Friday, July 3, 2009

Another story from the archives of the HAYLEYS

Again these are direct relatives and you will see them on the "family tree" I have included this story attached to James W Hayley (The father of John William Hayley). This is the account reported in this book based on some court documents. There are more documents to review----but it is finds like this ---- That peaks my curiousity and I want to dig more.

By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2003

Slave woman sentenced to be hanged for murdering "young Haley," Madison Co., Tennessee

It would appear from the documentation that has survived regarding this long-ago tragedy that the slave woman, LUCY, was charged in murdering one of the children of James W. and Eliza M. Hayley (more properly so spelled), Madison Countians. The ADVOCATE mentions that she had been charged with murdering a "young" Haley, i.e. Hayley which is substantiated by the fact that no one of the pertinent Hayleys, among the adults, died in this period. (A James Haley had died in 1842 and left two children of another local family.) See, below, from the Execution Docket of the Circuit Court in this case where the two major witnesses, who were paid fees for their testimony, really appearance in court, in April, were James W. and Eliza M. Hayley, for which the former signed a voucher as having been paid these fees and so signed by him, June 21, 1844. (Madison County Execution Docket, 1840-1844, April term of court, 1844):

James W. Hayley, born in February 1804, was a stepson of Matthias Deberry, one of the most prominent citizens of early Madison County, an early sheriff, and builder of the old brick mansion still standing about four miles east of Jackson, Tennessee, the plantation first known as Rose Green but later named Rose Hill, which name it still bears. (Letters in possession of Betty Young Hopper, of Jackson, among members of the Deberry family reveal the initial name of this plantation.)

The 1840 U.S. census of Madison Co. (page 79) indicates that James Hayley had at least six surviving children at that time; there were probably more before his death a few years after the death of his unfortunate child. Matthias Deberry had provided a modest acreage for the Hayleys but being in an unhealthy location it was swapped out for another tract, just about the time of the homicide in question; as plainly explained in Madison County Circuit Court Minute Book, 1840-1844, pages 544-545.

The Circuit Court overruled Lucy's move for a new trial and as the jury had sentenced her guilty of murder, it was ordered by the court that she be "taken to the jail of Madison County from whence she came and there be securely kept until the Friday, the twenty-first day of June next and that on that date she be taken hence to the common gallows of said county and there between the hours of ten o'clock in the forenoon and two o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, be hanged by the neck until she be dead and that the sheriff of Madison County do execution of this sentence."

The evidence presented in this case must have been overwhelming against Lucy because in most instances involving capital punishment of slaves in this county those cases were referred for review by the western division of the state supreme court, in Jackson; all of which were, as well as the present writer can recall, later affirmed by the higher court and dates established for execution definitely established. It is a sad, sad horror that a child had to die and that a slave had to die for supposedly causing the former's death, but we in a later age are left with only historical regrets, for the most part, because the records which would have informed us better of "what happened" seem to have disappeared forever.

This is written by one witness but there are other accounts and will be included in the 5 generations. I am writing. But then the Hayley's continue on to before 1770 in the USA. Their military records and migration records ---- a chapter in itself to report.

This blog will be more about the references, and trails I am going through to write this first book ---- I just wanted family to know --- I am researching the "Hayley" story.

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