Peninsula Enterprise, June 6, 1885


Architecture -- Courthouses

For and against the removal of courthouse:

For Against
Pungoteague 4 499
Locustmount 38 159
Mappsburg 1 146
Accomac C. H. 5 416
Onancock 14 179
Tangier 0 58
Masonville 162 22
Muddy Creek 68 31
Newstown 106 38
Mappsville 95 21
Temperanceville 120 24
Hall's Store 54 3
New Church 58 17
Sykes' Island 18 6
Greenbackville 30 38
Chincoteague 40 127
____ ____
Total 813 1784

Majority against removal 971


Infrastructure -- Public - Government : Quarantine, federal

The quarantine station at Cape Charles was opened Monday.


Mental illness

Spencer Parker, a young man of 26, near Tasley Station, this county, on the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad, twice attempted to commit suicide on last Saturday, by throwing himself before approaching trains. He was dragged away just in time to save his life. Justice Scarburgh had him arrested and he is now confined in our jail.


Transportation -- Railroad - Litigation

Messrs. U. H. Painter, of Washington; Judge Henry Herman, of New York, and Wm. Cariss, Auditor and Secretary, and Dr. E. W. Goerke, chief engineer of our railroad, were in attendance upon our court this week.


Infrastructure -- Public - Government : Postal service

Mr. A. F. Mears has been appointed postmaster at Muddy Creek this county vice R. W. Summers, resigned. The postoffice will be removed to his store one-half mile north.


Infrastructure -- Public - Government : Lighthouse service

The U. S. Engineer of the 4th L. H. district is stopping at the Atlantic hotel. He came in advance of the contractors to locate the position of the Killick Shoal Lighthouse.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Horse racing

"Beryl," the sorrel mare of Capt. Avery, won a purse of $1,000, in a trotting match with "Clara Morgan," owned in Baltimore, on Herring Run Course last Thursday. Time, 2.39, 2.39, 2.37.


Transportation -- Railroad - Steamboats

The Norfolk Ledger says it is authoritatively reported that the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad is making arrangements to put on a steamer, on or about the 1st of September, to ply between the Rappahannock, Ware and Severn rivers, Va., and Cape Charles City, in connection with the line.


Architecture -- Courthouses

The Board of Supervisors at its meeting on the 1st inst., rescinded the order to build a new court-house and clerk's office. This action we believe, was in deference to the expressed wishes of a majority of the voters on the 4th Thursday in May last.


Moral -- Murder

Lina Custis, colored, was committed to jail during last week, on suspicion of having inflicted wounds which caused the death of Isaac Phillips colored. Upon a thorough investigation of the case the evidence against her did not sustain the charge and she has been released.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Field sports - Hunting : Waterfowl and shorebirdTransportation -- Water - WrecksDiseaseTransportation -- Water - Aids to navigationArchitecture -- Courthouses


A number of gunmen from Phila., Balto., and other points are stopping here and have been quite successful in bagging the feathered tribe.

As evidence of a wreck, does large quantities of wreckage material, lumber, some fruit, and merchandise have been picked up on our beaches during the past week.

The mumps have made their appearance in our midst.

The steamer Germanium is in Port, putting the buoys of the inlet in proper position.

The quietest election in the history of Chincoteague was last Thursday. -- Drummondtown's representative was on hand, and the story of the "sixty thousand" dollar county buildings, requiring increased taxation, carried the day by a handsome majority.


Fields -- Crops - StrawberriesLaborers -- FarmFields -- Crops - CabbageForests -- SawmillsInfrastructure -- Public : Churches

Marsh Market.

Many of our young men, boys and girls are engaged in picking strawberries in Maryland, attracted thither by the liberal wages paid to them.

Cut worms are doing great damage to potato sprouts and cabbage plants in this section.

Shipments of fine strawberries were made by several parties by rail to Boston, last Monday.

The ground has been cleared, and most of the lumber prepared for a Baptist church to be erected soon at a point between Hall's store and Copes' saw mill.


Infrastructure -- Public : ChurchesFields -- Crops - Strawberries


Work on the Episcopal church will be resumed next week.

Peas and strawberries are being shipped from here now in very large quantities, and are bringing good prices.

The Messongo Homicide.

Moral -- MurderForests -- Timber rightsForests -- Shipping : Water

At a hearing before Justice Scarburgh last Wednesday, in the matter of Commonwealth vs Samuel T. Taylor, the following substantially was given in evidence by Commonwealth's witnesses, Mr. Wm. J. Hurley being told by Commonwealth's Attorney to tell what he knew, said:

