Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Devil and John Carter: The Fight Over a Pile of Manure.

During my recent indelving into the old Supreme Court cases of Stanly County of the decade between 1877 and 1888, having only just begun, I lucked upon two mysterious court cases involving murder. Having known that only one man, (and no women), had been hanged in Stanly County, it puzzled me to learn of so many murders that were tried, and several men sentenced to hang, yet none ever met the noose, except for poor Alex Whitley, of whom much had been written.




Anyone who read my recent post on the case of Asberry Chavis, who had been sentenced to hang, but escaped his fate by escaping from the Stanly County jail, and flaunted his freedom by staying just miles or a county or so away, and living his life as he always had, drinking and carousing and getting into trouble, returning even to his old stomping grounds, but never meeting with his fate, may have noticed that his wasn't the only murder case being tried in Stanly County at the time. Another was listed, both upon the court record page and in the newspaper accounts.

Asberry Chavis: Death by Hanging

The other was the case of John M. Carter.

Unlike Mr. Chavis, a Lumbee Indian from Richmond County, North Carolina, John M. Carter was from Cabarrus County, and had married a Stanly County girl. And perhaps the most surprising find in my research was that he was already hanging in my family tree.

John Martin Carter was born October 21, 1846 in Cabarrus County, North Carolina to Wilson M. and Sarah Carter. His father Wilson, in turn, was born in Montgomery County, North Carolina, the son of Jeremiah Carter and Mary Thompson Carter.

Name:John M Carter
Age:3
Birth Year:abt 1847
Birthplace:Stanley Co
Home in 1850:Cabarrus, North Carolina, USA
Gender:Male
Family Number:1124
Household Members:
NameAge
Wilson M Carter24
Sarah S Carter27
W H Carter12
M H Carter9
John M Carter3
Mary J Carter
Lanson Carter16

The family lived near Mt. Pleasant, which is in close proximity to Stanly County, so when war was declared, it appears Wilson M. Carter enlisted in Stanly County, but his teenaged son, John M. Carter did not. He may have been left in charge of his mother and siblings, and in care of the family farm.
Name:John Carter
Age:13
Birth Year:abt 1847
Gender:Male
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:Subdivision East of NC RR, Cabarrus, North Carolina
Post Office:Mount Pleasant
Family Number:683
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
NameAge
Wilson Carter33
Sarah Carter40
John Carter13
Mary Carter10
William Carter7
Corrintha Carter8
Robert Carter5
Jessee Carter2
Cyrus Archey20

Name:Wilson M Carter
Residence:Stanly County, North Carolina, North Carolina
Enlistment Date:10 Apr 1863
Rank at enlistment:Private
Enlistment Place:Stanly County, North Carolina
State Served:North Carolina
Service Record:Enlisted in Company H, North Carolina 42nd Infantry Regiment on 10 Apr 1863.
Sources:North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster




In 1868, John M. Carter married Lydia Adeline Howell, and this is what placed him in my family tree.



Lydia Adeline Howell was the daughter of William R. Howell and Francis "Fanny" Hopkins Howell and was the sister of John Travis Howell, who married Lucretia Warrington and Emsley Frank Howell, persons who all traverse into the tree in one way or another, indirectly. But that is all another story or three.



Lydia Adeline Howell was raised in Stanly County and that is where the marriage took place, in March of 1868.  Lydia Adeline must have felt herself fortunate to find a whole man, not decimated by the ravages of war, who was her own age, as many young women were marrying older men with large families in tow, men old enough to be their grandfathers, or men who were missing limbs and sometimes their minds.






The couple, at first, made their home in Cabarrus County, in Township 10, which is the Midland area, where their first son, Wilson William Martin, was born, obviously named for John's father.


Name:John Carter
Age in 1870:25
Birth Year:abt 1845
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Township 10, Cabarrus, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Male
Post Office:Concord
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
NameAge
John Carter25
Adeline Carter25
Wilson Carter1

The years between 1870 and 1878 would bring 3 more sons into the family, James H. Carter in 1873 and twins Emsley Delonious Carter and Edward Martin Carter, on December 31, 1875.

The year that would change their lives was 1978.  John Martin Carter was 33 years old.
His young boys were 9, 5 and the twins were 3. They would have no more children.

The victim in the case was John Julius Byrd (or Bird, as the name is also seen), named in the newspaper accounts as "John M. Byrd or Bird", a Stanly County man.

