AN OLD MYSTERY
The Pocahontas Times
June 8, 1899
About 1890, Dick Knapp disappeared from his home near Edray, and it has always been believed that he was murdered, tho the failure to find the body has been effectual to prevent any prosecutions in the courts.
Last Saturday, Scott Kelley was tried at Green Bank before a justice, on a peace warrant and the charge was dismissed. Then came Enos Sharp and swore that the prisoner had admitted to him that he had cut Dick Knapp’s throat with the assistance of some others. Thereupon, the magistrate committed him to jail on the charge of murder.
It is considered that there is no case against the prisoner and not likely to be. Such evidence should be weighed with care for it is of a character which innocent men have cause to fear, and if it received credence no man would be safe.
The Enos Sharp Cases
The Pocahontas Times
June 29, 1899
A section of country near the line of the Huntersville and Green Bank districts is interested vitally in the investigation into the matters pointed out by Enos Sharp, which has resulted so far in getting himself bound over to appear before the grand jury, while the other side remains at large.
This section has suffered greatly in the past few years from thieves, and so many sheep have been driven off that some farmers have ceased to raise sheep. Hanson Dilley alone has lost five sheep. George Fertig lost eight and found his bell sheep with the bell muffled, indicating that an attempt had been made to drive the whole flock off. Hogs running in the mountains and poultry in large quantities have also been taken. There is no question but that an organized gang is at work; but the authorities cannot be too careful for with such a condition of affairs it is not hard to raise suspicion against almost everyone.
The racket started when Scott Kelley was arrested on a peace warrant and at the hearing Enos Sharp declared that Kelley had admitted to him that he had assisted in the cutting of Dick Knapp’s throat, and that he could name the men who had been driving off people’s sheep from the range.
Kelley was sent to jail without the formality of issuing a warrant and on this meager evidence. Upon a hearing, Judge McWhorter turned him loose. He had been about to die in confinement and had the courtesy of “prison bounds” extended to him before, and he had become a familiar feature of a village and seemed to enjoy his visits to Marlinton immensely. He does not look like a murderer.
In regard to the sheep stealing, he detailed the circumstances attending the driving off of sheep on Elk, on the day of the Confederate Reunion at Marlinton in 1897, when the whole county was away from home. Unfortunately, the witness’s reputation for truth and veracity in the neighborhood in which he lives has been successfully assailed in two late trials and his evidence made of no effect.
A few days after, Amos Wooddell, one of the men he had accused of lifting sheep, had a warrant issued for Sharp for shooting at him. After some delay Sharp was arrested, examined last Tuesday and held to await the action of the grand jury. Uriah Hevener, one of our most prominent stock men bailed him out of jail.
Then Enos Sharp had a warrant issued against Henry (alias Pea Lea) Rider and John A. Hooks for breaking and entering the house of his father, Lindsay Sharp. They were arrested and examined before Squire Grose last Thursday.
Lindsay Sharp’s house is situated in a lonely place on the Huntersville and Dunmore road. Enos Sharp’s house is near his father’s. Both testified that on the night of the 17th inst. some six or seven men came to the house and with much cursing and swearing invited them both to come out and be killed. When they refused to respond, they broke open and searched both houses. While they were attacking Enos’s house, old man Sharp got up and fled to the woods from where he watched operations. Enos remained upstairs and testified that he heard the voice of Henry Rider and the sound of his peg-leg on the floor.
“You’re a damned liar!” shouted the prisoner suddenly making a false movement with his fist. The court quieted the confusion incident to this interruption, and the case proceeded.
Lindsay Sharp is a decrepit old man who calls himself seventy-five in round numbers. His testimony was substantially the same as that of his son. He said that he sat out in the woods all night. He has the reputation of having hoarded a fine bag of gold, and the defense attempted to show that it might have been for that the house was broken into.
The defense said that the constable Ellis Moore had asked them to locate Enos. This was confirmed by Moore’s testimony. They had gone there and hollered for Enos and when he did not answer had gone to Mrs. Rebecca Miller’s house and watched for him all night. Floyd Rider corroborated this evidence, and the evidence of Enos Sharp being impeached, the prisoners were discharged.
To be continued…
Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County ~ 1901
By William T. Price
Among the worthy citizens of our county deserving of special mention was William Baxter, near Edray. He was born on Little Back Creek, in 1808. He was the eldest son of Colonel John Baxter, whose name appears prominently in the early history of Pocahontas county. His mother was Mrs. Mary Moore Baxter, a sister of Joseph Moore of Anthonys Creek. She was a very industrious and careful housekeeper, and diligently trained her children in habits of industry and economy.
At an early age his parents moved to Pocahontas county, and resided a good many years at the Sulphur Spring. Being the eldest son, he worked hard in assisting to support the family, consisting of four sons and three daughters. His sisters were Mrs. Jane Moore, wife of the late John Moore near Marlinton; Mrs. Martha Duncan, wife of Henry Duncan, head of Stony Creek; and Mrs. Sarah Duncan, wife of William Duncan, near Edray…
From early boyhood William Baxter manifested great fondness for reading, and he improved his available opportunities very studiously. His father owned the largest and most select library then in the county, and William read most of the books…
For many years, William Baxter, Senior, served as justice of the peace and member of the Pocahontas court. He was a skillful amanuensis, and did a great deal of work in that line, framing business papers, as articles of agreement, conveyances, deeds and wills. His opinions were much relied upon as to the right or wrong of questions that would occasionally arise between neighbors, and frequently matters were quietly adjusted that otherwise might have led to tedious court proceedings, and much disagreeable personal animosities…
He died September, 1881, aged about 73 years. In two or three weeks thereafter his faithful wife also passed away, thus lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in death not long divided.