Jim Fields

 
The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
August 19, 1884, page 3
 
Transcribed by:  
 

The Killing at Cass Station.
A Matter That Demands a Thorough and Sifting Investigation.

Our readers are familiar with the circumstances of the killing of the negro boy, Jim Fields, and the dangerous wounding of Joe Cannon, another negro boy, by the railroad men at Cass Station last Wednesday night. Nothing new has been developed in the matter for the last three or four days so far as we can learn.

The boy, Jim Fields, who was killed out-right, was well known as a street gamin in Cartersville. He was about 14 years old and so far as known was not thought to be a very bad boy. When found, on Thursday morning last, he was lying near the railroad track, just above Cass Station, with four bullet holes through his head. He must have been killed instantly as any one of the bullets would have produced death. The other boy, Joe Cannon, who was so dangerously wounded is better known than any negro of his age in Cartersville. He is a born African and has been the source of much amusement to the boys around town by his comical ways and clog dancing. He was one of the best bootblacks in the city, and was very handy and prompt in carrying notes. Although he is only about 15 years old he has served out a term in the chain-gang. He has been an apt scholar, and is well advanced in the school of small crimes. His recovery is very doubtful, as he is badly shot up and suffers great pain. No weapons of any kind were found on the persons of these two boys. The third negro, and the one who appears to have been the more immediate cause of the trouble, has not been heard from. We can find no one who knows his name or where he came from. He has disappeared as mysteriously as he came. The shooting that resulted so fatally was done between twelve and two o’clock Wednesday night. The negroes, it appears, had boarded the freight at this place about half-past ten, and were stealing a ride, intending, as Joe says, to go to Chattanooga. When they reached Rodger’s they were discovered by the train hands and ordered to get off. They did this very reluctantly and used some rough language, cursing and abusing the train men very roundly. The conductor was Mr. Broyles and the train hand, a young man named Peoples. When the train started out of the station several shots were fired into the cab by the negroes or some one of them. This was more than the train men felt disposed to take and they resolved to see further into the matter. They had no fire-arms in the train so they pulled on to Kingston where Conductor Broyles turned his train over to Mr. Wyly, and securing two guns, he and Mr. Peoples accompanied by a young man, Mr. Armisted, of Kingston, started back to meet the negroes. As they rounded a curve just on the other side of Cass Station they came suddenly upon their game, and commanded them to halt. Just here there seems to be a conflict. The railroad men say that instead of surrendering the negroes commenced firing upon them again, while Joe Cannon says that at the command to halt and surrender he and Jim Fields threw up their hands and surrendered while the negro man started to run. At any rate a shot gun loaded with buckshot was let loose into the group and in less time than it takes to tell it one negro was dead and another was writhing in intense agony, almost in the arms of death while the third was making tracks for parts unknown. It is supposed that the train men took the two o’clock passenger that night and went to Chattanooga. Up to the present writing (Monday evening), they have not been arrested.

Our community was much shocked Thursday morning when the bad news of what had been done got abroad. There being no coroner in the county, Esq. F. M. Shaw acted in that capacity, and held an inquest over the body of the dead negro. The testimony at the inquest was not sufficient to fasten the crime on any certain one, but warrants have been sworn out by the father of the dead boy against Broyles, Peoples and Armisted and placed in the hands of the sheriff.

The general opinion of the public, both white and black, is that the matter should be thoroughly investigated and sifted to the bottom. The negroes were badly at fault and should have been roughly dealt with for their conduct, but it is a serious thing to take the law in hand and deal out death at the end of a shot gun in this summary way. If the railroad men are guilty let them answer for it. If they were justifiable let it be shown.

 

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