My connection to the Allen family is through a previous post I made on the bio of Mary Matilda Justus. This is a large file so I will post it in two parts..............
Contributor's Note:The attached story & newspaper clipping tell of thedeath of Ben Onie Allen of Mills River, Henderson County, North Carolina. Itis thought that Ben Allen is buried in the Poe Mill Cemetery in Greenville, South Carolina. The cemetery no longer exists.
BEN ALLEN 1878-1910
Elijah Benoni(Ben Oney) Allen was born May 13 1878 at Mills River, Henderson County, North Carolina the son of Rev. William Martin & Mary Matilda Justus Allen. . He died April 14, 1910 at Poe Mill in Greenville County, South Carolina. He married December 4, 1897, McDowell County, North Carolina to
Artie Ella Mae Dalton born 1882, McDowell County, North Carolina.
Artie Dalton's parents were William Bailey Dalton and Margaret M. Davis bothof the Crooked Creek area of McDowell Co. N.C.
Ben and Artie Allen had four children:
1. Fairy Matilda Allen, born January 31, 1899, died October 31, 1947, Shemarried Allen Andrew Vess, she is buried at Davistown Cemetery in McDowell Co.N.C.
2. Oscar Lee Oney Allen, born October 13, 1900, McDowell County, NorthCarolina, died September 17, 1987, Laurens County, South Carolina. He married
Vergia Melissa Davis.
3. Clarence Allen, born about 1903
4. Clyde Allen born about 1906.
Artie Dalton Allen married Noah Merlin Vess of McDowell Co. N.C. after the death of Ben Allen. Artie died in 1945 and is buried at Bethel-Cherry Springs Cemetery in McDowell Co. N.C.
Ben Allen had a sister named Arminta Lena "Minte" Allen that married James Logan Davis of McDowell Co. N.C. His Parents were John Wesley Davis and Rhoda Dalton. Rhoda Dalton and William Bailey Dalton were brother and sister.
The following Newspaper clippings are about the death of Ben Allen and the man who shot him.
THE GREENVILLE DAILY NEWS - April 15, 1910} MYSTERY SHROULDS
THE KILLING OF BEN ALLEN. Did Mill man commit suicide or was he Murdered? MANARRESTED AND NOW IN JAIL.
J.C. Lindley, who boarded at dead man's home, 204 Hammett Street, Poe Millarrested by Deputy Sheriff John Hunsinger and will be held on murder charge --Though it was rumored that Allen's wife was intimate with Lindsey, he refusedto believe that she was untrue.
Mystery shrouds the death of Ben Allen, a white man of 201Hammett Street, Poe ill, who either committed suicide or was murdered yesterday morning at hishome at 1:00 o'clock.
J.G. Lindley is now in jail, having been arrested by Deputy Sheriff Hunsingerlate yesterday because a high feeling against him existed among the neighborsnear the home and it was thought that possibly he would have been handledroughly by the people. He will be held in connection with the mysterious
affair. When taken to the jail he refused to talk of the matter.
About one thirty o'clock yesterday morning the villagers of Poe Mill weredisturbed by the clear report of a revolver firing, and upon investigation itwas found that Allen was lying on a bed with a bullet wound in his righttemple. Death was evidently quick, for the missile ploughed its way throughthe brain.
Coroner Batson was summoned about daylight and he took charge of the case. Ajury was selected and inquest was held over the body at - o'clock, and afterabout two hours of deliberation the jury returned a verdict "that the deceasedcame to his death from a gunshot wound at hands unknown to the jury."The
jury was divided in its opinion. Some thought it was just a plain case ofsuicide, while others held out that he was killed by some body.Perhaps themost starling testimony taken was that of Allen's father, who said that he hadbeen with his son the evening before and that he was cheerful, and that he did
not believe his son committed suicide and that he met with foul play. Heobjected to telling who he suspected of having killed his son, but upon thecoroner clearing the room of spectators, Mr. Allen said he suspected a certainman, and when pressed for a direct answer, said he believed the man was
Lindley, and when asked why he suspictioned Lindley Mr. Allen said that it wasbecause there had been a good deal of talk about Lindley being intimate withhis son's wife while they lived in North Carolina and also since they had beenin Greenville. He added that his son wouldn't believe that his wife was untrueto her sacred vows, and for this reason alone he said his son did not have anyreason why he should take his life. Lindley boarded at the house and at thetime of the shooting, claims he was sleeping in the other room on a pallet inthe floor. This room was also occupied by Allen's wife, who was there with herfour children who were sick with measles. It was said that Lindley agreed to
stay up at night and attend to the children while the husband slept.
