He said he would shoot her head off.

On 21 August 1911, Martha Atkinson pressed charges against her husband, Dock Atkinson, for assault with a deadly weapon. She and her daughters testified in support of the arrest warrant:

Martha Atkinson being sworn says: That the defendant drew a double barrel shot gun on her at her house on Sunday night Aug 19th & swore that he would shoot her head off. That she ran out of the house & hid under the house until she thought her husband had gone to sleep, then she went out in the cotton patch & stayed until 3 o’clock, & from there to the house of another woman in the neighborhood, & that she has not been back home since, & is afraid to go.

Daisy Atkinson corroborates her mother almost verbatim.

Rosa Atkinson says that her father took the gun from the rack & pointed it at her mother & said he would blow her brains out.


In the 1870 census of Selma township, Johnston County, North Carolina: farmer Louis Atkinson, 60; wife Rose, 50; and children Jimmima, 20, Raiford, 17, Henrietta, 15, Allen, 10, Hardy, 8, Dock, 6, and Cook, 2.

In the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: Vinous Bullock, 50; Mike Bullock, 60, farmer; [Mike’s wife?] Gatsey, 50; Alexander, 29; his wife Hannah, 23; and their children Martha, 4, Charley, 2, and General Grant, 5 months.

In the 1880 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: laborer Alex Bullock, 30; wife Hannah, 34; and children Martha, 14, Charlie, 13, Gen’l Grant, 8, George, 7, Puss, 7, Mary, 5, Nannie, 3, and Orren, 4 months.

On 20 September 1884, Blount Powell, 21, married Martha Bullock, 19, in Edgecombe County.

Dock Atkinson, 26, of Stantonsburg, son of Louie and Rosa Atkinson, married Martha Powell, 20, daughter of Alex Bullock, in Stantonsburg township, on 9 December 1897. Daniel Ellis applied for the application.

In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Dock Atkinson, 35; wife Martha, 32; daughters-in-law [stepdaughters] Mary E., 14, Martha, 13, and Daisey Powell, 11; daughter Rosella Atkinson, 4; son Lewy Atkinson, 6 months; and cousin Jollie Bullock, 24.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Dock Atkinson, no age given; wife Martha, no age given; and children Daisey, 17, Rosetta, 14, Louie, 10, Ida, 7, Alexander, 5, and William A., 4.

Lewis Atkinson died 25 July 1919 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 October 1899 in Wilson County to Dock Atkinson and Martha Bullock; was single; and worked as a tenant farmer.

Martha Adkison died 29 October 1932 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born February 1866 in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Alex Bullock and Hannah Bennett; and was a widow.

Martha Farmer died 1 December 1965 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 July 1889 in Edgecombe County to Blount Powell and Martha Bullock.

Criminal Action Papers, 1911, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

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