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Transcribed and submitted by Elsie Arcuri

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Feb 20 1880
Burning of a Church in Wilkes

Lewis's church on the Hunting creek road, in Wilkes county, 11 miles this side of Wikesboro, was fired by an incendiary a few nights ago and burned to the ground. It was a new and neat frame building, built by the Baptists of the neighborhood, and the interior had not been quite finished. Suspicion attaches to a man in the community who, it is said, did not like the location which had been selected for the church, and who took revenge upon those members of the congregation who did, by burning it down.
Feb 20 1880
Jail Delivery at Wilkesboro

Last Saturday night the prisoners confined in the jail at Wilkesboro made their escape in a body by digging a hole in the wall under one of the windows in the building. Among those in the party were Dan'l Dishman, the notorious desperado, who was recently on trial in Iredell court for his life, for the crime of burglary; another was his partner, Lambert, and another, Elijah Church, a desperado of even more notoriety than Dishman, who was but recently re-captured, after having escaped from jail and out of whose legs three bullets, were cut after he was re-imprisoned. Lambert was, fortunately re-captured Sunday morning, but at last accounts Church, Dishman and the rest were still at liberty. Clearly the people of Wilkes need a new jail.
May 21 1880
Sudden and Singular Death

We had a brief notice last week of the death of Wilmuth Jarvis, Esq. of Wilkes county. Since then we have gathered additional particulars of the occurrence. He was a justice of the peace and resided in the lower edge of Wilkes, on Hunting Creek. A couple had come to his house to be married and he had just performed the ceremony. He sat down, as soon as they left, to fill up the blanks in the license, and turning to his wife asked her the day of the month and immediately fell forward and died.
Feb 24 1882
Sudden Death

We neglected last week to mention the death of Mrs Laura Martin, which took place, suddenly, on the night of the 5th inst. at the residence of her husband Col Leland Martin at Brier Creek, Wilkes county. She had been sick for some days but was supposed to be recovering. She had sat up all day, and after retiring made a sudden outcry. Col Martin was from home, and her children hastening to her, found her dying. Mrs Martin was a daughter of Mr David Corpening of Burke and was by all accounts a most worthy and excellent lady. The family, some years ago, lived in Statesville, where they have relatives and a number of acquaintances and friends. The deceased lady was the mother of Mr H C Martin, salesman with Messrs Baker & Woods, of this place.
June 16 1882

We were pleased to meet our young friend, Mr W W Barber, of Wilkesboro, in town, yesterday. He says the Democratic party of his county was never more solidly united than it is now. Half the probitionists of Wilkes last year were Republicans; hence "coalition" is a two-edged sword up that way.
June 23 1882
Sudden Death

On Monday of last week a Mrs Adams, who lived near Moravian Falls, Wilkes county, while driving up the cows in the evening, was taken suddenly sick and died. She was the wife of a son of John Adams, of Wilkes, who was accused of complicity in the murder of Caroline Thompson, of Alexander county, on the 10th of June, 1881, and had been deserted by her husband some time since.
Sep 15 1882
Letter from Alexander

Correspondence of The Landmark
Just in from a trip to Brushy Mountains, Wilkes county. Starting from home on Monday morning, and after a few hours drive, over a considerably rough road, I arrived at beautiful peach orchard, where I found some excellent fruit, and after taking in a few, I sailed forth for a Baptist church by the name of Liberty, and on arriving there, I found a large and respectable audience of mountain people attending a protracted meeting, and after conversing with the most prominent gentlemen of that section, I found that crops of all kinds in Brushy Mountains are better than they have been in five years. Sheep and cattle are as fat as you like, but as for politics those that do not vote Democratic will vote Republican. They say they will not have anything to do with that unclean thing called the Liberal party.
After a sermon by Rev J S Gwaltney, which was very interesting, I sailed out up a little stream called Waterferry, and spent the night as never did I before, with a kind and respectable old gentleman. Next morning at half past seven o'clock I sailed out homeward. I began to think that never would I reach the valley of Rocky creek, but half past ten I landed.
Now concerning the affairs in this neighborhood:
People have got their grain all threshed out. All kinds of crops are good generally. Fodder is now ready to take.
Mrs Nancy Mayberry is very sick with a fever.
As for politics we are strictly Democratic and Republican and expect to continue so. We will not patronize the Harris-Mott machine, where all unclean, office seeking, broken down politicians drift to.
Rocky Creek, Sep 3 1882
Feb 23 1883

