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~ Researched and Transcribed by Sue Rekkas

1870 Federal Census Davenport Iowa Ward 1 Scott County

James (Messenger) Mersinger family

Name Age Sex Race Occupation Birth Place
Mersinger, James 25 M B Whitewasher Arkansas
Mersinger, Mary 28 F B Keeping House Kentucky
Mersinger, Isabell 7 F M . Iowa
Mersinger, William 5/12 M B , Iowa
Hill, Mollie 21 F W . Tennessee
Wilson, Joseph 22 M B steamboat hand Tennessee

Iowa Select Marriages 1809-1992

Groom Marriage Date Marriage Place Bride
Joseph Wilson 24 Apr 1871 Davenport, Iowa Mollie Hill
FHL Film #1004415, Reference no 2:3XDD6H2

Davenport Democrat, January 13, 1872, page 1
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.
State vs. 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 4.
Mr. C. H. Leonard, Jailor, informs that the following persons are now confined in our jail, on the various changes specified:
Mollie Hill, breaking windows.
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 Heart--
A Lone Woman the Only Witness--Full Particulars--Arrest of Messenger.
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.

She says 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 self defense.
will be held over the body of Wilson this morning by Coroner Tomson.
The Daily Davenport Democrat, Wednesday, August 13, 1873, page 1.
James Messenger Kills Joe Wilson
High Words, Threats, Oaths, and then a Pistol Bullet.
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.
and the 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:
Emeline Wilson Sworn: 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 you."

Wilson. Joe 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 was dead.

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.
C. W. Schaeffer Sworn: Last evening a little past eight o'clock, I heard a shot.
Lewis Feid
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.
Emiline Wilson Recalled: Joe Wilson did not have a club or anything in his hands at the time of this trouble.
Marsh Noe
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
Scott County
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
H. Korn,
W. Burcher.
Wilson, 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.
The house 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.
The Davenport Gazette, Thursday Morning, August 14, 1873, page 4.
Coroner's Inquest--
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.

C. W. 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 yesterday's Gazette.

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
which for the most part, corresponded almost exactly with the statements made by Mrs. Wilson at her house on Tuesday evening.

It was as follows:
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, and !
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 Messenger."
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.

Daily Davenport Democrat, Friday, August 15, 1873, page 1.
The examination of James Messenger, charged with the killing of Joseph Wilson will take place on Saturday, it having been adjourned from today.
Davenport Democrat, Saturday, August 16, 1873, page 1.
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.

The court adjourned at twelve until two this afternoon.

This afternoon at two o'clock the case was resumed.

The first 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.
Mrs. Smith, 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.

The 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 back.

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.
The Davenport Democrat, Monday, August 18, 1873, page 1.
The Messenger 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 necessary sureties.
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.
The Davenport Democrat, Tuesday, October 28, 1873 page 1.
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.
The Daily Davenport, Wednesday, October 30,1873, page 1.
Verdict in the Messenger Case
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.

Davenport Gazette, 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 prosecution.
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.
Davenport 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 heart disease.

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 two children.

James Messenger was buried in the common ground of Davenport City Cemetery Just like Joseph Wilson.

Below are the Davenport City Cemetery Sexton's reports for both Joseph Wilson (first one) and James Messenger (second one.)

#10 Joseph Wilson (ninth entry from the bottom of the page)
#18 Jim Messinger (third entry from the bottom of the page)

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