The victim, in fact, was named Cora Lee Carr. I have not found more about her terrible death.
Cora Lee Carr died 21 April 1924 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was about 24 years old; was married to Earnest Carr; and was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Willie Williams was informant. Cause of death: “Crushed scull with axe Homicide Instant death.”
The setting: the former plantation of Joshua Barnes, then three miles north of Wilson and now on the outskirts.
Several people gathered at Willie Barnes‘ home to go together to a dance in the neighborhood. Barnes was eating his evening meal, and his wife, children, and neighbors sat before the fire. Mary Talley suddenly rushed in. Moments later, her husband Robert Talley appeared in the doorway, cried “Mary, Mary, Mary!,” and emptied a shotgun barrel into his wife’s hip. Willie Barnes grabbed the gun, which discharged its other barrel into the ceiling. Mary Talley lost considerable blood, but the wound was judged not serious. A sheriff’s posse found Talley holed up in his residence with a loaded gun, but arrested him without incident.
I haven’t found anything further about this incident. However, Robert Talley went to prison, he didn’t stay long. He appears in the 1910 census of Wilson … with Mary Talley.
In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Robert Talley, 23, and wife Mary.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Robert Talley, 31, store janitor; wife Mary, 28, cook; and three boarders Lula Vick, 18, cook, Rachel Miller, 19, cook, and Buster Miller, 15 months.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tally Robert (c) lab 409 N Pine
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Talley Mary (c) dom h Young’s New Line nr Water Works rd
Mary M. Talley died 22 May 1945 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 57 years old; was born in Asheville, N.C., to Eleck Robinson and Dora Miller; was single; and lived at 200 West Lee Street. Rachel Ellis, 200 West Lee, was informant.
At findagrave.com, a family member offers a sympathetic portrait of William Bunn and a glimpse at the rest of the life of 17 year-old Maggie Barnes Bunn, who survived her husband’s attack.
“MR. WILLIAM BUNN the first husband of Mrs. Maggie Barnes Bunn. Their union was blessed with two daughters – Dorothy Mae Bunn and Virginia Bunn. Mr. William Bunn was a loving husband and father and friend. Mr. William Bunn accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at an early age, also Mr. William Bunn was reared in a Christan Home. However, Mr William Bunn became very controlling and jealous of his wife Mrs. Maggie Barnes Bunn, which lead him into Domestic Violence toward his wife Mrs. Maggie Baines Buun. Mr. William Bunn left home to go to work on the Farm and Mrs. Maggie Baines Bunn took her two daughters Dorothy and Virgina and went to her parents home, Mr General Barnes and Mrs. Clyde Barnes. When Mr. William Bunn arrived at home, he found out that his wife Mrs. Maggie Barnes Bunn and his daughters had left him. Mr. William went over to his wife’s parents home and shot his mother-in-law Mrs. Clyde Barnes, killing her and he shot and wounded her sister. Next Mr. William Bunn found his wife Mrs. Maggie Barnes Bunn and shot her, but the bullet glanced her on the nick and arm. Mr. William left his wife’s parents home, thinking that he had killed his wife Mrs. Maggie Barnes Bunn, Mr. William preceded to a tree that he had in-graved a heart shaped with William and Maggie Love Forever in the tree and blow his brains out. NOTE: Please do not be disrespectful of Mr. William Bunn’s behavior on this sad day, because Mr. William’s was crapped in his mind and heart by being in a jealous rage, which lead him out of his mind.”
