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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Thriller Thursday - Death of John Riley Ray


John Riley Ray was born 11/25/1885 in Paint Rock, Madison County, NC to John Asaph "Asa" Ray (aka Ace Ray) (DOB 8/29/1855 in Cocke County, TN; DOD 2/17/1944 in Madison County, NC) and his 2nd wife, Harriett "Hattie" Elizabeth Lamb (DOB 10/1855 in Greeneville, Greene County, TN to James Aiken Lamb and Mary Elizabeth Hixon; DOD Abt. 1913 in Madison County, NC).

1900 U.S. Census of Hot Springs, Madison County, North Carolina; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0082; FHL microfilm: 1241205, "John A. Ray"
John A. Ray, Head, W(hite), M(ale), Born Aug, 1855, 44 yrs old, Married 20 yrs, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN, Farmer, Can read and write, Owns farm free of mortgage
Harriet E. Ray, Wife, W, F, Born Sept, 1856, 43 yrs old, Married 20 yrs, 1 child with 1 still living, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Can read and write
Johnie Ray, Son, W, M, Born Nov, 1885, 14 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in TN, Can read and write

John Riley Ray married Celia Ann Taylor in 1906. Celia Ann Taylor was born 4/14/1884 in Madison County, NC to William H. and Julia Taylor. They evidently weren't married that long and I don't know of any children. Celia Ann Taylor would marry Milton J. Jolly on 10/17/1923 in Etowah County, AL. Milton J. Jolly was born 12/15/1884 in NC and died Abt. 1967 in Knoxville, Knox County, TN. Celia Ann Taylor died in 1979 in Knoxville, Knox County, TN.

1910 U.S. Census of Hot Springs, Madison, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1107; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1375120, "John A. Ray"
John A. Ray, Head, M(ale), W(hite), 54 yrs old, 1st Marriage, Married 31 yrs, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN, Farmer, Can read and write, Owns farm free of mortgage
Harrett Ray (sic), Wife, F, W, 53 yrs old, 1st Marriage, Married 31 yrs, 3 children with 3 still living, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Can read and write
John Ray, Son, M, W, 24 yrs old, Widowed (sic), Born in NC, Both parents born in TN, Farm laborer, Can read and write


John Riley Ray was murdered on 11/9/1915 in Clinchfield Mill, Marion, McDowell County, NC by John T. Marsh.

NC Death Certificate #141, Registration District #565733, John Riley Ray, DOD 11/9/1915 in Clinchfield Mill, Marion, McDowell County, NC
Male, White, Divorced, Born 11/25/1885 in Paint Rock, Madison County, NC, 29 yrs old
Occupation: Cotton mill hand
Education: Graded school education
Father: J.A. Ray, born in Madison County, NC
Mother: Hattie Lamb, born in Greene County, TN
Informant: J.Z. Sigmon, Marion, NC
DOD 11/9/1915 at 8:30am
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the chest (homicidal)
Buried: Paint Rock, Madison County, NC on 11/10/1915

Asheville Citizen Times, Asheville, NC, 11/10/1915, Pg 1


The High Point Enterprise, High Point, NC, 11/10/1915, Pg 7

The News Herald, Morganton, NC, 11/11/1915, Pg 1

The Reidsville Review, Reidsville, NC, 11/12/1915


The Charlotte News, Charlotte, NC, 11/14/1915, Pg 1

The Union Republican, Winston-Salem, NC, 11/18/1915, Pg 5

Marion Progress, Marion, NC, 12/2/1915, Pg 1

Marion Progress, Marion, NC, 3/2/1916, Pg 1


Monday, December 03, 2018

Murder Monday - Interconnections In Shelton Laurel Murders

These people were not related to any of my lines. I just came across their stories in researching and then found the newspaper stories and couldn't resist making a post about the stories.


Ida Bell Franklin was born 10/14/1875 in Madison County, NC to Mitchell Tillery Franklin (DOB 9/11/1848 in Madison County, NC; DOD 4/27/1933 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC) and Delaney Jane Norton (DOB 12/24/1851 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 9/25/1933 in Mars Hill, Madison County, NC).

Mitchell Tillery Franklin and Delana Jane Norton had Vina Franklin, George Logan Franklin, Ida Bell Franklin, Hattie Franklin, Bettie Franklin, Daisy Franklin, Manley Winston Franklin, Martha Jane Franklin, Sophia Franklin, Milburn Franklin, Edna Franklin, Roburla "Burlie" Franklin, Bonnie Franklin. That is 3 boys and 10 girls!

1880 U.S. Census of Shelton Laurel, Madison County, North Carolina; Roll: 971; Page: 28D; Enumeration District: 124, "Mitchell Franklin"
Mitchell Franklin, W(hite), M(ale), Head, Married, Farmer, Born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN
Delana Franklin, W, F, 28 yrs old, Wife, Married, Keeping house, Born in NC, Both parents bron in NC
Vina Franklin, W, F, 10 yrs old, Daughter, Single, At home, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
George Franklin, W, M, 8 yrs old, Son, Single, At home, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Ida Belle Franklin, W, F, 8 yrs old (DOB 1872), Daughter, Single, At home, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Hattie Franklin, W, F, 2 yrs old, Daughter, Single, At home, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC

In 1894, Ida Bell Franklin had a son by unknown father named Jeter Logan Franklin on 1/1/1894 in NC. He grew up and married twice: Tullis Blanche Chandley and Georgia Bailey. Ida Bell Franklin's parents raised Jeter Logan Franklin.

Ida Bell Franklin married William Baxter Shelton, Sr. on 1/9/1895 in Greene County, TN.

Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1780-2002
Name: Belle Franklin
Gender: Female
Marriage Date: 9 Jan 1895
Marriage Place: Greene, Tennessee, USA
Spouse: William Shelton

William Baxter Shelton was born 9/29/1877 in Madison County, NC to William Riley Shelton (DOB 12/11/1836 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 2/3/1896 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC) and Mary Riddle (aka Mollie Riddle, Polly Riddle) (DOB Abt. 1837 in Madison County, NC; DOD ? ).

William Riley Shelton was 1st married to Martha Jane Johnson (DOB Abt. 1839 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD Abt. 1875 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC) on 3/1/1855 in Craven County, NC. They had five children:

1) Arminda Shelton (DOB 7/13/1857 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 5/25/1941 in Erwin, Unicoi County, TN) married Levi "Bud" Shelton, Solomon Hensley, David Shelton.

2) Noah Shelton (DOB 3/7/1858 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; D)D 4/9/1935 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC)

3) Bluferd Elbridge Shelton (DOB 12/27/1861 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 12/19/1925 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC)

4) Bayless Shelton (DOB 1/27/1865 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 1/23/1926 in Jasper, Marion County, TN)

5) Jersey Lynn Shelton (DOB 1/1/1868 in Madison County, NC; DOD 6/13/1944 in Madison County, NC) married John S. Chandley.

William Riley Shelton was 2nd married to Amanda "Mandy" Jane Norton (DOB 5/10/1859 in Madison County, NC; DOD 11/13/1947 in Bridgeport, Cocke County, TN) on 9/12/1875 in Washington County, TN. They had one child:

1) Laura Annie Shelton (DOB 5/13/1879 in Madison County ,NC; DOD 9/27/1959 in ?  ) married Thomas John Brisco Hensley.

William Riley Shelton married 3rd Mary "Polly" Riddle. They had two children:

1) William Baxter Shelton, Sr. (DOB 9/29/1877 in NC; DOD 5/6/1912 in Madison County, NC) married Ida Bell Franklin and Mary Katherine "Kittie" Moore on 8/3/1886 in Craven County, NC.

