Date: June 14, 1895
Location: Lunenburg County, Virginia
Victim: Lucy Jane Pollard
Cause of Death: Blows from an axe
Accused: Mary Abernathy, Mary Barnes, Pokey Barnes, William Henry "Solomon" Marable
In 1895 Edward Pollard was 73 years old and had become a bit cantankerous, constantly involved in disputes with his neighbors over property and right of way. He had also become a money lender. It was well known in Lunenburg County the Pollards kept large amounts of cash in their house.
The afternoon of June 14, 1895, Edward came in from the field and found his wife’s body lying on the ground just outside the backdoor of the house. Her head had been gashed by several blows from a meat axe that the Pollards kept outside the house. The motive had been robbery; more than $800 in cash had been taken from the house, along with some of Lucy’s dresses and bed linen.
Solomon Marable claimed he saw Mary Barnes, Pokey Barnes, and Mary Abernathy the day of the murder and they told him “they had something good in store.” Later he saw Pokey Barnes and Mary Abernathy with their clothes and hands covered in blood. Mary Abernathy gave him $20 and told him to say nothing about it. He did not learn about the murder until the following day. The three women Solomon mentioned—referred to as the Lunenburg Women—were held, the rest were released. Lynching was a very real threat to the prisoners and it was felt they would not be safe in the Lunenburg jail. They were taken, under heavy guard to Petersburg, more than a day’s ride away.
Trials: July 1895