Peninsula Enterprise, July 12, 1890


fields -- Crops - White potatoes : Yield

Capt. O. A. Browne informed us some days ago that he has sold from the "Hollywood Farm" this year 9,000 barrels of irish potatoes and that he still had for shipment to market from 1,000 to 1,500 barrels more.


Moral -- Alcohol

Mr. William T. Bloxom of this county, convicted of selling liquor unlawfully and sentenced to confinement of 30 days in jail and to pay a fine of $100, has received a conditional pardon from the Governor. He will not be confined in jail if he pays his fine. He has tendered coupons for the fine and the treasurer has declined to accept them.


Forests -- SawmillsFarmers -- Farmers' organizations

Marsh Market.

Messrs. C. S. Witham & Bro. have established another steam saw mill on the site on the one blown up some weeks ago and work was resumed by them on Wednesday.

The members of Farmer's Alliance of Sanford will hold a fair at their Hall on Wednesday, July 16th, for the benefit of said Alliance. A supper of oysters, clams, and the usual confectioneries will be served on the occasion. Brethren of other Alliances are requested to be in attendance.


Infrastructure -- Commercial - Real estateInfrastructure -- Public - Government : Town


Mr. S. R. Nelson has purchased the two corner lots on North and King streets of Capt. J. P. L. Hopkins and W. D. Lewis. It is said he will erect a large storehouse thereon at an early date.

Out town is in rather a curious predicament just at present. It has a Mayor but no Council or Sergeant. Mr. T. W. Taylor qualified as Mayor last week, but for some reason the newly elected members of the Council have not been yet sworn in, and as the term of the old members has expired and they refuse to serve longer, there is no one who has the power to appoint town sergeant to succeed Captain Robert Lewis, who tendered his resignation some time ago.

A Horrible Crime!

Moral -- Other violent crime

Two Women Fatally Cut and Both Dying!

Willett the Butcher in Irons!

On Wednesday afternoon this community was startled with the announcement that murder again stalked abroad. This time two victims, both women, living on the road from Locustville to Accomac C. H., were struck down in broad day. The first news came by the messenger for the doctor followed almost immediately by the man, whose butcher knife had drunk deep of the blood of these poor women, coming to deliver himself to the tender justice of Accomac. The man was Thomas Willett, known as 'Gray Goose,' the victims Mahala Watson and her daughter Ginnie Watson. Willett has been long known as a reprobate, and the women of a low order of syrens. For three years Willett and the daughter have lived, with the mother, as man and wife, albeit unblessed by priest or tied by license. For some time the brute in Willett has cropped out in frequent maulings of Ginnie, the last of which was so severe as made her determine to rid herself of him. On Wednesday morning Willett went to Locustville and brought home a package of lard, Willett said 'it was a pound of lard,' Ginnie said, 'it was a lie it wasn't a pound.' Willett replied, 'it's a dammed lie.' They quarrelled on until the mother, to stop it, suggested to Ginnie to go blackberrying. They took their pails and accompanied by Ginnie's sister, a girl of about 14 years and daughter of Mahala, they started for the blackberry fields, leaving Willett behind.

He watched their going, located them, saw the way was clear of persons who might interrupt him, slipped into the house, took from the bureau drawer his keen edged butcher knife and placing it in his shirt bosom started on his road to 'cut to kill' as he expressed it. Reaching the spot he went over into the field where Ginnie was -- her mother being yet in the road -- and approaching her asked her to lend him her little knife. She did so. He then asked her if she intended to do anything more for him? 'Go away, Tom,' she replied, 'and let me alone.' He caught her, threw her down, and drawing the murderous butcher knife with rapid strokes plunged it three times into her shrinking body; once two inches below the heart, once in the left side whence protruded the stomach, once in the back just above the right hip clear 'to the hollow.' The mother jumped over the fence, thrust Willett aside, and the girl springing to her feet ran rapidly as her wounds permitted homeward. At once Willett turned like a tiger on the unfortunate mother and drove the bloody knife in her back at almost the same spot as the back wound of Ginnie. As she turned he lightly gashed her on the right cheek, and when she ran shrieking 'yonder comes Mr. Oliver!' ripped her down the back. Her cries caused him to stop.

