The Courant American Newspaper
May 13, 1897 Page 1
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A Picnic Row in Which One Negro Kills Another.
Mean Liquor At the Bottom.
Coroner’s Jury Pronounce the Act Murder in the First Degree. Murderer Escapes.
On last Saturday Negroes from this place and from the neighborhood around Stilesboro had a picnic near the later place. In the forenoon there was a dance at a place on the hill near the church west of Raccoon creek and the picnic was at the creek, a mile or so this side of Stilesboro. Bad whiskey was afloat all day. The Negroes from here drank it feely going to the place, it is said, and there was a great deal on the grounds. Many of the men were turbulent. In the forenoon at the dance a Negro who worked for Mr. Joel Conyers who said his name was Joe Tooney, but who, it is alleged, was a fugitive from Alabama, and his real name was not Tooney, got into a small row with Vest Neeley. When the negroes reassembled at the creek the row was in some manner renewed, and while several negroes held Tooney, Ed Neeley, a brother of Vest Neeley, walked up with an open knife, put his left hand on Tooney’s shoulder, and with a remark about anybody that wanted to fight his brother, he with his right hand drove the blade with powerful force into the negroes breast. The Negroes say the knife blade could be could be heard crunching among the bones. One blow was all that was given but the Negro when released soon fell and expired. It is said a rock was put in his hat, a whiskey bottle was laid by his sided and thus he was left, while the Negro who stabbed him lingered on the ground for more than an hour.
The dead man was left lying on the ground when the crowd dispersed.
The officers here were notified but the Negro had fled before they reached the ground.
An inquest was held by C. W. Jones, justice of the peace, of Stilesboro, the coroner being absent from the county. The verdict was as follows:
“We the jurors aforesaid upon our oaths say that Joe Toony came to his death from a wound inflicted with a knife in the hands of Ed Neely and the same is murder with Ed Neely as princepal and Vest Neely and Floak Hoxie as accessories.”
Vest Neely and Floak Hoxie have been arrested and are now in jail.
Warrants were issued for Neeley, charging him with murder—and for others as accessories.
Neeley was only about nineteen years old. The Negro killed was much older.
The Courant American
Ed Neely Caught.
Ed Neely, who killed Joe Tooney, is now in jail in Cartersville. Last week the police officials in Atlanta telegraphed to the sheriff here to know if Neely was wanted. A reply went at once directing that the negro be arrested and held, if found. Deputy Sheriff Tinsley went down and brought the negro back. A former Cartersville negro saw Neely and knew him and reported him to the police.
Neely went to jail on his arrival here.
The crime for which Neely will have to answer is the killing of Joe Tooney, another negro, at a picnic, near the bridge across Raccoon creek, on the Stilesboro road, in May, 1897. Neely who was a mere lad at the time approached Tooney with a knife and after driving it to the hilt in Tooney’s body turned it in his hand, the blade grinding and crunching among the bones and arteries. The victim died in a few minutes after he was attacked. Neely has successfully eluded the vigilance of officers who have heretofore been on the lookout for him.
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