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About Moses Harrelson

Retrieved from http://genealogytrails.com/scar/horry/moses_harrelson.htm

THE HANGING OF MOSES HARRELSON of HORRY COUNTY - 1857 Marion County Newspaper

Originally published in "The Carolina Herald and Newsletter', Spring Issue 2005, pgs 22-24, transcribed and submitted with comments by Jo Church Dickerson.

The below newspaper clippings regarding Moses Harrelson were recently discovered among some Harrelson family papers in the Pee Dee Chapter Archives, which are housed in the Marion County Archives and History Center. There is no record remaining with these old files showing who gave them to the chapter, but the copies are quite old and yellowed. It seems likely they were donated many years ago by the late Harrelson family researcher, Bill Harrelson, since correspondence addressed to Bill is included in the files.

In 1855 Moses Harrelson of Horry District, South Carolina was convicted in Marion of killing Evan Rogers of Marion County, According to W. W. Sellers in The History of Marion County, Rogers was a son of Lot B. Rogers and his wife Mary Berry. Harrelson subsequently escaped jail, remained at large for over a year, and was finally recaptured in Columbus County, North Carolina. He was brought back to Marion District, resentenced, and hanged in Marion in 1857, all according to Sellers' History.

Horry County estate records and deeds show that Moses Harrelson was a son of Josiah Harrelson of Horry. They were connected to the Harrelson family of Marion County, though exact family relation-ships remain unproven. Harrelson family researchers, including Moses' descendants, have long been aware of his tragic case. It seems the killing of Evan Rogers occurred when Moses was being sought - by a posse that included Rogers - for escaping from the Marion jail after some not-quite-so-serious infraction in Marion. According to family accounts, Moses had escaped and was headed back home because he had heard that his family was in dire straits. Rogers was killed in the melee that ensued when the posse caught up with him. Moses was tried, convicted, and hanged for the killing of the deputy Rogers, but not before he escaped once again, and eluded the law for over a year. Family researchers state that Moses' family suffered badly following his execution. Some have maintained, and in his statement Moses averred, that the killing was not deliberate. But since it occurred during the commission of a felony {escape from jail), harsh justice applied.

NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS $200 Reward Moses Harrelson, convicted at the late term of the Marion Court, for the murder of E. A. Rogers, escaped from Marion jail, on the night of the 28th, instant. Harrelson is about 5 feet 8 inches high, stoops a little in walking, has dark hair, thin and straight, a pale complexion, somewhat dark, squint eyes, eyes gray or blue, about 45 years of age, has two scars of a knife on his left arm, on both sides thereof, near the wrists; also two scars on his back near the left shoulder blade, and is said to be a tolerably good blacksmith. The above reward of $200 will be given for his arrest and delivery to the undersigned, or lodgment in any jail. Elly Godbold, Shff. Marion Dist., April 25,1855. (TheMarion Star, issues of May 8 & May 15, 1855.)

The Marion Star - Tues, June 9,1857 Moses Harrelson, convicted of the murder of Rogers, was hung in this place on Friday last, the 5th inst. in the presence of a large number of men, women and children. He met his fate with calm resignation, and we learn that for some time before the day of execution arrived he professed a hope of the forgiveness of his sins, and died in the full assurance of happiness in the world to come. It will be recollected that he received his sentence at the March term of our Court in 1855, but escaped from prison before the day of execution, and evaded the vigilance of the officers of the law until last winter, when he was taken and lodged in jail till the March term of the present year, when he was again sentenced by Judge Glover.

From the reported conduct and character of the crowd assembled to witness this revolting spectacle of the hanging of a fellow man, we are more than ever impressed with the belief that the Legislature ought to pass a law requiring all executions to take place in private, with only a sufficient number of officers present to witness and prevent any attempt that might be made to rescue the criminal, and exclude the whole community (except Clergymen and the relatives of the unfortunate victims) from witnessing such scenes, as they can only tend to lower and degrade the human species. The only argument we recollect ever having heard in favor of public executions was, the warning it gives to others to guard against crime. Now we think those who might take warning from such scenes are just the class who most usually stay away. We can imagine but few things so well calculated to harden and deprave the human heart, and to exercise so deleterious an influence on society, as the collection of women and children to witness a public execution.

One of the clergymen who visited Harrelson during his confinement, at the request of Harrelson wrote out a statement for him which he heard read on the morning of his execution, approving and signing his name to the same. This was read to the assemblage under the gallows before the execution took place. For the information of those who may desire to read it, we insert the entire statement.

FELLOW CITIZENS: Standing upon this scaffold erected for my execution, in the presence of this multitude, and looking into the grave which is soon to receive all that is mortal of me, permit me, ere my lips are sealed in death, to say a few things which I deem of importance to myself and which may be interesting to you.

I am charged with a dreadful murder; the law of the State has condemned me; and I now await its execution. I have no fault to find with the law; it is but just that the guilty should suffer, and I submit without a murmur to my fate. But in my case there are certain extenuating circumstances, which I would briefly lay before you, which may serve to lessen in your minds the magnitude of my guilt. My hand may have dealt the blow which produced the death of the unfortunate Rogers, but before God, and in your presence who are soon to witness my death, I aver, I did not know that they were officers of the law. I recognized, as 1 supposed, in them, men who sought to take me without proper authority; and in the effort to escape from them the fatal blow was given for which my life is to pay the forfeit. I solemnly disavow a murderous intent, no malice lurked in my bosom, no feeling of revenge for some real or fancied wrong done to me urged me on to the commission of the deed, no scheme was projected for carrying out a design of blood. No, the fatal occurence was the result of a determined but foolish effort to foil those who had no right as I supposed to arrest me. I am innocent, gentlemen, of any intentions to kill, and if I committed the act this must certainly palliate the enormity of the crime.

