The Free Press, August 30, 1883

The Free Press
Cartersville, Georgia
Page 3
Transcribed by:  

Devilish Designs.
A Whole Family is Administered Arsenic and One Dies.

Probably one of the most dastardly attempts at wholesale poisoning that ever disgraced the annals of this section was made just over the line in Gordon county last Sunday week. It seems that a Mrs. Barnwell, mother-in-law of Thomas P. Lewis, near Pine Log, had, a few weeks ago, bound a young negro girl, Maggie Harris, unto her until she became of age. This excited the ire of David Dukes, an aged colored man, who was desirous himself of having the girl bound to him, and he devised several means by which he could get possession of the girl, and at last hit upon an idea, whose conception could only come from the very blackest heart. On the Sunday mentioned Mr. Lewis, with his wife and two children, paid Mrs. Barnwell a visit, as she was sick, and some uneasiness being felt as to her final recovery. That evening, Mr. Lewis, accompanied by his wife, attended services near by, leaving their two little girls and Mrs. Barnwell at the house. While they were absent supper was prepared by the negro girl in dispute, Maggie Harris, some rice being one of the dishes. On Mrs. Barnwell’s account the rice was prepared, and the plot conceived by the negro was soon consummated. Poison was put in abundance in the rice and set before Mrs. B., and the two little girls, who proceeded to freely partake of it. After they arose from the table all became deathly sick and vomited incessantly. As soon as possible physicians were procured and by their untiring efforts Mrs. Barnwell and one of the little girls were placed out of danger, and are now nearly recovered. But one of the little girls, despite the efforts of the physicians, lingered until Wednesday evening, when it expired.

Suspicion rested upon the negro girl, and she was held to await an investigation, but becoming scared she made a confession to the effect that the negro man, Dave Dukes, had given her the poison for the purpose of administering it to Mrs. Barnwell, she being the only one that they wished to remove. Dukes left the neighborhood instanter, but was lively pursued by several, and finally found in Cherokee county on the farm of Col. E. E. Field. He asserts his innocence vehemently but no doubt exists as to the part he had taken in the diabolical scheme. The man and girl were taken to the jail at Calhoun, to await their trial at the next term of court. Feeling ran high in the settlement and the subject of lynching was freely discussed by several friends of the outraged family.

“Etowah Notes.”

Etowah furnished a little romance on Monday, of last week, in the shape of a run-a-way marriage. The parties were Mr. E. E. Fields, engineer of D. W. Rogers & Co., and Miss Leila Deupree, daughter of Mr. L. J. Deupree, who is lumber inspector for the same firm. It seems that Mr. Fields had reason to believe that to ask the young ladies parents for her hand in marriage would be useless, so he quietly laid the case before her and she being willing to trust and obey him, gently followed him to Smith’s crossing, a place on the E. & D. railroad, within about a half mile of Etowah, where they boarded the train going toward Deaton’s; there they were met by Rev. Mr. Tant, who was ready to unite them in marriage, but as Deaton’s was in Polk county and the marriage license having been issued from Bartow, they took the Cherokee train, and when the train stopped at Taylorsville, that being in Bartow, they were promptly made one and went on their way rejoicing.


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