Clarion-Ledger clipping

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The Greenville Shooting Affair.

What J. Allen Ross Got for Meddling.


One of Ames' Colored Brigadiers in the Row.

Vicksburg Herald.]

GREENVILLE, Aug. 15, 1875.

The career of lawless insolence so long indulged in by the Rev. Senator Gray and the Rev. J. Allen Ross, and encouraged by the officers of the law, produced its legitimate and long expected result on Thursday afternoon.

Gray, simply because the Brill Bros., (quiet, respectable citizens, who keep a clothing and furnishing store,) had declined, some time before, to sell him a suit of clothes on credit, accompanied by the Hon. J. D. Webster and other ruffians, made a most wanton and unprovoked attack on one of the Brills, at the time quietly sitting in front of his own store, and was arrested by the town Marshal before he had done any damage to Brill. As soon as arrested he sent a messenger for Ross, who was at the time engaged in a game of draw in a saloon not far off, to come to his assistance, as the "white men were imposing on him." In response to this call, made by Gray, who in the meantime had given bond for his appearance, with Webster as surety, and had returned to the immediate vicinity of Brill's store, Ross soon arrived, inquired of Gray who had insulted him, and learning that Brill was the offender, rushed into the store and up to Brill, who was standing behind his counter, and asked him how he dared to insult his friend, then struck or pushed him back, and at once drew his pistol and commenced firing at him. His first shot missed Brill, who managed to get a Derringer out of the cash drawer, with which he shot Ross in the face, the ball passing through his nose. This shot probably blinded Ross, for his second shot at Brill entered the ceiling, and the rest of his shooting was very wild. As soon as the shooting commenced two or three citizens rushed into Brill's store. Ross turned and pointed his pistol at them, and they commenced firing at him, striking him twice, once in the neck and once in the shoulder-blade, neither shot penetrating deep enough to do much harm; and Ross made his escape to his own house, where he still remains. The community were fearfully excited; reports were freely circulated that Gray had sent out runners into the country to call in the negroes with arms. The whites quickly turned out with arms, prepared to defend themselves, and determined to submit no longer to similar outrages; and any imprudence at this time would, doubtless have led to most serious consequences. The police force was largely increased; a meeting of citizens was held, at which it was resolved to tender to the Mayor a party of twenty-five men, to act under his orders as special police in keeping peace, and as many more as he might need. This body was accepted by the Mayor, and in conjunction with the police, kept guard during the night. On the next morning, the Mayor and Council waited upon Judge Shackleford and inquired of him if he would as conservator of the peace take cognizance of the cases of parties engaged in the disturbances of the day, that might properly be brought before him, experience having taught that to bring them before any of the Magistrates here would be but a mockery and farce. Judge Shackleford having replied in the affirmative, the Mayor caused the Marshal to make the affidavits against Gray, Ross, and Webster, and himself, at the request of their counsel, made affidavit against the then white men engaged in the shooting viz: Freelay, Brill and Vaughn, who voluntarily appeared, and waving examination, gave bonds of $1000 each (the same fixed by Judge S.) for their appearance at the Circuit Court. Gray could not be found. Ross was reported too sick to be removed from his house. Webster was arrested and tried. The charge against him, of an assault with intent to kill, was not sustained, and he was discharged by Judge Shackleford, although the evidence disclosed the fact that he was clearly an aider and abettor of Gray in his attack upon the Brills, and that he urged him to resist arrest. Gray was arrested yesterday and released on his personal recognizance to appear before Judge S. to-morrow.


Clarion-Ledger, “Clarion-Ledger clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed December 1, 2023,

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