Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sept 29 & 30, 1869

The morning after the picnic shootings, the investigation of the picnic site continued, but no new evidence turned up. The same morning, Dickinson convened a grand jury in Marianna. Amid speculation about the identity of the shooters, one young white man affiliated with the town's Regulators was named. In the meantime, another shooting was reported. About nine miles outside of Marianna, Columbus Sullivan, a white preacher, and George Cox, black, were hauling cotton when they were riddled with buckshot. Cox was lightly wounded. Sullivan's face was mutilated and he died from his wounds about a week later. The gunman escaped. Dickinson wrote to his friend Congressman Charles M. Hamilton about the need for "a first-class detective" in Marianna or, alternatively, "a few Henry rifles" which, he wrote, "would have an excellent moral effect here." During these tense days, rumors began to spread in the white community that dry goods merchant Samuel Fleishman had made some kind of statement advising a group of African American men gathered in his store to avenge the picnic shootings.

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