When the Grand Jury met, he was not there to appear against me

Posted by | September 14, 2012

The following was brought by my father’s first cousin, Roy Hodges, to the family gathering following my uncle’s funeral in 1985. It was handwritten, and in pencil. James Pinkney Pittman (1855-1946) was the grandfather of my father, Victor Randolph Pittman, Jr.

James Pinkney PittmanThe handwritten text ended in mid-sentence on the last page of the steno pad. Obviously, there is or was at least one more steno pad like it that has been lost.

Judging from the markings on the pad, it appears to have been written some time in the late 1920s or early 1930s. I have endeavored to preserve the original misspellings. No doubt, I have added a few of my own.

—Victor Darrell Pittman, James Pinkney’s great-grandson, June 1997

“I got into truble. I went hunting with two men, one was midal eag, the other was young. The young man got killed out in the woods and the other man told evry body that I killed him. Well, I was arested, tryed and put under a ten thousand dollar bond untill the grand jury met. The county seat was Ashville Ala. I did not know a sole in the town. I ask the Sharif what he was going to do with me. I dident want to be put in jale. “Can you make a bond?” “I can try.”

“It w now getting dark when w come down out of the court house. Seemed I had the simpthy of older men. Went into a large store. The croud of men folowed us in. I ask the propreator if he would go on a tempry bond untill I could make bond, but when he found out how much the bond was he shook his head. One man in the crowed said he would, then another. So there was a lot of them went on the bond, a temporary bound. I gave my bond to a frend of mine from Springville to see if he could make bond in Springville for me. I wated sevrel days. So I ask the men that signed my bond if tha wood let me go to Springville and try to make my bond, that if I couldent make bond I wood come back. They told me to go.

St. Clair Courthouse, Ashville ALSt. Clair Courthouse, Ashville, AL

“Now there was a Mr. Wood and Miss Vick that was sumoned as witnesses at the trile. Mr. Wood had been going with Miss Vick and wanted her to mary him. So he told her that they w send me to the pen or hang him so she told him that wouldent do him no good, that she would mary me before I went. You see hur friend tryed to keep hur from maring me because I drink a little two much, but that dident do any good.

“Well, back to the bond. I made the bond and sent it in. My friends in Springville went to work on the case. They corned the man that acused me out where the young man was killed and ask him where he was standing when the young man was killed. He showed them & thay traced the shot came from on the undergroth that killed the man. So he got scared and run away. So whe the grand jury met, he was not there to appear against me. So my case w throon out of court and I was clared. You see, he was the onley wittnes. God knows I dident kill him. It was all done axedently.”

Full memoir at: The Memoirs of James Pinkney Pittman

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