The murder of Mordecai Hagans.

We first met Mordecai Hagans, born a free man of color, here, as an employee of Wilson’s Confederate hospital.

Fifteen or so years later, Hagans was murdered.

Wilson Advance, 16 July 1880.

(Josephus Daniels was editor of the Advance at the time, so it’s no surprise he thought it paramount to note that Hagans faithfully voted the white supremacist Democratic ticket. He tells us nothing of Hagans’ family, his occupation, his history — but we know this.)

Wilson Advance, 30 July 1880.

The Advance‘s follow-up was devoted almost exclusively  to the exculpation of J. Frank Eatmon, primarily via inferences from the testimony of Hagans’ “old, half-idiotic” unnamed wife, who had been severely beaten the night her husband was killed.


In the 1860 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Mordecai Hagans, 23, farm laborer, living alone.

In the 1870 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Mordecai Hagans, 37, and wife Cherry, 45.

In the 1880 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: laborer Mordicia Hagins, about 50, and wife Cherry, about 45. [They are listed immediately after the households of J. Frank Eatmon and Pearson Eatmon’s mother Aquilla Eatmon and likely lived on the property of one or the other.]

Leave a Reply