The Murder of Matison Davis

Ashe County Crime

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The Murder of Matison Davis

Contributed by Bette Nelson

State of NC - Ashe County

This day Wiley Spencer appeared before me J. A. Pierce a Justice of the Peace for Said County and Makes oath that one Mat Davis did come to the store house of P. J. Greer on the 9th day of April 1886 the said Greer was sitting on the porch of the store house and said Davis approached near the said Greer and said some thing about cutting the said P. J. Greer in a mad and threatening tone. Then the said P. J. Greer rising from his seat did strike the said Davis. Then the said Davis turning away from said Greer remarked that you have cut my neck vein. I saw the blood gush from the said Davis's neck and in a short time he was Dead. This April the 9th 1886.

Wiley Spencer

Sworn to before me this the 9 day of April 1886

J. A. Pierce, J. P.

State of North Carolina - Ashe County

To the sheriff or other Lawfull officer. Matthias Weiss giving oath before me which is here in attached that P. J. Greer did on the 9th of this Month Kill Mat Davis. This is therefore to comm you to arrest the body of him this Said P. J. Greer if to be found in your county and him safely Kept so that you have him before some Justice of the Peace for said crime. To answer said charge and he did with as the (illegible) (illegible) (illegible) herein for not. Given under my hand and Seal this the 14th day of April 1886.

J. E. Gambill, J. P

State
VS
P. J. Greer

The Deft in this case appeared and announced himself ready for Trial and after hearing all the Evidence it is adjudged that the Deft is not Guilty and that he go without (illegible).

This April 10, 1886

J. A. Pierco, J. P.

J. G. (or S.) Osborn, J. P.

State of NC, Ashe County

To any constable or other Lawful officer of Said County you are commanded to forthwith to arrest P. J. Greer and him safely keep so that you have him before some Justice of Said Co immediately to answer the within complaint and be dealt with as the law directs. Given under my hand and seal. April 9, 1886

J. A. Pierce, J. P.

I Deputize Samuel L. Duvall to Execute the above writ this April 9, 1886

J. A. Pierce, J. P.

The (service?) of the above warrant was acknowledged and the said P. J. Greer surrendered himself a prisoner to duly answer the above charge to this April 9, 1886. S. G. Duvall

Lee Stringer, a witness for Deft, swears he heard Davis threaten Greer. Lee says Davis is considered a Dangerous man.

Aquilla Draughn, a witness for Deft swears he heard Davis threaten Greers Life and Davis said Greer was afraid of him and he new it and said if Greer Ever crossed him one or the other would die.

(Sister?) (Gesten) Greer, the wife of the Deft examira says Greer had come home from his business as much as twice that she (illegible) of to swore a difficulty with Mat Davis.

William Anderson, a state witness states Mat Davis came up to the Greers store and came up close to Mr. Greer Then Greer says (illegible) Mat. Davis says how are you then Greer says I see your not. Then Davis says if I had not left when I did I would have been looking through the bars would I. Then Greer remarked I didn't hardly say it that way. (Illegible) (illegible) say God damn you. I can prove that he not look through the bars without its for cutting your God damn guts out then I turned round and saw Davis bleeding and Davis says Boys he has Cut my neck vein. As Davis came up through the Meadow he hollows out drunk as usual. (Illegible) out and still a Drinking. Witness states Davis is considered a dangerous man when Drunk.

No. 35 Capias Printed and for sale by J. P. Babington, Shelby, NC
County in the Superior Court

STATE
Against
Matt Davis
CAPIAS
State of North Carolina
To the Sheriff of Ashe County GREETING:

We command you, to take the body of Matt Davis (if to be found in your County) and him safely keep, so that you have him before His Honor, the Judge of our Superior Court, to be held for the County of Ashe at the Court House in Jefferson on the 1st Monday after the 1st Monday in March, 1886 next, then and there to answer the charge of the State against him on an indictment for H & B. with D. W.

Issued the 1st day of April, 1886

J. W. (or M.) Dickson
Clerk Superior Court Ashe County.

No. 73

STATE
Against
Matt Davis
CAPIAS

To May Term, 1886

Fee _______________

Mileage ________________ $ __________________

Not executed

The defendant has past from this world.

This May 20, 1886

G. K. Miller
Sheriff of Ashe County

North Carolina Sup. Court
Alleghany County May Term 1886

State
Vs
Jones Greer
Murder

In this case it is ordered that Dr. C. W. Phipps summoned and examined as an expert in this cause He allowed the sum of $20.00 bounty dollars for his services to be taxed in bill of cast.