2) Vianna E. Shelton (DOB 4/13/1880 in NC; DOD 6/5/1956 in Washington College, Washington County, TN) married Champ Harrison Briggs (DOB 7/29/1870 in Erwin, Unicoi County, TN; DOD 2/21/1954 in Greeneville, Greene County, TN).

Mary Riddle was also married twice. She was first married to Solomon "Sol" Chandley (DOB 7/13/1825 in NC; DOD 11/25/1910 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC) on 11/15/1869 in Madison County, NCChandley had children with 3 different women: Juda "Judy" Shelton (1833-1910). He had 12 children with Judah SheltonJudy Shelton was born (7/1833 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 8/27/1910 in Madison County, NC) to David Eli Shelton and Catherine MillerJudy was the younger sister of William Riley Shelton.

 Sol Chandley and Mary Riddle had 4 children. And he had Hattie Chandley with Eliza ? .

Although he married Mary Riddle on 11/15/1869, he was having children with Judy Shelton before and after his wedding to Mary. That would be awkward.



Statesville Record and Landmark, Statesville, NC, 2/28/1895, Pg 7
A special to the Asheville Citizen from Marshall, Madison County, says a fight occurred on Shelton Laurel Sunday night in which Everett Shelton was shot and supposed to be mortally wounded by James Stanton, who made his escape. At the same time and place Boss Stanton was shot and killed by Baxter Shelton. At the time he was shot he was making a brutal assault on Shelton with a pistol. Shelton first begged for peace but Stanton was determined to fight. The affray is the result of an old feud.

News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, 3/1/1895, Pg 1
Asheville, N.C., Feb. 28-Everett Shelton, who was shot by Jim Stanton at Shelton Laurel, Madison County, Sunday night, has died. At last accounts Jim Stanton and Baxter Shelton, who killed a man apiece, had not been caught.

The Asheville Weekly Citizen, Asheville, NC, 3/1/1895, Pg 1
Madison's Last Tragedy
Particulars Of The Double Killing On Shelton Laurel Sunday Night
E.F. Chandley of this city has received a letter from his brother, J.C. Chandley, who lives on Shelton Laurel, Madison County, near the scene of last Sunday night's tragedy.
From the particulars given in the letter it appears that there were five men engaged in the difficulty, which occurred at "Son" Franklin's house. The five were "Boss" Stanton and Everett Shelton, James Stanton and Rod. Shelton. An old grudge had existed between "Boss" Stanton and Baxter Shelton, and when the men met these two agreed to go outside and talk the matter over.
As the disappeared in the darkness Stanton took hold of Shelton's right arm. Shelton said after the tragedy that Stanton snatched his pistol out of his right hand and fired at his head. Shelton, who, it seems, usually carried two pistols, caught a pistol from his left pocket with his left hand and shot Stanton in the breast. Stanton died in 15 or 20 minutes.
At this time James Stanton and Rod. Shelton were standing near the door. Everett Shelton, who was a short distance from them, stepped toward the door. Stanton warned him not to draw his pistol. Shooting then began between the men in the house, and a bullet from Stanton's pistol took effect in Everett Shelton's breast, causing his death Monday morning. Some 15 shots were fired during the fray. James Stanton and Baxter Shelton were slightly wounded. The letter, which was written Monday, said the men had escaped.
The parties to the terrible affair were not brothers, as at first stated. James Stanton is an uncle of "Boss," and the Sheltons are second cousins.

Hamilton News Press - Marion County, AL - March 7, 1895 - Transcribed and submitted by Veneta McKinney
A BAD BLOOD LETTING -
Information was received at Asheville, N. C. Monday afternoon of a shooting affray that occurred at Shelton Laurel, a wild mountainous section in Madison CountyBaxter and Everette Shelton, brothers, (not brothers but cousins, see below) were engaged in a game of cards with "Boss" and Jim Stanton, brothers, when a dispute arose, with the result that "Boss" Stanton was shot and instantly killed by Baxter Shelton and Everette Shelton was mortally wounded by Jim Stanton. Bad blood had existed for some time.

Who were the people in this story and how were they related to William Baxter Shelton?
David Eli Shelton and Catherine Miller
William "Bill" Shelton....siblings..........Juda "Judy" Shelton
William Riley Shelton.....1st cousins......Solomon Shelton
William Baxter Shelton...2nd cousins....Everett Hayes Shelton
Everett Hayes Shelton was Baxter Shelton's second cousins.

James William Stanton (DOB 5/18/1867 in Madison County, NC; DOD 10/25/1916 in Greenville, Greenville County, SC) married 1st Lucretia Corly on 9/22/1889 in Craven County, NC. He married 2nd Maud Odell (DOB Abt. 1886 in ? ; DOD ? in ? ) on 10/31/1908 in Craven County, NC. They had five children. James Stanton's parents were George Stanton and Mary Cook. James' only brother was Ephraim Stanton. I don't know if he was "Boss" Stanton.



Ida Bell Franklin and William Baxter Shelton, Sr. had a child:

1) Flossy Franklin Shelton (DOB 1/3/1896 in Marshall, Madison County, NC; DOD 8/10/1989 in Asheville, Buncombe County, NC) married Jesse Vinson Wallin (DOB 11/7/1893 in NC; DOD 5/11/1989 in Madison County, NC).

Ida Bell Franklin had a son with unknown father:

1) Garrison Franklin (DOB 1/23/1898 in Madison County, NC; DOD 2/10/1917 in Madison County, NC of "supposed paralysis"), never married



Asheville Daily Gazette, Asheville, NC, 1/7/1898, Pg 2
Madison County Outlawry
Not since the days of "Redmond, the Outlaw," has there been such a reign of terror in Western North Carolina, as has existed in the counties of Yancey and Madison for the past few months. Brief accounts of the several high handed acts of lawlessness by George McCurry and Baxter Shelton have been published in the Gazette. It was hoped that the last tragedy, of a fortnight ago, in Madison County, in which Baxter Shelton figured as chief actor, of serious fatalities, in which he would appear. It seems however that the end is not reached. Hardy Merrell, one of the most responsible citizens of Madison County, called at the Gazette office last night, and reported that he had information that Baxter Shelton was still in the vicinity of Laurel, accompanied by a band of lawless men and defying the officers of the law who have warrants for his arrest. It is reported that this band of outlaws are well equipped with arms and are perpetrating various acts of lawlessness within the vicinity where they live to the terror of the citizens. It is also reported that in Yancey County the notorious George McCurry is still engaged in open violation of the revenue laws and defies any and all officers to disturb him in his operations. It is reported on good authority that Baxter Shelton has shot six men since Christmas and is still at large. Mr. Merrell says that the good people of Madison County are indignant at the recent outbreak of lawlessness in that county, and are determined to see that these desperadoes are brought to justice.



Shelton Laurel area



I found these photos online about Shelton Laurel and hiking some trails there. I thought these showed how dense the mountain laurel could be which is where the area gets it's name and why it was remote and isolated. During the War of Northern Aggression there could be snipers and men behind every bush.

Here are photos of mountain laurel.