“Mrs. Maggie Barnes Bunn Baines, was born on May 15, 1918 in Wilson, North Carolina to Mr. General Barnes and the late Mrs. Clyde Barnes. Maggie was educated at Calvin Level School in Wilson, North Carolina. After completing High School, Maggie met and married the late Mr. William Bunn. Their union was blessed with two daughters. Later Maggie met and married Mr. Jake Baines Sr. Their union was blessed with eleven children. Maggie was a loving devoted wife and mother, always cooked home made meals for her family and friends. Maggie loved to up-keep her home and Maggie was extremely talented at cooking sewing clothing for her children and coats. Maggie would make blankets, bed sheets and curtains for her house windows. Maggie would share her talents with her family, friends and the neighborhood. Maggie loved people and whenever help was needed, Maggie would respond with assistance to those who had a need. Maggie was a Christian Woman and reared her children in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Maggie always encourage her children to love the Lord Jesus Christ, to love one another, to love their family members, to love their neighbors and most of all to love their-selves. Maggie was a kind, caring and loving person, always made numerous of friends wherever she went and Maggie will be sincerely missed by all who loved and knew her. Maggie leaves to cherish her everlasting memories: her devoted husband – Mr. Jake Baines Sr.; six daughters – Mrs. Dorothy M. Dingle, Mrs. Virginia Williams, Mrs. Lillie M. King. Ms. Jackie Baines, Ms. Helen Baines and Ms. Paulette Baines; seven sons – Mr. Jake Baines Jr., Mr. John Davis Baines, Mr. James Arthur Baines, Mr. Willie Gray Baines, Mr. Charles Baines, Anthony Baines and Mr. Christopher Baines; her father – Mr. General Barnes and step-mother Mrs. Laffey Cox Barnes; five sisters – Mrs. Ruth Boykin, Mrs. Lucy Allen, Mrs. Irene Floyd, Mrs. Odessa Boykin and Mrs. Mildred Boykin; three brothers – Mr. Darthur Barnes, Mr. Wiley Barnes and Mr. John Dallas Barnes; five brothers-in-law – Mr. Howard Taft Boykin, Mr. Frank Allen, Mr. James Floyd, Mr. William J. Boykin and Mr. Lee Roy Boykin; one sister-in-law – Mrs. Rosa Barnes; numerous of great-children; aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of other relatives and friends. NOTE: Maggie was forty-three years old and Cancer was the cause of her death.”
General Barnes, 21, of Gardners township, son of Jarman and Mollie Barnes, married Clyde Barnes, 18, of Gardners township, daughter of Wiley and Lucy Barnes, on 2 December 1916 in Wilson in the presence of James Barnes of Elm City and Louis Barnes and Dempsey Mercer of Wilson.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer General Barnes, 21; wife Clyde, 19; and children E. Ruth, 3, and E. Maggie, 1.
In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer General Barnes, 31; wife Clyde, 29; and children Ruth, 13, Maggie, 11, Luther, 9, John D., 8, Arthur, 5, Wiley, 3, and Irene, 1.
William Thomas Bunn died 6 August 1935 in Crossroads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 23 years old; was married to Maggie Barnes Bunn; was a farmer; and was born in Lucama to James (crossed through) Bunn and Maggie Oniel (crossed through). James Bunn, 606 Warren Street, Wilson, was informant. Cause of death: “(Suicide) by shooting self in head with shot gun.”
Clyde Barnes died 6 August 1935 at Mercy or Moore-Herring Hospital [both are listed.] Per her death certificate, she was 33 years old; was married to General Barnes; was a farmer; was born in Wilson County to Wiley Oree and Lucy Barnes; and died of a gunshot wound to the neck.
On 30 May 1906, W.I. Barnes, 22, married Madie Taylor, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Mike and Rachel Taylor, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of William Mitchell, Alex H. Walker, Roderick Taylor, and Sarah Ward.
Henry Mike Barnes died 6 February 1912 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 December 1911 in Wilson County to W.I. Barnes and Madie Taylor.
William Ichabod Barnes registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1884; lived at 401 Pine Street, Wilson; was a laborer for Export Leaf Tobacco Company; and his nearest relative was wife Maidie Barnes.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 401 Pine Street, tobacco laborer Samuel Ennis, 26, wife Maggie, 29, and children Freeman, 12, and Earl, 2; wagon factory laborer John Smith, 21, boarder ; and cafe owner William I. Barnes, 30, wife Madie, 27, and children Weldon, 12, Dorothy, 11, Rachel, 9, Ethel G., 6, Vera, 2, and Virginia R., 10 months.