John Byrd was born about 1840, in what would become Stanly County by the time he could walk. He was the son of Jacob Byrd, who passed away in 1845, when his son was only 5. His mother was Margaret M. Teeter Byrd, daughter of George Teeter and Katherine Barry Teeter, and the marriage between Margaret and Jacob Byrd produce three children, Catherine Amaletha Rosilla Jane Byrd, John Julius M. Byrd and Andrew Leander Byrd.

The 1850 census would show the young widow with her three children. They were living in the Smith's Community of Stanly County.

Name:Margaret M Bird
Age:36
Birth Year:abt 1814
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Smiths, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Gender:Female
Family Number:667
Household Members:
NameAge
Margaret M Bird36
Catharine Bird13
Jno M Bird10
Andrew Bird7


Shortly after the 1850 census, Margaret "Peggy" Teeter Byrd or Bird, married widower, Wiley Hatley, who had a son Hardy. Together, they would have two more children, Effie Isabelle Hatley, and Doctor Wiley Hatley, known as "D. W." or "Dock". Dock Hatley would play a role in the trial of John Martin Carter.

Name:Peggy Hatley
Age:45
Birth Year:abt 1815
Gender:Female
Home in 1860:Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Family Number:761
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
NameAge
Wily Hatley64
Peggy Hatley45
Tildy Hatley30
Eby Hatley8
Dr Wily Hatley5


John J. M. Byrd married Elizabeth Hartsell, daughter of Garland and Mary Barnhardt Hartsell in 1861. In 1862, he enlisted in the Civil War, and made it back alive.

Name:John Byrd
Age in 1870:30
Birth Year:abt 1840
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Male
Post Office:Albemarle
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
NameAge
John Byrd30
Elizabeth Byrd28
Mary Byrd6
Sarah Byrd4
Sophonia Byrd1
Tobitha Hartsell14





John and Eilzabeth Byrd were the parents of 7 children. The youngest, Henry Philos Byrd, was born the year his father died.

Name:Elisabeth Bird
Age:40
Birth Year:abt 1840
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Occupation:Keeping House
Cannot read/write:

Blind:

Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
NameAge
Elisabeth Bird40
Mary E. J. Bird16
Sarah M. Bird13
Isabel Bird12
Evy L. Bird8
George W. Bird6
Henry P. Bird3


The Bird or Byrd children were John Jr. , who died as a baby, Mary A. E. J. , Sarah M., Sophronia Isabelle, Evie L., George W. and Henry Philos Byrd.

Elizabeth Hartsell Bird lived until 1916. She was living in Cabarrus County with sons George and Philos in 1900. It states she was the mother of 7 children with 3 living. The 3 were her two youngest sons and daughter Mary, who married James S. Teeter and lived in Locust, NC.

Name:Elizabeth Bird
[Elizbeth Bird] 
Age:60
Birth Date:Feb 1840
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1900:Rocky River, Cabarrus, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Mother
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother: number of living children:3
Mother: How many children:7
Occupation:View on Image
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
NameAge
George W Bird23
Tabithie Bird21
Lilie Bird4
John H Bird2
Mary E Bird1
Elizabeth Bird60
Phile M Bird21

In 1910, she was still living with George and his wife Tabitha, and only 2 of her children were living, George and Mary Byrd Teeter.
Name:Elizabeth Bird
Age in 1910:69
Birth Year:abt 1841
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:Township 1, Cabarrus, North Carolina
Street:Charlotte Road
Race:White
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Mother
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Native Tongue:English
Able to Read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Number of Children Born:3
Number of Children Living:2
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
NameAge
George W Bird34
[24] 
Tabitha Bird31
Lillie Bird14
John Bird13
Lizzie Bird11
Lee Bird7
May Bird5
Minnie Bird3
Infant Bird0
[1/12] 
Elizabeth Bird69


Elizabeth was buried at Roberta Church Cemetery in Cabarrus County along with her son, George W. Byrd and his wife.

The cursed event occurred in December of 1877. John Julius M. Byrd lost his life over of pile of manure.

According to court documents,  John M. Carter and family had moved to Stanly County about 1876. A year later, they moved, and leased the house they had inhabited to John J. M. Byrd.  John M. Carter came one day to load up the manure that had collected in a stable, on the property which he still owned, and the manure was a property he considered his. Bird came upon the scene and was none to happy. As he had leased the place, he considered any excrement upon the ground to be his. Angry and profane words were exchanged, where upon Bird started toward John Carter in an angry manner.




Now, Carter was apparently holding a hoe, having been shoveling and raking the crap around. When Byrd came toward him in a threatening manner, Carter hit him in the head with the hoe. That part was never in debate. It was how many times he struck the man that was at issue.