On last Thursday morning, May 28th, we started (Mr. Byrd and me) to haul wood, and when we got to fence, Mr. Taylor was there on the inside. Mr. Taylor asked Mr. Byrd where he was going, and he says I am going to haul out my wood. Mr. Taylor said, no, you are not, and Mr. Byrd said, I reckon I am, and got off forepiece of cart, pulled off his coat and walked up to the fence, raised his hand and Taylor struck him over the head with cane. Then Mr. Byrd grabbed fence log and struck at him, and then Mr. Taylor grabbed his gun and told him if he laid down his fence he would shoot him. Mr. Byrd had taken down two or three logs when Mr. Taylor says again, I tell you to stop tearing down my fence. Mr. Byrd says you see what I am doing. That was about the last word he spoke till he was shot. Mr. Taylor shot him and he staggered off about 5 strides and fell, hollowing out, Oh, Lord! Jim he has killed me. I saw he was going to get up ran to help him, and then he staggered across road about eight steps and fell again. I hollowed for rest of fellows to come help him in cart, and they came and put him in cart, and Wash Trader started to drive him home and was there when I got there. -- Wash Trader, Jim Smith and George Kelly were there and helped me to take him out of cart. When I got in cart he told me to take up his dead arm. We carried him and put him in bed in his own house, where he lived.

Q.2: When did you first see Taylor? Ans. When I first saw him he was coming towards his own home from direction where he shot Byrd -- about 100 yards from place of shooting.

Q.3 What did Mr. Taylor do when you first saw him? Ans. He looked at us, turned around and went back.

Q.4 Did he have any gun at that time? Ans. No

Q.5 Did you see any gun during all that time? Ans. No; not until he picked it up to shoot.

Q.6 Did Mr. Byrd have any arms? Ans. No; if he did, I did not see them I was looking at him all the while.

Q.7 Did Mr. Byrd make any threats to kill Mr. Taylor? Ans. Not that I heard.

Q.8 What did Mr. Taylor say after he shot Byrd? Ans. He said I told you I was going to do it, now let me alone.

Q.9 What time did you meet Mr. Byrd? Ans. I don't know, he came over to my house for me, and said he wanted me to help haul the wood.

Q.10 Were you with Mr. Byrd from that time till he was shot. Ans. Yes.

Q.11 Did you go right over to Mr. Byrd's then? Ans. Yes; and went in pound and yoked up steers, he had horse and cart.

Q.12 Did you stop anywhere after you started? Ans. Only at his gate till he got to place.

Q.13 How far from your home to Mr. Byrd's? Ans. Three hundred yards to best of my knowledge.

Q.14 How far from Byrd's to place where he was shot? Ans. One-quarter mile I guess.

Q.15 During all the time you were with Byrd, did he make any threat? Ans. No; Taylor's name was not mentioned that day until he saw him down the road. He said, Doggoned if he hasn't gone there and staked and capped that fence. Yes; I said, I saw it yesterday.

Q.16 Who struck first lick? Ans. Taylor; with a large stick, hickory, I think.

Q.17 Did Mr. Byrd hit Mr. Taylor when he struck at him? Ans. No sir; didn't touch him.

Q.18 Did Mr. Byrd attempt t strike again? Ans. No, sir.

Q.19 What did Mr. Byrd do with log he had? Ans. He struck over fence at Mr. Taylor, drew it back and threw into ditch.

Q.20 Did Mr. Byrd make any effort to get over fence? Ans. No, sir, he was pulling it down.

Q.21 Did Mr. Byrd make any other effort to strike Taylor? Ans. No.

Q.22 How long was it before you knew Mr. Taylor had gun? Ans. When Byrd struck at him with fence log Mr. Taylor was making for his gun, down fence row. I did not see gun until Taylor picked it up and came where Byrd was standing.

Q.23 What did Mr. Taylor say to him then? I tell you if you lay down my fence I'll shoot you, he told him so two or three times and had gun already cocked.

Q.24 Did Mr. Byrd pull off his coat to go to work? He pulled it off, throwed into cart and never said anything, only he was going to haul his wood. He walked up to fence with both hands down; raised up his hands and Mr. Taylor struck him before he touched the fence.

Q.26 Did Mr. Byrd strike? Ans. No sir.

Questions of Counsel for Defendant)

Q.1 Mr. Hurley, what land was this wood on? Ans. Don't know; Mr. Henry Davis rented and occupied land on which wood was.

Q.2 Who occupied land on which fence was? Ans. Henry Davis, I reckon.

Q.3 Who does Mr. Taylor rent from? Ans. I don't know.

Q.4 You say fence was capped, did he get cap off? Ans. When struck he threw cap off.

q.5 Did Mr. Taylor hit Mr. Byrd? Ans. Yes.

Q.6 Did he make any scar? Ans. Not as I see.

Q.7 Did Mr. Byrd have axe? Ans. No.

Q.8 Did you interfere? Ans. No sir; before I left, said would have nothing to do with his or Taylor's business.

Q.9 Are you related to him? Ans. Yes; Mr. Taylor is my grandfather.

Q.10 Did you know he and Byrd were on bad terms? Ans. I was satisfied they were not on good terms.