Ethel Grey Barnes died 2 July 1923 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was ten years old; was born in Wilson to W.I. Barnes and Madie Taylor; and was a school girl.
Warland Barnes died 4 December 1926 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 19 years old; was married to Blanche Barnes; lived at 309 Pender Street, Wilson; was a common laborer; and was born in Wilson to W. Ichabod Barnes and Madie Taylor. He was buried in Rountrees cemetery, Wilson.
In 1942, William Ichabod Barnes registered for the World War II draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1884 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 1216 North Street, Philadelphia; and his contact was Mrs. Robert Stevens, 1000 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.
William Barnes died 16 February 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1884 in North Carolina to William Barnes and Wattie Sims; lived at 1216 North Street, Philadelphia; worked as a laborer; and was separated. T. Dorothy Robinson, 1218 North Street, was informant.
John Dallas McGirt — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Archie McGirt, 52, fertilizer plant laborer; wife Pearl, 47, tobacco factory laborer; son John, 23, fertilizer plant laborer; daughter Lillian Simms, 21, tobacco factory laborer; son Belton [McGirt], 19, delivery boy for grocery store; [grandson] Walter, 5; and son-in-law Allen Simms, 25, cement finisher for contractor. John Dallas McGirt registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 May 1916 in Maxton, N.C.; lived at 1013 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; his contacts as father Archie McGirt, same address; and he worked for Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company, Wilson. McGirt died 7 March 1972.
Here is Delbert Williams‘ death certificate. It reports that he was born 12 May 1912 in Dillon, South Carolina, to Hat Williams and Katie Singletary, was married; lived (and died) on Dew Street; worked as a laborer; and died of a gunshot blast to the neck.
The Times published a blow-by-blow of the preliminary hearing Wilson mayor E.F. Killette held over the homicide of Blanche Williams. Joe Goffney entered a plea of not guilty, but Killette found sufficient evidence to hold him over for trial in the Superior Court.
Joe Brodie testified first. Goffney, who was married, came with Williams to the house in which she lives. Brodie was in the back room when the shot rang out. Williams staggered out and fell to the floor. Goffney ran out, shouting that he had not known the gun was loaded. Brodie sent for Dr. Mitchner, who declared Williams dead.
Nellie Williams testified that Goffney and Blanche Williams had entered the house laughing and talking. She was in the next room lacing her shoe when she heard the gun fire and heard Goffney say, “I didn’t say a word — or I will kill all of you.” Nellie Williams ran out of the house with one shoe on.
Clifton Johnson also testified that Goffney and B. Williams entered the house talking and laughing. Johnson said he saw the gun on the center table when he entered and did not know to whom it belonged. (Neither Brodie nor N. Williams corroborated this, saying that as far as they knew there had been no gun in the house.) Goffney picked up the gun and said “let me see it.” Johnson’s back was turned to them when Goffney fired. Goffney did not say anything “out of the way” to Williams. The remark about “killing them all” came after the shooting. Goffney told them to get a doctor, then left the house. He gave Johnson the gun, who threw it away.
“Colored physician” William Mitchner testified that he found Blanche Williams on the porch dead. The bullet had struck her in the chin, breaking her lower jaw, and exited the back of her neck, possibly fracturing her spine. In his opinion, Goffney was standing directly in front of Williams when he fired, and the bullet’s trajectory was slightly downward.
Clifton Johnson was recalled to testify that he and Goffney were on the same side of the table, and he was behind Williams.
Goffney testified that Clarence Johnson carried concealed weapons. [Is this Clifton? Or a different man?] Clarence had placed a magazine and .32 cartridges on the table.
Officer Weathersbee testified that he and Officer Sikes asked Johnson for the gun, and Johnson said he had thrown it in the pea patch. Johnson admitted the gun was his, and it had not been found.
