Coroner’s report of the Inquest held over Dennis Williams (Col.), Dec. 19th, 1899
North Carolina, Wilson County }
Record of the examination of witnesses at the Inquest over the dead body of Dennis Williams (col)
The examination of W.D. Crocker M.D., Arch’d Robinson, W.M. Mumford, Edmund Williamson, John Henry, Horton Wells, Jason Wells (col), Alfred Moore taken before the undersigned, Coroner of said County, this 18th day of December 1899 at the Court House in Wilson, upon the body of Dennis Williams then lying dead, to-wit Archibald Robinson, being duly sworn says:
I went down to Mr. Moore’s Thursday night a little after dark. Mr. Moore not at home, but stayed there until a little after eight, went out and hurried towards home, just as I got close to the grave yard I heard a noise sound like some one struggling, I thought at first some one was trying to scare me heard noise about 100 years from Mr. Mumfords house. Saw man laying beside road, just a got against him I turned to left but walked by his feet and look down to see if I knew him, but made no stop. I met Edmund WmSon between where man was lying and Mr. Mumfords house. Just as I crossed the bridge I met him he spoke and I spoke and I stop after I passed him to see if he could recognize him and he stop and called to me that here is a man that seemed to be drunk or hurt come back and see if we can see what is to matter with him. I came back to injured man and found that Edmond knew him and found that he was injured. I and Mr. Mumford went to the depot and let some of the [illegible] Dr. W.D. Crocker went to see him. They took him up and carried him over to a vacant house about 350 years away where the doctor dressed his wounds. The man was total unconscience and stayed so, as far as I heard. Don’t know anything more about it. Archibald (X) Robinson
Edmund Williamson being duly sworn says:
I was acquainted with Dennis Williams. Did not recognize him that night at first, but did afterwards. There was right much blood on ground, where he was found. Do not know why he was there. Edmund (X) Williamson.
Wash Mumford, being duly sworn says:
Dennis came up to my house drunk, Thursday night drunk, like he always came, have learn him for 20 years, came to my gate, but Dago wouldn’t let him in. I was out in yard cutting out my beef. I forbid him to come in my yard for he was drunk, he walked off to one side, leaning up against walling. About 8 or 10 minutes, talking to him self. Had some words and he walked away cursing. He was not very offensive and went off as soon as I told him to go. Went off in direction to where he was afterwards found. Heard that he was hurt about 15 minutes after he left my house. I heard him meet some one, and heard him curve some one, and heard other party say he would kill him if he cursed him, and almost immediately afterwards heard blows. Mr. Wells and my son was with me. After I found out he was hurt, took my cart, and help them carry him off and dress his would. Found a bar rail and a fence rail where he was hurt, was blood, and hair on rails. Wash (X) Mumford
Horton Wells, being duly sworn says:
I was at Mr. Mumford, when Dennis same to his house Thursday night. I heard nothing more than Mr. Mumford testified to. /s/ J.H. Wells
Jason Wells, being duly sworn, says:
I am barber, my business is at Lucama. Went home a little early Thursday night. I saw Dennis at depot Thursday. He was drunk. I saw him between sun set and dark, didn’t see him after I went home. Didn’t see him have any money, but heard him say he had some. I took a drink with him, some time in the day he was not drunk then. Never saw him after he was hurt. Jason (X) Wells
Alfred Moore, being duly sworn, says:
The man was found dead about a half miles from my house. /s/ Alfred Moore
Dr. W.D. Crocker, being duly sworn says:
I practice medicine at Lucama I saw Dennis Williams in Lucama Thursday about sun down very drunk and he spoke to me, did not know him at that time. Had him searched next morning, did n’t find any thing except some candy, When I saw him at about half past ten he was unconscience, and had one cut on head near 6 in in length, cut to skull. I couldn’t detect any fracture in skull. He had both arms broken about five in from wrist, one bone in each arm. I think the cause of his death was from the two wounds on the head. I think the wounds were made by a rail. He was never conscience, and his pulse was very week. His folks took him home Friday and he died the next day. He also had a bruise on back of his head. /s/ W.D. Crocker
John Henry Battle, being duly sworn, says:
I live in Lucama, work with Mr. J.L. Hays. I saw Dennis Williams, about dark Thursday night, didnt see him during day. He was going out of town, with a man called Black Jack, coming out towards Barnes cross roads. I thought Dennis was drunk. Black Jack didn’t seem to be as drunk as Dennis, but I though he was drinking, Dennis wanted to go out in the country, and Black Jack didn’t want to go. Don’t know whether he went or no, both seemed to be in good humor. Didn’t see Dennis any more until he was found hurt, and haven’t see Black Jack since. /s/ John Henry Battle
John K. Ruffin, Coroner
- Dennis Williams
- Jason Wells — Jason Wells, 47, of Cross Roads, married Rena Reaves, 22, of Cross Roads, on 19 October 1897 in Lucama. Witnesses were Henry Odham, Joseph Newsom, and Linsey Wells. In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: day laborer Jason Wells, 51, wife Arrena, 30, and children Joseph E., 16, Johnie H., 11, Shelly, 2, and Carlton, 9 months. Jason Wells died 18 October 1934 in Cross Roads township. Per his death certificate: he was born in 1851 in Nash County to Dennis and Nellie Wells; was married to Rena Reaves Wells; worked as a farmer until 1931; and was buried in Lamms cemetery. Rena Reaves Wells was informant.
- Edmund Williamson — in the 1880 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Edmund Williamson, 50, wife Thaney, 44, and children William, 25, Nicie, 23, Eliza, 22, Eddie, 21, Ally, 19, Pollina, 17, Dolly Ann, 15, Isaac, 12, and Raiford, 7.
- John Henry Battle — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: day laborer Columbus Battle, 24, wife Minnie, 20, and brother, John H., 23, also a day laborer.
Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.