(From Sedalia Daily Democrat, Sedalia, Missouri, October 15, 1876)
A Quarrel Between Colored Secret Societies Results in a Hanging Scrape.
St Louis, Oct. 12—A special to the Globe-Democrat from Waco, Texas says: A most brutal murder was committed near this place two weeks ago, and the coroner’s jury to-day completed the investigation, which proves that a body of colored Masons had opposition from another secret clique, and the Masons were to have their Worshipful Master, a person named Jones, murdered by another negro named McCann. Therefore Jones conterplotted, and McCann was urged several times to come out of his hole at night, but refused till the night of the 30th, when he agreed, and a party of negroes numbering ten, among them Jones, met and murdered him as per the following sample of evidence, given by Alex. Cox, who turned state’s evidence.
He was visited by Ed. Guess, who said the trick was fixed. Tom Vance was to take McCann to the hollow, where the murder was to be committed. We went, but before arriving heard one shot, and when within forty rods of the hollow, heard two more shots; then saw two colored men ride out of the hollow. We returned to a church festival, where I met Cleaver, and who requested me to help him with some boxes. While doing so he said, “We did the work.” When returning from the table to the church he said, “We hung McCann first, then shot him, but as he continued struggling as we walked off, Jack Wallace returned and shot him twice in the neck killing him.”
McCann belonged to the Sedd Willis gang, and was reported to have agreed to kill Parson Jones for a pony and $10. The matter was never talked about in Masonic Hall, but was arranged elsewhere.
The jury rendered a verdict, committing seven to jail without bail as principals and accessories, and admitting one to bail in $1,000, and discharged two.
Two notes, badly written, were left near the body, which read: “This is for threatening good men and for running after white women.” These are said to have been written by Jones who came here from Hannibal, as a minister of the Methodist church, and organized the colored Masonic lodge, which was named for him. His co-murders are aristocratic political negroes of this county.
Sedd Willis, who it is said, heads the opposing faction, was a member of the Legislature organized under the military reconstruction regulations.