Clarence Johnson denied telling Weathersbee the gun was his. He did not own a gun. Goffney was mistaken when he said Johnson had pulled the gun from his pocket and that there had been a magazine on the table. Johnson works at an express office and borrowed a holster from a fellow employee. He did not borrow a gun. The holster is in a bureau drawer at his house. Mayor Killette interjected that the holster had been found between the bed[frame] and mattress in Johnson’s room. Johnson could not explain why he borrowed a holster.
Joe Lee denied seeing Goffney take a pistol from Johnson’s pocket. Apparently, Nettie Williams did, too. Johnson’s mother testified that he did not own a gun and had not brought one to the house the night of the killing.
Johnson’s lawyer F.D. Swindell argued that in the excitement of the moment, it was perfectly natural for Johnson to throw away the gun Goffney gave him. The only evidence that the gun was his was Goffney’s testimony, which was inherently biased.
The mayor was satisfied that Johnson had borrowed the pistol and bound him over as a material witness and for carrying a concealed weapon. He fined Johnson $75 and set his bond for $500. Goffney was sent to jail to await trial.
Wilson Times, 30 September 1921.
Joe Goffney — Was Joe Goffney convicted? I have not found a follow-up, but the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists: Goffney Joseph tobwkr [tobacco worker] h 206 Manchester. This is likely the Joseph Goffney listed in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Lemon Barnes, 51; wife Dollie Ann, 51; children Ida, 26, Lemon Jr., 20, Mattie, 17, Charlie, 15, and Howard, 12; stepsons Cornelius Neal, 11, Paul Goffney, 17, and Joseph Goffney, 15; and grandson Sylvester Barnes, 6.
Blanche Williams — Per her death certificate, Blanch Williams was 24 years old; single; resided on Stantonsburg Street; and worked as a common laborer. She was born in Wayne County, North Carolina, to Wash Smith and Laura Williams, and Selena Craig of Goldsboro was informant. Her cause of death: “revolver wound of head (probably accidental).” [A 26 September 1921 Times article about the shooting reported that Williams was married and lived in Goldsboro, but had come to Wilson to work briefly in domestic service. She had planned to return to Goldsboro the week she was shot. She had been “going with” Goffney while in Wilson, and jealousy was believed to be at the root of the violence. Unnamed witnesses heard Goffney tell Williams, “If you go with that man, I will kill you,” as they walked to Joe Lee’s home. As Williams walked out of the house to return home, Goffney called her back in and shot her.]
Joe Brodie — possibly Josephine Brodie listed in the 1922 city directory as a student living at 303 Mercer Street.
Clifton/Clarence Johnson — perhaps the Clifton Johnson listed in the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as a porter living at 118 Ashe Street.
Joe Lee — possibly Joseph Lee listed in the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as a factory hand living at 115 Manchester Street. [However, the 26 September Times article identified Joe Lee and Joe Brodie as the same person, a woman.]
Commissioner of Freedman at Goldsboro. Sir there is a Colored woman in prison in this County Committed by some Magistrate in Edgcombe County. I do not know any of the particulars. I have been told that she was in prison with one or two little children & they will certainly suffer with Cold if they remain there. Mr. John Smith of this County has in his care five orphan children have no near relations Mr. Smith has been a loyal citizen to the U.S. Government all the war, he is a good man clothes & feeds well, he wishes to have them bound. There names & ages are Samuel 17 years old, Caroline 15 years old, Symeon 13 years old, Princh 11 years old, Frank 9 years old. Mr. Smith can give the best of refference.
W.J. Bullock, Capt. L.P.F.
[Different handwriting] Roberson Baker put Redding Baker in jail and took his children.
