Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jim & Tink Hancock; My Notorious Granduncles!

Let's start with Granduncle Jim Hancock (1877-1922).

The stories I'm told tell of a man who was a gambler. It was said of one of his sons, Leroy 'Dude' Hancock, oldest child of Jim and Maliser Hancock, that at a very early age he assumed responsibility of running the farm as his Dad was often away for various reasons. Many times Jim was in jail or off gambling. The chores around the farm was left to Dude, his mother, his sisters, Bessie and Dot, and his brother Jadie. Here's some supporting evidence via newspaper accounts.

Augusta Chronicle; Tuesday, September 3, 1912
Negro surrendered, Then He escaped
Jim Hancock Killed by Buster Kitchings In Aiken County
Special to the Chronicle.

[note: the names in the headline are reversed]
Aiken, S.C., Sept 2.- Jim Hancock shot and killed Buster Kitchings last Saturday night about 11 or 12 o'clock, the homicide occurrring just out of the town of Windsor. The principals are both negroes. The dead negro was shot with a pistol and at close range, the bullet entering the back of the and making its exit from the middle of the forehead, cleanly penetrating the brain. There was this one wound.

Immediately after he killed Kitchings, Hancock went to the home of Mr. Joe Hightower, told what he had done, and expressed a desire to surrender "to some white man". Mr Hightower carried the negro to Windsor, but as he and chiefFanning prepared to lock their prisoner up, the latter sprang away from them and broke for a small woodland. Stray shots were fired at the fleeing negro, but without any perceptible results.

A posse quickly formed, surrounded the woodland and closed in on the negro, but he slipped through the picket line, evaded capture and made good his escape. Up until a late hour today he had not been apprehended.

Wow! Of course, they got the names in the header transposed. But the story doesn't end there...

Augusta Chronicle; Sunday, May 28, 1922
Charge White Man With Killing Negro
Aiken, S.C., May 27.
- A warrant was sworn out here this morning by Barnwell, S.C. authorities for Joe Kithcings, white farmer of this county, charging him with the murder of Jim Hancock, a negro whose body was found on the Southern Railway tracks near here on May11th.

Sherriff Howard of this county claims to have evidence that Kitchings struck the negro on the head with a heavy revolver while the two were returning from a trip into Barnwell county, and the body was placed on the railroad track to avoid suspicion of foul play.

Wow, wow! Could this Kitchings be related to the slain Kitchings of 10 years ago? And it doesn't end there, folks...
Augusta Chronicle; Thursday, June 14, 1923
Special To The Chronicle.
- Joe Kitchings was acquitted of the murder of Jim Hancock, near White Pond.
Wow, wow, wow! It appears that Kitchings spends less than a year in jail.
Tink (Reison) Hancock 1868-1952

Let's now see how Granduncle Tink Hancock gets in the newspapers.

Augusta Chronicle; Sunday, October 16, 1898
Shooting At Elko
Colored Officer Has Pitched Battle With Negro Desparado.
Elco, S.C., Oct 15
- About 9 o'clock this morning an attempt was made by Tink Hancock, colored, to arrest two negroes, W.B. Jackson and Smith Green. Shots were exchanged and Ephriam Grey, standing with them was killed. Green shot at Hancock first, and dodged behind Grey and Grey was shot instead of Green. About 15 shots were exchanged. 
The two negroes, Jackson and Green escaped. They are supposed to be the negroes that killed a soldier in Charleston recently.
Augusta Chronicle; Friday May 30, 1924
Barnwell, May 29.
-Tink Hancock was convicted of violating the prohibition law and sentenced to a fine of $200 or serve 12 months at hard labor; on payment of $25 balance of sentence to be suspended during good behavior.

Further in the article it states:
The Grand Jury returned the following true bills:
Tink Hancock and Dina Hancock, violation of the prohibition law.-

Augusta Chronicle; Saturday, January 15, 1927
Aiken News Notes
The Chronicle Bureau
James Edwin Kerr, Mgr.
-Tink Hancock, colored, was placed under $500 bond by United States district commissioner Thos. R Morgan, when he waived a preliminary hearing before that official today on the charge of having liquor making fixtures in his possession. Hancock was caught in Barnwell.-

There you have it; a glimpse into the notorious side of my ancestors.
Kinda makes me glad that my Grandfather, Jack Hancock, took his family up North during the early 1920's!
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