Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Judge and Mrs Joseph E. Jones and the Night Rider Trials, 1908 Tennessee

Today I came across the obituary and death certificate for Mrs. Jones.  She was born March 21, 1866 in Camden, Tennessee.  Her parents were William Hill of Virginia and Mahuldah Perry of Tennessee.  Mrs. Jones died December 7, 1938 in Dresden, Tennessee.  Her husband, Judge Joseph E. Jones, was born October 29 1857 in Carroll County Tennessee and he died August 8, 1922 in Dresden, Tennessee.

Mrs. Joseph E. Jones
Widow of Prominent Dresden
  Judge Dies of Heart Attack
DRESDEN, Tenn, Dec. 7 -- Mrs.
Joseph E. Jones, a resident of Dresden
since 1902, died of a heart attack
at her home here tonight at 7 o'clock.
  Mrs. Jones was a native of Benton
County.  Her husband, the late
Judge J.E. Jones, presided in 1908
at the famous night-riding cases in
Union city.  A son, Herbert Jones,
was the first casualty in France
from Weakley County during
the World War.
  She was a member of the Methodist
Church and active in church work.
  She leaves two sons, H.E. Jones
and Arthur Jones of Dresden.
  Funeral services, conducted by
the Rev. W.E. Mischke, will be
held at the Dresden Methodist Church
at 1030 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Burial will be in Dresden cemetery.

Read more about the Night Rider Trials at the Tennessee State Library Archives.

Historical Newspapers- MORRIS - CURLIN - GIBBS - RANKIN - HOGG - LONG - JONES
1909-01-03-AUGUSTA CHRONICLE-Georgia
Conscience-Stricken She Tells the Truth
Mrs. Morris On being Recalled Said Husband Was not at Home-Hurried From County Under Guard
Union City, Tenn, Jan 2 - The defense rested its case in the night rider trials this afternoon and the state began its rebuttal testimony which will be concluded Monday.  The grand jury likewise made its final return, including several indictments, and was discharges. When court adjourned until Monday Mrs. Wade Morris, whose sensation confession of perjury today was the star feature of the trial accompanied by her husband and baby, under the protection of six soldiers left for Dresden, Weakley county where she will live in the future
She was in such terror of her life that she did not even wait to get her other two children or her personal effects.  The state put but one witness on the stand before adjourning.  Bob Curlin, driver of the hack which plies between Union city and Walnut Log, on the Lake.  Curlin drove some of the defense's witnesses to Walnut Log the night the fish docks were burned and saw them leave his conveyance to join the night riders.  On cross examination he said he took two quarts of whiskey with him on the drive and at the end of it had a little less than a quart left.  Asked if this had not made him "feel his oats," he grew indignant and replied:
"What, drunk on a quart in an hour's drive?  Why, I can prove by Uncle Bill Gibbs that I drink a quart before breakfast and never feel it"  Asserting that on the witness stand yesterday that she had deliberately perjured herself for the defense and conscience-stricken, desired to tell the truth, Mrs. Morris, wife of one of the eight alleged night riders, asked to be recalled today.  

Wade Morris swore he was present the night Captain Rankin was killed and recognized some of the defendants.  Mrs Morris, his wife, on the stand yesterday, swore that her husband was home that night.  She left the stand pale and trembling and sent for the attorney general "I have done a great wrong," she said.  "I have told a lie.  My husband was not at home that night.  He was with the riders.  I was forced by my relatives to testify as I did.  I want to see my husband "Her brother-in-law tried to get her to leave the city
with him but the attorney general ordered him away and took Mrs. Morris to her husband.  The meeting of the young husband and wife, separated since October 30, was silent but pathetic.  After alibi witnesses had been called today the attorney general asked that Mrs. Morris be permitted to correct her testimony.  She took the stand and said "I was persuaded to tell a lie yesterday on the stand.  I was told by Joe Hogg and Jack Long that unless I swore that my husband was at home that night the soldiers would hang him.  They also threatened me and I was afraid, so I told this lie.  Now I want to tell the truth.  "The witness bore the taunts and innuendoes of the defendant's attorneys and the glares of the indicted men patiently but she was badly frightened, and often seemed on the point of collapsing.  She declared the attorney general refused to listen to her until she summoned some of her relatives to advise her.  The defense attempted to show that some of theaccused men were Odd Fellows.  Judge Jones sharply shut out the testimony with the remark, "Odd Fellows must be tried the same as anyone else in this court."

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