John Adams of Brushy Mountain Township, Shot and Killed by His Son
By the kindness of different friends in Wilkes, who have written to us fully of the occurrence, we have the details of a shocking tragedy which was enacted in Brushy Mountain township, in that county, between 8 and 9 o'clock on the evening of 'Friday last, the 16th inst. John Adams was the victim and his son, Allen, or "Dick" as he is often called, was the slayer, The son had but recently returned home, having been at work in the coal mines in Virginia. On the day in question Joshua Miller was at the house of Adams and he and Allen had had a difficulty. They quarreled during the greater part of the afternoon and into the night, when young Adams kicked Miller several times and told him that if he resented it he would kill him. Miller, however, made no hostile demonstration, and Adams' ill-treatment of him continued until the elder Adams interposed objection. Dick thereupon fell to cursing and abusing his father most violently, charging him, among other things, with having harbored John Cheatham, who killed Ray in Wilkes about six years ago. Adams ordered his son to leave the house, telling him that he should not stay there and talk thus to him. The quarrel between father and son continued until the father, exasperated beyond the point of endurance, picked up a piece of axe handle timber and advanced upon his son, who passed into the house, took down a rifle and went out at the back door. John Adams followed him through the house, and just as he opened he middle door Dick fired upon him from the back yard. The rifle ball struck him full in the chest and he fell to the floor and died almost instantly.
After he had fired the fatal shot the son went up to the dead body of his father and with bitter curses bade him get up and take a drink with him. He lingered about the place for a length of time, forbidding any one on the premises making known the occurrence in the neighborhood. So far from manifesting remorse, he said he had had this laid up for his father ever since the old man had choked him. He told a younger brother that this was the fourth man he had killed, having previously killed three in Virginia, and that he intended to kill eight more in the Brushy Mountains, after which he would "give up". After having remained upon the scene of the tragedy probably as long as he thought it prudent to do so, the murderer fled under the cover of darkness, and at last accounts had not been captured, though the sheriff and a posse were in pursuit of him
As soon as the knowledge of the murder reached the corner he summoned a jury and proceeded to hold an inquest over the body of the dead man. The verdict of the jury was in accordance with the facts as recited above. The murderer is known in Wilkes as a desperate character. For several days prior to the murder he had been dodging the officers of the law to avoid arrest under a peace warrant. For sometime past there had been bad feeling between him and his father, and on a former occasion he had shot at him and again had tried to kill him with as axe. John Adams was a very industrious man and leaves good property, the fruit of his own labors. He, it was who was suspected of complicity with Elijah Church and Harrison Dockery in the Thompson robbery and murder in Alexander county in June, 1881, was arrested, tried and acquitted. He was a very wicked man but it is said of him, strangely enough, that in any matter in which he gave his word he was absolutely reliable. Bearing a bad character in almost every respect, he was credited with a scrupulous regard for his plighted faith, being a man of whom it could be said that "his word was as good as his bond." This quality, his industry and a certain candor redeemed him from utter badness, Wm Transau, Esq was his prosecutor in the Thompson case. He said that if he was made to suffer in that matter he would kill Transau. Questioned in court to this conditional threat, he not only avowed it be re-iterated it in the presence of judge and jury. Not the least interesting incident of this shocking case is the fact that John Adams came to his death by a rifle which he had bought for his unnatural son when the latter was a little boy.
Messrs M W Gibson, of this county, J M Pressly of this town and C W Carson, of Taylorsville, have returned from Baltimore, where they have been attending medical lectures, for the vacation.
Feb 23 1883
An Unsuccessful Chase

A letter from Wilkes informs us that Deputy Sheriff Privett, of that county, with a posse, had an exciting chase, a few days ago after Dick Adams, who recently killed his father in Brushy Mountain township. He was fired at several times, but succeeded in making his escape.
Feb 15 1884
Fall from a Train

A man from Wilkes county, whose name we could not learn, put a lady and some children on the eastern bound train on the Western North Carolina Railroad at this place, yesterday morning, and lingering too long in the coach, started to get off after the train began to move. He made a mis-step, fell, was struck in side by the iron railing on the side of the car steps, and knocked under the edge of the coach, falling barely clear of the rails. He was picked up insensible and was suffering much yesterday from the injury received, but none of his bones were broken.
Feb 15 1884
Pensioners in Six Counties

