Mollie Hill, or Mollie Wilson, which you please, a notorious
person of the female persuasion, taken up yesterday for being
drunk and disorderly, was before Justice Peters. Case is in
progress as we go to press.
|Daily Davenport Democrat,
Thursday, February 8, 1872, page 1.
Messenger; Defendant charged with defending himself with a
razor from the dangerous assaults of a hag who insisted on
becoming a member of his household. It appears that the
defendant defended himself too much, and upon plea of guilty
was fined $50.00 and cost.
|The Daily Gazette, February
9, 1872, page 4.
The case of the State
against James Messenger indicted for assault to commit great
bodily injury, was called. Last fall James from a hunt, one
Sunday, and got into a quarrel with his wife and a white woman
who domiciled with them. He seized a razor and just as the
white woman was going through the window he grabbed her arm
slashing manner. He plead guilty and was fined $50 and cost.
|The Daily Gazette, Thursday Morning, June 27, 1872, page
THE JAIL REGISTER
Mr. C. H. Leonard, Jailor, informs
that the following persons are now confined in our jail, on
the various changes specified:
|Mollie Hill, breaking
On the above....and the rest are in for short
terms of a few days each.
|Davenport Gazette, Wednesday
Morning, August 13, 1873, page 4.
Jim Messenger Shoots Joe Wilson Through the
A Lone Woman the Only Witness--Full Particulars--Arrest
Considerable excitement was
created down town between nine and ten o'clock last night, by
the killing of a colored man named Joseph Wilson by a negro
named James Messenger. The tragedy occurred on Fourth Street,
just East of the southeast corner of Harrison.
In an old,
low,, one story, frame building, one door east of Harrison
Street, lives a colored woman, Emiline Wilson, a widow, for
all she knows, for her husband left her years ago, and she has
never heard from him since. Wilson boarded with her, and
though of the same name, was none of her kin. She gets her
living by washing and by supply board to colored men who apply
to her for meals. Wilson has been her only boarder lately. She
was the sole witness of the tragedy, and tells the
as if she knew every particular.
that Messenger came to her house with washing, and sat down on
the door step and entered into a conversation with her, and
finally fell into rather harsh talk about colored preachers
raising money for churches. Wilson was on a lounge in the back
part of the room, and spoke up and told Messenger not to talk
so loud, as he was tired and wanted to sleep--adding that Jim
was in a "mighty poor business talking about preachers and
churches, anyhow." Messenger replied he wasn't talking to him.
Wilson responded that it didn't make any difference, his talk
disturbed him--he had been working hard all day, wanted to
sleep, and wished he would go away. Messenger replied that he
wouldn't go away for him. Wilson jumped from the lounge,
saying he would see about that, and started for "Jim." The
latter ran to the front gate, about twenty feet from the door,
crying "keep back or I will kill you,' If you come I will kill
you," and then turned east on the sidewalk, Wilson still
pursuing. Wilson turned on the walk at the gate, ran a few
steps, when Messenger, who was in front of the next
house--being some twenty-five feet from his pursuer--turned
and fired a pistol. All this while--but two or three
minutes--Mrs. Wilson stood at the door. Wilson , came thought
the gate, and in thick tones told her to run for a doctor as
soon as she could. She ran past him, and hastened to the
office of French & Grant, on Third Street, near Brady, and
summoned Dr. Grant, who hurried with her to her house. Nobody
was there, and it was dark. The doctor saw a man reclining
against a seat at the side of the door, a dog standing over
him and licking his face--it was Wilson's dog. Mrs. W. brought
a light, and the doctor saw at once that Wilson was dead. The
bosom of the deceased was bared, and right over the heart was
a red spot no bigger than a buck shot would make. The wound
was probed, but he ball was not touched; it had sunk into the
heart and stopped its beating.
