To the Greenville Times.
Plundering and Murder in Issaquena and Washington County.
T P Vansant a justice of the peace and J A Ross, Thomas Betts and Emanuel Martin as constables and a number of others mounted their steeds and Raded into issaquena and washington County Committing this horrible out Rage up on the Cidizens of the poor ignorant Colored population by threatning to shoot them and puting them into fear when the citizens of this State an County be Come to under stand the true principles of this out Rage they will find it to be one of the most horriblest Crimes ever was committed. The feelings and the procedings in our district at this time prevails much excitement.
Madison sharps and friday nesby had a fist fight, and friday whiped sharps; and sharps Reported him to T. P. Vansant justice of the peace; and Vansant summonsed a number of eighteen or twenty men and in the number was J. A. Ross, Thomas Betts, W. H. Brown, W. M. Worlds and may others; they mounted their steed and rode down into issaquena out of washington County in search of the said friday; they went to skipwiths Ldg and they found old man jack nesby his father and his son tom nesby; the old man was very badly ruptured; and they took him and his son tom; they was siting down at skipwiths Ldg when these parties came upon them without any charge and hand cuffed them both together, one of the old mans hands to his sons who was on an other horse, and he also on a different horse, and whiped their horses from skipwiths to doctor Butts plantation; the old man was very Badly ruptured as I have said and during the long gallop his bowels rushed over the confindment made by the trust; one arm strate out to the other horse and the other hand holding to the bridle the old man did not have any way to suport him self in the saddle; his bowels after running out in the skin by his bruissing them against the saddle untill they was raw somuch so we lern, that the doctor says that mortifycation tuck place and was the cause of the old mans death; we lern that the coroners jury and the doctor decided together; the jurys verdict was that Jack nesbay came to his death by the cruel treatment of T. P. Vansant & his possey:
They went on the Walnut rige plantation issaquena county and went to frank pages house & they hancuft frank & garded him while they went in & plundered his house and thretened to shote him; & they went to this man fridays house & plundered his house & shoot down his chickens & mad the woman cook them & they all did eate they diner; split the palings of the garden & went in & busted & eate all of its wifes watermillons brok open the corn crib & fed out all his corn to they horses & plundered & wasted every thing they could find; told them that the government would pay them for what they had done to them, on the appointed day and they left.
On the 25th day of July last, T. P. Vansant justice of the peace in district No. 1 of Washington county Miss. summoneds a possa of men and went out in search of a man by the name of friday but did not find him but their killed his father; beyond enny dout murder has been comited in the case of the death of old uncul Jack Nesba!!
On the first day of august these parties was arrested by Sheriff Scotte of issaquena county.
They give Bond for their appearance on the fifth day of august and the day appointed these parties appeared. The Court called the Case up and Mr. Ross asked a continuence upon the grounds that they had no attorneys to defend them the continuence was granted untill august 1874 this excitement creates a great confusion among the citizens of issaquena and after arriving before the court the case called up, and the attorneys for the defence made a motion to quash the affidavit up on the grounds that the affidavit was not in the legal form according to law; at length the argument up on that motion was proceeded by the counselors for both sides one to prosecute and three to defend, for the defence and the result of the court was, after the proposion was made by Mr. Worlds an attorney for the defence that law. When they proceeded to trial the counselors for the defence right then and there demanded a change of venue; the justice then ordered the Sheriff to adjourn court untill to-morrow; at ten o’clock the nex morning the justice called the case up the justice remarked in brief words and said, you gentlemen delegates from Washington you demanded a change of venue but I dont seen any point in law that you have the right to a venue and there upon I will continue this case untill the fourth monday in October; the continuence was like lightning among the counselors for the defence; Mr. Worlds sprang to his feet with much excitement and Rappidly Replied we are in this court and we wan a trial; it seems as though he had forgot that he had demanded a change of venue when he saw there was no chance for a trial; after his demand the justice arose to his feet an pointing his finger at Mr. Worlds and remarked; Sir Mr. Attorney you have been trying to have everything your way all the time; now Sir I have had enough of it I am running this court; as ther was nothing more said the case was continued.
August 17, 1874.
Editors Greenville Times:
I send you the following brief summary of the State vs. Ross investigation:
About two weeks since a number of parties (negroes) in this county made affidavits before D. W. Pressell, a Justice of the Peace, that Ross and the Justice of the Peace at Leota (whose name I have forgotten) together with six or seven other parties came into this county from Washington county a short time before, and committed upon six or seven different parties, whose names are signed to the affidavits, the various offences of kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault and battery, and I am informed one affidavit for murder. About the 3d or 4th instant Ross appeared at Mayersville in obedience to a bench warrant issued for his arrest. On his motion the case was continued until the 13th inst. On the 13th the examination began. Ross, together with the other defendants, was present – Messrs. Shadd, Harris and Werls, of the Greenville bar, representing the defendants. With Ross and the other defendants from Washington county, came
ABOUT FIFTY ARMED MEN.
The investigation began by a dilatory motion on the part of the defence – relating to cost of past continuance – which continuance the Justice of the Peace had granted on condition that defendants would pay the costs thereof, which was at the time agreed to by defendants. After considerable time spent in listening to harangue of attorneys for defence, the Justice passed the matter of costs without disposing of it. The next step was motion on part of defence to quash the first affidavit. After much time spent the motion was overruled. The defence then applied for change of venue – alleging that they could not obtain justice before that Justice of the Peace. Pending this motion, the court adjourned. On next morning, the 14th instant, court met, and the matter was again taken up. The J. P. decided against the motion for change of venue, and owing to the turbulent and overbearing conduct of attorneys for defence, and turbulent and threatening appearance of the crowd who had accompanied defendants, the Justice adjourned his court until the 4th Monday in October.
The State was represented by Mr. Hall, from Skipwith’s Landing. The conduct of the counsel for defence towards him – from the beginning of the investigation – was overbearing and unprofessional. When I say that the crowd was armed, I mean that they had pistols and small arms. As far as I could discern, Ross had nothing to do with the threatening appearance of the crowd or the overbearing conduct of his attorneys.
I have given you briefly all that I saw relative to the matter.