The Secretary of the Interior has furnished us with a list of the government's pensioners in Alexander, Ashe, Iredell, Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin, together with the postoffice address of each, cause for which pensioned, and monthly allowance. We copy the list below:

Pensioner    Post office    Cause   Monthly allowance      

Elizabeth P Combs, Stony Point, widow 1812, $8
Anna Kerley, Taylorsville, widow, $8
Thos Payne, Taylorsville, surv 1812, $8
Susan Lumsden, Taylorsville, mother, $8
Anna Lackey, Taylorsville, widow 1812, $8
James McGuinis, Boomer, surv. 1812, $8
Elizabeth Hall, Boomer, widow 1812, $8
Mary Shew, Dellaplane, widow 1812, $8
Martha Ann Furgeson, Elkville, widow 1812, $8
Nelly Carlton, Elkville, widow 1812, $8
Matilda Combs, Hunting Creek, widow 1812, 48
Elizabeth Chambers, Lovelace, widow 1812, $8
Frances Handy, Mulberry, widow 1812, $8
Harrison Church, Mulberry, w. l. leg & arm, $8
Nancy Welborn, New Castle, surv 1812, $8
Polly Norman, Osbornville, widow 1812, $8
Nancy Hanks, Trap Hill, widow, $8
Peter Brown, Trap Hill, surv 1812, $8
William Dickens, Trap Hill, dis of lungs, $4
Alexander Cantley, Traphill, surv 1812, $8
Rebecca J Cantley, Traphill, widow $8
Elizabeth Sturgill, Wilkesboro, widow, $8
Susannah Eller, Wilkesborough, mother, $8
Lucy Gilreath, widow 1812, $8
Susannah Adams, widow 1812, $8ALEXANDER:
Elizabeth Usury, Wilkesborough, widow 1812, $8
Nancy Torisley, Wilkesborough, widow 1812, $8
Sarah H Brown, Wilkesborough, widow 1812, $8
Iredell T Prevett, Wilkesborough, inj. l. knee & bronchitis, $6
Rebecca E Hendrew, Wilkesborough, widow, $8
Mary Mahaffey, Wilkesborough, mother, $8
Adaline Younger, Wilkesborough, widow, $8
John Halloway, Wilkesborough,surv 1812, $8
Elizabeth Gambill, Wilkesborough, widow 1812, $8
Franky Walsh, Yellow Hill, widow 1812, $8
Presley Bussell, Zimmerman, surv 1812, $8
May 15 1885
Homicide in Wilkes

On Saturday or Sunday night, 2d or 3d inst, on Reddies river, Wilkes county, James Coffey was stabbed and killed by David Wyatt. Coffey was a turbulent young fellow of 26 or 28 years. On this occasion he went to Wyatt's house, drunk, and precipitated a difficulty with him. He went or was taken away, however, and Wyatt went to bed. Coffey returned, entered the house, and with threats of death against him advanced toward Wyatt, who was yet lying on the bed. As the aggressor reached him, Wyatt reached out and stabbed him in the breast, inflicting a wound from which he died. This is the story as it reached us. Wyatt is some 50 years of age and has a family. He bears a good character. Coffey was unmarried. The slayer was arrested but expects to make application for a writ of habeas corpus.
March 20 1885
Old People in Wilkes

Correspondence Morresville Monitor
During the Christmas holidays I paid my aged parents a visit, in Wilkes county. While talking over the past with them, and inquiring of the old friends and relatives who had passed over the river and who were yet living, I found the following survivors living in an area of 18 miles, viz:
Lucy Gilreath 100 years old, Polly Parleir 100, Polly McGuire 100, Diana Triplett 96, Bettie Tugman 95, Jack Ferguson 97, Nellie Ferguson 80, Polly Ferguson 90, William Atkins 95, Lou Pryor 95, Nancy Goforth 85, Miles Sumerlin 97, Sam Welch 80, Ashburn Howell 82. My parents, John J Triplett 80, Susan Triplett 85.
June 12 1885
Elopement and Wife Desertion in Wilkes

Wm Saunders, a Wilkes county distiller, last week deserted his wife and six children and ran off with Julia Staley, who lived about five miles below Wilkesboro. He converted all of his property into cash about $2500 and left in debt to the amount of $1200 or $1300. The woman with whom he ran off borne a good character until rather recently.

