FREDERICK-TOWN, Nov. 11.
On Friday of last week Edward Owings, a young gentleman about 29 years of age and son of the late Edward Owings of this county, was murdered by six of the slaves belonging to his father’s estate. The murder was committed about sunrise, and at a distance of a little more than 100 yards from the house. The circumstance attending this cruel transaction, as confessed by the blacks before the Jury of Inquest, and there is no other evidence on the subject than their own confession, we shall briefly state without any remarks as they are now in the hands of just ice and we would say nothing to prejudice the publick opinion.
The preceding evening it seems, the negroes had been assigned a certain quantity of corn to husk, and say that they were then told that on their failing to finish they should be corrected. In the course of the evening it was proposed by one of the fellows and to which they all agreed, that if Mr. Owings did attempt to whip any one of them they would all unite in killing him. Next morning upon Mr. Owings’ going to the corn heap he found they had not husked the quantity directed, and calling one of them to correct him. The fellow not going very readily he took hold of him, and led him to the barn which was but a few steps distant. On reaching the barn the fellow made some further resistance, when Mr. Owings called the others to his assistance, two of whom, by his direction seized the fellow and a third one seized Mr. Owings with whom he said he wished to have some talk. The one who first resisted, on promising to be more attentive in future, was ordered by Mr. Owings to his work, but immediately on being turned loose seized a club with which he made a blow at his master. This blow he parried with his arm, when the fellow caught him by the throat to prevent his alarming the family — another of them took up the club — and a third a rammer, such as is used in ramming posts in making fence, with which he struck the deceased several blows on the head & back and it appeared that five of the six concerned also gave him one or more blows.
They then concealed the body in some straw, and to prevent suspicion directed a small boy to bring Mr. Owings’ saddle and bridle, which they put on his horse when one of them rode him some distance from the house and tied him in the corn field until night, when he was taken to the village of Woodsborough, a few miles distant and there turned loose with the saddle and bridle on. The following day the horse was taken up, and brought home on Sunday morning by a neighbour. This alarmed the family and persons were sent in different directions, but could obtain no intelligence of the deceased. — On further search being made about the farm; the place where the horse had been tied and where some rails had been laid down to let him out were discovered.
This strongly confirmed the suspicions before entertained and the blacks were charged with the murder. At first all denied it, but upon being separately examined confessed the whole affair, and that they had thrown the body into a well on the farm of Mr. Dorsey, nearly a mile distant. Here on search being made, it was found mangled in such a manner that it was impossible to recognize any of the features.
On the night subsequent to the murder they attempted to remove the body, but it was so dark and from some cause they could not tell what, they became so alarmed that they abandoned it, and it was not until a little before day on Saturday morning that they carried it to the well.
On Sunday evening the whole of them were lodged in the new jail, which is now finished and from its strength and security precludes all hope of escape from the sentence of the law which awaits these infatuated, unfortunate creatures, all of whom, we understand by their late master’s will were to be free in a few years.
Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Nov 30, 1815
Negroes Jonathan, Harry, Nimrod and Solomon, were hung at Frederick-Town, on the 26th ult. for the murder of Mr. Owings, in Nov. last. The concourse of people present was immense, great numbers attending from Virginia and Pennsylvania. The criminals appeared contrite.
Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Feb 15, 1816