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Assault with an Axe, Southampton County, January 1830



                 “In January 1830 Willliam M. Jones, South Quay’s clerk, presented a charge against ‘Dick of Elias Daughtry a member of this Church for having violently and without the fear of God before his eyes assaulted him with an axe in his hand.’ Jones, who owned Dick’s wife, had been searching Dick’s wife’s house for stolen property. He found Dick at the house with stolen ‘bacon, pork, brandy and Cider in Dick’s possession.’ Jones confronted Dick, who was drunk at the time according to Jones’s report, and Dick responded with ‘very insulting language—such as “had you given out to your folks as you ought to have done” this would not have been.’ When Jones ordered him to leave, Dick responded, ‘I come here before you did and I shall not go away.’ According to Jones, Dick then attacked him with the axe (but apparently did not harm him). Jones ‘asked him what he meant by such menaces, [and] he [Dick] looked him wishful in the face and gave him no answer.’ Jones ‘then ordered Dick to give him the axe [and] he answered “I shall not” with much more insulting language.’ The church conference unanimously found Dick ‘guilty of theft, or accessory thereto, and of Drunkenness’ and expelled him from the church.”



From Randolph Ferguson Scully, Religion and the Making of Nat Turner’s Virginia (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 188.


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