In testifying Lindley said he did not know anything of the shooting till Mrs.Lindley woke him up by saying that she had heard a shot and thought the soundcame from the next room. Lindley said he went to the door and saw a bullethole in Allen's head. This statement caused some comment, for the spectatorswanted to know how in the dark he could see a bullet hole in the dead man'shead when he was lying on a bed several yards from the door.
One point that puzzled the jury mostly, and which no doubt caused it to reachthe verdict above instead of saying that the dead man came to his death bygunshot wounds in his own hands, was the position in which the pistol waslying. It was but a few inches from the man's head and the muzzle was pointedtoward the wound. According to the laws of nature a pistol when fired in such close proximity to a person's head will not drop in a perfect position,but will fall with the head, possibly going several feet from the body and thebarrel pointing in another direction. Another point which directed the jurytoo was the fact that the dead man's eyes were closed as if in perfect sleep.It is said that when a person commits suicide, especially inflicting a woundin the head, that the eyes will not close entirely. Some even thought that hewas shot while sleeping and that the pistol was laid close to his head as abluff.
The dead man's father said reports as to the woman's intimacy with Lindleyoften reached his son but the son loved his wife and wouldn't listen to talesof scandal and shame, believing that she was true to her vows. He said that hesaw no reason for his son to commit suicide, and believed that he was murdered.
April 1910, The Greenville Daily News
Will ask for preliminary
J.G. Lindley, held in connection with killing of Ben Allen, wants hearing.
J.G. Lindley, the young white man held in connection with the mysteriousdeath of Ben Allen, who either committed suicide or was murdered severalnights ago will demand a preliminary hearing one day this week before one ofthe local magistrates to know upon what grounds the state is holding him inconnection with this killing. He has employed Attorney Jas. H. Price to defend him.
The Greenville Daily News, April 29, 1910
MURDER THE THEORY ADVANCED BY WIFE
Mrs. Ben Allen makes sensational statement to Coroner Batson, says herhusband was killed.
Wife of Poe Mill man, who was recently found dead in bed says she believesLindley shot her husband -- she now says she heard shot and hurrying footstepsafterward in same room -- Claims Lindley and her husband had not been on bestof terms -- Also says suspected man had asked her to leave her home and livewith him. Sensational developments have come to light in the recent mysterious death of Ben Allen, the white man who was found dead at his home onHammett street, Poe Mill over a week ago with a bullet in his right temple.The man's wife has revealed some startling facts that may tend to make it gohard with J.G. Lindley, the boarder in the house, who has been held in jailunder suspicion.
Yesterday morning Coroner Batson and Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger visited theAllen woman at her home and obtained what is said to be a confession from her.Last night Sheriff Poole also called on the woman and she talked to him. Theofficers say that Mrs. Allen said that prior to the death of her husband thatLindley and her husband had been at outs with each other and that Lindley hadoften told her he intended to kill her husband. ThoughMrs. Lindley did notsay so, she left the officers to think that it was understood between her andLindley that they would live together after Allen was out of the way, skipping out to North Carolina or some other state.
It will be remembered that Ben Allen was found dead at his home with a bulletwound in his head. A pistol shot was heard about two o'clock one morning andupon investigation it was found that Allen was dead.
Coroner Batson held an inquest the next morning and for a while it looked asthough it was a case of suicide, but a News reporter insisted that it was notsuicide but murder, and after some talk with Coroner Batson and the jury averdict was rendered that the deceased came to his death from a gunshot woundin the hands of an unknown person. Had the jury returned a verdict that Allencame to his death from a gunshot wound in his own hands, the case would haveended, but after working out a few theories the jury returned the verdictwhich left the case open for the law.
Perhaps the most interesting testimony given was that of the father of Allen.With tears in his eyes the gray-haired veteran said that he suspected foulplay and when pressed by the coroner to give the name of the person hesuspected, he mentioned Lindley, he said that the report was current in NorthCarolina, when his son lived there that Mrs. Allen and Lindley were intimateand that the same tales were spread around since they moved to Greenville.Lindley Boarded at the Allen home and while the children were sick withmeasles he agreed to stay up at night and give them medication. He slept in
Mrs. Allen's room on a pallet on the floor, while Mr. Allen slept in another room.
When Mr. