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Knoxville Whig and chronicle. [volume] (Knoxville, Tenn.) 1875-1882, August 18, 1875, Image 1

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WHOLE NO 18915
A Written Statement from Him.
The Somie ftt the Gullowa.
Letters from Ayera to Wobb.
Execution of Berry, the Wifa
Murderer, at Rogars.il e
He Protests His Innocence lo the
Las .
G.OOO People Witness tho Han. -iog
at Tazewell.
Honeycutt'e Confession a Denial
of tho Charge of Murder.
'from Knoxrille Chroniclo. Aug. 1 1E75.)
Yesterday afternoon, about 20 min
utes past one o'clock, John C. Webb
died on tiie gibbet, erected on the rail
road lot near the C'liuton Pike, to ex
piate the crime of murder, committed
on the 5th of March, 1S74, when Rich
Reynolds died at Die hands of two as
sassins, a full detail of which was giv
en In the Chronicle at the time.
Early yesterday crowds of people
could he i-een passing in from every
direction, and every country road or
turnpike, leading Into the city, whs
thronged with men, women, boys and
girls, some riding in wagons, some on
horseback and others walking, an I we
veuture the assertion that among the
latter were thousands who came many
miles to satisfy that morbid appetite
to see a man banging in mid air at the
end of u rope, dying. Thus it was
that ere nine o'clock in the morning
the streets of Kuoxville were crowd
ed with strangers. The jail was sur
rounded by a dense crowd, and it was
with difficulty that the
which had been summoned by Sheriff'
Swan, could persuade the people to
keep out of thejail yard. Thu hill-side
adjoining the Turner Hall lot was lilt
ed with a living muss of humanity,
and Prince street, beyond Main was
perfectly blockaded with human be
ings, all anxious to see what? a fel
low creature sutler and die.
About ten o'clock the Maryville
train arrived with six coaches and a
box car filled with representatives of
Blount county anil " r-outh America,"
while the ferry boat was kept busy
bringing others over from that side of
the river, swelling the crowd considera
bly. Shortly after this the train on the
Kuoxville and Ohio Railroad arrived
with 13 cars, crowded to their utmost
capacity with men, women, anil chil
dren, making a large crowd of itself,
say from 1,500 to 2,000, the largest ma
jority of whom at once repaired to the
place of execution
as we heard some of them express It,
and by 10:30 o'clock the hillside, the
railroad track and open ground near
the gibbet was crowded with people,
bo much so that the train in pas-ting
had to go very slow and blow the alarm
usually given when anything obstructs
the track. Wagons with families in
them were on the ground s early as 8
o'clock in the morning, remaining
there in the hot sun all day, merely in
order to have a good beat, and a place
close to the gibbet.
The truius on the East Tennessee,
Virginia and Georgia Railroad,
brought more recruits and by the time
the hour for the execution had arrived
the crowd was being estimated all the
way from
Yet the majority of those expressing
an opinion In regard to the number of
witnesses of the last struggle of Webb,
gave the number at about fifteen
This is truly a sad commentary od
the state of the moralsof East. Tenner
see, to be compelled to state that ten
thousand people witnessed a hanging,
when but live thousand attended the
funeral of such a man asEx-Presldent
Webb's wife remained with him until
about midnight, and sometime after
she left him he retired to rest, request
ing to be awakened in the morning,
which was done. He ate a hearty
breakfust, remarking that this was tiie
lust opportunity to enjoy a meal.
After breakfast Webb was
visited by Father Walsh,
his confessor, aud some old rye whisky
having been given him, his spiritual
adviser asked him not to drink, hut he
Dually drank.
Among tho visitors who called upon
him iu the morning wereOen. Cooper
and Justice Ochs. He conversed with
the General in regard to his war record,
and with Justice Ochs In regard to his
lirst trial, lie bid Mr. Ochs farewell,
and said he did not think hard of
him, as he had only done his duty
in binding him over to Court.
About ten o'clock the) prisoner was
furnished a new suit of clothes provid
ed by hla brother, and it is said that
he used boiuo very bitter lauguage
when a razor was refused him. Fatti
er Walsh remained with him all
morning, aud Father Murron hastened
down to the jail ad soon as he arrived
on the 11 o'clock train.
