James Tompkins Williams (1829-1900)

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PatSullivan

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James Tompkins Williams.jpg

James Tompkins Williams (1829-1900)

During the 1850s and 1860s, James T. Williams and his partner, Samuel C. Tardy, owned the successful business of Tardy & Williams, auctioneers and commission merchants, located in Richmond, Virginia at 13th and Cary Streets. James and Samuel provided goods and services to the Confederacy during the war, including the military hospitals in Richmond.

Margaret Ann Hutter, a slave belonging to the Butts family, was employed by Sam Tardy as nurse for his youngest child, Frances Deane. A tragic incident took place in the Tardy household in December 1862. Because of Mr. Tardy's prominence in the city, the case made headlines in the Richmond Daily Dispatch for more than a month. The fate that befell Margaret was described in great detail:

http://spotsylvaniamemory.blogspot.com/2011/10/justice-for-margaret.html
 

PatSullivan

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The writer of the article about her execution is a little ambiguous about that, don't you think? At the very least he seems not to be in favor of the public spectacle of such executions. Her mention of the death of a second member of the Tardy family makes me think there is more going on than what was reported. In any case, once Margaret was officially accused, her fate was sealed.

The description of the day of her execution is a very good piece of writing, done so vividly that the reader can easily picture those scenes in his or her own mind.
 
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PatSullivan

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According to the linked article Pocahontas Butt would know:

" I never was accused of anything wrong before. Any of you that are present can go to Mr. Pocahontas Butt and inquire my character."
Yes. And unfortunately the Butts family did not lift a finger to help Margaret, according to the newspaper accounts.
 

Northern Light

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Yes. And unfortunately the Butts family did not lift a finger to help Margaret, according to the newspaper accounts.
I am not trying to be smart, but isn't Pocahontas a female name? I looked him up on the internet and it seems to have been used quite indiscriminately within that family for both men and women.:confused:
 

PatSullivan

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When I wrote this article years ago, I found some reference to the Butts family in question. They were from North Carolina, as I recall, and lived in Richmond during the war. But I no longer remember what my sources for this were. Perhaps some astute reader of this can fill in the gap.
 
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E_just_E

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I am not trying to be smart, but isn't Pocahontas a female name? I looked him up on the internet and it seems to have been used quite indiscriminately within that family for both men and women.:confused:
Your search engine is better than mine, because mine kinda gives me lots of out of subject (ahem) hits when I try to search "Pocahontas Butt".

What search engine are you using and how do you filter that stuff out?
 

Northern Light

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Your search engine is better than mine, because mine kinda gives me lots of out of subject (ahem) hits when I try to search "Pocahontas Butt".

What search engine are you using and how do you filter that stuff out?
Google with Firefox. There was some other stuff, which I ignored. I am getting quite good at that.:rolleyes:
 

PatSullivan

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Your search engine is better than mine, because mine kinda gives me lots of out of subject (ahem) hits when I try to search "Pocahontas Butt".

What search engine are you using and how do you filter that stuff out?
Yes, I was having that same problem today. I will need to go back through my notes and see what I had on the unfortunately named Butts family.
 
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Northern Light

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When I wrote this article years ago, I found some reference to the Butts family in question. They were from North Carolina, as I recall, and lived in Richmond during the war. But I no longer remember what my sources for this were. Perhaps some astute reader of this can fill in the gap.
The Pocahontas Butt and her family that I found was from Pocahontas, VA. so I don't know if its the same family. My husband has some Butts in his family tree (hee, no comment!) but after the 1st generation, they added an "e" to the end, so perhaps changed it to Butte, as in the city in Montana.
They are from Ohio.
 

Northern Light

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Yes, I was having that same problem today. I will need to go back through my notes and see what I had on the unfortunately named Butts family.
Heh, I found an unfortunate one on find a grave, Virginia Louise Shutt Butt, poor woman.
 

dlofting

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Phillips and Dr. Deane being sworn, testified to finding the child in convulsions blood running from its mouth, and spots of the same substance on its garments which Margaret had attempted to wash off and to finding bruises on its head and face in various places, which could only have been caused by a firm, but not sudden pressure on the parts affected. Margaret said the child had fallen down and afterwards was taken with the convulsions spoken of. Beyond this, she admitted nothing. The physicians were of the opinion that the bruises were caused by the child being seized by the head with the intent to do it serious injury.

The injuries described are consistent with a blow to the head which could have resulted from a fall. The convulsions part is a bit of a mystery......was the child epileptic and having/or had a seizure ? That could certainly result in bruising and bleeding. The child lived for at least 4 or 5 days as the charge was changed from attempted murder to murder on December 9. She must have suffered some sort of head injury with the possibility of intracranial bleeding. Doctors of the time must have been quite familiar with this type of injury, and how it presented. I just don't see how they could be certain that the bruises were caused by "a firm, but not sudden pressure" and were caused "by the child being seized by the head". Something is not right here.
 
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diane

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That's sure so, something's not right. Another source, Women and Capital Punishment in the United States by David V Baker mentions this case and adds that another slave woman testified against Margaret, who said this woman was the killer. Wonder what were the circumstances of the other death? Pretty chilling - the loaned slave wasn't believed but the trusted one was?

https://books.google.com/books?id=QKUHCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=Margaret+Ann+Hutter,+a+slave&source=bl&ots=apCNejzNxM&sig=RtDWmVY8xJ2cjz4-CNYtwL-iuFE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjOjL7xg_7LAhUM2mMKHXJOBvIQ6AEIJDAB#v=onepage&q=Margaret Ann Hutter, a slave&f=false
 
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