I’m going to start this tonight and add to it later. There are two larger articles regarding the murder of Pem Guffin that need to be transcribed (and I’m banging away on a tiny kitchen table laptop right now) and I will get to those probably this weekend. I also have the papers from the file of letters from the governor’s office at the time where local law enforcement has to account for the complete cluster that was the events leading to a murderer just walking away… to Texas… to live a long life. Those are somewhere in my house. I think. Possibly. Or in the car. But I’ll post those too.
VIOLENCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA Charleston, S. C., Feb. 25.–Since the adjournment of the court that went through the farce of trying the men who murdered L. P. Guffin on Sept. 27, other deeds of violence — some by the same ruffians — have been frequent. On Feb. 18, J. C. Martin, one of the men who murdered Mr. Guffin, with his brother, W. B. Martin, went to Carolina Fair’s house and fired through the cracks of the building, the charge of buckshot striking her in the back, killing her instantly. On the Saturday night following, M. E. Hollingsworth shot and killed Dick Goolsby. Hollingsworth is a brother-in-law of Martin. On Sunday night a band of disguised men shot through Harriet White’s house, pelted the building with stones, and, had it not been for the interference of colored men from the farm of L. L. Guffin, brother of the murdered man, they would have taken her out and whipped her. All this occurred in Abbeville County.
The New York Times
February 26 1881
Note: Several things in the article contradict witness accounts. For example, Caroline was shot in the house of a friend and died three days after being shot. J. Campbell Martin was not involved, according to all witness accounts, but later provided a false alibi for his brother. While I’ve always seen Caroline’s name printed as Farrow, I can’t say with certainty that it was not Fair or that Fair wasn’t another name that she used. She had been freed from slavery barely 16 years before her murder, so spent most of her life without a surname at all anyway. She could neither read nor write according to her entry in the 1880 census. Hollingsworth was married to the sister of J. Campbell Martin’s wife and the family lives in the Martin’s Mill area.
P.S. In the 1880 Census, the Martin family (William, J. Campbell, Ina, Mary) lived with a ten year-old domestic servant named Langdon Goolsby, identified as “mulatto.”
P.P.S. A woman named Octavia E. Stone purchased a piece of property from M. E. Hollingsworth some time later. Octavia is the name of one of Caroline’s daughters and I cannot find another instance of that name in the Martin’s Mill area.
ONE MORE THING BEFORE I GO.
In case it is not clear, the White family was black and lived in the Martin’s Mill area.