About ') minutes of 12 o'clock, m.,
Sheriff" Swan, accompanied by one
half dozen deputies, and the Aic,
Chroniclf., and Chicago Time re
porters, proceeded to the cell of the
condemned man for the purpose of
reading to him the Death Warrant,
preparatory to his journey to the scaf
fold. Webl was on his knees in
prayer with Fathers Marron and
Welsh, when the Hherlff' entered, and
was permitted to finish Ills devotions
On rising from his knees, he carefully
took up the piece of rug on which lie
had been kneeling and placed it in its
proper place at, the foot of his
mattress, as coolly as though lie
had not a thought of death.
Indeed he was the coolist man of the
party, judging from bis n.ani., r.
Sheriff Swan htrnelf seemed some
wliat agit'ittii, so much so as to inter
fere with his reading distinctly. After
he had linished the reading, Webb de
sired to read the document himself,
and taking it from the sheriff' read it
deliberately from beginning to end ;
after which, lie lifted his baud con
taining n crucifix, which had been
given him by Father Marron, and said,
" I swear before God that Ism to be
hun ir unjustly," and other assertions
of like nature, then kissed the crucifix
as if to seal the oath. Just before the
reading, lie had shaken hands with the
sheriff' anil disavowed any hard feel
ings toward him. He was then led out
Into the hull, handcuffed, ami having
expressed a desire to speak to Ayers,
Ins supposed aeeunipliee.was led to the
door of ids cell. He called Ayers up
to door and said, "Joe, you will have to
pray mighty bard, old fellow, to get for
giveness for all the men you have kill
ed you will, old fellow." This was
all his parting to his fellow prisoners.
Being led to the door, he was joined
by his weeping wife, who never left
bis side from that moment until the
fatal noose was adjusted preparatory to
his swing into eternity. He was driv
en to the place of execution in a large
baggage wagon, seated between bis
wile and tiie Sheriff", with gome six
deputies on the front and rear seats,
aud about fifty more armed with
double barreled shot guns following
the wagon. The route of the lugubri
ous cavalcade lay up Prince street,
to Union, down Uuion to Walnut,
down Walnut to Asylum and down
Asylum to the place of execution, out
on the Clinton turnpike, between files
of gaping, curious sight-seers, who
lined the walks, perched on the fences
and tilled the doors and windows.
The arrangements were all complete
for the reception of the sad cortege.
A rope had been Btrctchid some UK)
feet from the scaffold as a center, form
ing a barrier against which surged the
crowd by tills time swelled to not less
than eighteen or twenty thousand.
The scaffold was a plain structure of
3cantliug, made in the old fashioned
way two uprights with a cross-beam
overhead, the uprights braced, and
midway of the crossbeam a "staple put
to receive the rope, while near by was
the coffin.
Were drawn up to the south of the
scaffold at rest, while on the hillside
overlooking the place of execution
from tho north and west, were station
ed the Dickinson Guards, surrouuded
by an immense throng, which covered
the entire hill side, and looked on at
the (to them) rare show.
and her buriul today, and that his fath
er was expecting his (John's) body
that night. Webb seemed somewhat
affected by this, but soon recovered his
cool bravado of demeanor. To a ques
tion of Mayor Staub, he stated that he
had put all the statement he had to
make in the hands of G. Washington,
Esq., who would give it to the world.
seemed to bear up very well until it
come to the final parting just before the
adjusting of the noose when she gave
way lo bitter Bobs aud moans of au
guish, which were heard all over the
grounds. Just before the noose was
adjusted Webb stood up and shook
hands with the sheriff and said.