Sir, I received a Communication from you this morning in reguard to one Redding Baker (freedman) stating that he was put in jail by Rob Baker, and I ought not to permit such proceeding &c. I presume you know nothing or but little about the case or myself either, or you would not have wrote as you did. You said Baker had no authority for taking those children &c, if he had not of had an order to that effect he certainly would not have gotten them returned to him, and that authority was the highest in this state. I presume from Col. Whitlesy. The case is as follows Redding had two wives one at Mr. Bakers, and one at a Mr. Blows. He had discarded the wife who lived at Mr. Bakers, took the other one home, I assisted him in getting his children by his wife at home; he afterwards took the children of his other wife, she went to see them, and he whipped her very bad or as she stated to me, she said she wanted her children to stay at Mr Bakers, the case was sent to Raleigh and Col Whitlesy ordered the children carried back to Mr Baker’s. I was absent at the time, Mr Baker called on a Lt of the Police to return the children as the order requested him to call on the Police to return them. The Lt served the order on Redding he promised to return them by a certain day; he did not obey the order & when I came home the Lt sent me to know what course to pursue. I ordered him to return the children to Mr Baker according to the Order from Raleigh, and to send Redding to me for whipping Annikey his abandoned wife, he was sent late in the evening I lodged him in jail for investigation I investigated the case laid no furnishment, found it was a case of not sufficient importants to send to you & discharged him. I hope the above will be satisfactory. You see Mr Baker did not put him in jail. And besides the jailor of this County is a gentleman, and knows his duty, will not receive any one in the jail unless committed by a Magistrate or myself. There have not been any freedmen put in the jail who has not been reported to you or Gen Hardin, except in cases of minor importants upon investigation discharged. There are not any freedmen in jail here at all, the last who was there escaped before I got orders to send him off.
Should the above not be satisfactory, I will try to satisfy you when up to Wilson. As for my character I will refer you to the Union men of the County among them W. Daniel, W.G. Sharp, G.W. Blount & others.
Your Obedt Servt
Capt. L.P. Force
White farmer William Bullock, 38, is listed in the 1870 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County NC. 52 year-old white farmer Roberson Baker is listed in Oldfields township. Neither Redding nor Annikey Baker nor their children appear in the county.
As an early report from a Fayetteville paper notes, considerable confusion surrounded the crime. Jones fled in the aftermath, and a black constable searching for him got himself arrested after pulling a gun on a flagman.
Fayetteville Observer, 28 August 1897.
The Baltimore Sun claimed that friends of the victim’s family were threatening to lynch Jones.
Baltimore Sun, 28 August 1897.
A few days later, the Wilson Advance and Wilson Times offered more detailed versions of events. The Joneses, who were estranged, were overheard quarreling on Nash Street. Nettie rebuffed Wilkes, and he stabbed her repeatedly with a shoemaker’s knife. Wilkes then ran down Pettigrew Street to the home of one of Nettie’s friends, Annie Williams (reported earlier as Annie Battle), and shot her as she came to her door.
Wilson Advance, 1 September 1897.
Wilson Times, 3 September 1897.
Expressions of shocked sympathy rolled in from Nettie Jones’ contemporaries.
Raleigh Gazette, 11 September 1897.
Quickly, though, the hubbub died away, and a few brief updates in newspapers in early 1898 suggest that Jones was never caught.
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: baker Samuel Williams, 30, carpenter Daniel Vick, 25, wife Fannie, 24, children Samuel, 8, Earnest, 3, and Nettie M., 5, plus Violet Drake, 52.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: shoemaker Henry Jones, 55; wife Milly, 50; and sons Morris, 19, a bakery worker, and Wilson, 11.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Daniel Vick, 38, wife Fannie, 35, children Samuel, 16, Nettie, 14, Earnest Linwood, 12, Henry, 10, and James O.F. Vick, 8, plus Frank O., 20, and Marcus W. Blount, 26.
In the 1880 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Wilson Jones, 22, shoemaker.
On 13 December 1884, A.W. Jones, 24, of Wilson County, married Nettie M. Vick, 20, at Thomas Johnson’s. E.H. Ward, a minister, conducted the ceremony before John Moss, Alice Johnson and Thomas Johnson. (Per the 1900 census, Thomas Johnson was a mail carrier and, presumably, therefore an associate of postmaster Sam Vick. Alice was his wife.)