Privett

The unmistakable way to conviction.

In November 1888, Charles Bynum was tried and convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Henry Privett, his girlfriend’s brother.

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Wilson Mirror, 7 November 1888.

  • Charles Bynum, accused — possibly, the Charles Bynum, 15, listed with his parents Mack, 39, and Mary Bynum, 30, in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County.
  • Henry Privette, victim; Bettie Privette, his sister, allegedly Bynum’s lover; Alice Privette, his wife; Sallie Privette, his sister; Mahala Privette, his mother — In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Joseph Privett, 30; wife Mahala, 27; and children Lucretia, 9, Mary, 4, Henry, 2, and Bettie J., 2 weeks; plus Penninah Locust, 2. In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Joe Privett, about 44; wife Mahalah, about 35; and children Polly Ann, 16, Henry, 14, Bettie, 11, Hattie, 7, and Sallie, 3; plus Penninah Jones, 14. Henry Privett, 18, son of Joe and Mahalia Privett, married Alice Howell, 20, daughter of Ransom and Burbary Howell, on 8 February 1887 at the courthouse in Wilson.
  • James Bynum, juror.
  • Henry Birney, juror.
  • Celia Cotton, witness.

State v. Jack Privett.

Documents related to State vs. Jack Privett, a bastardy action arising in Wilson County:

State of North Carolina, Wilson County} On this the 15th day of october 1866 the undersigned a Justis of the peace in and for Said Countey prceed to take examanation of Eliser Smith whereupon she Declars upon her oath that She is with Child which Child when bornd will be a bastard and liable to become charble to Said Countey She futher declars that Jack Privett is the father of her Said child     Eliser (X) Smith

Taken and subscribed before me  /s/ D.A. Scott J.P.

——

State of North Carolina, Wilson County}    To eney lawful to execute and return within thirtey days Sundays excepted where as Pearcy & Elizer Smith hath this day personally apeard before me and made oath in due form of law that they hath reason to beleave and just cause to fear and dose beleave and fear that Jack Privett (col’d) of your County will burn there house or do them a corporal ingury by killing imprisoning or beating them or that he will procure others so to do and that he is thereby and by reason of the said Jack Privetts threats and menaces and attempts or having lain in wait for them actually under fear of death or bodley harm and where as the said Percy and Elizer Smith complainants hath further make oath that they do not require such surety out of malice or for mere vexation

These are therefore in name of the State to command you to arrest the body of the said Jack Privett and bring him before me or some other justice of the Peace within this County immediately to the end that he may find sureties that he will keep the peace of the state towards the said complainants and all other persons untill the next Term of the Court of Please and Quarter sessions of said County or be commited to Jail in default thereof. Herein fail not Witness my hand and seal this 15th day Oct AD 1866  /s/ D.A. Scott, J.P.

Witness for the State: Ned Smith, Pearcy Smith, Eliza Smith

——

Privett was arrested the day after this warrant issued. On the back of the warrant, Justice of the Peace William G. Jordan noted that “it is found that the defendant Jack Privett (collored) is guilt of menaces and threats to shoot” Pearcy and Eliza Smith. Privett was unable to post a two hundred dollar bond and was committed to jail until the paternity hearing.

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: South Carolina-born farm laborer Jack Privett, 40; wife Quincy, 32; and daughter Malvinia, 4; plus Adeler Privett, 18, and her likely children Jane, 3, and Eli, 9 months.

Eliza Smith, age 65, died 14 July 1915 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Her death certificate lists her parents as Henry Smith and Percy Horne. In the 1870 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Henry Smith, 41, wife Pearcy, 38, and daughter Eliza, 18, with other children (including a three year-old, James H. Smith, who may have been Eliza’s baby.)

Bastardy Records, Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.

 

The poor house.

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In 1880, seven of the 22 paupers living in Wilson County’s poorhouse were African-American — Cary Williams, 65; Sampson Odam (“sore leg”), 89; David Rountree, 75; Mary Applewhite, 50; Mourning Privett, 52; Sallie Selby, 54; and Doublin Short, 75. Rountree appears in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, as a 67 year-old farm laborer living alone. The others’ whereabouts in 1870 are unclear.