"You've got hold of the best old soldier
ynu ever had hold of ; you have," he
then bid the sheriff" good bye the last
prayers were said by the spiritual at
tendants, and Webb stood up on the
seat of the wagon witli the rope dang
llhg just over his head, game to the
last. .
were "Well I thank you all for com
ing out to see me hung, I forgive all,
aud hope God will forgive me. Good
bye. God bless you!" to his wife :
"I'll try and meet you ill heaven,"
aud finally, " I'm the best piece of
furniture that ever stood up here; I
am." The black cap was then drawn
over his face, and the noose adjusted,
his legs tied, his hands hand-culled be
hind him, and without a tremor, or
perceptible giving way of that tremen
dous jihysical or brute courage charac
teristic of the man, John Webb stood
ready to step Into eternity. The dep
uties, clergymen, his wife, and all oth
ers stepped down from the wagon.
The horses were started, and in a mo
ment more a shapeless bundle of
clothes, dangled uuder the beam and
and Webb was Hung.
The body swung back and forth two
or three times, and turned around with
the twisting of the rope, until Sheriff'
Swan stepped forward and took hold
of tho legs aud stopped the motion.
Drs. Alexander, Brake and Mcltey
uolda, promptly stepped forward and
took note of the action of the pulse
and heart. The following is the
Swung off' well and hearty at 27
minutes past oue, pulse SO, or there
abouts ; ut each minute the record
showed the following changes :
pulse-23, S2, 37, 27, 82, H7 ; fluttering
and intermittent, 18, 20, 23 aud inter
mittent, 22 and fa ble. At the end of
0 minutes the pulse ceased entirely.
The action of the heart was percepti
ble for a minute aud a half afterwards,
when it ceased also, and at the end of
15 minutes he was pronounced dead;
and at 40 minutes past one, after hang-
lug just 1:1: minutes, the boily was tak
en down and placed in the coffin, the
limns composed and cap removed.
The features were imt distorted In
the least, and only a slight discolors
tioii perceptible about the neck from
the action of the rope. The colli n was
a m at affair, lined with white, and
whs wiili I he remains enclosed, turned
over to the friends who took them
to Aniler-oii county on the 4 o'clock
train for interment.
And so was i lie law vindicated (?)
and vengeance taken for the murder
of Kichur-l lleyi olds nnd the, end in
not rt.
Ouite nn excitement wnsruNid at
one point in tiie proceedings by the
inauguration oi u list Unlit, outside the
ropes. The iruard brought their shot
imiiis ton present some of them cock
ed reMily lor destruction ; womei
screamed, men shouted, boys hnwle
and whistled, and things looked oinir
mi for a not. it was soon quelle!
liotveve r, and tiie hanging proceedei
A short time after t lie gallows sect i
was over, and the multitude hud dii
persed, a man came in a great hurt
to the office of one of our leading ph-
sicians, and teqiicvted his services im
mediately lor Ins (milliliter, who had
been ciwicntr, and under the excite
ment and fatigue of the day an abor
tion hud resulted. He lived several
miles away from the city, and he, with
his d a lighter and other me in tiers of the
family, had, notwithstanding her con
dition, coma to see the hanging. This
was one of the sickening features of tiie
day, from which humanity naturally
The following is the statement
written by Webb and placed in the
hands of George Washington, Esq.,
as above referred to:
"The first beginning of the case
for which now I am under sentence of
death was on tho first Monday in
March, 187-1. I receive a letter from
Foster lirown nmlJosoph Avers which
informed mo thnt something was on
tlio hoard. I knew lirown very well,
and lie wanted me to meet him anil
Ayers at the head of Poplar creek on
the 3d of March, 1874, as they had
some particular bisiness. I went to
the placo to sco what was on hand,
find about 10 or 12 o'clock that night
they enmo to tho gale and hallowed.
1 told them to come in, when lirown
came in and said ho had a friend with
him that had coma a long ways to see
me. I asked him who ho was, hut he
did not say for some time ; at last he
asked mo if I had got a letter from
him and somebody else. I told him
that I had, when lie said -that is the
man who is with mo. Ho then said it
was Joseph Ayers. I went out to
where Ayers was, aud lirown gave me
au introduction to him, nnd Ayers
said said that ho had come a long
Kays to see me, and that lirown had
told him all about nie. Then he told
Die his business. lie said ho was
getting up a crowd of K. K. K's. to
go and whip an old rebel and make
him leave the country, and that he
would give me a good horse, saddle
and bridle if I would go with him and
help him give him thirty-nine lashes.