In a moment two or three
white neighbors were at the place, and they carried Wilson
into the house. Then
arrived, and scores came
flocking into the yard and into the house, all anxious to get
a look at the murdered man. All that was known of Messenger
was that he had crossed the street, and fled in the darkness.
was about thirty years of age. He has
lived in Davenport for six years, working as a teamster, or
whatever he could find to do. He was powerfully built, strong
as an ox, and an over match for Messenger, who was afraid of
him. Latterly he was in the employ of Mr. Marsh Noe, as hob
carrier, and worked all yesterday at his occupation. He
complained of being very tired when he returned to Mrs.
Wilson's, and undoubtedly he was worried in his attempt to
sleep by Messenger's talk in the open door of the room in
which he was lying. He never was known to be rowdyish; the
only thing against him being his marriage, some three or four
years ago, to the notorious white prostitute, "Dixie," alias
Mollie Wilson, who has given the police of the city any amount
of trouble, and who is said to have died at Hannibal in June.
Wilson separated from her early last year. Wilson had no
relatives in the city.
is pretty well
known in the city. He is hardly of medium height, and quite
black, and has become noted for his facility in acquiring the
use of foreign languages. He came to Davenport in '66 or '67,
having been a slave in Alabama, and then a soldier in a black
regiment in the Union army. He had about $800 when he arrived
here, and made his greenbacks fly until they were all gone. He
has been whitewasher, chore men, anything to make an honest
living. He had not been here a year before he could speak
German fluently, and could speak French tolerable well. This
while he could bearably read and could not write. He had
considerable trouble on account of his domestic relations. Two
or three years ago he returned to his home, above Fifth Street
in the west end of town, after working in the country, and
found a white woman of bad character domiciled with his wife.
A quarrel ensued, and Jim attached the intruder with a razor,
inflicting dangerous wounds. For this he was in jail for a
long time. Last spring he separated from his wife. She had
given him a pounding with an iron rod, wounding him in one eye
and nearly blinding him. While he was laid up with this injury
she gave him a beating with a club, he put for his life, and
never returned to his strong-armed companion. For several
months he has been driving team for the marble house of McCosh
and Donahoe. Messenger was
last night between
11 and 12 o'clock by officers Feid and Niles, who found him in
the barn of Mr. Donahue, on an alley, north of Eleventh,
between Main and Harrison Streets. He had previously
surrendered his revolver--a small Smith and Wesson--to Mr.
Donahue, to whom he said he had some trouble. His first
inquiry of the officers was "Will they hang me?" He stated
that Wilson abused him, and threatened to whip him; that he
was no match for Wilson, who would have pounded him nearly to
death; that he wasn't as good as Wilson on a tune and fired in
will be held over the body of
Wilson this morning by Coroner Tomson.
Davenport Democrat, Wednesday, August 13, 1873, page 1.
James Messenger Kills Joe Wilson
High Words, Threats, Oaths, and then a Pistol
The Murderer Arrested--Inquest
on the Body of Wilson--
The Testimony and Verdict--Burial of
the Body--The Trail.
Many times has
the name of James Messenger, a rather noted colored man,
appeared in these columns in connection with police court
reports. His deeds, miss-deeds and misfortunes used to be
periodical, and were of such a nature as to detail
considerable punishment, in nearly all cases upon himself. Now
he appears in a new role, that of a murderer, and his deed is
the sensation and talk of the day to day.
Last evening about eight o'clock he left the house of Mr. John
Donahue, on Twelfth Street, where he worked, and went to the
house of Mrs. Emiline Wilson, on Fourth Street, near the
corner of Harrison, taking some clothes along to be washed.
Arriving at her house he sat down on a bench near the door,
and commenced talking to Mrs. Wilson, getting into a animated
discussion, and no doubt talking loud and earnestly. In the
house lying upon a lounge, was a colored man named Joseph
Wilson, who boarded with Mrs. Wilson. The two, although of the
same name, were not related. Not long before, Wilson had
returned from his work, and was very tired. He was trying to
sleep and the loud talking outside annoyed him. He ordered
Messenger and Mrs. Wilson to stop. Messenger replied that he
would not go for him. Then Wilson got up from the lounge, came
to Messenger, and led him out to the sidewalk. Then Messenger
cried : "I will kill you, God d--n you; I will shoot you."