11/2/1899
Surrounded And Captured
Baxter Shelton, Champ Briggs and Jack Shelton Suspected Of The Crime
Baxter Shelton, Champ Briggs and Jack Shelton are no (sic) exected (sic) of being the murderers of Lemuel Jackson near Greeneville last week.
A gentleman who was in the chase after the murderers told a Journal and Tribune reporter of the latest developments in the case. He preferred for personal reasons that his name not be used.
the above named men were followed by bloodhounds many miles into the mountains to a place known as Shelton Laurel, where the laurel bushes grow so thickly that the trail could not be followed further.
The sheriffs of Greene, Hamblen and Cocke counties were among the pursuers. The bloodhound of the sheriff of Cocke county, which is one of the best sleuths in East Tennessee, followed the trail.
The pursuing party was on foot and following the lead of the hounds passed over spots where the Sheltons and Briggs had been seen. Reaching a creek running from the mountains the trail was for a time lost, showing that the fleeing parties had waded the stream.
The hound followed the bank and where the party came out of the creek she took up the trail anew. She went directly to houses of the Sheltons and Briggs in the mountains. Then the trail was taken up afresh and followed to the Shelton Laurels-an almost impenetrable growth of laurel bushes of miles in extent. The case was there given up.
The Journal and Tribune's informant says that the son and son-in-law of the murdered man have turned up and no one longer suspects them of the crime.
Mrs. Jackson was seen at her home, which is a very nice one and told the story of the murder to the Journal and Tribune's informat (sic). The house has iron bars to its windows and is calculated to confirm suspicion that a large sum of money was kept in the house.
Mrs. Jackson had gone to the woodpile on the morning of the murder when she was accosted by three men with blackened faces, one of whom asked for something to eat, while the other two proceeded toward the house.
Lemuel Jackson, hearing the noise, went to the door. As he did so one of the men said, "We've got you this time," and then commanded Jackson to hold up his hands. One hand went up while the other went behind the door for a gun.
Five shots were fired at him. Mrs. Jackson was then told to tell the whereabouts of his money. She was told that if she would stay away from the telephone, which was in the house, and keep buiet (sic), she would not be hurt. Mrs. Jackson then told them that her husband had some money in a secret pocket of his underwear on the inside of his right leg, near the trunk of the body.
Six hundred dollars was thus obtained, and Mrs. Jackson said the two Sheltons and Briggs had been to the house in the summer and that her husband drove them away with a Winchester rifle.











I could not find where they ever arrested the murderers or got any conviction.

How were all these men related? Jack Shelton was born 4/22/1862 in Madison County, NC to Roderick "Rod" Shelton (DOB 5/1825 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 5/18/1921 in ? ) and Mary Polly Mercer (DOB 3/1822 in Madison County, NC; DOD 1906 in Madison County, NC). Rod Shelton was the son of David Eli Shelton and Catherine Miller.

David Eli Shelton and Catherine Miller
Children of David Eli Shelton William "Bill" Shelton.......Roderick Shelton...........Juda "Judy" Shelton
Grandchildren: Son of William "Bill" Shelton: William Riley Shelton
Grandchildren: Son of Roderick Shelton: Jack Shelton
Grandchildren: Son of Juda "Judy" Shelton: Solomon Shelton
Great Grandchild: Son of William Riley Shelton: William Baxter Shelton
Jack Shelton was Baxter Shelton's first cousin once removed.

Lemuel Jackson was born 8/8/1827 in Greene County, TN to Lemuel Jackson and Jane Dishman. He was killed 10/27/1899 in Greene County, TN. He was married to Emeline Lawson (DOB 5/30/1833 in Greene County, TN to Stephen Lawson and Catharine Freshour; DOD 4/22/1917 in Greene County, TN).



Ida Bell Franklin and William Baxter Shelton must have divorced before the 1900 U.S. Census as both are living "Single" in different households.

1900 U.S. Census of Shelton Laurel, Madison, North Carolina; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0074; FHL microfilm: 1241205, "John Shelton"
John Shelton, Head, W(hite), M(ale), Born May, 1864, 36 yrs old, Married 11 yrs, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer, Can read and write, Owns farm free of mortgage
Jersey Shelton, Wife, W, F, Born Jan, 1867, 33 yrs old, Married 11 yr, 4 children with 4 still living, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Cannot read and write
Sylvania Shelton, Daughter, W, F, Born May, 1889, 11 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
William F. Shelton, Son, W, M, Born Mar, 1893, 7 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Valary Shelton, Daughter, W, F, Born Mar, 1896, 4 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Bunny Shelton, Daughter, W, F, Born May, 1899, 1 yr old, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Iday Franklin (sic), Servant, W, F, Born Oct, 1875, 24 yrs old, Single, 3 children with 3 still living, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer, Can read and write
Garison Franklin (sic), L-Daughter (sic), W, M, Born Jan, 1898, 2 yrs old, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC

1900 U.S. Census of Shelton Laurel, Madison, North Carolina; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0074; FHL microfilm: 1241205, "Polly Shellon" (sic)
Polly Shellon, Head, W(hite), F(emale), Born May, 1840, 60 yrs old, Widowed, 9 children with 7 still living, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer, Cannot read or write, Owns farm free of mortgage
Bakster Shellon (sic), Son, W, M, Born Sept, 1877, 22 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer, Can read and write
Flossy Franklin, Granddaughter, W, F, Born May, 1896, 4 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Nancy Shelton, Servant, W, F, Born Mar, 1879, 21 yrs old, Single Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer, Can read and write

On 11/27/1901, Baxter Shelton married Mary Katherine "Kittie" Moore in Craven County, NC. Mary Katherine Moore was born 1/18/1883 in TN. They had:

1) Glenna Faye Shelton (DOB 10/30/1902 in Unicoi County, TN; DOD 8/6/1981 in Jefferson County, KY) married Fletcher Roosevelt Cole (DOB 12/10/1902 in VA; DOD 12/1986 in Louisville, Jefferson County, KY).

2) Mamie Dorothy Shelton (DOB 2/16/1905 in White Rock, Madison County, NC; DOD 7/14/1985 in Gastonia, Gaston County, NC) married Haywood Gordon Kincaid (DOB 12/5/1898 in Gaston County, NC; DOD 12/4/1963 in Gastonia, Gaston County, NC).

3) William Beauford Shelton (DOB 2/1/1907 in White Rock, Madison County, NC; DOD 1/8/1989 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC) married Natalie Louise Lumpkin (DOB 1/24/1910 in New Bern, Craven County, NC; DOD 4/15/1985 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC).

4) Clayton Jackson Shelton (DOB 8/16/1909 in White Rock, Madison County, NC; DOD 2/17/1995 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC)

5) Dwight Eugene Shelton (DOB 7/16/1910 in Madison County, NC; DOD 10/8/1972 in Sebring, Highlands County, NC) married Eva Mary Owens (DOB 2/16/1926 in Glade Springs, Washington County, VA; DOD 4/16/2005 in Avon Park, Highlands County, FL).

6) William Baxter Shelton, Jr. (DOB 3/14/1912 in White Rock, Madison County, NC; DOD 5/16/1986 in Burkeville, Nottoway County, VA) married Emily Cutshall (DOB 6/15/1913 in Madison County, NC; DOD 9/8/1987 in Asheville, Buncombe County, NC)


The 3 men in this story who captured John Pate are Jim Shelton, Grant Shelton and Baxter Shelton. There are more than one Jim and Grant Sheltons. But I believe these 3 men to be second cousins.

