Source Type: Newspaper
Author: n.a. n.a. n.a.
Publisher: Tuscaloosa Weekly Times
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa
Date of publication: Apr 28, 1899 12:00 am
Source URL: View Source

Woodstock, a small town in Bibb county about thirty miles below this city, was the scene of a terrible tragedy yesterday, in which John D. Herring, one of the most prominent citizens and merchants of the place, was killed by Taylor Collins, a negro, who was a tenant of the murdered man. It seems that Collins was behind in his rent and wanted to move out of the house. Herring told him not to do so until he had paid the rent. Yesterday Collins’ wife started to move her effects and Herring struck her with his fist. This enraged the husband, who without warning opened fire on Herring, shooting him three times The first shot took effect in the right hip near the back bone, the second in the right jaw and the third in the neck, breaking the bone and producing death. As Herring fell to the ground a corpse, his brother, P. I. Herring, who was attracted by the shouting, ran up and opened fire on the negro, who managed to escape injury, and ran to Woodstock where he surrendered to Justice R. M. Pendleton. As soon as the news of the tragedy became known people began flock into the little town from all directions, and great excitement prevailed. Justice Pendleton, in the capacity of coroner, empaneled a jury, and after viewing the remains and hearing the testimony a verdict was returned that Herring came to his death from gunshot wounds at the hands of Collins. There was strong talk of lynching, but cooler judgment prevailed, and the law was allowed to take its course. When the excitement was at fever heat the negroes, who flocked to town in large numbers, threatened damage to the whites if Collins was harmed, and for a time it looked as if a race war was imminent. The negroes were heavily armed, and their forces were being added to almost every moment. Justice Pendleton, who carries a cool head on his shoulders, went among them, and by his prompt action succeeded in dispersing them after securing most of the arms. Collins was taken in charge by Deputy Sheriff Thatcher, who succeeded in getting him away unharmed, although the excitement had subsided with the exception of a few hot heads, who were finally cooled down. Collins will be taken back this morning, and will be given a preliminary hearing before Justice W. Green. Herring conducted a large mercantile establishment, and had accumulated quite a little fortune. He was prominent in politics, and was popular with all classes. He leaves a wife and seven children. – Age- Herald.