THE TRUE BILL
ON THURSDAY the nineteenth there was a high cloud cover, through which the sun shone dimly. There was little wind and the temperature was in the mid-fifties during most of the day. Earthquake vibrations were felt from about eight o'clock on through the day. Shortly before noon there were large tremors that lasted for five minutes. The motion was very irregular, with the impulses coming from “curious directions, changing each few seconds.”1
At nine o'clock, in the absence of the senior judge, Jesse Ford and Dickson Given again convened the court and, during the next hour, ten cases were handled. Most of them were postponed in order to obtain depositions and, at ten o'clock, the second grand jury was sworn in. As was the case with the previous grand jury, twenty-one veniremen took the oath and retired to the juryroom.2 Again, most of the jurymen were yeoman farmers, apparently with no special connections to the Lewis family.* Three of them, however, had served with Lilburne on other juries, and one of them, James Trimble, had been indicted for unlawfully selling whiskey two years before. Lilburne had been foreman of the jury that indicted Trimble, and now the situation was reversed. Two of the jurymen had been officers in the militia, one was a trustee of Salem, and several of the men were slave owners. One of the jurymen, John McDaniel, had the unusual, if irrelevant, distinction of being “noted in his day as the ugliest man short of old' Virginny.'”3
With the exception of James H. Rice, this was not an unusual jury. It appears to have represented a cross section of the citizens of the county. James H. Rice, however, did have a special connection to Lilburne, for Rice's brother, Patrick, had married Sally Rutter, one of Letitia's four sisters. Lilburne's connection
*Elisha Rees, forman, Jacob Houts, John Dunn, Jacob Craft, John Reed, John
Harrington, James H. Rice, Thomas Hodge, John Hardin, Moses Hutson, James
Trimble, Robert Coffield, Isam Briant, Abraham Fulkerson, John Pickens, Evan
Shelby, John McDaniel, Benjamin Pippin, William Pippin, Henry Ewen, William
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Publication information: Book title: Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy. Contributors: Boynton Merrill Jr. - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 285.
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