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The ax slaying of Ollie Richardson.

White farmer Walter Butts split open the head of farm worker Ollie Richardson after an argument. The next day, following a preliminary hearing, a justice of the peace dismissed charges against Butts.

A guide to the article: the lighter text in the second half, beginning “A preliminary hearing …,” is the first edition version. The heavier text at the beginning, which details what happened at the hearing, was inserted later.

In a nutshell, deputy sheriffs responding to the scene arrested Butts and William Moore, an African-American material witness, who was later allowed to post bond. (After all, he was not accused of committing any crime.) Butts did not testify at the hearing the next day. Moore  testified that Butts and Richardson argued, and Richardson said he was going to straighten Butts out and advanced on Butts, but Moore did not actually see anything in Richardson’s hands. “Two Negro girls” testified to something similar. Unnamed others testified that they saw a pitchfork under Richardson’s body after he’d been brained. In other words, there was no actual testimony that Richardson had threatened Butts with a pitchfork before Butts smashed him in the skull with an ax. Nonetheless, a justice of the peace declared the incident a justifiable homicide and let Butts go.

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Wilson Daily Times, 2 July 1946.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Frank Richardson, 28; wife Mary W., 24; and children Lonie, 7, Ollie, 5, Bettie, 3, and Earlie, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson Mills township, Johnston County: Frank Richardson, 40; wife Harriet, 27; and children Lonie, 17, Bettie, 16, Ollie, 14, Early, 13, Beatrice, 10, Earnest L., 11, Vernell, 8, Gertrue, 6, Dump, 5, Tobus W., 5, Odel, 6 months, and Rosevelt, 2.

On 23 September 1935, Ollie F. Richardson, 21, of Cross Roads, son of Frank and Mary Richardson, married Crematha Wiggins, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Littleton Wiggins and Annie Royal, in Wilson in the presence of Oscar Eatman, Frank Richardson and Anna H. Royal.

In 1940, Ollie Frank Richardson registered for the World War II in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 20 August 1914 in Wilson; his contact was wife Crematha Richardson; and he worked for Otis Nichols, Bailey, Johnston County.

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Moneys should be kept in the bank.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 January 1920.

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Perhaps, in the 1930 census of the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: in a house owned and valued at $1000, widow Mary A. Batts, 50, servant; daughter Mamie, 26, servant; and son Lonnie, 35, farm laborer.

Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing this clipping.

“Uncle John” is killed in a fall.

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Wilson Daily Times, 18 August 1936.

The local newspaper may not have known “Uncle John”‘s name, but the coroner did. Forty-nine year-old (was that “aged”?) John W. Richardson was run over on Highway 91.

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In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer John Horton, 73; wife Esther, 65; and son Louis, 23; hired girl Rosell Peacock, 19; and nephews Nathaniel Hopson, 16, and John W. Richardson, 16.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer John W. Richardson, 43; wife Henrietta, 38; children Ramon, 11, Lena, 7, and Nannie L., 3; mother-in-law Ida Joyner, 50; and brother-in-law Isom Joyner, 20.

The Williamsons of Wilson and Xenia, Ohio.

Shortly after their marriage, Charles and Clara Vick Williamson followed the footsteps of Charles Rountree‘s family to Xenia, Ohio.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: domestic servant Robert Vick, 19, and wife Spicy, 18; Anna Williamson, 25, washerwoman, children Jena, 10, Charles, 5, and Ann I.M., 2, and husband Jackson Williamson, 45, blacksmith.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Tarboro Street, Jack Williamson, 55, blacksmith; wife Ann, 30; and children Eugina, 20, cook, Charles 16, blacksmith shop worker, Tete, 14, and Lea, 4.

On 6 January 1887, Charles Williamson, 21, son of Jack and Ann Williamson, married Clara Vick, 18, daughter of Nelson and Viney Vick, in the Town of Wilson. Amanda Vick applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister H.C. Phillips performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick, H.C. Rountree and Daniel Vick.

In the 1900 census of Xenia, Greene County: on 128 East Second Street, blacksmith Charles Williamson, 30; wife Clearo, 26; and children Mamie, 10, Charles A., 7, William H., 6, and John, 2. All the children were born in Ohio.

