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July 2, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The 1909 Buckingham Murders: Part X

10_Murder_Perkins Appeal

The Perkins Affair

On September 4, 1909, The Times-Dispatch called the “Perkins Affair” an “open secret” in Buckingham County:

It has seemed to be an open secret that one or more negroes were strung up to a tree and threatened with death if they did not tell what they knew about the murder of the Stuart brothers. The counsel for the prosecution denied that any undue influence was brought to bear on either of the witnesses Jackson or Johnson, or any of the accused.

The newspaper also informed readers:

Mr. Strode, of counsel for the defense, yesterday presented a paper detailing the alleged persecution of Richard Perkins in an effort to intimidate him and make him disclose the whereabouts of the perpetrators of the murder of the Stewart brothers. The council for the defense also charged that Richard Perkins was arrested without a warrant.

Months later, on June 11, 1910, The Times-Dispatch reported that Deputy Sheriff Carter likely apprehended Perkins on a bogus warrant. He then took Perkins away from his house to a spot where they were set upon by a band of armed men, “with the knowledge and connivance” of Carter. These men threated to hang Perkins unless he confessed to the crimes against the Stewart brothers, which he refused to do. After stringing him up several times without inducing a confession, they released him.

Obviously, the intimidation of Richard Perkins took place before he was indicted and jailed.  What led Deputy Sheriff Carter and these men to think that Perkins was involved in the murders?

Assuming that this event happened as reported, Carter had abused his powers as deputy sheriff. Additionally, if he had survived his buggy accident, Carter could have identified several Buckingham citizens involved in the intimidation of Richard Perkins. Of course, if he had disclosed names, he would have incriminated himself, as well.

Before his death, did Carter pressure some of the men involved in the intimidation of Richard Perkins?

Several men of Buckingham might have wanted to see Carter silenced and his death appeared increasingly convenient.

Despite these new complications in the case of the Stewart murders, the court overruled the motion for a change of venue and Dallas Wright’s trial was set for September 5th at Buckingham Court House.

Coming Next “Willie Jackson, Star Witness”

Need to catch up on The 1909 Buckingham Murders? Part I: June 1, 2015



Leave a Comment
  1. onestitchatatime / Aug 13 2015 2:30 pm

    Do you know if lynch mobs were ever punished in Buckingham County during this time period? I’m trying to figure out whether the people in the mob would have reason to worry. Then again, Carter seemed to have been as guilty as the men. Why would he have snitched?

    • Joanne Yeck / Aug 13 2015 6:25 pm

      I don’t know how lynching or any kind of intimidation was handled at this time and don’t know if we can generalize. Carter does seem to be guilty, at least, implicated in the setup. Would his version of the story have been that he was calmly taking a man in for questioning when they were ambushed? What did he have to gain by aiding in the intimidation of Richard Perkins?

    • onestitchatatime / Aug 13 2015 6:28 pm

      Very good questions. If only we had more facts. The whole thing seems really fishy in a way one can’t put a finger on.

  2. Joanne Yeck / Jul 2 2015 9:01 am

    Wait me must. However, bonuses are coming your way before Monday!

  3. Mary Carolyn Steger Mitton / Jul 2 2015 7:19 am

    Can we wait for the next installment of this thriller? Maybe, but it will be difficult.


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