David Eli Shelton (the ancestor they had in common)

Sons of David Eli Shelton: John Robert Shelton, Sr. and William Bill Shelton

Grandsons: Sons of John Robert Shelton, Sr.: John Robert Shelton, Jr., Ulysses Grant Shelton, James H. Shelton
Grandsons: Sons of William Bill Shelton: William Riley Shelton

Great Grandsons: Sons of John Robert Shelton, Jr.James Jacob Shelton and Grant Shelton
Great Grandsons: Sons of William Riley Shelton: William Baxter Shelton


The North Carolinian, Raleigh, NC, 4/26/1906, Pg 5
Capture of Pate
The Man Who Stamped A Woman To Death
He Is Taken By Three Men, Who, Spurred By Offer Of Reward, Track Him Into Tennessee
Asheville, N.C., April 23-John Pate, the Madison County desperado, who it is alleged committed one of the most brutal and dastardly murders ever perpetuated in western North Carolina, and who, in company with ten others, escaped from the Buncombe County jail last October has been recaptured and was this morning brought here and again placed behind lock and key.
The capture was made in the Bald Mountains, in Union County, Tennessee, early Sunday morning by three Madison county men who had heard of Pate's whereabouts and were seeking to obtain the $300 reward offered for his capture. Jim Shelton, Baxter Shelton and Grant Shelton. The men, as quick on the trigger and desperate of chances as Pate himself, heard that the outlaw was hiding in the fastnessess of the Bald Mountains, and Friday morning they left Madison County over the rough trail, going horseback and on foot. House after house was searched in the vicinity of his hiding place and finally the man was located in a dilapidated shack which had every appearance of being deserted, with open windows and crumbling roof. Pate was asleep on a bunk, as was also another man lying in the opposite side of the room, and the alleged murderer was awakened by the flash of a lantern.
He instantly sprang for a table across which were lying two shot guns and some knives, but was as quickly covered and ordered to halt. He and his companion made further effort to reach the weapons but were sternly warned, and while two men outside kept the inmates of the room in check. Baxter Shelton batered (sic) down the door. An entrance having been effected, the men bound their prize and set out to retrace their slow and tortuous way. They stated here today they had slept almost none in the past three days, but that their prisoner had given them no trouble.
Pate appeared unconcerned today. He stated that he has ever since his escape lived in the Bald Mountains.
It has been two years since Pate is alleged to have killed Mrs. Johanna Crowder of California Creek, Madison County, murdering her in a brutish manner that has scarcely a parallel in Madison's criminal annals. It is alleged that he attacked the woman in a lonely place near her home and that he literally stamped her to death. When she was almost in a dying condition he forced from her a promise to state that her condition was due to an accident and compelled her to return to her home. She died shortly after, having stated, however that Pate had killed her. Pate then fled, living on what is aptly known as the Wolfe's Den until about eight months afterwards when he was captured by United States Marshal Barnes and a posse. He was lodged in the Madison jail was then brought to Asheville for safekeeping and subsequently made his escape in the jail delivery.


Madison County Record, Marshall, NC, 6/7/1909, Pg 5
Baxter Shelton and Champ Briggs were here from Shelton Laurel Monday and Tuesday.


The French Broad News, Marshall, NC, 9/14/1911, Pg 4
Shooting At White Rock
The Little Rock baseball team came over from Halewood Friday and played White Rock two games on Saturday. The morning game was 14 to 3 in favor of White Rock. The evening game was 12 to 3 in favor of White Rock.
As we were all coming from the game, I, in company with Baxter Shelton and one of the Little Rock boys, was passing Gordon Gilbert's house. Gordon shot at Baxter. Then Baxter got off his horse and fired on Gilbert and then started toward home. Gilbert then fired several times, one shot hitting Shelton on the right leg, 6" above the knee. Gilbert shot at Shelton as long as he could see him. The boys had some trouble a few days ago over the store account.
J.S. Ray


Notice that Gordon Gilbert was shooting at Baxter Shelton in 1911 and now Harm Gilbert is with Shelton when Champ Briggs murders him in 1912. Wonder if they were related?


Asheville Gazette News, Asheville, NC, 5/6/1912, Pg 1
Shot To Death Old Feud Case
Story of Killing Of Baxter Shelton By Champ Briggs Comes From Madison
W.S. Rice of Madison County was in Asheville today and told of a homicide that occurred on Laurel in No. 2 township Saturday afternoon in which "Champ" Briggs shot and almost instantly killed Baxter Shelton. Mr. Rice stated that the killing was the result of an old drudge (sic) about politics; that the two men had met to talk the matter over when the trouble occurred.
According to his statement Shelton had handed his pistol to Briggs to show that he meant no harm. Then, he stated, Briggs began firing at a man named Gilbert, who was with Shelton. Gilbert ran and then Briggs turned the pistol on Shelton shooting him in the chest and neck. Both men were prominent in the section. They were men of property and each had a store.
It is said that Briggs made no attempt to escape and is now in jail at Marshall.


Let's take a moment to look at who Champ Briggs was. Champ Harrison Briggs was born 7/29/1880 in Erwin, Unicoi County, TN to John Logan Briggs (DOB 2/28/1848 in Yancey County, NC to John Lee Briggs and Anna Melissa Garland; DOD 11/22/1934 in Unicoi County, TN)  and Mary Briggs (DOB 8/1849 in TN to Benjamin Franklin Briggs and Nancy McFarland; DOD ? in ? ). Champ Briggs MARRIED A SHELTON, Vianna Shelton. Vianna Shelton was born 4/13/1880 in NC to William Riley Shelton (DOB 12/11/1836 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 2/3/1896 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC) and Mary Polly Riddle (DOB 1839 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC; DOD 1875 in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC). that means that Vianna Shelton and William Baxter Shelton were brother and sister. Baxter's parents were also William Riley Shelton and his third wife Mary Polly Riddle. The only 2 children of William Riley Shelton and his third wife, Mary Polly Riddle, were Vianna Shelton and William Baxter Shelton. So Champ Briggs was Baxter Shelton's brother-in-law! I'm surprised this isn't mentioned in the newspaper reports?!? I worked on this family for two days trying to figure out the relationships. If you read this blog post thoroughly you will see that the newspaper reports are saying some things and not saying others. I think there was a lot of inner-community and inner-family conflicts and politics. Basically everyone was afraid of the bullies in the community of Shelton Laurel. I think even the sheriffs, judges, newspapers were afraid of them. People in the community probably didn't talk, or even lied, because they had to live in the community. They had to go home and if the police couldn't, or wouldn't, stop them, then they could be the target next. And, someone in the community might take care of the problem in a little mountain justice? As out of control as Baxter Shelton evidently was, is it possible that Champ Briggs was administering a little justice? Maybe that's why he got acquitted of murder? Or was Champ Briggs the bully and everyone was just afraid of him so let him get away with it? The newspaper accounts have Champ Briggs admitting on the stand that he had shot (killed?) 15-22 men since he'd moved from Tennessee to the Shelton Laurel community of Madison County. I can only speculate based on the newspaper reports. I can't really judge. It sounds like they both were pretty messed up and caused a lot of trouble and pain.



Greensboro Daily News, Greensboro, NC, 5/7/1912, Pg 1
Homicide In Madison Co.
Champ Briggs Kills Baxter Shelton Over Political Grudge
Asheville, May 6-W.S. Rice, of Madison County, here today told of a homicide in Laurel, No. 2 township, Saturday afternoon, in which Champ Briggs fatally shot Baxter Shelton. The trouble was an old political grudge. The men had agreed to talk the matter over and Shelton handed Briggs his pistol to show friendliness. Rice says that Briggs first fired at the man who was with Shelton, and then fired twice into Shelton, who died instantly. Briggs made no effort to escape. He is in Madison County jail. Both are prominent locally.