With deep mortification I confess that I have been a very wicked man. My life has been spent in a course of disobedience to the laws of my Maker. A long dark catalogue of sins horrifies my vision as I retrospect the past. I acknowledge all. Honestly, I avow my deep depravity. The fruitful causes of all the crimes, the guilt of which now hangs so heavily upon my soul is traceable to the intoxicating bowl. Intemperance has done it all. Had I never tasted the damning cup, I would never have arraigned before the bar of my country for a deed of blood. But, alas: I loved the firey poison, and it has produced its legitimate result - guilt and disgrace. It blighted all my prospects, and wrecked all my hopes. Intemperance has disgraced and ruined me, it is just as able to disgrace and ruin you. Are any before me addicted to this vice? Have any of you ventured upon a course of intemperance, or commenced to tamper with this insiduous enemy, let me beseech you to shun the fatal cup, to stop in a course which is ruinous to sould and body, reputation and life, to break from the grasp of a foe that will crush and destroy you. Let my example be a warning to you, and before it is too late, cease "to look upon the wine as it giveth it color in the cup, for afterwards it biteth like an adder and stingeth like a serpent." But as hopeless as my case seems to be, all hope has not departed; the blackness of utter despair has not gathered around me. Light breathes upon my sould from the cross, and throws its mild radiance into the "dark valley of the shadow of death" He who would have embraced and saved an Iscariot, rushing into the judgment hall and casting down the price of innocent blood, had he repented, has, I sinceriy hope and believe, taken me, a poor wretched sinner, into his arms of mercy. I have repented of my crimes, O, how deeply. I have humbly hoped and trusted in the atonement of Calvery and that love which "saves to the uttermost," the vile and the miser able, has saved me. And now I look with hope and confidence to the land beyond the grave, and trust to rest with the justified and the saved, when the struggle of death, so soon to take place, is over. Let me honestly assure you that I harbor no hostile or revengeful feeling toward a living man, no malice mingles with the emotions which fluctuate in my breast. There is not a human being that I would harm. My love takes in all my species, and could I live would endeavor to exhibit in my life the fruits of charity and good will to man. Some have uttered hard things against me, I forgive them; and humbly crave pardon for any wrong I may have intentionally or unintentionally done them. Let us now bury in the grave all hostile or bitter feelings, and forgive as we hope to be forgiven. And now I must bid you a long adieu. I commend my sould into the hands of the God who gave it. 1 hope in his mercy, May that mercy be mine. But O God of the widow and the fatherless regard the more than widow and fatherless children. I leave them a heritage of disgrace, but merciful Heaven care for them. Leave them not friendless. Feed them. Clothe them. Preserve them from their Fathers vices, and the vices of the world. Enable them to shun the rock on which their parent has split. Throw around them the arms of thy providence and save them everlastingly....M. Harrelson

GEDCOM Source

@R-1143528545@ 1850 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,8054::0

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Year: 1850; Census Place: Columbus, North Carolina; Roll: M432_626; Page: 251B; Image: 67 1,8054::12655623

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@R-1143528545@ South Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1670-1980 Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,9080::0

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Author: South Carolina. Court of Ordinary (Horry District); Probate Place: Horry, South Carolina 1,9080::526465

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@R-1143528545@ South Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1670-1980 Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,9080::0

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Author: South Carolina. Court of Ordinary (Horry District); Probate Place: Horry, South Carolina 1,9080::526465

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@R-1143528545@ 1840 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,8057::0

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Year: 1840; Census Place: Columbus, North Carolina; Roll: 356; Page: 64; Image: 133; Family History Library Film: 0018093 1,8057::3298085

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@R-1143528545@ 1850 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,8054::0

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Year: 1850; Census Place: Columbus, North Carolina; Roll: M432_626; Page: 251B; Image: 67 1,8054::12655623

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@R-1143528545@ 1840 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,8057::0

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Year: 1840; Census Place: Columbus, North Carolina; Roll: 356; Page: 64; Image: 133; Family History Library Film: 0018093 1,8057::3298085

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Ancestry Family Tree http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=77791285&pid...

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@R-1143528545@ 1810 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,7613::0

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Year: 1810; Census Place: Horry, South Carolina; Roll: 62; Page: 480; Image: 00153; Family History Library Film: 0181421 1,7613::603550

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@R-1143528545@ 1820 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,7734::0

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1820 U S Census; Census Place: Horry, South Carolina; Page: 135; NARA Roll: M33_119; Image: 278 1,7734::176707

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@R-1143528545@ South Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1670-1980 Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,9080::0

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Author: South Carolina. Court of Ordinary (Horry District); Probate Place: Horry, South Carolina 1,9080::526465

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@R-1143528545@ Indexes to the County Wills of South Carolina 1,48254::0

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https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=FLHG-CountyWillsSC&h... 1,48254::269116

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@R-1143528545@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.

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Ancestry Family Tree http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=90173072&pid...

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Moses Harrelson's Timeline

1806
September 1806
Horry County, South Carolina, United States
1807
November 27, 1807
Age 1
Horry, South Carolina, United States
1835
1835
Marion, Marion, South Carolina, United States
1837
March 30, 1837
Columbus, North Carolina, United States
1840
1840
Age 33
Columbus, North Carolina, United States
1840
Age 33
Columbus, North Carolina, United States
1842
1842
Columbus County, North Carolina, United States
1846
1846
Columbus, North Carolina, United States
1849
February 4, 1849
Columbus County, North Carolina