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A RECENT PAEDON.
How Tardy Justice At Last Came
to a Negro Convict.
A WHITE MAN'S CONFESSION.
A ltemarkable Case Revealing Very
Peculiar Conditions With the
Scene Laid on the Public
Square at Barnwell.
The State says further facts were
obtained Tuesday from Mr. G. Dun
can Bellinger, who had just returned
from attending court at his old home
in Barnwell, in reference to the death
bed confessiun of Town Marshal Dun
can Owens. This confession resulted
a few days ago in the unconditional
pardon of Anderson Nix, who had
served nearly seven years of a life
term in the penitentiary for a killing
which the town marshal had done. |
, The story reveals a strange and almost
incomprehensible condition of con
science on the part i f the white man,
and an almost equa.iy curious sense of
j justice on the part of live or six lead- j
. ing white men of Barnwell.
j It was over three years between the
confession and the granting of the
j pardon. There was only one witness j
to the confession, and he a negro,
!sworn to secrecy. That tardy justice
I ever came to the negro Nix was solely
J due to the fact that the gist of the
: secret leaked out and some of the j
I white men who had seen Owenstire!
; the fatal shot corroborated the truth |
j of it.
j Owens' confession portrays a curious,
; condition of conscience of his part, |
i which was sensitive enough "never to (
i have know a moment's peace on ac-:
: count of the killing," hut which was I
: too proud and selfish to yield a bit of,
i inexpensive justice to a fellow man |
i wuu was suffering punishment for a i
crime he himself had committed, j
Bather than rellect upon the fact
that after he had been laid in his
grave his neighbors would know that
it was he that, had fired the fatal shot
and that he had allowed the innocent
negro to go to the penitentiary for his
crime, this town marshall, dying of
consumption, sought to solve his out
raged conscience by making a confes
sion but at the same time by swear
ing his confessor to secrecy attempted
to bottle up the kust avenue through
which justice might eome to the
I The white witnesses to the killing,
i who remained silent at the trial which
resulted in Nix's conviction, which
near costing him his neck instead of
Iiis liberty for life, did not volunteer
what they knew until years after the
town marshall's death. Even after
?ie secret oi* the confession leaked
oil ami several white.men of influence
and reputation had corroborated it.
One white witness refused to give an
affidavit unless lie was paid $5U for it.
Mr. Bellinger, who declines to give
j the name of this man, on learning
I tins lact told ttie friends of the negro
I who were seeking the pardon that an
affidavit from this man would have no
weight whether paid for or voluntary,
and there is no affidavit from him
among the papers submitted with the
petition for pardon.
"Nix is not altogether a martyr,"
said Mr. Bellinger, who was the solici
tor that conducted the prosecution.
"There is no shadow of a doubt even
now but that he was engaged in riot
ous conduct, and conviction of this
would have resulted in his getting
about six or seven years, lie admitt
ed tiring his weapon in the riot which
occurred on the public square when it
was full of negroes who had come to
town on an excursion. With a smok
ing revolver he ran into the arms of
i the negro Felix Thurrnan?to whom
I Owens afterward confessed and who
; was at the time acting as assistant
town marshall with Owens. The
, friends of the negro have for several
years been trying to obtain a pardon,
but it has not bi en my custom to en
' dorse pardon petitions; still when the
'news of this confession came tome
j recently I unhesitatingly consented
j to do all in my power to secure the
pardon, provided these alleged white
witnesses would corrohorate Thur
man's statement so as to remove all
possibility of the governor's being
imposed upon. Thurrnan had been
an employe of the town council down
there for a number of years, and I
' knew him to be a reliable man, and I
' therefore thought the account he gave
of the confession was very likely,
j "Green could hardly complain of
the fate that overtook him. At the
time he was fleeing through that gate
he was turning back as he ran and
tiring into the crowd on the square.
How he failed to miss all those
negroes is a mystery that will never
Those from whom affidavits were
submitted with the petition for par
don are: Mayor C. F. Calhoun, E.
IW. Bellinger, E. F. Woodward and
and the negro Felix Thurrnan.
In his affidavit Mayor C. F. Calhoun
says: "Deponent was standing at
what is known as 'Ityon's corner,' on
1 Main street, talking to Duncan
Owens. When the tiring began in
the public square in full view of depon
I ent and Owens, the latter started Into
I the public square by the gate leading
j from the square to the Bank of Barn
iwell, with aeponent following him.
j.lust before Owens readied the gate
j .Jennings Green ran out of it from the
I square, and as he passed Owens
; deponent saw Owens shoot him. and
at the tiring of the pistol deponent
'saw Green draw himself up as though
I he had been hit. and after running a
few steps further, fell dying almost
Felix Th?r man's affidavit says: "I
J knew Duncan Owens intimately, hav
ing frequently been on the police
'force of Barnwell with him: that
'about three years ago said Owens
I died of consumption. The evening
; before he died Owens had a talk with
line about the killing of Jennings
J Green. He said Nix was suffering
I for the killing of Green, but was
linnOCuUt; that he (Owens) (IUI the
j killing, and was sulTering ;is much as
? Nix could; that Ids life was a pro
J longed agony because of his having
The affidavits of Messrs. Bellinger
I and Woodward are similar to that of
Mr. Culhoun. They were both near
Owens at the time and saw him lire
the shot. - _ 'Z '?. ? ? i_'
Following is Mr. G. D. Bellinger's
endorsement of the petition for par
j "This is a peculiar case of the pun
ishment of a man for a crime he did
not commit because the real murderer
was a white man who kept secret his
Offense until on his deathbed, when
other white raejn of position and un
doubted veracity came forward and
corroborated the statement of the
guilty man, now dead.
"At the time of the conviction I
had no doubt of the guilt of the de
fendant, Anderson X'x, a negro, who
was certainly engaged at the time of
the killing in reckless firing on the
streets. Now, however, knowing
well the character of the men making
affidavits for the pardon and hearing
talk by othes who saw the town mar
shal], lire the fatal shot, I am con
vinced beyond the shadow of a doubt
that Nix was not responsible for the
death of the slain, and inasmuch as
he and Owens, the self-confessed mur
derer, were not acting in concert,
Nix is guilty neither in law nor mor
als. I therefore earnestly urge the
immediate pardon of defendant."
Let Them Come.
Mr. II. B. Cultra, of Illinois, is
visiting his son in Ilorry county. This
young man has established fruit
nurseries in that county and has been
most successful. According to a dis
patch in the News and Courier: "Mr.
B. B. Cultura .>ays that conditions arc
ripe in Illinois f< r emigration. The
older men wish their sons to get land
and go out on their own account.
Land sells there for $12S and $200 an
acre, at.d cannot be bought at that
price. Constquently they must seek
otherstat.es, and a number have gone
to Arkansas and Mississippi." We
trust that our immigration bureau
will be able to induce some of these
desirable immigrants to come to this
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Ben Williams, a well-to-do colored
man of Anderson county, 64 years of
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way to her funeral t he father dropped
dead of heart disease.
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