J. F. (illegible)
(Illegible)

Mr. P. J. Greer Statement

Say he was setting on his porch at his store Looking at the boys, greasing his wagon and happened to look down the meadow and saw Mat Davis coming. Says Mat hollowed and drunk as usual and (illegible) out and says he came up to him and he (illegible) spoke friendly and don't know whether he answered him or not. I think the first word Davis said to him was Jones by God I'm not looking through the (illegible) yet and goes on to say nor I want unless its for cutting your God damn guts out and seen his hand in his pockett and pulled his knife out and opened it and advanced toward me and I then rose out of my seat and as I rose I struck him with my kife and then went into my store. He had been in a habit of trying to cause a difficulty with me at different times. I had my knife out in my hand when I saw Davis coming. I was while I had Left my place of business several times to avoid a difficulty. I certify that the above is P. J. Greer's statement in this case. April 10, 1886

J. A. Pierce, J. P.

North Carolina Superior Court
Ashe County May Term 1886
State
Against
P. J. Greer

We the undersigned hereby certify atty for the defendernet in the above entitlled cause herey certify that the following witnesses were necessary and material for the defence of the defendant (illegible) at the above entitlese cause and that they were summoned (illegible) on his behalf at the trial of said (illegible) to wit: W(illegible) Stringer, Lee Stringer, A. M. Draughan, Frank Richaendson, Thos. J. Cook, S. L. (Illegible) M. F. Baker, John Baldwin, F(illegible) Baldwin, J. C. Green (or Greer), Wiley Walton, Isom Thompson, William Pugh, John Young, John (Illegible).

R. (Illegible) (Linney?)
J. W. Todd
Geo. W. Bourne
G. N. (Halk?) Atty for Deft.

State of North Carolina Ashe County

This day personally appeared before me J. E. Gambill acting Justice of the Peace for said County, Mathias Weiss and made oath that as he is informed that Mat Davis was killed by P. J. Greer on Friday the 9th instant and that he was arrested for the same. And went through a preliminary Examination, and acquited which he believes was a partial Examination and that the proceedings in the case were not legal and that the state did not have a fair showing in said case and Swears he can introduce Evidence that was not introduced at the first Examination. Sworn and subscribed to before me this 14th day of April 1886.

J. E. Gambill, J. P. Matthias Weiss

State
VS
P. J. Greer

Summon for the Defendant
Franklin Richardson
Lee I. Stringer
Morgan Baker
John Baldwin
Thomas J. Cook
Executed and Returned
This April 16, 86 by
G. R. P(illegible)

Summons for state

Wiley Spencer
William Anderson
J (illegible) Rudy [Reedy]
Illegible

Illegible

North Carolina
Ashe County May Term 1886

The jurors for the state upon their oaths present that Jones Greer late of the county of Ashe not having the fear of God before his eyes but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil on the 9th day of April A.D. 1886 in the county aforesaid with force and arms in and upon one Matison Davis in the peace of God and the state then and there being feloniously willfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and that the said Jones Greer with a certain knife of the value of one dollar which he the said Jones Greer in his right hand then and there had an held the said Matison Davis in and upom the right side of the neck of him the said Matison Davis then and there feloniously willfully and of his malice aforethought did strike and thrust giving to the said Matison Davis then and there with the knife aforesaid in and upon the right side of the neck of him the said Matison Davis one mortal wound of the breadth of two inches and of the depth of three inches of who said mortal wound the said Matison Davis on the said 9th day of April in the year aforesaid in the county aforesaid then and there instantly died. And so the jurors aforesaid swear this oath aforesaid do say that the said Jones Greer the said Matison Daivs in manner and form aforesaid feloniously willfully and of his malice aforethought did kill and murder (illegible) to the form of the (illegible) in wich cases made and provided (illegible) a (illegible) the (illegible) and dignity of the state.

W. ? Bower
Solictor

Grand Jurors

J. B. Miller, John Graybeal, Robert Gambill, G. W. Miller, John Graybeal, T. Maxwell, W. H. May, James Reynolds, James Toliver, Jacob Hench, Adam Z. Tony, Ben Brown, Lewis Sullivan, Geo. B. Sheppard, Presley Sheppard, J. W. Wilson, J. M. Brown, Parker Poe.

Jurors:

Henry Miller, R. B. Wilson, T. W. Osborn, James Miller, C. B. Bare, Wiley Colvard, Preston Reeves, J. P. Hanck, Matt. Preminger, Elias Bare, Erving Cockerham, Milton Kilby.