We first met Cora Moore when we read of her daring escape from the Wilson city jail. Here’s what put her there to begin with.
It started with the arrest of Mamie Ricks for possession of cocaine and “knock-out drops” after she tried to poison Ada McNeal. When Ricks was arrested at her Railroad Street home, police found “a number of pieces of fine clothing.” Efird’s Department Store quickly identified two silk dresses as goods stolen from them. The remaining items were a mystery, but Joe and Ada McNeal were also charged with larceny.
Wilson Daily Times, 27 November 1923.
Less than two months later, the police cracked the case.
In short, a New York coat and suit manufacturer shipped goods south via Norfolk Southern freight. About three miles outside Wilson, someone (a co-conspirator?) threw the boxes of clothing off the train. Joe McNeal witnessed “two negroes in a large seven passenger car” stash the clothes at a spot in Grabneck. As the goods were already hot, he tipped off two friends, Cora Moore and Aaron McKeithan, and three retrieved some of them and hid them in a trunk in Moore’s house. When they realized they were under suspicion, they sold as much of the loot as they could.
Wilson Daily Times, 15 January 1924.
Neither Cora Moore, Mamie Ricks, Ada McNeal, Joe McNeal, nor Aaron McKeithan are readily identifiable in Wilson County records. The surnames of the McNeals and McKeithan suggests they came from the Cumberland County, N.C., area, and they may not have remained long in Wilson.