Asheville Citizen Times, Asheville, NC, 12/19/1912, Pg 10
Briggs Case Goes To The Jury Today
Some Of The Lawyers Have Presented Arguments
T.S. Rollins, for Prosecution, and Congressman Gudger, for the Defense Remain To Be Heard
Although Superior Court adjourned yesterday from three o'clock until five in the afternoon so that the jury could attend the lecture of William Jennings Bryan, more progress was made in the trial of Champ Briggs, for the alleged murder of Baxter Shelton, than was hoped for by the attorneys at any time before the case was taken up. After several witnesses testified as to the character of the defendent and the deceased, argument was taken up by the attorneys in the case and when court adjourned last night only two attorneys remained to be heard before the jury will received their charge by Judge B.F. Long.
Guy Roberts was the first attorney to address the judy (sic) for the prosecution and for some time he reviewed the testimony of the chief witness, Harmon Gilbert, the only eyewitness to the tragedy. Mr. Roberts emphasized the fact that it had been testified that Briggs had shot Shelton with his own gun.
P.W. McElroy was the first attorney to speak in behalf of the prisoner and Mr. McElroy made an eloquent plea for the man who is charged with the murder of Shelton. Mr. McElroy featured in his speech the testimony of Briggs himself, who swore that he was forced to kill Shelton in self defense.
Solicitor Robert R. Reynolds began his address to the jury before court adjourned at one o'clock and he outlined the law on the subject of self defense. Mr. Reynolds made a plea for the conviction of Briggs upon the grounds that he is one of the most notorious gunmen of the state. He told the jury that in the interests of justice they were under obligations to every citizen of the state to render a verdict of guilty. Mr. Reynolds had not finished his speech when the court adjourned for Bryan's lecture.
When court reconvened at five o'clock the attorneys seemed to be willing to make short addresses and and each of the lawyers summed the points of his argument up very briefly. J.E. Swain followed Mr. Reynolds with a short argument for the defense. W.W. Zachary of Brevard then made an address on the legal side of the self defense question and also took up some of the testimony. Mr. Zachary said there was no plausible grounds for the plea of self defense in the testimony. None of the attorneys seemed to lay particular stress on the testimony of Briggs who testified for several hours in his own behalf. They deprecated the testimony of the defendant, because he was interested in the matter while it was said that Gilbert, the star witness for the state was entirely disinterested. On the other hand the attorneys for the defense claim that Gilbert was an accomplice of Sheltons and came with Shelton to Briggs' home for the purpose of raising trouble.
Thomas S. Rollins will close for the prosecution this morning with the longest of the speeches and Congressman J.M. Gudger will address the jury for the defense. The case will probably go to the jury after the charge by Judge B.F. Long, about noon.


The Lenoir Topic, Lenoir, NC, 12/24/1912, Pg 1
Kept Pistol In His Room At Jail
Asheville, Dec. 18-That Sheriff Buckner of Madison County, allowed him to keep a pistol in his room at the jail, allowed him to eat at the family table and allowed him to drink whiskey whenever he so desired were the startling statements made on the witness stand yesterday by Champ Briggs, who is on trial here for the alleged murder of Baxter Shelton several months ago. Briggs case was transferred to Buncombe County from Madison because the State insisted that he could not get a fair trial in the latter county.
Sheriff Buckner has not yet taken the stand, and so has had no chance to either confirm or deny the charges made by Briggs. Mr. Buckner is the same sheriff who was recently severely reprimanded by Judge Boyd in Federal court here for arresting a witness and taking him back to Madison county before the Federal court had released the witness. At the time Judge Boyd delivered a severe lecture on the rights of State officials to interfere with Federal cases and only a quick apology saved Sheriff Buckner from serious consequences.
Briggs and Shelton quarreled so it is testified, over political differences and it finally led to the killing of Shelton. Briggs on the stand yesterday, claimed that he shot in self defense, although he admitted having shot six other men in the past twenty two years since he moved to Madison county. He says he has shot at about fifteen men in that time.
About fifty witnesses for the defense remain to be heard.





Hickory Democrat, Hickory, NC, 1/2/1913, Pg 2
Champ Briggs, acquitted in Asheville for the killing of Baxter Shelton, of Laurel, Madison County, testified that he was the star boarder at the county jail of Madison as long as he remained there. He said that Sheriff W.M. Buckner allowed him to keep his gun with him in his cell, drink all the whiskey he wanted and eat at the table with the sheriff and his family.


I found one last mention of Baxter Shelton:
https://books.google.com/books/content?
SOUTHEASTERN REPORTER Pg 537
Appeal from criminal court Madison county Ewart Judge James Stanton and Rod Shelton were convicted of murder in the second degree and appeal Affirmed JM Moody for appellant The Attorney General and J M Gudger Jr for the State MONTGOMERY J The indictment is for murder A special venire was ordered and return thereof made The defendants challenged the array on the grounds First that the sheriff had failed to summon several of the special venire drawn from the jury box second that the jury boxes had not been revised by the county commissioners The court properly declined to hear either one of the grounds of objection There was no allegation that the sheriff acted corruptly or with partiality in summoning the venire or that anything had been done affecting the integrity and fairness of the entire panel in State v Whitt 113 NC 716 18 SE 715 a challenge was made to the array one of the grounds being because one of those named in the venire was not summoned The objection was overruled and this court affirmed the ruling of the court below The same point had been decided in State v Hensley 94 NC 1021 in the last named case it was decided that while the county commissioners who had failed to revise the jury list according to law were guilty of neglect highly culpable and the clerk and sheriff were equally negligent in the performance of their respective duties as to the locking custody and safe keeping of the box yet the regulations concerning these matters were directory and not mandatory and that the only essential was to obtain a fair and impartial jury composed of eligible men it was not suggested even in the defendant's objection that any names in the jury box were improperly there or that any had been put there fraudulently or that any had been taken out There was not even a suspicion hinted at that the defenounts might be prejudiced in the trial by reason of the matters stated in the opinion and it does not appear anywhere that they were prejudiced There was no error in the ruling of his honor The first special venire having been exhausted before the jury had been completed the court made an order that another special venire of 30 returnable at once should be summoned Upon the return of this venire the defendants objected on the ground that as the first venire had been drawn from the jury box the court did not have the power to order a second venire to be summoned by the sheriff from the bystanders The objection was overruled and his honor was right in bo doing The statute section 1739 of the Code provides that the judge in his discretion has the power the first venire proving insufficient to order a further venire to be drawn from the box or summoned by the sheriff State v Brogden 111 NC 656 16 SE 170 construes the power of the judge under that statute Exceptions were made by the defendants to the ruling of his honor admitting the testimony of Jamison Chandley George Franklin Hattie Franklin and Baxter Shelton witnesses for the state Chandley had testified at considerable length when the defendants counsel objected without specifying what part of the evidence he objected to He was informed by the solicitor that the object of the testimony was to show a conspiracy between the defendants to assault and beat deceased or to kill him The witness then continued his testimony at great length when objection was again made because there was no conspiracy charged in the indictment and the conspiracy ought to be shown first before any circumstances were admissible and the defendants objected to this whole evidence on that line as given so far The witness still proceeded at length when defendants objected to all this testimony if made to show a conspiracy The witness in the beginning of his testimony leading up to the meeting of the parties an hour or so before the homicide occurred stated some immaterial things of no harm to the defendants without objection As he proceeded he narrated facts and circumstances strongly going to show a conspiracy between the defendants to assault and beat the deceased The witness was also an eyewitness to the killing and gave the details with clearness and in an intelligent manner We have read his testimony and we fail to see that it was objectionable if however it had contained objectionable matter the defendants ought to have pointed out from the general mass of the whole evidence the parts that were alleged to be obnoxious

