teenager

A hunting accident?

Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1929.

I have not found any follow-up to this news story, but Harvey Rodgers‘ death certificate lists his cause of death as “Gun shot wound of chest accident while hunting.”

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  • Harvey Rodgers — in the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Jim Rogers, 60; wife Lanie, 50; children Latina, 15, Harold, 12, Louisa, 9, and Harvey, 8; and nieces Ema B., 20, and Mabel Sanders, 6.
  • Wray Bridgers

Spo’ty Odie.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1914.

Fresh off serving thirty days on a chain gang for being homeless, 16 year-oldĀ Odie Williams showed up in court on larceny charges in his dandy finest — knee pants, black silk stockings, white slippers with rubber bottoms (sneakers?) — received his one-year sentence … and escaped.

Beyond his clothes, Williams’ description is poetic — “slick and neat,” white teeth, “medium dark ginger cake complexion,” and “mouth shaped like the rim of a jug” (whatever that may be.) I don’t know if he was ever caught. I sincerely hope he wasn’t.

The death of Alphonso Battle, age 15.

The Daily Times reported the death of 15 year-old Alphonso Battle as tragic, but straightforward — he had accidentally shot himself in the chest while squirrel hunting.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 October 1937.

Bizarrely, though, Battle’s death certificate tells a completely different story, establishing his legal cause of death as “natural cause no sign of foul play.”

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In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer John H. Battle, 49; wife Loutoria, 40; and children Johnie L., 21, Nettie, 19, Bessie L., 16, Mary L., 15, Roosevelt, 14, Armettie, 11, Alphnza, 8, Estelle, 7, Augustus, 4, and Harvey L., 2.