Newest Additions

November 16 1883

Mr Joel Bentley, who lives near Moravian Falls, has raised a table beet this year which weighs 18 lbs, another which weighs 13 and another 12. Mr Hiram Pearson of Little River township, Alexander county has numbers of cabbage heads which weigh 25 lbs.  T A Hudson Esq of this place, who has just returned from a trip through Alexander and Wilkes saw these vegetables.
11 April 1884

Men Indicted for a Murder Alleged to Have Been Committed Soon After the War

Friday of last week, it being the first week of the Superior Court of Wilkes county, the grand jury of that court found a true bill against Bill Byrd, Abram Mathis, Wesley Shoe and Lang. Gregory. These parties being all at large, an officer was started out with a precept for them, and they were arrested and lodged in jail at Wilkesboro. Mr. I. C. Wellborn was retained for the defense and Hon. R. F. Armfield was called from Statesville, by special messenger, to appear for the prisoners who were pressing for an immediate trial. Mr. Will W. Barber, acting solicitor was not ready, however, for the trial, and the cases were continued. On motion for bail Judge Gilmer fixed the bond in each case at $500 which it was supposed the prisoners would be able to give.

These men were charged with the murder of one Joseph Tucker in Wilkes county, a year or two after the war. Tucker was a bushwhacker during the war and held forth in Wilkes. About the time the war closed he went away but returned in 1865 or 66. and was reported to have $2,000. He suddenly disappeared, and to this day has not been heard of in his old haunts.

There was the matter of account between Peter Johnson and Bill Byrd. Johnston owed Byrd money and Byrd sued him. Johnson threatened him that unless he went slow he would tell about "that Tucker matter. The case between these two got into court, and the result is that a story of alleged murder is divulged. A witness comes in and testifies that the last time he ever saw Tucker the four men who have been indicted for his murder were in pursuit of him. Witness heard Tucker's exclamation as of a man attacked and overcome, and never heard anything more of him. Another witness alleged that he heard Mathis say, referring to this chase, that he had made the best shot he ever made in his life; that he struck Tucker in the back just where his suspenders crossed, and that his good marksmanship had made him $200. This is interpreted to mean that Mathis got this much as his share of the spoils.

The defense will ask that the body be produced. They will claim that Johnson's story was dictated by spite, and that he has procured these witnesses to testify.

From the size of the bail bond Judge Gilmer seems not to have thought very much of the State's case.

Source:  The Statesville Landmark

Sep 2 1886
A Warning Voice from Texas - Go Not to that Place

To the Editor of The Landmark

Texas having attracted my wayward attention, I bundled up my "duds" and bid old Wilkes County NC adieu and struck out for the Lone Star State in April last. Arriving here safely I found this portion of Texas (Grayson county) to be a rich, beautiful farming and grazing country. But oh! what a contrast between the appearance of Texas then and now! The far-stretching farms and pastures that looked so green and luxuriant in May and June, now present the appearance of a dried, scorched, burnt-up desert. The corn fields are as dead and dry as dead broom sedge and they dry up before much of the corn matured. Through the columns of your paper I would say to one and all who contemplate removing from North Carolina to Texas that it is not advisable for people to leave North Carolina to come here, especially poor people. The best days for a poor man to procure a home of his own in Texas have passed. This portion of the country is all fenced up with barbed wire fences and land that could have been bought for from $3 to $5 per acre is now held at from $20 to $50 per acre.

There is some land in the extreme northwestern portion of the State that can be had for about $2.50 per acre but I am told by reliable citizens that it is so much subject to drought that there cannot be more than one crop for every five years on an average realized. Put no confidence in the circulars and newspapers giving glowing accounts of the cheap and fertile lands in northern Texas.

They are gotten up in the interest of railroad companies to make money by bringing emigrants out here and still more by carrying them back. Several of the counties have called on the government for help being on the verge of starvation their cattle dying by the hundreds for food and water. All the people that area able are leaving the country. They are passing here daily in wagons being burnt up with drought so badly that they have to leave or starve.

In conclusion, I would say, North Carolinians, come not to this dry, sun-scorched, windy, hot, wood-scarce, water-destitute, rainless land called Texas, unless you have plenty of money to carry you back or somewhere else.

G N Higgins
Formerly of Wilkes Co NC
Grayson Co, Texas Aug 24 1886

2010 by  Elsie Arcuri, Nola Duffy, for the NCGenWeb Project.  No portion of  any document appearing on this site is to be used for other than personal research.  Any republication or reposting is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the owner. Last updated 05/07/2013