I told him that 1 would go up, and
asked him when we would go. He
said for me to tho same place the next
night, and he would have a man there
that would show me the way to where
tho crowd would meet. He said that
ho would bo there with a large crowd,
when I asked him where was the horse
that ho was going to give me, and he
says I will give you this blue horse
which I am riding, and he lighted a
match and showed rao tho horse. On
tho next night I went to the same
place, mid a man came up and called
my namo and shook hands with me.
I told him tffat I did not know him.
IIo told mo his name, and then pulled
a letter out of his pocket nnd said this
will make you no me. The letter was
from Joseph Ayers, telling me to come
with Dave Duncan, and lie would show
mo the way to the meeting ground,
where lie wtedd be, and would tell me
all tho natiir s and particulars. Ou
the morning oi' ti e .1th me and Dun
can started and went on to the upper
end of Clinton, and he said that he
had somo particular business to see
to, and for me to meet hitn at the
bridge in two hours. I went down in
Clinton to John Martin's and got my
dinner and then went down into town
to the grocery and got somo whiskey,
then I went up to tho bridge and Dun
can was thero, and wo went on to liull
liun, and about one mile from there
wo came to tho crowd on top of the
Sebon point, this sido of liull Run
creek. There was Joseph Ayers and
Lum Ayers and Foster lirown and one
more man. Wo all set down on a log
and I asked them if that was all of
their crowd, and they said it was all
that they wanted. Ayers pulled out
a roll of money and counted out three
piles and gave Duncan one pile and
tho other man one of tho other piles,
and offered me oue pile. I told him
that 1 must know all about what they
was going to do. His answer was
this : "Wo are going to kill an old rcb
cl to-night and bum him in tho house,
for ho killed my father," and he told
mo all about what they was going to
do. I told him that if they was going
to kill him that I was going back, for
I had never done such a thing in my
life, and I was going back. They nil
begged me very hard to go on with
them, but I told them no, I was going
back if life lasted. When they found
out that I was going sure, they all
stopped mo and snid that if 1 would
not tell on them that they would go
on and kill him. 1 told them that
I should not tell nothing, and for them
to do just what they pleased, but I
thought they had better let that part
of it alone. I started back, and 1
went just as fast as I could. I run a
part of the way so as that I could get
back to Clinton. I got to Clinton a
few minutes before the sun set ; 1 went
to John Martin's nnd tlicy asked nie
where I had been gone so long, that
they had been down in town hunting
for rao, I told them that I had been
just straying around ; and supper was
ready by tlmt time, then John 15. into
and Joseph K. Webb came in and we
all sat down to supper, nnd all of us
eat supper, nnd cat together, and stay
ed there all night, and eat breakfast
together next morning. I staid there
till about 8 or 'J o'clock on tho Ctli.
I told my sister that 1 thought that I
would go out to Samuel Henderson's
and I might conic back and take the
train that night ; but as I was on my
way out to Henderson's, about half
way I was stopped by Dave Duncan,
and he asked nie where I was going ;
I told him where I had started, and I
asked him what ."
Webb's manuscript ends abruptly
here, but he continued with a verbal
statement to Mr. Washington, to the
effect that Duncan had told him that
Ayers wanted Duncan to kill him
(Webb), and that Ayers had agreed to
pay Duncan one hundred dollars to
commit the deed. Ens.
When Webb's wife tlrst arrived she
called on Ayers and asked Mm if be
hired John to kill Reynolds, when
Ayers replied that lie knew nothing
nbout it whatever. Sheriff Swan in re
lating the incident lo us, staled that
he fell silt islied that he did, having Ihe
documents in his pocket to prove his
guilt. We asked to see tliedocunients,
and were shown the two letters given
tielow. We understand, however, that
the counsel for the defense pronounce
these letters as a forgery, and that they
will call for them to-day. ISut here
are the letters :
"March th 1 1S74
"Mr John 'chb
"Dear Sir I have, been informed by
Mr. lirown that you air one of the old war
hoys and will do to depend on I write
you this in order have a interview with
vou and if you will go with me to help
KKKamtin i will give your own price in
money or land My land lays in hickory
countv Mo. ho is a rebel mid ho (killed
my) father nnd if you will meet me and
lirown where lirown has said i will sat
isfy you for all trouble anil moro too i
liav got plenty of money anil plenty of
property and a full store aud i will give
vou your own price. We will be here
by 10 or 11 o'clock that nitc.