 The court record read, " The jury for the State upon their oath present that John M Carter, late of the County of Stanly, not having the fear of God before his eyes but being moved and seduced by the Devil on the 27th day of December, 1877, with force and in the County aforesaid in and upon one John Byrd and in and upon the left side of the head of him the said John Byrd then and there feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought did strike Giving to the said John Byrd then and there with the aforesaid Hoe and in and upon the left side of the head of him the said John Byrd one mortal wound. The said John Byrd from the said 27th day of December AD 1877 until the 28th day of the same month in the year aforesaid at and in the County aforesaid languished and languishingly did live on which said 28th day of December of the year aforesaid, the said John Byrd in the County aforesaid of the said mortal wound died and so the jury aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid say that the said John M. Carter the said John Byrd in manner and force aforesaid feloniously, willingly and of his malice aforethought did kill and murder against the peace and dignity of the state". 

Witnesses were: Hardy Hatley, D. W. Hatley (D. W. Hatley being the half-brother of John J. M. Byrd, sharing a mother, and Hardy Hatley being the half-brother of Doctor Wiley aka D. W. Hatley, sharing a father), Richard Anderson and R. A. Anderson (both doctors and R. A. a nephew of Dr. Richard Anderson Sr. ...who would -the nephew-find himself in his own hot water some few years hence), Frank Swaringen, W. F. Moss, E. H. Howell (brother of the wife of John M. Carter). 





The Observer
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
2 Apr 1878, Tue • Page 3

And yes, I just had to leave in the part of the newspaper article that commented on the sucess of the gold mines of Stanly County. The area was simply swimming in gold. It is one industry and asset that helped pull us out of the Civil War, as well as pull settlers into the area a century prior.

The Verdict:

The reason John M. Carter was not hanged in Stanly County was that he was not found guilty of murder. The court records read:

Being chosen tried and sworn to speak the truth of and concerning the pressures (uncertain) of their oath say that the Prisoner at the box is not guilty of the felony and murder as charged in the Bill of Indictment but is guilty of the felonious slaying of John Byrd, the prisoner remanded to jail from where he came, the prisoner is again brought to the bar of the county, The Soliciter for the State is moving for Judgement, it is considered by the County that the Defendant be committed to the State Prison for the Period of two years. It is adjudged that the County pay for the costs. 

Other players in the trial were Sheriff W. H. Hearne, who held John M. Carter in custody; S J Pemberton, Solicter for the State and J. R. Ivy, Foreman of the Jury, The "Jury of Good and Lawful Men", were: J. F. Cauble, W. M. Kirk, J. S. Hartsell, W. M. Harwood, Robert Littleton, J. C. Bell, A. D. Potts, Jones Crowell, Jonathan Mann, M. F. Heathcock, W. G. Morton, W. A. Kirk.





The papers would report that John M. Carter was imprisoned in the State Penn in Raleigh for a period of two years, under the charge of Manslaughter. 




The Observer
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
11 Apr 1878, Thu • Page 3

After the sentence was served, John M. Carter returned to Stanly County, at least for awhile. The family shows up in the 1880 census in Furrs Township and having been enumerated twice by two different census takers at different times of the year, in Big Lick Township,  while the Byrd family lived in Big Lick.


Name:John Carter
Age:32
Birth Year:abt 1848
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Furrs, Stanly, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Lidia A. Carter
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Occupation:Works On Farm
Cannot read/write:

Blind:

Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
NameAge
John Carter32
Lidia A. Carter38
William W. Carter10
James H. Carter8
Edward W. Carter2
Emsley A. Carter2

The just a few months later, the family appears as:

Name:John M. Carter
Age:33
Birth Year:abt 1847
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Adeline Carter
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Occupation:Farmer
Cannot read/write:

Blind:

Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
NameAge
John M. Carter33
Adeline Carter37
William Carter11
James Carter7
Edy Carter3
Emsly Carter3

The twins seem to have been born while their father was on trial and turned three between the two enumerations.

Name:John M Carter
Age:53
Birth Date:Oct 1846
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1900:Charlotte Ward 2, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Lydia A Carter
Marriage Year:1868
Years Married:32
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:View on Image
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
NameAge
John M Carter53
Lydia A Carter57
William W Carter31
Ainsley D Carter20
Edward M Carter20


John M. Carter did not stay in Stanly County. He moved his family to Mecklenburg County, where he was not notorious, and could live out his life peacefully.  The family lived in Second Ward, which is now considered Center City and home of Time Warner Cable Arena and the Nascar Hall of Fame.

Map of Second Ward, Charlotte, NC


He sometimes obtained work as a Carpenter.


