Joe R. Thomas

The Free Press
Cartersville, Georgia
June 23, 1881, page 1
Transcribed by:  

Killing At Deaton’s.

On Thursday morning of last week, Willis N. Hilley killed Joe R. Thomas at Deaton’s, in this county, a mile or so from the Bartow line, on the Cherokee railroad. From information gained from evidence in the preliminary trial of Hilley, the following are about the facts in regard to the bloody affair:

Some time in March last a difficulty arose between the parties, and from that time on an ill-feeling existed that threatened to culminate seriously at any time. On the morning above mentioned, Hilley had gone out with his wagon to haul some stove wood. Thomas was drinking some, and soon after Hilley had gone, went out where he was. Hilley, according to his own statement, (no one present but the combatants), was chopping wood when Thomas came up and raised a quarrel with him, once or twice calling him a G—d—liar. He also ran at him, when he moved out of his way. Seeing Thomas enraged, he at last told him he would act the coward no longer, and as he came to him again struck him on the head with an axe. Parties who were near by, soon came upon the scene, and found Thomas lying on the ground with his skull mashed in and the brains exuding from the ugly looking wound, while Hilley seemed greatly excited. Dr. J. L. Arnold was sent for, and examined the wound, replacing the brains. Thomas lived until seven o’clock in the evening. Hilley went to his home and quietly awaited arrest. He was arrested by Sheriff W. G. Taylor, and his preliminary trial before W. N. Strange, justice of the peace, took place at Rockmart on Friday. He was bound over to the superior court, which convenes the second Monday in August, and has been committed to jail in this place. An effort is being made to obtain a habeas corpus writ with which to get him out of his confinement.—Cedartown Advertiser.


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