Wilson did not seem to take much notice of Messenger's words,
or did not believe that he would shoot or words to that
effect. But Messenger did shoot; he drew a revolver, and a
moment afterwards a pistol report was heard. Wilson slowly
turned to the house; and staggered in and fell upon the floor.
He told Mrs. Wilson to run for a doctor and this was the last
time he spoke. When Mrs. Wilson and the doctor got back,
Joseph Wilson was dead.
The ball entered Wilson's left arm
striking the heart, and the only wonder is that death did not
happen sooner than it did.
alarm spread. A murder has not occurred in Davenport for
several years and a feeling of horror and curiosity and
excited. Officers Niles and Feid also appeared, but Messenger
could not be found about the place. He was captured
however, about eleven o'clock, in the stable of Mr.
Donahue's place. While under arrest he asked questions
of the officers, and did not know until told by them
that Wilson was dead. He was lodged in jail, where he
will remain until his examination, which will take
place tomorrow afternoon before Justice Kaufmann.
as held upon the body of Wilson
early this morning by Coroner Tomson. Messes. Gildea, H. Korn,
and W. Burcher acted as a jury. The testimony obtained at the
inquest is as follows:
||The person whose body lies here is Joe
Wilson, no relation of mine. I have known him
ever since he came out of the army and he
boarded with me. He was a hob-carrier. A
little past six o'clock last evening I came
home and found Joe in the house. Soon after,
about eight o'clock, James Messenger came to
the house with his clothes for me to wash. He
was talking to me about his clothes not being
washed clean. Joe Wilson was still lying on
the lounge. Joe says to James 'I am tired as I
have worked hard; I want you to go away; I
can't take my rest there is so much talking."
I think that was about nine o'clock. James
said: "I am not hurting you, and I will not
go." Joe said "I will see if you will not go,"
and he got up from the lounge and put on his
pants, and took him by the arm, and put him
outside the gate on the sidewalk. James said,
"I will shoot you, G-d d--n you; I will kill
said, "I'll see whether you will shoot me," and stamped his
foot as though he was coming at him. James fired at him, and
he came back towards the house and told me to go for the
doctor. I got Dr. French. When we got back to the house Joe
James Messenger is said to be a bad man. I never
knew that there was any trouble between the two men. Joe was
outside on the sidewalk at the time when he was shot. Joe did
not strike him at all. He made his home here.
||Last evening a little past eight o'clock,
I heard a shot.
|I am city policeman. Last evening, about
nine o'clock, soon after the shooting I came
to the house and learned that the man was
dead. Them Niles and myself started to find
Messenger. We found him up in Donahue's stable
on Twelfth street, between Main and Harrison.
After the arrest he acknowledged that he fired
a shot at Joe Wilson, and gave me the revolver
that he did it with, and asked us if he had
hurt him any. We told him that he had killed
him; then asked us if he would be hung for it.
We told him no and he said Joe Wilson came
after him with a club. He said he would have
got the worst of it if he had not fired.
||Joe Wilson did not have a club or anything
in his hands at the time of this trouble.
|The person whose body lies here is named
Joe. I did not know his last name. He worked
for me for ten days past. I owe him $4. He was
a good, peaceful man.
Yesterday evening about half past eight o'clock,
I left Mr. Donahue's residence, and came down to Mrs. Wilson's
on Fourth Street. I took some things to her to wash and iron
for me. I sat down on a bench against the outside of the
house. Mrs. W. and I were talking. Joseph Wilson was lying
down in the room on a lounge. Mrs. Wilson said he wished we
d--d niggers would shut up our d--d mouths, and not be talking
so much. He threatened to pitch me out of the yard.