"Yours truly
Joseph Ayers,
"You will find nie one of truest K K K."
In thy original tlioi tvurdi areoraw-J.
"March the 3 1S74
"Mr. John Weiih you conio with
dave dtincan and he will show you the
way to where wc will meet then i will
"ivo vou all the nroceedincs i have nlen-
ty of whiskey aud i will liavo one ilun-
ureu iioiiais in money lor you aim l win
give you a hill of sale for that blue horse
that i showed you tho other night be
sure and bring "two good pistols with
you and if you haint got a rig it dont
matter for i have got plenty of black
muslin be sure and come and wc will
have good times and i will stisfy you for
an more too
"please tear this un
"You will lind mo one of the truest K
k k "Joseph Ayers"
HnHKtuirof Kerry nt Rnicpravlll.
Itogersville wob alive yesterday with
people to witness the execution of
William Xicholus Berry, tho wife
murderer, the particulars of whose
crime, ttiai aud conviction our read
ers are familiar.
The crowd began to gather as early
as Thursday morning, aud last night
all the inns and boarding houses were
crowded to their fullest extent, but
this morning began toswellln earnest,
and the public roads and byeways
leading into town from all directions
were thronged with people of all ages,
colors and conditions, aud at an early
hour every nook and corner seemed to
be jammed with au impatient mnlti
ti de anxious to see the "sight."
Good judges estimated the crowd at
five thousand people, which was per
haps one of the largest ever assembled
in Itogersville on any occasion. All
the counties around wero largely rep
resented, and many from Lee aud
Scott counties in Virginia, and from
"over on Clinch" they came cn masse.
Iu company with one of his counsel
we visited Berry's cell late Thursday
evening, and found there Father Mar
rion of Kuoxville, speaking wiln the
doomed man about hisspiritual condi
tion, and advising him, if he were
really guilty of tho crime for which
he was condemned to die, to make a
full confession of the same, and not
die clinging to a falsehood, aud thus be
uuprepared to meet In ptaco that Be
ing who knows the secrets of all hearts,
and from whose unerring judgement
there is no appeal.
asserts innocence.
Berry positively asserted his inno
cence, and declared he was In no way
guilty of taking the life of his
wife. The priest told him that
the proof and public opinion
was very strong against him. Berry
replied by saying, "I know it is for
they have sworn lies against me, but
never mind let the world have the
whole matter as It will, God lias it
right and in that great day It will he
seen that an Innocent man has been
put to death." After a few words with
Berry about his youngest daughter to
whom he( Berry )seemed much attached
the priest bid htm an affectionate fare
well saying that lie had done all he
could for him and would return to
Kuoxville early this morning to pray
with and comlort Webb in his last
hours. Berry seemed
so much so that we took our h ave, but
before parting with him lie requested
us to return this morning as he wished
to make his last statement, which he
desired to be published in the news
papers of the country We then bid
him good night promising him to call
in the morning which we did, and
with him had the following
Beporter Good morning Mr. Ber
ry, how are you feeling to-day?
Berry I am feeling very badly.
Had such pains iu my bend and side
that I could not rest at all through the
night, in fact, my health bus not been
good for several months.
Reporter How have vou been t.ass-
iug away your time in your cell ?
jierry most all or mv t mo has of
lute been consumed in reading my Bi
ble and in earnest uruver to Almiuhtv
God that He might pardon me and
lean me lo mat bright and happy
world above. I have now found
peace with my Lord, and have no
tears ot dying, for the troubles of this
world are many, and I feel willlim
and ready to leave my prison cell.
iteporier sir. Merry, dnl you really
murder your wife, or were yon in uuy
way connected with tbe same?
