Thursday, May 30, 2013

Edward "Ned" Tilley : A "Bad Man" of "Desperate Character"?

In a facebook genealogy group, someone posted a link to the Chronicling America Newspaper Archive online from the National Archives. (I totally forgot about the site, as searching newspapers online had previously yielded little for me on other searches... )... I decided to see if I could find out more about Edward Tilley's murder case & I hit the jackpot!

This is concerning the murder of Joe Mcgee, the case that Ned was sentenced to life for.
Rolla Express, Feb. 8th, 1873

So from this I learned that the murder occurred during a drunken quarrel at a dance, both Ned and Ed had already been in the penitentiary, and according to this Ed Bryant did the stabbing while Ned was his assistant. I wonder why Ed Bryant was released and given a lighter sentence if this was the case? Hmmmm... I also learned that they were some "desperate characters" which I can only assume meant thugs, bad men, dangerous. After all it says "armed to the teeth -carbines and revolvers, " and they had the guts to run.

But wait there's more....
The State Journal, Aug. 4, 1876
State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, Mo

(Its not as clear so I'll transcribe it:)

A Convict On A Rampage - Makes a desperate Assault on a Guard
    Tilley is the name of a negro convict, sent up from Green County, for life, for killing a man.
He is regarded as a bad man-one that will bear constant watching. Yesterday it became rumored that he has a knife in his possession, and John Wiley, his guard questioned him about it. He was at work at the time- in the stone-shed. He denied having the knife about his person, but had it concealed somewhere in the prison. He said he had use for it.That he had given on of the prisoners, whom he named, some money for some outside use, but instead of using the money as directed and promised, the prisoner claimed to have lost it. But if the prisoner did not return it he intended to kill him with the knife.
   After further controversy Tilley said to the guard Wiley that he would go and get the knife. Wiley replied that he would go along. Tilley objected to this and as Wiley was turning away, with the purpose of reporting the matter to headquarters, perhaps the negro STRUCK HIM ON THE HEAD and felled him to the earth with a stone pick.
   The negro then ran across the yard and got his knife and started on the hunt for the prisoner he charged with keeping his money, threatening vengeance on him. While he was rampaging around, Pat Crump, Yard Boss, came in on him and at the persuasive presentation of a revolver SURRENDERED.
    During the disturbance Zwinger, one of the wall guards fired his gun.This caused considerable excitement. Otherwise it would have been a very quiet affair.  Wiley is not much hurt. Tilley the prisoner will likely get fifty lashes and a season in the blind cell.
     Ned Tilley was most definitely a character! Needed his OWN guard?... He wanted justice for his money, and he intended to get it. Reminds me of his father, suing a white man, in a slave state just 2 months after slavery ended. How he did it definitely differs, but the intent is the same. The fact that he told the guard what he had planned, and he didn't kill the guard with the stone pick-though seems he could have - shows he was not just crazy or violent without cause, but strong willed and a man of his word, even though his words were about a murder.....
    Fifty lashes? A season in the blind cell? I can't help but wonder if all those scars mentioned previously were from beatings during slavery? He doesn't seem like he'd make a good slave... Probably got punished quite often. No telling what he endured as a young slave and the short time he was free after slavery ended....
Perhaps whatever happened to him contributed to making him a "murderous bad-man of desperate character"...He definitely caused quite a ruckus....

And he wasn't done.....

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