North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
10The Tar Heel Thursday, August 19, 1985
' L - - - - - - -.., ..., i n -iniiiin I -- -- -
FdMd cffimm.e snnd puamsIlimeiniiS: m old Ctisipel Hill.
Following the Civil War, a single
constable remained sufficient to
. protect Chapel Hill life and property,
spending most of his time casually
in the town hall. Algernon S. Bar
bee's small frame office was located
just east of the current Methodist
Church. But the peace was broken
; in 1 877 and 1 878 by a "reign of terror"
i which gripped the town.
Following the attempted rape of
i a young white woman in April 1877,
the first in a long series of nighttime
burglaries and cruel attacks on
women began when an intruder
entered the bedroom of two women
attending the Normal School, and
escaped through a window when one
of the, women turned out to be
unexpectedly robust and ferocious.
In the spring of 1878, burglars hit
eight homes, including those of J.W.
Carr, Cornelia Spencer, and mer
chant Tom Kirkland, whose course
to bankruptcy was hurried by the
Then word spread that Mrs.
Margaret Hendon was holding $1,000
in cash. Near, midnight on 15 June .
1878, . four men approached Mrs.
Hendon's East Franklin Street home,
in which she, her daughters, and her
servants were sleeping. Two of the
men broke into the house, using an
ax they had found in the yard, burst
into Mrs. Hendon's bedroom, and
attacked her with the ax and a club
as she leaned out the window crying
for. help. Across the street, Dr.
William P. Mallett and his son John
heard the screams and rushed to the
The attackers fled, and the Mal
leus found Mrs. Hendon with several
deep scalp wounds. On the way to
get his father's medical bag, John
encountered Alfonso Davis, who had
killed his brother in an August 1875
knife fight and who lived with his
father, skilled bootmaker Washing
ton Davis in the Horace Williams
House. Davis asked what was going
on and continued calmly on his way
after hearing John's hurried report.
The bloody attack threw the village
into a panic. The commissioners
posted a $300 reward; a Richmond
detective came to investigate; a town
meeting of black and white men
ended with the formation of a
vigilante committee. The house
breakers next attacked two more
Normal School students, and the
reward rose to $1,000. Then on 5
August a thwarted burglary at the
home of Rev. George W. Purefoy led
to the arrest of Albert ATwater, a
24-year-old Negro who lived on
Smith Level Road.
Under questioning by attorney
James M. Alexander and Col. Hugh
Guthrie, Atwater agreed to give
CHAPEL HILL T
is going the extra mile ...
Now Serving Three
New Areas in Chapel
Hill and Garrboro!
Money Saving Bus
Passes & 40 Ride
in the" Traffic
in the Basement
of the Y
1. THE VILLAGE APTS.
On Smith Level Road.
Peak Hour Service Only
(6:30-10:00 a.m., 3:Q0-7:00 p.m.)
on the V Route
WO ODBRID GE APTS., WILLOW
CREEK SHOPPIN G CENTER.
On Jones Ferry . Rd. All Day
Service on the C Route
3. WEAVER DAIRY RD.
Kensington Trace, Timberlyne
and Weatherstone Direct
Service to Campus on the
New T Route
STILL A TRANSPORTATION BARGAIN
1985 PRICES SAME AS LAST YEARS
FOR INFO. CALL 968-2769
state's evidence, naming as his .
accomplices: Lewis Carlton; a black
35-year-old, enormously strong well
digger; Alphonso Davis, a '33-year-old
Caucasian and a member of the
Chapel Hill String Band, a group that
included Isaac Emerson, the inventor
of Bromo Seltzer; and Henry
Andrews, the 30-year-old Caucasian
son of an Orange County deputy
sheriff. Justices, John H. -Watson,
S.H. Turrentine, and Merritt Cheek
bound the accused over in the
Hillsborough jail to await an October
trial. Jones Watson joined the
defense team. The town board called
for public donations to help pay
James Alexander and James B.
Mason $100 each to assist the
Alphonso Davis and Henry
Andrews claimed they had been in
a brothel at the time of the attack,
and several prostitutes confirm their
alibi, but four citizens the jury
considered more credible contra
dicted the ladies' testimony. After
deliberating 15 minutes, the jury
returned a verdict of guilty. The judge
sentenced Atwater to prison and the
other defendants to be hanged on 22
November 1878. The defense
appealed to the state supreme court,
which upheld the decision.
Governor. Thomas JV ; Jarvis
received petitions from throughout
the state protesting the execution of
the white men on the contested
testimony of a Negro. Scores of
Chapel Hillians joined the chorus,
but the governor refused to com
mute. Consequently, on 16 May 1879,
a crowd estimated at 8,000 gathered
on "old Gallow's Hiir near Hillsbo
rough as the Rev. A.C. Dixon of the
Chapel Hill Baptist Church and the
Rev. W.H. Wheeler accompanied the
men to the scaffold.
Alphonso Davis protested his
innocence, forgave everyone, and sat
while a deputy read a statement
repeating the testimony he had given
at the trial. Henry Andrews next
proclaimed his innocence. Lewis
See CRIME page 13
March of Dimes
BIRTH DEFECTS FOUNDATION E52SS1
Good thru 83185
Next to A&P
on Airport Rd.