She sped on and with her daughter reached the yard of their home, where exhausted and covered with blood, they fell, tearing from their gashed bodies their clothing as they writhed in agony. A neighbor came, and with the younger daughter and sons managed to get them in the one-room house where this family of seven lived, and sent for the doctor.

Meantime Willett turned, carrying with evident satisfaction the dripping knife in his hand toward the Court House. On his way he boasted of his prowess and showed the bloody weapon as proof. For one man to whom he showed the knife he bore bad blood, and as he offered to get over the fence that it might be inspected, he was curtly told it would be best for him to stay where he was. He took the advice and went on to the Court House.

The messenger arrived and sent down Dr. J. H. Ayres. On his way the messenger overtook Willett and persuaded him to give the knife to him. He did so, and it was turned over to Constable Gunter, who, on the arrival of Willett confessing and boasting of his horrible work, arrested and turned him over to Jailor Melson. Mr. Melson with characteristic regard for the comfort of such prisoners, speedily put him within the thick walls of the dungeon and ornamented him with bracelets of steel. There he lies waiting the results of his 'cut to kill' as he exultingly called it.

Reaching the wounded ones Dr. Ayres sent a messenger for Dr. Scarburgh, and by them necessary surgical care was rendered and the victims made as comfortable as possible. Both the doctors were of opinion that neither of the women could live, as peritonitis would inevitably set in, and both were much weakened from loss of blood, so Attorney for the Commonwealth Fletcher and Justice L. F. J. Wilson near midnight of Wednesday took the dying declaration substantially that written here of Mahala Watson. Her daughter, buoyed by youth and hope, believed she might recover and her declaration was not taken.

The scene at the house was horrible. Blood in the yard, blood soaking in the floor, clothing torn and dripping with blood scattered about -- rising above it all the sickening odor of blood -- two women lying on the floor, nearly nude, with their life blood trickling from six ghastly cuts -- the pallid faces, the moans of the stark and bleeding victims, all combined to make a ghastly and terrible picture.

This is a most brutal and fiendish affair. The victims, though outlawed by their debased lives, were women, defenseless. A devil's heart conceived and executed the horrid work. Their offences against him were that the one who was his mistress tired of his brutalities; that the other, low sunk as she was, had yet a mother's love to prompt her to rush to save her child. His offence is against humanity and law.

As we go to press we learn the older woman is sinking from internal hemorrhage, and the younger has developed peritonitis. It seems to be a mere question of time how long they will live.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Fairs

The Eastern Shore Agricultural Fair deserves the support and encouragement of everyone in Accomac and Northampton counties. Instituted as it was to foster the best interests of the people of the Eastern Shore, free as it singularly has been of immoral and contaminating influences, productive as it is in bringing the people together in social and friendly intercourse and contributing as it does to a wholesome recreation of our people, everyone of us should feel an interest in its success. Considered in a moral aspect, especially, does it deserve the commendation and encouragement of our people. No gambling is permitted within its grounds, the use of intoxicants is positively prohibited and every restraint in the power of the authorities has been exercised to prevent the use of them and good behavior is specially demanded of every one who claims an entrance within its limits. The prejudice even of some, in the trials of speed of horses, has been to a great extent overcome, by the freedom from wagers which have been made upon them. And there is no reason why it should not be moral in every sense. It is the fair of the people, they have the right to control it as they desire and it is for them to correct its evils not by staying away, but by being in attendance. To the end, therefore, that it may be a grand success, morally, financially and socially, let us contribute to it by our exhibits, influence and presence.


Moral -- Other violent crime

Another fearful tragedy has been committed in Accomac. Two women, without cause, so far as revealed by the facts which have come to our knowledge, have been butchered in cold blood. A human fiend "for revenge" he says, which he does not explain, not only "deliberately, but with malice aforethought" has perpetrated the crimes, but in surrendering himself to the authorities, defiantly boasted of having committed them. Two women murdered and no effort even made by the murderer to conceal the crimes sadly suggests to us the miscarriage of justice in Accomac and the necessity for the use of more rope. But the remedy has been suggested and urged by us so often and to so little effect, that we have almost despaired and yet we cannot resist an appeal to our juries once more, to stop crime by punishing it.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
July 12, 1890