After hearing the testimony as given above the
jury returned the following verdict:
|State of Iowa
An inquisition holden at Davenport, August 13,
1873 before me, J. J. Tomson, coroner, and the jurors whose
names are hereunto subscribed, upon the body of Joe Wilson,
there lying dead, the said jury upon oath do say that the said
Joseph Wilson came to his death as about the hour of 9
o'clock, P.M., August 13, 1873, from effects of a pistol shot
received from the hands of James Messenger.
H. V. Gildea
|THE TWO MEN.
Messenger's victim, was about thirty years of age. He was a
peaceable and quite man, and was generally liked by the
colored community. Of Messenger so much cannot be said. He has
a bad reputation; has been in numberless quarrels, and has
figured quite extensively in our police courts. He maintains
and declares that he shot in self defense, and that if he had
not killed Wilson, Wilson would probably have killed him. This
will probably be the main point made in defense, and the fact
of Wilson's following Messenger out upon the sidewalk will be
of great advantage to the defense.
on Fourth Street, where the body of Wilson lay, was visited
during this morning by hundreds of people, white and black.
The body lay upon the floor just where it fell; and on account
of the warm weather it presented an unpleasant appearance. The
funeral occurred this afternoon at two o'clock, the body being
interred in the City Cemetery, below town.
Davenport Gazette, Thursday Morning, August 14, 1873, page 4.
THE WILSON HOMICIDE.
The Evidence--Messenger's Statement--The Verdict.
Yesterday morning at 7 o'clock Coroner
Tomson opened an inquest over the body of Joe Wilson, whose
death on Tuesday evening by a ball though the heart form a
pistol in the hands of James Messenger, was fully detailed in
yesterday's Gazette. The Jury men were Messrs. H. Gildea, H.
Korn and W Bender.
The first witness sworn was Mrs. Emiline
Wilson, at whose home, near Fourth and Harrison Streets, the
war of words between Wilson and Messenger commenced. Her
evidence was similar to the statement she made to our reporter
on the night of the tragedy and given in the Gazette, save
that she omitted the talk between the two concerning preachers
and churches, and added the fact that Messenger, instead of
running out of the yard when Wilson arose from the lounge to
approach him, was caught by Wilson and actually put outside
the yard. Then
James said, "I will shoot you, G--d d--n
you; I will kill you." Joe said, "I will see whether you will
shoot me," and stamped his foot as though he was running at
him. James fired at him. Joe came back towards the house and
told me to go for the doctor. I got Dr. French. (Dr. Grant was
called.) When we got back to the house Joe was dead. James
Messenger is said to be a bad man. I never know that there was
any trouble between the two men. Joe was outside on the
sidewalk at the time when he was shot. Joe did not strike him
at all. He made his home here. Joe Wilson did not have a club
or anything in his hands at the time of this trouble.
Schaeffer, grocer, corner of Fourth and Harrison Streets,
testified to hearing the pistol shot.
Policeman Feid gave
particulars of the arrest of Messenger, in the barn of his
employer, Mr. Donahue--same as the statement given in
Mr. Marsh Noe testified that Wilson
had worked for him for the past ten days, and that he was a
good, peaceful man.
The Coroner and jury then proceeded to
the jail, where
|MESSENGER MADE A STATEMENT,
the most part, corresponded almost exactly with the statements
made by Mrs. Wilson at her house on Tuesday evening.
|Yesterday evening about half-past eight I came
down to Mrs. Wilson's, corner 4th and Harrison. She had been
doing my washing off and on for many a year, and I had taken a
shirt and linen coat for her to do up. Sat down after I had
taken in my washing. She has just got home. I sat down on the
bench at the side of the door, and was talking with Mrs.