Pg 538 SOUTHEASTERN REPORTER
Earnhardt v Smith 8C NC 473 the then Chief Justice Smith said for the court As a rule of practice a party Is not allowed to except generally to testimony severable Into distinct parts some of which are competent and others not and afterwards single out and assign as error the admission of the Incompetent parts The exception as embracing the whole testimony must be valid or it will not oe sustained It Is not erroneous to refuse to rule out a volume of testimony when portions of it ougut to be received and therefore the salutary rule of practice prevails which requires that th e obnoxious evidence should be specifically pointed out and brought to the notice of the court in order to a direct ruling on its reception This ruling was affirmed In Smiley v Pearce 98 NC 185 3 SE 631 and In Hammond v Schlff 100 NC 175 6 SE 753 The objections to the testimony of the other state witnesses named above were made in the same manner as were those made to Chandley's evidence generally without specifying the parts alleged to be objectionable and for the reasons given for overruling the exceptions to Chandley's evidence the objections to the testimony of the other witnesses were properly overruled We have examined the whole of it however and we are of opinion that It was competent and almost all of It relevant Of course in a large volume of testimony like that which was brought out in this case there must creep in some tautology and prolixity about Immaterial and Irrelevant matters The state also Introduced one Blankenship as a witness for the purpose of proving the conspiracy between the defendants who testified as follows He, that is Rod Shelton the defendant, did not UU what he did. Rod and I were in Jail together and Rod told me that they had been his destruction and ruin forever. He said that he met Bev Stanton, Jim Stanton, and Boss Stanton in the road somewhere near the church and he had been up the creek and had started home and they begged him to come back up the creek and go with them to hunt these boys Baxter and Everett Shelton to get into an affray with them and he said that he turned and went back with them and that was his destruction and ruin. James Stanton the other defendant was not present when this conversation took place. His honor received this testimony as against both defendants and against their objection. Of course the testimony was competent against the defendant Shelton for all purposes. It was not competent against Stanton the other defendant it being a declaration made after the homicide and if the jury had convicted him of murder in the first degree he would be entitled to a new trial The testimony was harmless however because they were convicted of murder in the second degree and by this verdict the jury declared that the conspiracy had not been proved and there was not more than a scintilla of evidence n favor of Stanton going to show excusable homicide Stanton himself in his testimony making statements which alone would have justified the jury In convicting him of murder In the second degree and no witness who saw the killing had a favorable word for him Six special instructions were prayed by the defendants There appear in the case no exceptions to the charge of the Judge nor doe it appear what ruling was made on the request for special Instructions The fourth prayer requesting the court to withdraw the testimony of Blankenship from the Jury was not granted as we notice it in the recapitulation of the evidence by his honor to the jury but as we have before remarked the error in admitting that testimony was harmless On all the other questions involved in the prayer for Instructions his honor's charge was full and in accordance with the law He submitted the question of excusable homicide to the Jury which we doubt if the prisoner Stanton was entitled to There is no error and the judgment la affirmed.




The Charlotte News, Charlotte, NC, 9/28/1913, Pg 17
Sylvania Hensley has been appointed postmaster at Carmen, Madison county, to succeed Champ Briggs who was removed.



Now what happened to Ida Bell Franklin? She got into trouble herself. I found these newspaper reports. In the articles it states that Ida Bell Franklin was a "fast friend" of Persada Shelton until they both fell in love with the same man.  But if this is the same Ida Franklin, Ida Bell Franklin was born 1875 and Persada Shelton was born 1891 so there was 16 years difference in their ages.

Persada Shelton was born 5/2/1891 in Madison County, NC to John Robert Shelton, Jr. (DOB 3/16/1862 in Madison County, NC; DOD 3/14/1937 in Madison County, NC) and Nancy Gentry (DOB 12/25/1865 in NC; DOD 12/24/1931 in ? ). Persada Shelton's named was misspelled many different ways such as Parzada Shelton, Parseda Shelton, Parseada Shelton, Pardeza Shelton, Persadia Shelton. If you look back in this post you will see her father mentioned earlier, John Robert Shelton, Jr. was the son of John Robert Shelton, Sr. who was the son of David Eli Shelton.









Ida Bell Franklin survived Persada Shelton's attack and a child with unknown father named Nebie S. Franklin on 4/26/1902 but he died 10/9/1910. Persada Shelton married Carl Shelton on 6/22/1912 in Craven County. Carl was born 12/8/1892 and died of pneumonia on 4/27/1955 in Lynchburg, VA.  Persada Shelton died 12/29/1969 in Lynchburg, VA.

1930 U.S. Census of Laurel, Madison, North Carolina; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0017; FHL microfilm: 2341438, "Ida Franklin"
Ida Franklin, Head, Owns farm, F(emale), W(hite), 54 yrs old (DOB 1876), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in TN, Farmer

North Carolina, Death Indexes, 1908-2004
Name: Ida B Franklin
Race: White
Age: 56
Date of Birth: 1886
Date of Death: 8 Nov 1942
Death County: Madison
Death State: North Carolina
Source Vendor: NC State Archives. North Carolina Deaths, 1908-67

I couldn't find her death certificate.

FindAGrave.com
Ida B Franklin
BIRTH 14 Oct 1875
DEATH 8 Nov 1942 (aged 67)
BURIAL Franklin Family Cemetery, Madison County, North Carolina, USA
MEMORIAL ID 111687227


What caused Baxter Sheldon to follow the road of violence? Madison County, NC and it's adjacent Tennessee county of Greene, were in the western NC and eastern TN mountains. The Shelton Laurel area straddled the county lines with some parts in Buncombe County too. And in these mountain counties, Shelton Laurel was known for being particularly remote and isolated. The area was covered with dense laurel bushes. A lot of violence happened there and it was also famous for the Shelton Laurel Massacre during the War of Northern Aggression. Madison County was called Bloody Madison because of it's history of violence. Shelton Laurel was considered the dark corner of the county and this story displays a lot of violence. But from these newspaper articles, it seems Baxter Shelton and Champ Briggs were known to be the bad of the bad as it were. I would love to know about their family life or events in their lives that sent them in such violent directions and how they seemed to get away with it. If anyone has any corrections or further information about William Baxter Shelton, please contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thriller Thursday - Clark Norton Kills Benjamin Franklin

These people are not related to any of our lines but I came across this story and found it interesting.


Clark Norton was born 5/10/1881 in Madison County, NC to Martin Richard Norton (DOB 7/13/1839 in Madison County, NC; DOD 1/12/1924 in Greeneville, Greene County, TN) and Lavina "Viney" Chandler (DOB 1/16/1849 in Madison County, NC; DOD 5/8/1927 in Greene County, TN).


Shelton Laurel area


I found these photos online about Shelton Laurel and hiking some trails there. I thought these showed how dense the mountain laurel could be which is where the area gets it's name and why it was remote and isolated. During the War of Northern Aggression there could be snipers and men behind every bush.


1900 U.S. Census of Shelton Laurel, Madison, North Carolina; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0074; FHL microfilm: 1241205, "Martin Norton"
Martin Norton, Head, W(hite), M(ale), Born July, 1836, 63 yrs old, Married 34 yrs, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer, Can read, Cannot write, Owns farm free of mortgage
Vinnie Norton, Wife, W, F, Born Jan, 1848, 52 yrs old, Married 34 yrs, 12 children with 10 still living, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Can read and cannot write
Mary Norton, Daughter, W, F, Born Apr, 1879, 21 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Can read and cannot write
Line E. Norton (sic), Daughter, W, F, Born Feb, 1880, 20 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Can read and cannot write
Ambers Norton, Son, W, M, Born Nov, 1882, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Clark Norton, Son, W, M, Born May, 1884, 16 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
George W. Norton, Daughter (sic), W, M, Born Nov, 1886, 13 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Armedy Rice, Granddaughter, W, F, Born Jan, 1898, 2 yrs old, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC

Clark Norton had a child with Vinnie Norton. Vinnie Norton was born Abt. 1882 in Madison County, NC to John Norton and Samantha Talton (aka Samantha Tarlton). The child was raised by her maternal grandmother:

1) Samantha Norton (DOB 5/1/1903 in Madison County, NC; DOD 1/3/1991 in Cocke County, TN) married Dillard Franklin (aka Dellard Franklin) (DOB 6/18/1900 in NC; DOD 7/19/1973 in Parrotsville, Cocke County, TN)

Vinnie Norton went on to marry Joseph "Joe" Cantrell on 4/23/1908 in Madison County, NC. Joseph Cantrell was born 4/1888 in NC and died 5/9/1940 in Madison County, NC.


