One of the horrific stories involving local persons was the murder of James Russell by Mark Kiser in 1842.
James Semianes Russell was born on January 14, 1788 along the Rocky River in Cabarrus County, North Carolina to David and Elizabeth Morrison Russell. On February 8, 1809, he married Margaret "Peggy" Gingles in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of John Gingles and Rachel Morrison Gingle. Due to the Morrison connection, they may or may not have been related.
|Name:||James S. Russel|
|Marriage Date:||8 Feb 1809|
|Marriage State:||North Carolina|
|Source:||Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT|
According to records, James and Peggy had a large family:
-David Green (2)
-James Allison (2)
and a son who lived long enough to marry in 1836 known only as "C" Russell.
The 'two's above signify that they had two sons with each of those names. The Russells had the curious of habit found in that era of naming a child for a dead sibling. The first David Green Russell died at age 3 in 1817. His sibling David Green Russell II was born in 1819 and died in 1895. The first James Allison Russell died at the age of 2 in 1826. His same-named sibling was born in 1828 and died in 1890.
Margaret Russell is shown with the younger children in the 1850 census living with the McEachern family.
|Name:||Margaret S Russel|
|Birth Year:||abt 1815|
|Home in 1850:||Cabarrus, North Carolina|
The Greensboro Patriot
(Greensboro, North Carolina)20 August 1842 • Page 2
The description of Mark Kiser is very detailed and gives an opinion that would never flush today, "his very looks indicate a rascal." How judgemental (smirk). Scald head is a term we don't hear today for an ailment that is no longer common, if it still exists at all. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "scald-head" as thus:
: any of several diseases of the scalp characterized by falling out of the hair and by pustules the dried discharge of which forms scales.
Mark Kiser went immediately into the the life of a fugitive and a reward was offered for his whereabouts.
News of the manhunt for Mark Kisor and the atrocious murder of James Russell spread far and wide, the following was printed in The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland and The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mark Kisor article
From The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
A Shocking Murder
In the Book "Families of Cabarrus County, 1792-1815" by Kathleen Marler, it has the following listing:
Kiser, George Alexander and Debbie Weatherford
Children: Sussanah (Parrot Evans), Sarah (Joseph Heinseman), Archibald (Lucinda Daniels), George Mark (Mary Crayton), Deborah (John Mark Kiser), Phoebe (Green Collins).
George was the son of George Alexander Kiser (Sr.) and Mary Dove.
1790 George and Mary owned land in the branch of Meadow Creek and Canada Branch on the north side of the Rocky River in 1799. Conveyed land to David Kiser in Oct 1805 on Rocky River.
George Marcus Kiser or Kisor or Kizer, aka "Mark" was born about 1814 in Cabarrus County to George Alexander Kiser, Jr. and wife Deborah Weatherford Kiser. George A. Sr. and wife Mary Dove Kiser were his grandparents. He married Mary Ann "Polly" Crayton and had two children, Martha and James E Kiser. Mary must have been pregnant with James E when the horrible event occured, as he was born in 1843.
|Name:||James E Kizer|
|Age in 1860:||17|
|Birth Year:||abt 1843|
|Home in 1860:||Subdivision East of NC RR, Cabarrus, North Carolina|
|Post Office:||Mount Pleasant|
|Value of real estate:||View image|
|Name:||James E Kizer|
|Residence:||Cabarrus County, North Carolina, North Carolina|
|Age at enlistment:||18|
|Enlistment Date:||8 Jul 1861|
|Rank at enlistment:||Private|
|Enlistment Place:||Cabarrus County, North Carolina|
|State Served:||North Carolina|
|Survived the War?:||No|
|Service Record:||Enlisted in Company B, North Carolina 7th Infantry Regiment on 08 Jul 1861.Mustered out on 03 Jan 1863 at Hospl, Richmond, VA.|
|Birth Date:||abt 1843|
|Sources:||North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster|
The sons of James S. Russell either publicized the award offered by the Governor, or submitted one of their own, and advertised far and wide for the apprehension of the murderer of their father. This ad was place by David Green Russell and Robert Lee Russell.
Stop The Murderer
The above reward will be given for the apprenhension and delivery to the
sheriff of Cabarrus County, North Carolina for a man by the name of Mark
Kisor who committed and atrocious murder upon the body of James S. Russell
of this county on the 5th instant at the home of Allen Bost in Cabarrus
County. Said Kisor is about 30 years of age, 5 ft. 10 in. high, dark hair,
square shouldered, dark skin, large mouth and has some appearance of scald
head and large whiskers, speaks quick, is a blacksmith by trade and has the
very looks to indicate the rascal. He was badly dressed in homespun, but it
is presumed he will change his clothes. He wore a new pair of broguce with
stays around the heels. He is so much in the habit of carrying his rifle
that it is supposed that he will take it with him, it has a plain stock and
double trigger - he has a common case knife around in the shape of a butcher
knife attached to his pouch by his leather string through the handle. He has
a brother living in Georgia and two sisters in Mississippi one of them
married to Parrot Evans and the other to a Collins formerly of Anson County
where he will no doubt attempt to go. Kisor is fond of drinking and when the
least tight he is in the habit of singing dirty blackguard songs such as
nine times in the night, etc. Anyone apprehending said Kisor and delivering
him as above shall receive the reward.
David G. Russell
Robert L. Russell
Mecklenburg County. August 9, 1842
Having sister Phoebe in Itawamba County, Missisippi and sister Susan in Alabama and sister Sarah in Georgia and brother Archie in Georgia, Mark Kiser had multiple possibilities of places to run, wherein no one would no of his evil deed. No newspaper accounts or records indicate that he was ever caught or found. As it was easy in those days, especially for a man with a skill, to reinvent themselves, he may have made his way south or west, changed his name and started over with a new life and perhaps even a new family. One day a DNA test may connect western descendants with a Kiser family from North Carolina and the contributors will have no idea why or how.
In the meantime, I found it rather morbidly humorous that the sons of James S. Russell would add to the description of Kiser as being "fond of drinking and when the least tight he is in the habit of singing dirty blackguard songs such as 'Nine Times In the Night'." Below are the lyrics to that obvious ancient tune. I can imagine some man being arrested in 19th century Carolina for singing that bawdy lyric and charged with murder. And somewhere, a stocky, bearded blacksmith, who called himself Joseph Foy or possibly Bynum Reed, mysterious neighbors of Mark Kiser's siblings, may have continued singing that song.
Another interesting aside, on the subject of the Kiser siblings neighbors was a ninety-year old farmer from North Carolina named Valentine Vanhoose. Anyone who has dug through land records or other documents of revolutionary era Anson/Montgomery counties that predated Stanly, has encountered the name of Valentine Vanhoose. I can't imagine a man of that advanced age in that day and time traveling to a far state prior to the era of train travel to start up a new farm, yet this nonagenarian is listed alone in his household as a farmer. Could it be the same Valentine? Hmmm. He's living next to people from this area originally. I'll have to look into that.
liFind a Grave link to Memorial of Phoebe Kiser Colns
Find a Grave link to Memorial of Sussanah Kiser Evans
Find a Grave Link to Memorial of Archibald Kiser