Wilson. Mr. Wilson was lying in the front room on a lounge,
while we were sitting talking. Wilson said he wished we d--d
niggers outside there would shut up our mouths and not be
talking so much. We were merely talking about the festival
they were going to give at the church; she said they wouldn't
get much out of her, and I said they couldn't get much out of
me either, as the minister don't speak to anything but
stuck-up niggers. Wilson said he did not want any d--d niggers
coming around talking. I said that I wasn't disturbing him,
But we will not report any more of Messenger's
version of the word quarrel. The most awful profanity and the
vilest epithets were banded. The prisoner said that Wilson
struck him on the side of his head with his fist when he
caught him in the yard; and that when he (Messenger) got to
the walk he said "Now, I'm on the sidewalk, and have as much
right here as you; leave me alone, I won't go further." Wilson
replied he would show him, picked up a club and went toward
him. Messenger said "If you come I'll kill you," "I'll shoot
you." "keep off;" that he know that if Wilson caught him he
would punish him terribly, as he was very strong, and "able to
whip a dozen like me." Then when Wilson continued to approach
him he fired; saw Wilson turn go toward the house and say
something to Mrs. Wilson. Then Messenger walked directly to
Mr. Donahue's, told him he had fired at a man, and said if the
policemen come after him they would find him in the barn. When
the question as to the character of their relations, Messenger
mentioned an instance of trouble between them over a year ago,
but lately they had been friendly, because he never allowed
himself to cross Wilson in any way. Messenger said he was not
in the habit of carrying a pistol; that the revolver with
which he shot Wilson belonged to a workman in McCosh &
Donahue's marble works and he was trying to sell it for him.
He said all the colored men were afraid of Wilson, who bossed
them around when among them. The prisoner was then taken into
jail, and the jury made their
which was that
Wilson "came to his death about the hour of 9 p.m., Aug. 12th,
1878, from a pistol shot received from the hands of James
of Wilson took place yesterday
afternoon, from Mrs. Wilson's house. It was attended by a
number of colored people. Rev. Mr. Knight officiated. The
burial took place in the city cemetery.
Democrat, Friday, August 15, 1873, page 1.
of James Messenger, charged with the killing of Joseph Wilson
will take place on Saturday, it having been adjourned from
|Davenport Democrat, Saturday, August 16, 1873,
THE MESSENGER EXAMINATION.
The preliminary examination of James Messenger, charged
with shooting Joseph Wilson, on the evening of Tuesday of this
week, took place this morning before John Kaufmann, Esq.
Police Magistrate. The proceedings were held in the Court
House, the police office having been found to be too small for
the crowds that gathered to watch the trail. Long before the
stated hour for commencing, ten o'clock, the court room was
crowded almost to suffocation by a mixed crowd of people,
mostly colored men.
About ten o'clock the prisoner was
brought into the court room by Officers Niles and Reid, the
same who arrested him. He appeared cool and self possessed
enough, and any one not acquainted with the case would have
supposed that he was to answer only to a petty charge, and not
to a grave case as murder. The state was represented by
Hermann Block, Esq., and Messrs. Green and Hubbell appeared
for the defense.
The first witness examined for the State
was Mrs. Emeline Wilson, at whose house the tragedy occurred.
Her testimony was given clearly and distinctly and without
hesitation. It was substantially the same as that given at the
coroner's inquest. She testified that on the evening of
Tuesday she came home; found Wilson, who had boarded with her
for over a year, at home in bed. Soon after, James Messenger
came, bringing some washing to be done. Messenger and her got
to talking about religious matters, and after talking for some
time, Wilson called out and asked Messenger to stop talking so
loud. Messenger said he did not know that he was hurting
anybody, and would stop when he pleased. Wilson then said that
he would see whether he would or not; got up, put on his
pants, came out to the door, took Messenger gently by the arm,
and led him out the gate. Then he told Messenger to go home,
Messenger said he would not go home until he was ready. Wilson
replied that he had better go home; and then stamped his feet
to make believe he was running after him. Messenger moved
along the sidewalk on Fourth Street, toward the east, and
Wilson slowly followed. The witness heard Messenger say to
Wilson, "I will bow you d--d brains out." The she hear the
report of the pistol and saw the flash. When the shot was
fired, Messenger was standing near Mrs. Seymour's gate, next
door and Wilson stood near the fence in front of her house.