The Charlotte News, Charlotte, NC, 11/13/1907
He Went For Sweetheart With Marriage License And Revolver In Hand
Sensational Murder Over Love Affair is Reported From White Rock, N.C., Parties From Prominent Families
Within a Half Hour After Young Clarke Norton Had Killed His Rival He and Girl Were Married
By Associated Press
Asheville, N.C., Nov 13-Further particulars of the killing of young William Franklin (sic), at White Rock, N.C., by Clarke Norton, both of whom were members of well-known families, state that Norton went to the home of George Franklin where Elizabeth Gentry, over whom the killing was about, lived.
He had a marriage license and a revolver.
After killing Franklin, his rival for Miss Gentry's hand, whom he found at her house, Norton and Miss Gentry left for a nearby minister, and were married within a half hour afterward.
Norton was not arrested until the following morning, when he was taken to the jail at Marshall, N.C.
He was accompanied by his bride, who begged to be allowed to go to jail with him, but was refused.
The bride is a pretty 17-year-old girl.


The North Carolinian, Raleigh, NC, 11/14/1907, Pg 3
Sunday Homicide
Both In Love With Same Girl
Clerk Norton (sic, Clark Norton) Kills Benjamin Franklin, Both Young and of Highly Respected Madison County Families
Asheville, N.C., Nov. 11-News was received here this afternoon of another homicide in Madison County. The killing occurred last evening at the home of George Franklin at White Rock in the Shelton Laurel section. It seems that two young men, Clerk Norton (sic) and Benj. Franklin, were paying attention to a young lady, Miss Gentry, guest at the home of George Franklin and there they met last evening, when young Norton, it is alleged, through jealousy, shot and killed Franklin.
Franklin was twenty-two years of age while Norton, the slayer, is scarcely eighteen. Norton was arrested. Full particulars of the affair could not be learned as the scene of the killing is some sixteen or eighteen miles from Marshall. Both men, it is said, are of well known and highly respected families.

The Wilmington Morning Star, Wilmington, NC, 11/13/1907, Pg 4


The Asheville Weekly Citizen, Asheville, NC, 11/14/1907, Pg 5


The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC, 11/15/1907, Pg 10
Slayer of Ben Franklin Refuses to Make a Statement
Asheville, Nov. 15-A Telephone message from Marshall this afternoon said that efforts to secure a statement from Clark Norton, the 18-year-old slayer of Ben Franklin, now in the Marshall jail, have been futile; that Norton's attorneys had advised him not to talk. It is understood, however, that the accused will plead self defense.
Norton shot and killed Ben Franklin Sunday evening at the home of George Franklin, in Madison county. He had gone to Franklin's home for the purpose of marrying a young lady at the home and there met Ben Franklin. Trouble ensued and Norton killed Franklin, afterwards during the night carrying out his previous intentions of marrying the young woman of his choice.

The French Broad News, Marshall, NC, 5/7/1908, Pg 3


The French Broad News, Marshall, NC, 8/27/1908, Pg 2
Clark Norton, murder. This was the killing of Ben Franklin on Shelton Laurel some months ago. Norton entered plea of nolo contendre and was sentenced to the roads 18 months.

Madison County Record, Marshall, NC, 8/28/1908, Pg 5


He killed his rival and married the girl all in the same night. As you can see from the record below that the girl was Daisy Gentry.

North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011
Name: Clark Norton
Gender: Male
Race: White
Age: 22
Birth Year: abt 1885
Marriage Date: 10 Nov 1907
Marriage Place: Madison, North Carolina, USA
Spouse: Daisy Gentry
Spouse Gender: Female
Spouse Race: White
Spouse Age: 22
Event Type: Marriage


Daisy C. Gentry was born 9/1884 in NC to Lucinda "Lucy" Gentry (DOB 11/8/1846 in Buncombe County, NC; DOD 7/8/1930 in Flat Creek, Buncombe County, NC) and an unknown father. In fact, Lucinda had 3 children with unknown father. The other two were Thomas Edgar Gentry (DOB 6/4/1882 in NC; DOD 4/5/1969 in Weaverville, Buncombe County, NC) and Ruby L. Gentry (DOB 10/1888 in NC; DOD ? in ? ). Lucinda Gentry was the daughter of John Homes Gentry and Sarah Bale or Sarah Ball.

Despite murdering Benjamin Franklin, Clark Norton only got 18 months "on the Buncombe roads". This meant he had to work in the chain gang that worked on the roads. It seems the marriage didn't last long as he is back living with his parents in the 1910 U.S. Census. But they no longer live in Shelton Laurel, Madison County, NC. Maybe Clark Norton was no longer welcome in the community there or they were afraid the Franklin family would retaliate.

1910 U.S. Census of Civil District 2, Cocke, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1494; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0037; FHL microfilm: 1375507, "Martin Norton"
Martin Norton, Head, M(ale), W(hite), 72 yrs old, 2nd marriage, Married 40 yrs, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer, Cannot read and write, Rents farm
Lavina Norton, Wife, F, W, 60 yrs old, 1st marriage, Married 40 yrs, 11 children with 9 still living, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Cannot read or write
Clark Norton, Son, M, W, 23 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Laborer on home farm, Can read and write
Meta Rice, Granddaughter, F, W, 13 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Winson Norton, Grandson, M, W, 14 yrs old, Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC

As far as Daisy Gentry is concerned, I found a "Daisy Norton" (her married name) marrying a J.N. Epley on 1/23/1908 in Buncombe County, NC. She and Clark got married 11/10/1907, and she remarried on 1/23/1908, that would be a pretty fast turnaround. Maybe the Daisy Norton who married J.N. Epley wasn't the same Daisy? I couldn't really be sure and there were other Daisies. Therefore I didn't follow her any further. It's possible that she got an annulment or quick divorce if it seemed that Clark forced her to marry him?

Clark Norton next married Eliza Franklin. Yep, he killed a Ben Franklin at a George Franklin home over Daisy Gentry and then married a Franklin!

Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1780-2002
Name: Liza Franklin
Gender: Female
Marriage Date: 25 Feb 1911
Marriage Place: Greene, Tennessee, USA
Spouse: Clark Marton (sic, Clark Norton)

Liza Franklin was born 6/8/1871 in Madison County, NC to James Henry Franklin and Emaline Gentry.

TN Death Certificate #30, Registration District #43003, Registered #6, Eliza Norton, DOD 2/25/1914 in Greeneville, Greene County, TN
Female, White, DOB 1/15/1884 in NC, 30 yrs old
Occupation: Housewife
Father: Henry Franklin, born in NC
Mother: Emaline Gentry, born in NC
Informant: Henry Franklin, Greeneville, TN
DOD 2/25/1914
Cause of death: "Dr. Ed Bell of Greeneville treated this case. No certificate turned in"
Burial: 2/26/1914 in Cocke County, TN

We have no idea how Clark's 2nd wife died as the death certificate is unusual. I have seen other death certificates that say, generally, "no physician in attendance". But this death certificate doesn't say that. It says, "Dr. Ed Bell of Greeneville treated this case". So a doctor was in the loop but he didn't fill out a death certificate. Why? There is a medical code #205 which may be "heart failure". She was only 30 yrs old. Very sad.

