The Dixie Excitement

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Times-Argus
Place of publication: Selma, AL
Date of publication: 5/15/1885
Source URL: View Source

DEAD BODY FOUND. A Scipio Africans Meets a Mysterious Death. From the gentlemen of the E. T. V. & G. R. R., who were in the city yesterday, the following particulars are gathered of a mysterious murder near that place. On Sunday the wife os Scipio Atchison, colored, as at the negro church near Dixie, crying bitterly, saying she knew her husband must be dead; that he had not been at home since the day before, that she had heard shots fired in the woods not far from he houses the day before and had heard screams. She had been afraid to go to the locality, but was satisfied of her loss, She came to Dixie, and asked Dr. T. M. Callier to go with her, and search for her husband’s remains, because colored people were afraid to go. He went with her, and the body, riddled with buckshot, was found. The probable cause of the mysterious murder lies in the following train of facts: Scipio is the father of the negro who committed and outrage on the person of Mrs. Martin Hestler near Dixie a few days since. This negri boasted to her that she was the fifth whom he had violated. The white men of the country about pursued the son, but did not succeed in capturing him. This attempt to take the som greatly incensed the father, Scipio, who made murderous threats frequently last week. On friday he went to the houses of some white people in the woods near Dixie, and advised them to leave there at once. He is reported to have said, “You have had your day, and to morrow is mine. I will have your scalps.” He said there was going to be trouble around there . These threats are supposed to have aroused the neighborhood, which was already highly incensed at Scip’s son, the rapist, and the dead body in the woods is probably the result of the excitement. THE DIXIE EXCITEMENT. Still Another Negro Killed, and a Third Escapes– Great Feeling. Further information was recieved yesterday from the seat of war in Chilton county. Steve Sullivan and Tom Ward, both colored, were sympathizers and friends of Scipio and Sam Atchison. They also made threats to white people about what was to be done on account of the pursuit of Sam for the rape of Mrs. Hesler. They were both reported to have gone to Montgomery to get United States authorities to arrest various white people. They returned, however, last week. Sullivan in particular is said to have talked very recklessly; said he had a gun, as good a gun as anybody’s, and that he would stand by Sam Atchison, and that “the damned Rebs, would have to kee quiet.” Tom Ward was also a smpathizer. It transpires now that on Saturday night there were fully 300 white men gathered from a setion of country about twenty miles square, reaching as far east as Verbena and Clantn on the L. & N. R. R., and as far north as Brierfield on the E. T., V. & G. R. R. These men are said to have been the party that killed Scipio Atchison, the finding of whose body was mentioned yesterday. It now comes to light that Steve Sullivan was also killed the same night. His body has not yet been found, but nobody has seen or heard of him since, and it is whispered about that he was certainy killed. tom Ward is also missing. He is believed to have escaped to the lower part of the State, but it is not positive. The neighborhood up there is still very much excited. Fears have been entertained of au insurrection, on account of the threats of the negroes, and of their strange bearing. The rape of Mrs. Hesler, follwed by all this, thoroughly aroused the passions of both races, and it is stated that many whites still go armed. It is peculiar settlement, because of the presence of three largesaw mills and of a charcoal ground in the vicinity. These public works have congregated several hundred negros together, and man of them are desperate characters, criminals from other parts of the State. Hence the whole series of events is not so suprising. Sam Atchison, the rapist who presipitated the train of calmities, is still at large. His whereabouts are suspected, however, and he is being traced up. If he is found, he is sure to suffer swift and dire punishment.


“The Dixie Excitement.” The Times-Argus (Selma, AL), May 15, 1885.