Archived Story

Jesse Dill’s killer never came to trial

Published 9:01pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On April 8, 1830, a military muster was held near the Lewis H. and Mary Dickey house at the intersection of Gap Creek and Tugaloo Roads (present day Highways 101 and 414).
During a scheduled break in the day’s activities, Jesse Dill and John McCrary came into Dickey’s store at the intersection. A number of other local people were there to purchase items and to catch up on the latest local news.
Without warning, the two militiamen disagreed on some point, and Jesse Dill threw the first of several punches. People in the store noticed immediately that Dill was the bigger and stronger of the two, and was definitely the aggressor.
McCrary acted defensively to the first blows before giving Dill one punch, which caused him to fall. As he hit the floor, McCrary kicked him on the neck. Dill died immediately, without a moan or sound of any kind.
David Jackson, one of the justices of the area, issued a warrant to arrest John McCrary. The warrant was based on a sworn statement of Stephen Dill that John McCrary had beaten, wounded and killed Jesse Dill.
Jackson also summoned seven eyewitnesses—Reuben B. Jackson, Lewis H. Dickey, Jesse Center, Wilson Barton, Jacob Keller, James Brown  and Stephen Dill—to post bond stating they would appear at the trial to be held in the next County Court session on October 11.
The eyewitnesses had to have two other people to “go their bond” with them. Several of them “went the bond” with each other, and four other men in the area joined them to cover all bonds.
Lewis H. Dickey did not post his bond until a few days before the scheduled trial, with Littlebury Holcombe “going the bond” with him.
The trial did not take place, however.
No record of Grand Jury testimony was found. Only two notes were in the record: one stated “Defendant not taken” and was undated; the other stated “No Indictment to be found.” It was initialed and dated March, 1830.
Evidently, according to the notes, John McCrary left the area and was never apprehended, and no Indictment was handed down.

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