Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thomas Day, Murder Mystery

Thomas Day  born about 1651 died abou 1705
 about married  at least twice. First to a Dorothy and second wife was Elizabeth.

On February 9 1699
Mary Hodges,  a neighbor, found Elizabeth Day dead .  Her deposition described the body as   "most horrod and barborey mannor all gored in blood " Two other neighbor women were called and gave similar testimony that Thomas was found to hav " his face and eyes most greviously brused with severall wound and bruses upon his head" and no clear reason for his wounds.  He said "how he hurt himself he answered the Lord Knows, I know not" and to another he said his facial wounds resulted from hitting his head over a "potrack."

The Verdict
 Sworn before me the day and yeare above written. Rich'd Covington in Place of Coronor. An Inquisition Ind.... and taken at ye house of Thomas Dayes in Ffarnham Parish in Essex County ye 10 day of February in ye yeare 1699 before me. Rich'd Covington one of his Majesties Justices of ye Peace for ye County of Essex upon view of the body of Elizabeth day ye wife of Thomas Day....then and there lying dead and ye Jurors being good and lawfull men and Sworne to trye and inquire in ye behalfe of our Sovereigne Lord & King,,,,,, so we Jurors say that in ye parish and county aforsd and on the eight or ninth of this instant to wit: in ye dwelling house of ye sd. Tho. Day that ye Sd. Eliza. Day was barbarously murdered and by all manner of Circumstances we can find or gather that ye aforesaid Thom. Day is Guilty of ye murdering ye said Elizabeth Day.
Richard Covington in ye Place of Coronor
Sam. Farry, Tho. Ewell, Henry Perkins, Richd. Taylor, Tho. Crants, Tho. Johnsone, Tho. Greene, Wm. Price, Sam. Coates, John Brooks, Tho. Cooper, Henry Geare, Jeffrey Dyer, Tho. Williamson
February 10, 1699.

Now we get an interesting twist

Aprill 1700 Generall Court "Thomas Day of Essex County for ye Murder of Eliz'a Day wife of Thomas Day of Essex. Acquitted and discharged."
"In October 1700 Generall Court John Smith for Felony & ye murder of Eliz'a Day wife of Thomas Day of Essex County. Found Guilty. Condemned and was Executed."

This almost seems anticlimatic, doesn't it? No other explanation has been located that tells why  or how this John came to be found guilty.

The stress of all this seems to have taken a toll on poor Thomas. Here he sold his property.
Mar 1702 Essex Co., VA "I Thomas Day of South Farnham Parish in Essex County, Planter, doe assigne and sett over all my right title clayme and interest unto the within written deed unto Jacob Devillard of the aforesd county, Churgion his heires and assignes forever with warranty from all persons whatsoever that shall lay any just claime or title unto the within menconed land or Plantacon As witness my hand this seaventeenth day of March 1701/2
signed: Thomas (X) Day
wit: John Watkins, Saml Coates


"5 Dec 1705 signed Tho x Day Wit: John Fargason ,Wm. Aylett, Adam Denning Ack and rec 11 Feb 1705/6
 To all to who these presents shall come Greting know yee that I thomas Day of the parish of South Farnham in the County of Essex in Virginia being in a sickly weake and low condition and noe(ways) waies Capable to tke care of, or provide for myself and that little Estate it hath pleased God to bestow upon me (it chiefly lying in Perishable Creatures) have and by these presents doe Bargain Sell Bind and firmly make over unto Jn'o Fargason of the parish and County aforsaid planter all and singular my said Estate", etc. In consideration Fargason "to maintain and keep me the said Day During my naturall life with sufficient accomodation of victuals Cloathes washing and lodging and give to Eliza a Mary Angillica Day my Daughter when whe arrive to the age of Eighteen or when married one Cowe and Calfe." 

Do you believe he was guilty or not?

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