“Horrible Crime by Negroes!”

Source Type: Newspaper
Author: n.a.
Publisher: The Independent Monitor
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, AL
Date of publication: Apr 26, 1869 11:00 pm

On the morning of Wednesday last, the 21st inst., our citizens were much shocked to hear of the murder of a young man named Murchison Findley, about four miles from North Port, near the “Cochrane Plantation.” The accounts of the dreadful tragedy are quite conflicting; but, by due consideration of each, the following statement may, we think, be relied upon for correctness: ‘It seems that on the night of Tuesday, the 20th inst., four young men, on their way home from North Port, road towards a cabin, in which lived a family of Negroes of very bad character, and had hardly halted before they were fired into by several guns, loaded with buck-shot. Young Findley received nine buck-shot wounds in his bowels, and his three companions were also wounded, though not dangerously. Findley lived only about three hours, when he expired in great agony, calling upon his friends, with his last words, to avenge his death. The bad news traveled over the country around with the rapidity of lightning. Several persons from the neighborhood came into the town of North Port, and reported that there were between twenty and thirty Negro men at the scene of the murder, armed to the teeth and defying the community. These amused themselves, for some hours on Wednesday morning, by discharging their guns and pistols in glorification of their success the night before. Such being the terrible state of affairs, about twenty citizens of the county procured a warrant for the arrest of the lawless crowd of negroes; armed themselves thoroughly; and, mounted, proceeded to the scene of the disturbance in order to arrest the outlaws. Upon reaching the spot, it was discovered that the negroes had cross the river some hours before, in skiffs, and the premises were deserted. This family of Negros has been known for some time, as a notoriously bad one, and sundry members thereof have not infrequently made threats against the whites. The old man, Aaron, was a great rogue, also, and, therefore, a considerable nuisance to the neighborhood. Wonder if Negro elected Governor Smith will offer a reward for the black villain who killed Young Findley? We doubt it; for the Findley family is composed of respectable white men, whose destruction does not concern the Radical government. As the leading Negro, Levi, son of old Aaron, was originally from the vicinity of Greensboro’, a portion of the posse crossed the Warrior, and proceeded in that direction in pursuit. With what success the party in pursuit met, we have never heard. The tragic death of young Findley is greatly deplored by the people generally, and much grieved over by his numerous friends particularly. – He was most promising young man, just emerging from boyhood into manhood. His character is represented by all as being utterly irreproachable. He comes of a most respectable family, all the members of which stand high in this county. Where are these deeds of darkness to end? Are the negroes determined to precipitate a war of races, by which to hasten their own certain immolation? Search crime as the above described will most certainly lead to retaliation twenty fold. Unfortunately, innocent and well-behaved negroes will fall sacrifices during the excitement that necessarily follows. Let us hope that however bitter may be the feelings engendered in the hearts of that young man’s friends towards the whole negro race, they will not shed innocent blood. – Indiscriminate punishment will not remedy the evils by which we are surrounded – will only render them still more serious. It is enough to let the great axe fall where the offense lies. Let our citizens not be driven by desperation into barbarism. Of course, the thousand and one rumors afloat are sensational – probably originated by alarmed negroes – and are not to be credit by thinking men. It is not so much what has been done that leads us to caution the people thus, but what may be done, that should be left undone. We hope that the murderer may be caught and dealt with as he deserves, and they’re both white and blacks will resume their wanted quiet. Let not be determined that may jeopardize our little remnant of eace and contentment, by the placing of this section under martial law, enforcing upon us the vile militia. We want no Tennessee form of government among us.