Wade
5th witness — Jim English. We 5 were sitting in Maggie Wade’s house Willie came to window & knocked said Easter why don’t you & Tucker get up from there. You look like two monkeys trying to play pretty & Tucker said go on away & pulled out his pistol & shot Willie Jim (X) English
Recognizance of Witnesses
State of North Carolina, Wilson County
Mattie Lewis, Maggie Wage, Tom English, Tom Wade and Jim English, acknowledge themselves indebted to the State of North Carolina in the sum of One Hundred dollars, conditioned to be void nevertheless, in case they appear before the next term of the Superior Court of Wilson County, to be held at Wilson NC Monday February 1st 1897, to give evidence concerning the death of Willie Crank and not depart the County without leave. Taken and acknowledged before me this 21st day of December 1896. /s/ Wm. Harris, Coroner
Upon the recommendation of the Jury the witness Easter Bolling, is hereby turned over to J.W. Cherry Sheriff of Wilson County for safe keeping and appearance at next term at Superior Court of Wilson County viz Monday Feby 1/97. /s/ Wm. Harris, Coroner
- William Hines — I cannot identify this William Hines, who is not the same man as the barber and hospital administrator.
- Willie Crank
- Albert Tucker
- Easter Bolling
- Maggie Wade
- Thomas Wade
- Tom English
- Jim English
- Mattie Lewis — possibly, in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mattie Lewis, 22, tobacco factory worker, single and living alone.
- Emiline Scott
- Tom Jones
- Lucy Scott
Not surprisingly, given the transience and relative youth of Little Richmond’s denizens, I have found few traces of the victim or witnesses in Wilson County records.
Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.