By Michael Wayne
In might of 1857, the physique of Duncan Skinner was once present in a strip of woods alongside the sting of the plantation close to Natchez, Mississippi, the place he labored as an overseer. even if a coroner's jury in the beginning governed his loss of life to be unintended, an research equipped via planters from the group concluded that he have been murdered through 3 slaves performing lower than directions from John McCallin, an Irish carpenter.Now, nearly a century and a part later, Michael Wayne has reopened the case to invite even if the boys enthusiastic about the research arrived on the correct verdict. half essay at the artwork of ancient detection, half seminar at the heritage of slavery and the previous South, loss of life of an Overseer is, chiefly, a homicide mystery--a homicide secret that permits readers to sift throughout the surviving facts themselves and are available to their very own conclusions approximately who killed Duncan Skinner and why.
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Additional info for Death of an Overseer : Reopening a Murder Investigation from the Plantation South
From the evidence before us, we are satisfied that said McCallin, in his card, has falsely styled himself the friend of Mr. Skinner. That on the contrary, Skinner distrusted him—and said McCallin, though cognizant of the murder, and knowing those who perpetrated it, concealed the facts from the public, and advised the murderers of the efforts making to discover them. 3rd. That the intimation of said McCallin, that the negroes were prompted to accuse him, is wholly false; and that the slaves, on the Sharp and Smith estates, under circumstances which precluded any concert between them, when examined separately, and apart, without suggestion or prompting, established a clear, consistent and convincing case of guilt against said McCallin; and that there is no reasonable ground to doubt that said McCallin did suggest to the slaves, upon the former estate, the possibility, and propriety of their “putting Skinner out of the way,” to use McCallin’s own language, or more plainly, advised them to murder their overseer, and that this crime led to the subsequent murder of McBride, on a neighboring place, and the general restless state of the slaves in that vicinity.
But the windfall turned out to be even greater than the student realized. Because, as I discovered when I examined the microfilm myself, buried away in the public announcement sections of the two papers were a notice from the men who investigated the crime warning John McCallin to leave the community; a reply from McCallin insisting that he was innocent; and reports of two meetings, one in Mississippi, a second in Louisiana, to consider the evidence against him. By now I was very curious to see if I could figure out what had actually happened.
You have already read the notice in the papers from the investigating committee; the response published by John McCallin; the resolutions passed by the meeting in Kingston; and the letter Henry Drake sent to Alexander Farrar requesting information for the hearing in Waterproof. To that must now be added the reply Farrar wrote to Drake; three articles printed in the Courier; the indictment handed down by the grand jury against Henderson, Reuben, and Anderson; and an affidavit signed by Farrar and two other planters.