Then Wilson came back, and laid down on the bench. She went
for the doctor, and when she returned he was dead. She swore
that Wilson did not have anything in his hand, and that he did
not use Messenger roughly.
The witness was cross-examined
at length by Mr. Hubbell, but nothing differing materially
from the main points in her evidence was elicited.
court adjourned at twelve until two this afternoon.
afternoon at two o'clock the case was resumed.
witness called was Dr. W. W. Grant, who testified as the
position of the corpse, and the nature of the wound.
Policeman Feid stated the particulars of the arrest, and the
conversation with Messenger on the way to jail.
the next witness for the State, swore that Messenger had made
threats in her presence to kill Wilson. Here the cause for the
State rested, and the defense called their witnesses.
first witness called was Mr. A. C. Fulton. He swore that he
was at the (?)Roundy house, on Tuesday evening, putting up
some window shades. While thus engaged he heard loud talking
next door, and heard words from somebody on the sidewalk,
saying "I am now on the sidewalk, and can do as I have a
right." Then some one on the inside of the gate said, "I will
see about that." Then the person inside came out; the one on
the outside moved eastward; the other followed him, and the
retreating man said, "Stand back or I'll shoot you." Mr.
Fulton heard something break. He heard the shot; after it was
fired, the pursuing man after the other, then stopped and
turned back, and told someone to go for a doctor. The effect
of this witness' testimony was that Wilson tore a picket off
the gate, ran after Messenger, and that Messenger fired in
self-defense, after having warned Wilson several times to keep
At our time of going to the press, the testimony in
the case had not been finished, and there was no probability
of finishing the examination today.
Democrat, Monday, August 18, 1873, page 1.
HELD FOR MANSLAUGHTER.
examination before Justice Kaufman, after consuming all of
Saturday, was adjourned that afternoon to ten o'clock this
morning, at which time the case was resumed. A number of
additional witnesses were examined, and in all twenty two
witnesses testified in the case, thirteen of them were for the
State, and nine for the defense. The attorneys for Messenger
made a strong effort to clear him, but in this failed. Justice
Kaufmann deciding to hold the prisoner to answer to the charge
of manslaughter, and placing his bail as $1,500. The Justice
held that there was not sufficient provocation to take human
life; that Messenger could have gotten out of the way if he
chose, that at the time he fired, his life was in no danger,
Wilson being twenty feet away from him, and that the carrying
of a pistol by Messenger was unlawful. The decision of Justice
gave general satisfaction to all citizens, the general
sentiment being that Messenger's crime was not murder wither
in the first or second degree, yet he should receive
punishment for taking human life, even where there was no
malice before thought, or where there was provocation, such as
it was. Messenger is still in jail, in default of the
|The Daily Gazette, Wednesday
Morning, August 20, 1873, page 4.
Jim Messenger, who was
held to bail in the sum of $1.500 by Justice Kaufmann, for
appearance at the District Court to answer for manslaughter,
has been unable to procure bail.
Democrat, Tuesday, October 28, 1873 page 1.
THE MESSENGER TRAIL.
The trial of James Messenger, indited for the murder
of Joe Wilson, began yesterday. The witness examined
for the State were Dr. Grant, Louis Fied, Emeline
Wilson and Hannah Smith. Those for the defense were
Mary Messenger, A. C. Fulton, John Martens, Chas.
Seima, Frank Kessler, Edward Miller, John Aver, Geo.
H. Ballou, Wm Dalzell, Rufus Johnson and John
Thompson. The testimony of the principle witness was
the same given at the inquest and at the examination,
and heretofore published in the Democrat. The deed is,
of course, admitted by the defense, but the great and
only point made by them, is that Messenger committed
the act in self-defense. A drawing of the vicinity in
which the killing was done was referred to very
frequently. The evidence was concluded last evening.