On 27 September 1904, Charles Williamson, 34, of Xenia, Ohio, blacksmith, born in North Carolina to Jack and Ann Williamson, married Lulu B. Anderson, 21, of Xenia, born in North Carolina to George Nelson Anderson and China Brown, in Xenia, Ohio.

In the 1910 census of Xenia, Greene County, Ohio: at 228 Fair Street, ropewalk laborer Charles Williamson, 46, married twice; wife Lula, 29; and children barber Charles Jr., 18, ropewalk laborer William, 16, John, 12, Hugh, 3, and Marcus, 4. Charles and Lula were born in North Carolina; the children in Ohio.

Though described as a ropewalk laborer in the 1910 census, Charles Williamson Sr. apparently continued to do some blacksmithing work as a horseshoer in 1911.

Xenia Daily Gazette, 12 April 1911.

On 8 July 1912, Charles Arnold Williamson Jr., laborer, of Xenia, age 20 on 1 April 1912, born in Xenia to Charles Williamson and Clara Vick, married Marguerite Scott Howard, age 18 on 10 September 1911, born in Xenia to James A. Howard and Mary Lucy Scott, in Xenia.

Xenia Daily Gazette, 27 February 1913.

Xenia Daily Gazette, 20 June 1913. Was this Charles Williamson Sr.’s second wife Lula?

In 1917, Charles Williamson registered for the World War I draft in Xenia, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 1 April 1894 in Xenia; resided at 1118 East Main, Xenia; was a laborer at H.& A. Twine Company; was single and had a dependent child.

In the 1920 census of Xenia, Greene County, Ohio: at 31 Orchard Street, Charles Williamson, 27, and wife Lena, 28.

In the 1920 census of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio: factory laborer Charles H. Jennings, 39, and wife Mamie, 26.

In the 1930 census of Xenia, Greene County, Ohio: at 33 Orchard Street, owned and valued at $200, Charles Williamson, 36, mason tender in construction.

In the 1930 census of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio: at 3323 Erie, foundry moulder Charles H. Jennings, 49; wife Mamie E., 29, laundress; and boarder John Williamson, 33, restaurant manager.

In the 1930 census of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio: at 511 Wyandotte, Hugh Williamson, 29; wife Elsie, 27; and children Carmen, 4, Leona, 3, and May, 10 months.

In 1940, Marcus McCampbell Williamson registered for the World War II draft in Xenia County, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 1 January 1906 in Zenia, Ohio; lived at Rural Route #5, Xenia; and worked for himself. Contact was aunt Hattie Young, Route 5, Xenia, Ohio.

In 1942, Hugh Theodore Roosevelt Williamson registered for the World War II draft in Lucas County, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 14 November 1900 in Zenia, Ohio; lived at 3323 Erie Street, Toledo; and worked for Toledo Smoke Shop. Contact was sister Mamie Jennings, 2332 North Erie, Toledo, Ohio.

In 1942, Charles Williamson registered for the World War II draft in Greene County, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 1 April 1896 in Xenia, Ohio; lived at 51 Columbus Road, Xenia; and was unemployed. Contact was Mamie Jennings, 2332 North Erie, Toledo, Ohio.

Charles Williamson died 16 July 1971 in Xenia, Greene County, Ohio.

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Xenia Daily Gazette, 16 July 1971.

Teenager killed in a car-bike accident.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 May 1946.

Fourteen year-old Jesse Lee Davis was seated on the handlebars of his friend Walter Rogers‘ bicycle when a car made a left turn in front of them. Rogers did not see the car and ran into it, killing Davis. The driver of the car, a 22 year-old white man named Vernest Ballance, was initially charged with manslaughter in Davis’ death, but the case was dismissed after a preliminary hearing.

  • Jesse Lee Davis

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Jesse Lee Davis was the son of Clinton Davis and Alliner Sherrod Davis Randall.

  • Walter Rogers

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 705 East Green (one of several families in a rooming house), tobacco factory stemmer Thomas Rodgers, 37; wife Minorh, 33, housemaid; and children Ruth, 15, Joseph, 14, Otis G., 12, and Walter, 8.