Berry I positively did not kill my
wife or have anything lo do with it
in any shape or form. I always lov
ed her, and never spoke but two cross
words to her iu all my life, although
she being very high tempered, often
said harsh things lo me, but I would
go on paying no attention to her.
Beporter Then Mr. Berry, since
you declare your innocence so positive
ly, can you tell nie who you think
perpetrated the fiendish deed?
Berry My skirts are clear, so help
me God, in this my dying hour, but I
have always believed the crime was
committed by my father, Patsy Dot
son, James MeFerin, Hannah Berry,
my cousin, and Henderson Berry, my
half brother, as my father and others
of the party named had threatened to
kill her on various oeaasions.
Beporter How about the recent
statement of your daughter, who de
clares you murdered your wife with
your own hands?
Berry She was scared into moll a
statement by my father and other ene
mies of myself and family. They also
promised if she would turn against ma
they would get up a petition fur the
pardon of her husband, who was sent
to the State prison some time ago for
stealing a beg. May the Lord have
mercy ou tbe poor child and
pardon her for a falsehood so great. I
have tried to raise my children right
but they have all turned out very bad
ly, except my youngest daughter who
was always quick to mind whatever
myself or her mother told her to do.
Reporter: ''Mr. Berry, do joii leal
ize the fact that you are to die on the
gallows before the setting ot' the sun,
aud that it is of tbe utmost importance
to your soul's eternal welfare that you
tell nothing save the truth?"
Berry: "Yes sir, I do. I know this
body of mine will soon tie cold and
lifeless, and I look for no pardon from
human hands whatever, and mv
Maker has already pardoned me for the
many sins 1 have committed against
His holy law. I give you a true state
ment of the unfortunate affair, know
ing that grim death now looks me in
the face and that nothing unclean shall
enler ihe house of God. and that all
liars shall burn everlastingly in that
lake of lire and brimstone."
Beporter: Tell us something about
your past life, where you were horn,
yourage, occupation, aud so fourth ?
Berry: I was born in this countv.
and was forty-live years old the loth of
last Uecember. I went to school but
little while young, aud the most of my
education I received by hard and faith
ful study after I was full grown.
I was conscripted into the Con
federate army during the war and
nut in Col. Backer's regiment, Gen.
Pegram's brigade, which I deserted in
July, 18(53, when Bird aud Sanders
made their rade thro' Fast Tennessee.
and went home to my wife who was
men very sick, bince the war 1 have
tried to live a peaceable aud quiet citi
zen, attending to my own business aud
letting the affairs of others alone.
The hour for the execution having
arrived, we left the cell, but before
leaving he thanked us for the interest
manifested iu his behalf, aud said
he wanted us to have everything pub
lished he had triven iu his conversa
tion, aud that he should make no re
marks at the gallows, for the people
were so prejudiced against him that his
words would probably do him more
harm than good.
At 10 o'clock Sheriff' Spears took the
prisioner from his cell and placed him
in a wagon, which contained a plain.
though neat walnut coffin, and with a
heavy guard ou each side, started off'
ior me gallows one mile southeast of
town, followed by a dense crowd, con
taining about 5,000 persons, aud upon
coming to the designated spot, we
found at least 2,000 more awaiting the
arrival of the doomed man, which
made In all, about 7,000 people on the
ground; more than one-half of the
w hole number were women and chil
dren. the gallows
was a rude structure consisting of two
upright pine poles, Joined together at
thetopby a third of the same material.
The wagon containing the the' prison- '
er was driven under the cross beam
at fifteen minutes past eleven.
At Berry's request the Rev. Mr.
Harden, of the Second Presbyterian
Church, of Itogersville, made a few
very appropriate remarks, and offered
up a fervent prayer in the prisoner's
But spent about fifteen minutes in
bidding farewell to bis kindred and
acquaintances, assuring all that he
was fully prepared, willing and even
anxious to leave Ihe wicked, unfriend
ly world, and hoped that nil would
meet him In that heavenly lest.