FindAGrave.com
Eliza Franklin Norton
BIRTH 8 Jun 1871
DEATH 26 Feb 1914 (aged 42)
BURIAL White Cemetery, Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee, USA
MEMORIAL ID 14619263


Clark Norton married a 3rd time to Matilda "Tildey" Shelton on 1/23/1915 in Cocke County, TN. Matilda Shelton was born 1/7/1895 in NC to Willard and Angeline Shelton.

Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1780-2002
Name: Matilda Shelton
Gender: Female
Marriage Date: 23 Jan 1915
Marriage Place: Cocke, Tennessee, USA
Spouse: Clark Norton

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Tennessee; Registration County: Cocke; Roll: 1852930
Serial #230, Order #333, 41-1-10C
Clark Norton
Rt 3, Parrotsville, Cocke County, TN
DOB 5/10/1881, 36 yrs old
White
Farmer for self
Nearest relative: Matilda Norton (wife), Rt 3, Parrotsville, Cocke County, TN
Medium Height, Slender Build, Blue Eyes, Dark Hair
Signed by him on 9/12/1918


Clark Norton and Matilda Shelton had 4 children:

1) Carrie Mae Norton (DOB 3/1916 in Cocke County, TN; DOD ? in ? ) married W.M. Parton

2) Vina "Viney" Norton (DOB 3/17/1917 in Newport, Cocke County, TN; DOD 12/24/2007 in Marshall, Madison County, NC) married Elmer Gunter.

3) Jessie Norton (DOB 6/12/1918 in Cocke County, TN; DOD 6/20/1979 in Greene County, TN) married Herbert Franklin and Donald Calvin Gunter.

4) Martin E. Norton (DOB 8/4/1919 in Cocke County, TN; DOD 7/31/2000 in Greene County, TN) married Sadie Opal Norton.

1920 U.S. Census of Civil District 2, Cocke, Tennessee; Roll: T625_1733; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 40, "Clark Norton"
Clark Norton, Head, Owned farm, M(ale), W(hite), 37 yrs old (DOB 1883), Married, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer
Matilda Norton, Wife, F, W, 25 yrs old (DOB 1895), Married, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Carrie Mae Norton, Daughter, F, W, 3 yrs old (DOB 1917), Born in TN, Both parents born in NC
Vina Norton, Daughter, F, W, 2 yrs old, Single, Born in TN, Both parents born in NC
Jessie Norton, Daughter, F, W, 1 yr old, Born in TN, Both parents born in NC
Martin Norton, Son, M, W, 6/12 mos old, Born in TN, Both parents born in NC

Matilda Shelton Norton died at just 26 yrs old.

TN Death Certificate #410, Registration District #41502, File #410, Registered #30, Matilda Norton, DOD 12/16/1921 in Parrotsville, Cocke County, NC
Female, White, Married, DOB 1/7/1895 in NC, 26 yrs old
Occupation: Housewife
Father: Willard Shelton, born in NC
Mother: Angeline Shelton, born in NC
Informant: Angeline Shelton, Parrotsville, TN
DOD 12/16/1921
Cause of death: Puerperal fever (septic fever)
Buried: 12/16/1921 in St. James

So Clark Norton married a 4th time to Mary E. Ricker on 9/5/1922 in Greene County, TN.

FindAGrave.com
Matilda Shelton Norton
BIRTH 1894
DEATH 1920 (aged 25–26)
BURIAL White Cemetery, Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee, USA
MEMORIAL ID 102206906

Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1780-2002
Name: Clark Norton
Gender: Male
Marriage Date: 5 Sep 1922
Marriage Place: Greene, Tennessee, USA
Spouse: Mary Ricker

Clark Norton and Mary Ricker Norton had 2 children:

1) Ruby Irene Norton (DOB 12/19/1923 in Newport, Cocke County, TN; DOD 1/9/1996 in Madison County, NC)

2) Amarada Norton (DOB 2/1/1926 in Greene County, TN; DOD 10/31/2008 in Newport, Cocke County, TN)

1930 U.S. Census of District 2, Cocke, Tennessee; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0005; FHL microfilm: 2341972, "Clark L. Norton"
Clark L. Norton, Head, Owns farm, M(ale), W(hite), 52 yrs old, Married at 22 yrs old, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer
Marry Norton (sic), Wife, F, W, 46 yrs old, Married 28 yrs old, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN
Carry M. Norton, Daughter, F, W, 16 yrs old, Single, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN
Vina A. Norton, Daughter, F, W, 15 yrs old, Single, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN
Jessie Norton, Daughter, F, W, 12 yrs old, Single, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN
Martin E. Norton, Son, M, W, 10 yrs old, Single, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN
Ruby Norton, Daughter, F, W, 5 yrs old, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN
Amarada Norton, Daughter, F, W, 3 yrs old, Born in TN, Father born in NC, Mother born in TN

1940 U.S. Census of Greene, Tennessee; Roll: m-t0627-03896; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 30-3, "Clark Norton"
Clark Norton, Head, M(ale), W(hite), 56 yrs old, Married, Attended school thru 3rd grade, Born in NC, Lived in the same place in 1935, Farmer
Mary Norton, Wife, F, W, 52 yrs old, Married, Attended school thru 1st grade, Born in TN, Lived in the same place in 1935
Ruby Norton, Daughter, F, W, 16 yrs old, Single, Attended school thru 3rd grade, Born in TN, Lived in the same place in 1935
Amarada Norton, Daughter, F, W, 14 yrs old, Single, Attended school thru 1st grade, Born in TN, Lived in the same place in 1935
Emery Norton, Hired hand, M, W, 24 yrs old, Divorced, Attended school thru 2nd grade, Born in TN, Lived in the same place in 1935, common laborer

Mary Ricker Norton died 5/27/1959 at the age of 68 yrs old. This time Clark Norton had managed to stay married 37 yrs!

NC Death Certificate #12023, Registration District #11-95, Mary Norton, DOD 5/27/1959 in Mission Hospital, Asheville, Buncombe County, NC
Usual residence: Paint Rock, Madison County, NC
Female, White, Married, DOB 6/5/1890 in TN, 68 yrs old
Father: Columbus Ricker, Mother: Unknown (Susan Catherine Davis), Spouse: Clark Norton, Informant: Amarada Norton, Paint Rock, NC
DOD 5/27/1959 at 23:45am
Cause of death: Ventricular fibrillation due to congestive heart failure
Buried: 5/29/1959 in Cedar Creek, Greeneville, Greene County, TN

FindAGrave.com
Mary Ricker Norton
BIRTH 5 Jun 1888
DEATH 27 May 1959 (aged 70)
BURIAL Cedar Creek Cemetery, Cedar Creek, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
MEMORIAL ID 70862909

He may have married a 5th time as Clark Norton lived to 1973 and he had never been without a woman more than a year in his life. Clark Norton died 1/1973 in Greene County, TN.

U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
Name: Clark Norton
SSN: ***********
Last Residence: 37743 Greeneville, Greene, Tennessee, USA
BORN: 10 May 1881
Died: Jan 1973
State (Year) SSN issued: Tennessee (1965)

FindAGrave.com
Clark Norton
BIRTH 1884
DEATH 1973 (aged 88–89)
BURIAL White Cemetery, Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee, USA
MEMORIAL ID 14619280

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