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December 17, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Murder: Manteo Killing, Part II


In 1911, Curtis N. Branch was murdered in Buckingham County. Click here to catch up:

Buckingham County Murder: Manteo Killing, Part I

The report given in the Staunton Spectator and Vindicator was full of speculation, some details, of course, might have been accurate. The article continued:

No Chance to Defend Himself.

Branch probably did not know what killed him. From every appearance it looks as if he was not given the least chance to defend himself. The man who was a Confederate veteran, was alone. The house, in which he slept at night, was about twenty or thirty feet from the store, which he was guarding.

A view of the room, in which he was slain, can be had from the front steps or porch of the store in daylight, but it is not believed that his assassin could have seen him in the total darkness of the night, especially in view of the fact that the blinds were closed. It is argued that Branch’s slayer knew the old man’s accustomed sleeping place and fired at the spot where he thought the charge would most likely find its mark. In this he did not err.

Assassin Did Effective Work.

Although the shot was fired from a distance of thirty or more feet, it was as effective as it would have been had the muzzle of the gun had been pressed against the victim’s side.

A shotgun was used by the assassin. An empty cartridge, the one believed to have done the deadly work, was picked up in the front of the porch of the store by D. W. Patteson, a near relative of the postmaster of Manteo, and a rural mail carrier for this part of Buckingham county.

The murder of Branch or rather the fact that the post office and store had been robbed, was first discovered by William White, a negro, who visited the place about 7 o’clock yesterday morning for the purpose of making a purchase. White found the front door open and the lock thereto broken off.

Unsurprisingly, given the newspaper article’ s sensational prose, it also detailed the murder of the Stewart Brothers which had taken place in Buckingham County some years before.

Coming next: Buckingham County  Murder: Manteo Killing, Part III


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