Name:John M Carter
Gender:Male
Residence Year:1915
Street address:706 n Pegram
Residence Place:Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Carpenter
Spouse:Lydia A Carter
Publication Title:Charlotte, North Carolina, City Directory, 1915


The 1915 Charlotte City Directory lists them on Pegram Street, which is in the Belmont area of Charlotte.

Name:John M Carter
Gender:Male
Residence Year:1911
Street address:Harrill St Belmont Park
Residence Place:Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Watchman
Spouse:Adeline Carter
Publication Title:Charlotte, North Carolina, City Directory, 1911

As he got older, John M. Carter is listed as a Watchman, instead. In 1911, also in the Belmont Park area, the couple lived on Harrill Street.

The History of Charlotte's Neighborhoods describes the area as follows:

The Belmont-Villa Heights-Optimist Park survey area is unlike any other in this study. It was built up around the turn of the century beyond the northern rim of Charlotte's nineteenth century boundary. Although the area was distinctly suburban in location and well served by streetcars, it was not built as a middle- and upper-income "streetcar suburb" like the contemporaneous neighborhoods of Dilworth,Elizabeth, Wesley Heights or Wilmore, among others. And although it contained textile mill housing, it was not the typical company-owned mill village found on the edges of Charlotte and other southern cities in the period.

Beginning in the 1890s, half a dozen private developers added subdivisions between the mill villages. A wide variety of single-family homes sprang up, somewhat more spacious than the mill houses, but mostly compact, wooden, and one story tall.
The area's residents were almost without exception blue-collar workers and their families. A few seem to have used the Brevard, Pegram, or Plaza streetcars which served the neighborhood to commute to jobs elsewhere in the city. But most walked to work in one of the textile mills or related industries that came to line the railroads.





John M. Carter seems to have boarded with his son Ed as he got older. In 1910, 66 year old John and his wife were living with Ed and his family on Templeton Avenue. He was a Watchman at an Oiler Mill, which explains a little bit about why they lived in this neighborhood.


Name:John M Parter
[John M Carter] 
Age in 1910:60
[66] 
Birth Year:abt 1850
[abt 1844] 
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:Charlotte Ward 8, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Street:Templeton Avenue
House Number:409
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Lillie A Carter
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:Virginia
Native Tongue:English
Occupation:Watchman
Industry:Oil Mill
Employer, Employee or Other:Wage Earner
Home Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:Mortgaged
Farm or House:House
Able to Read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Years Married:42
Out of Work:N
Number of weeks out of work:0
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
NameAge
John M Parter60
[66] 
Lillie A Carter68
Edward M Carter31
Flossie L Carter25
Rubbie L Carter1

But as luck would have it, tragedy would strike again.






The Charlotte News
(Charlotte, North Carolina)
17 Jan 1910, Mon • Page 2


Having been burned out of the Templeton Avenue house, the family and Ed's sister-in-law, returned to Pegram Avenue. This would be John M. Carter's last census, who at 75 was still working as a Carpenter.


Name:Johne M Carter
[John M Carter] 
Age:75
[85] 
Birth Year:abt 1845
[abt 1835] 
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1920:Charlette Ward 6, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Street:Pegram St
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Father
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Lydia A Carter
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Able to Speak English:Yes
Occupation:Carpenter
Industry:House
Employment Field:Wage or Salary
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
NameAge
Edward V Carter42
Flossie L Carter34
Ruby L Carter10
Edward M Carter7
Paul F Carter4
[4 8/12] 
Johne M Carter75
[85] 


John M. Carter died on December 16, 1925, just before Christmas and nearly 47 years after the death of John Byrd. He is buried at Historic Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte, North Carolina, beside his wife, Lydia Adeline Howell Carter, who preceded him in death by 4 years, having passed in 1921.

Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte

His death certificate states that he died of Acute Dialation of the Heart.  Although the court records stated that he acted on behalf of the devil when he hit John Byrd with the manured covered hoe, I don't believe John Carter was an evil man. Unlike his cellmate in the Stanly County jail of 1878, Asberry Chavis, John Carter was not a drunkard, nor was he continuously in trouble, hated-filled or violent like Chavis' record of crime and trouble showed he was.

It is my belief that when John M. Carter met his maker, he had a clear conscious, a God-fearing heart and had put his troubled past behind him.



John M Carter


Both men involved in this story, John Carter and John Byrd, have living descendants in the area of Stanly, Cabarrus, Union and Mecklenburg Counties today.



3 comments:

  1. John Travis Howell's daughter Serena married my Great Grand Uncle John Franklin Smith.

    ReplyDelete