Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Eye for an Eye and an Ear for an Ear?

We all knew kids that bit other children.  One of our own sweet children often resorted to biting and sometimes for no apparent reason.  It was humiliating to have a teacher bring her to me during church, indicating that she had bitten....again.  But thankfully, with some creative persuasion techniques and time, she did outgrow biting and she is a wonderful woman today with her own children.  The point is, she did outgrow it and found other ways to communicate her displeasure with other's behavior.

Apparently, that is not always the case for everyone. While researching my Rainwater family in Anderson County, South Carolina court records, I found the following:

State of South Carolina
Appeared personally Mishack Deale and David Heaton before me, A.J. Liddell one of the Justice of the peace in the District aforesaid and after being duly sworn on their oaths said that they were present at a fight that took place between Jesse Jolly and Solomon Rainwater some time in the month of June 1816 and in the affray the deponents saith that Jesse Jolly did bite the ear off said Rainwater or part of the right ear of said Rainwater.  Sworn and subscribed before me this 14 day of Nov 1817.

A.L. Liddell J.P.
Recorded 15th Nov. 1817

I really wish I knew the full story of what transpired both before Solomon had his ear partially bitten off and afterwards.  This appeared in court records in November, about five months following the June incident, so both Solomon Rainwater and Jesse Jolly had had time to think about the issue and apparently had not resolved it on their own.  I couldn't help but remember an incident in 1997 when heavyweight Mike Tyson bit off a portion of his opponent Holyfield's ear in the ring. But again, this was at least in the ring.  What would provoke a grown man to bite a chunk of another man's ear off out in public?

This Solomon Rainwater was born about 1799 in South Carolina and was the son of Solomon Rainwater and Ruth Felton, whom I've mentioned before.  He was also brother to Joshua Rainwater who is my third great grandfather. This younger Solomon  married Nancy Linn about nine years after this fight on 18 Dec. 1826 and they had 11 children, Leander, Amanda, Naomi, Cimantha, Nancy, Solomon, Charity, Cicero, Isabel, Virgil and Horace. By 1821, Solomon and Nancy were living in Hancock County, Georgia where Solomon passed away in 1858.

Solomon's older brother, Job, had married Didama Hembree in 1800 and her sister, Winnie Hembree, had married David Heaton in about 1813.  So, Job Rainwater and wife Didama nee Hembree, as well as  David Heaton  and Winnie nee Hembree were married at the time of the fight, although Solomon was an unmarried young man about 18 years old and still living in his father's household. So, whatever the circumstances were, Solomon had a connection with David Heaton and my guess is, likely at least knew Mishack Deale as well.

 Hopefully the issue was resolved and life resumed, although with a portion of his ear missing as a reminder, it's unlikely that the incident was ever totally forgotten.  While a bit tedious, I love researching in court records because you never know what you might find.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2012



9 comments:

  1. Wow! What a story! I agree with you about how interesting court records can be.

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    1. It's crazy--you just never know what will pop up.

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    2. Hi Michelle, I just wanted to let you know that your blog post is listed on my Fab Finds post today at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2012/12/follow-fridayfab-finds-for-december-21.html

      Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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    3. Thank you so much Jana. I love your blog! Merry Christmas to you too!

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  2. Very interesting story. Love Geneabloggers. Was up until late last night writing a story for Christmas of a document I just discovered on google. It was my early Christmas present.

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    1. Geneabloggers is great in helping us to find like minded genealogy bloggers. Glad to have found your blog and glad you stopped by mine!

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. I really love this story. Court records can shed so much light onto our ancestors' lives.

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  5. Thanks so much! They take so long to go through, but the things I find sometimes are so fun.

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