James Smith, another witness for the Commonwealth testified to the following effect: Was at Messongo Bridge on the 27th of May, with lighter to carry away load of wood, bought of Byrd. On next day while bailing out lighter, looked down road and saw Taylor coming with a gun in hand, as he thought, and go to place where fence was capped and get over. He next saw Mr. Byrd coming and go to same place and pull off his coat. He saw Mr. Taylor strike at him but was too far off to tell whether he hit him or not. Then he saw Mr. Byrd strike at him with a stake or log and soon heard the gun fire. Byrd staggered and fell in a little ditch and Jim Hurley hollowed for help and he went and help put him in the cart. All he knew he saw, he heard nothing.

Dr. John Bowdoin's testimony, another witness for the Commonwealth was to the effect, that he was called to see Byrd about 9:10 a.m., and found him pulseless, cold up to his knees, nose cold, heart working very feebly. He had evidently had a very profuse hemorrhage from wounds received, reaction was impossible and died from the wounds.

The Dr. had no doubt that death of Byrd was caused by gun shot wounds, the shot having passed through his left arm into his side below the lung. That his arm was so completely lacerated that he could have put his hand through it.

The evidence of Thomas White did not differ materially from that of James Smith.

Washington Trader and George W. Kelly did not see Taylor shoot Byrd but corroborated the evidence of Smith in many other respects. Mrs. Catharine Smith was present and said Byrd died at 4 o'clock on day he was shot.

The evidence for the defense was not heard and it remains therefore to be seen in what way the crime of Taylor can be mitigated or excused.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcement

MR. EDITOR -- I have been informed by parties recently from Accomac, that the Hon. T. T. Wescott is a candidate for re-election to House of Delegates. I am glad to know that such is true as the honor could not be bestowed upon one more deserving, or upon one into whose hands the people of that gallant old Democratic county can intrust their interests with a full assurance that they will be zealously guarded and cared for. In the years that are gone, Accomac may have had representatives more eloquent in debate than Mr. Wescott, but never one more honestly devoted to duty and the welfare of his constituents than he. I do know that he enjoyed the respect of every member of the last Legislature, whose respect was worth having, respect won by an unswerving fidelity to principle, and the faithful discharge of every duty devolving upon him. I have, within the past few days, met a number of the members of both branches of the Assembly, besides other gentlemen of prominence, and being asked by them who would be here from Accomac, upon informing them that Mr. Wescott was a candidate for re-election, the universal verdict was, Wescott is a solid man. Accomac can do herself no higher honor, than to return him -- in his hands her interests will not suffer.

Why this great confidence? How did he so signally served his constituents may be asked? I will cite a few of many similar instances of his marked services to the people of Accomac, and services which deserve, and I believe, will receive full recognition at their hands when the time arrives for them to make manifest their appreciation of what he did for them.

1st. Before any provision had been made by the Legislature for police boats to guard the oyster beds of Accomac, it was Mr. Wescott, who secured an appropriation to pay the improvised guard boat commanded by Capt. Hindman.

2nd. After the present oyster law was enacted and provision made for our police steamer and two police sailboats, the Board, owing to its lack of knowledge of the real situation and requirements of the case, was not as prompt to place the sailboats in commission as the oyster beds demanded. Then it was that Mr. Wescott came to Richmond, and at his urgent request, the Board convened. He laid the matter before the three gentlemen composing that Board, and the result was that he took home with him an order for a vessel to proceed, forthwith to Norfolk, take on an armament and go on duty without delay.

Again when a few weeks ago, the Board had under consideration the advisability of discontinuing the services of the police boat, Mr. Wescott came to Richmond and explained to the authorities the deplorable results which would follow such a course on their part, should the oyster beds be left unprotected so early, that non-resident tongers would literally decimate the rocks. -- Again his wise counsel prevailed and the Board decided to continue the guards so long as the interests at stake seemed to require. This is only a synopsis of his manifested interest in the welfare of his immediate constituency. In a thousand ways he has served his people, nor will he prove false to a trust committed to his keeping. By what I have said, I mean in no degree to reflect upon the Board, for I am sincerely of the opinion that Col. Marye and Mr. Barksdale desire to do their full duty to the State and people of every section, and that all that is necessary to insure this at their hands, is that they may have an intelligent understanding of any case or matter which comes within the province of their jurisdiction.

With Wescott in the Legislature, Marye in the Auditor's office, and Fitz Lee in the Governor's mansion for a few decades, Virginia would be the grand old Virginia of other days. May it be so.


Richmond, Va., May 28th, 1885.


Moral -- Murder

Murder as a fine art seems now to be in Virginia as a business. We here in Accomac are keeping up our end of the pole, and gaunt murder stalks boldly in our midst unchecked. But two weeks ago we felt compelled to rebuke 'Gath' because of his attack on our 'barbarism.' Alas! Too soon comes two murders, and a case of high probability of murder, to confront us in one week. The criminal catalogue in this county will show nearly one murder if not quite one a year since 1865. This is a fearful and horrible retrospect. We shudder to write the foul stain upon our county and people. Just now when we are all so anxious for the welfare of our county, goes forth to the world a career of murder, and attempted murder, enough to damn a country infested by cowboys of the worst class.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
June 6, 1885