This morning District Attorney Ellis made the opening
argument for the State, followed by John W. Green and
George E. Hubbell for the prisoner. The court convened
at half-past one this afternoon, when Mr. Ellis made
the closing argument for the prosecution. The Judge
then read his charge to the jury, and they took the
case at about three o'clock.
|The Daily Gazette,
Wednesday Morning, October 29, 1873, page 4.
The arguments before the Jury in the Messenger case
occupied yesterday forenoon, no other witness having been
introduced than those who testified on Monday, as mentioned in
the Gazette. The jury took the case under advisement--and at
midnight were still engaged with it, the probability of
failure to agree being very strong.
Davenport, Wednesday, October 30,1873, page 1.
Verdict in the
In the District Court, yesterday afternoon, at three
o'clock, after the conclusion of District Attorney
Ellis' address, the case of James Messenger, indicted
for the murder of Joe Wilson, was given to the jury.
They retired, and remained locked up all night, and
until eleven o'clock this forenoon. There were nine of
the jurors for absolute acquittal, and three for
finding him guilty of manslaughter. These three
strenuously held out all that time, but both sides
finally compromised, and so after being locked up for
twenty hours, the jury came into court at eleven
o'clock this morning, and rendered a verdict, finding
the defendant, James Messenger, guilty of common
assault. Of course this is rather cheap for killing a
man, but then those nine jurors thought that Messenger
was justified in taking the life he did.
Thursday Morning, October 30, 1873, page 4.
The Messenger Verdict.
The jury in the
Messenger case had a time of it. When the court opened
yesterday morning, they sent word that it was impossible for
them to agree--been out all night, without arriving at any
different conclusion than was evidenced in twenty minutes
after their retirement Tuesday afternoon. The fact was, that
nine of them believed that Jim Messenger shot Joe Wilson in
self-defense, and three were of the opinion that Jim was a
"little brash," and could have got away without shooting. The
Court didn't credit that they were unable to agree, and
ordered the bailiff to close the doors on them again. And the
Court was right, for, a couple hours afterwards the Jury
announced that they had agreed; so they were called in. Their
agreement was a verdict for common assault! They didn't
explain how they came to the conclusion that shooting a man
through the heart is about the same thing as tapping a man on
the nose with the fist--but they had agreed, anyway, and so
were discharged from further consideration of the case.
In the afternoon the subjects of the various
verdicts and pleadings were brought into court for sentence.
James Messenger was sentenced to a fine of $100 with costs of
|The Daily Gazette, Saturday Morning,
November 29, 1873, page 4.
Jim Messenger, who put an end to
the career of Joe Wilson in self-defense, was released from
jail yesterday having served out the fine of $100 imposed on
him for "common Assault!"
|Davenport Democrat, Monday,
November 23, 1874, page 1.
Jim Messenger, (colored) who
shot and killed the colored man, Joe Wilson, about a year ago,
and, on trail, was only found guilty of common assault and
battery, and a light fine inflicted, died suddenly at his
residence on Front Street yesterday morning.
Daily Gazette, Tuesday Morning, November 24, 1874, page 4.
The notorious colored
man, James Messenger, came to the end of his career very
unexpectedly at noon on Sunday last. He had been unwell for
two or three days, and on the day before yesterday his pains
became unsupportable. He sent for Dr. Cantwell. and the doctor
called on him at his home, on Front Street, between Rock
Island and Perry. While the doctor was making inquires as the
ailment Messenger turned, tumbled from his chair and was--a
dead man as soon as he touched the floor. His ailment was
Messenger served in a colored regiment in
the war for the Union, and came to Davenport after the close
of the struggle. He was noted for his faculty of acquiring
foreign languages, although he could neither read nor write.
He could speak German fluently, and could make himself
understood in Italian or Spanish. About eighteen months ago he
shot one Wilson, was arrested and kept in jail for several
months, after which he was found guilty of common assault, and
sentenced to jail for a brief period.
He leaves a wife and
James Messenger was buried in the
common ground of Davenport City Cemetery Just like Joseph
Below are the Davenport City Cemetery Sexton's
reports for both Joseph Wilson (first one) and James Messenger