Among the pi rsons with whom he
shook hands was his murdered wife's
brother, who seemed deeply affected.
Berry manifested a great deal of
feeling, and the tears rolled freely
down his thin cheeks w hile convers
ing with Msriends, but as soon as he
was through talking with them his
teals ceased to flow, and without as
sistance he deliberately stepped upon
the wagon seat with as happy a coun
tenance as we ever saw, and while the
Sheriff was adjusting the niKisearnund
his neck he rolled his large blue eyes
up in the Sheriff's face, nod raid,
" How do you feel about this?" To
which the Mierill replied, " Very bad
s', Nick."
The fatal knot was tied, the blank
cftp drawn ou aud all things made
ready when the doomed man muetlv
signified his willingness to the Sheriff"
to die, the whip cracked, the horses
moved forward, aud at precisely 0 min
utes to 12 his body was dangling in the
were " I now bid this world farewell
and hope to meet you in that better
world above wiiere parting i not
He struggled very little but seemed a
long time in dying, in fact the physi
cians did not pronounce him dead un
til 7 minutes past 12. The body re
mained hanging in all 3'J minutes,
when it was taken down aud delivered
to friends who had promised the un
fortunate man at his earnest request to
hurry it along side of his murdered
Nearly everybody was of the opin
ion that he would acknowledge his
guilt under the gallows, Imt in this
they were dissappointed, aud we heard
a number say, alter seeing that lie had
held out to the lust, that he was not
guilty, that he may have been inno
cent after all, but be this as it may,
the proof was all against, him, and a
very large majority believe that he
undoubtedly perpetrated thecrimefor
which he was sentenced to die.
Many believed that the reason why
Berry did not confess was through
pure malice towards his father, broth
er and tfie others whom he implicated
as above stated, as the murderers of
his wife, while others thought that he
had told somauy falsehoods about the
affair that he really believed lie was
then telling the truth.
Take It all iu all this is one of the
most extraordinary cases in many re
spects which ever came to our notice.
While we are a strong believer in
capital punishment, for certain high,
crimes, at ti e same time not express
ing our opinion as to his guilt or in
nocence, we do think the proof shuuld
ba most positive from wituesseso' un
doubted varacity, before auy should be
condemned to death, for it is better
that many guilty should go unpunish
ed than one innocent man die such, an
ignominious death.
Berry i. ., -eared to h a ipuiet, deli
cate, iut'll'. nsive kind . . n man, with
no trace of ihe brutal o, vicious what
ever to hr found in lim composition,
but from what, his neighbors tell us, it.
won' seem he was only human in
in y'. For It is claimed, some time
lief : nurdering his wife, whom ha
had bwui'ii to protect, that he killed hia
own son, auu then declared he was
kicked to death by a mule ; and more
than all, if possible, itissaid he became
so depraved and lost to every humane
seuse, that he" regularly ;co-habited
with his own daughter.
HnuifiuK of iloneyrutt at Tazewell.
The quiet and rural little town of
Tazewell, early Friday morning, be
came alive with humanebeings to wit
ness the execution of Auauius Huney
cutt, the murderer of Thomas Ausniua
in January, 1874. Many had come
from " miles away" to see the prisoner
launch his frail bark on uncertain
waters, aud to look at the living, man
for the last time.
At 11 o'clock the guard, consisting
of fifty men, fell Into line in front of
the Mayers' House, und was marubed
to the jail, a block distaut, and took
charge of the prisoner.
At 12 o'clock the procession moved,
iu tbe following order: A two-ltorse
wagon, preceded by a portion of the
guard, containing Honeycutt, bis
coffin, etc., and the Bevs. Crutehfield
and Greer, followed by Sheriff' Mayers
and deputies, encircled by a guard, and
close iu the rear was a large concourse
of pen lc ; hlso to the right, left and in
front did the citizens clini in great
numbers. At 12:) o'clock the proces
sion gathered within t lie enclosure al
lotted them, a rope encircling the gal
Had been erected, lat Saturday, iu
Acadtiuy Hollow, north of the town,
aud upon both sides the ground rote
(Continued on Eighth rage.

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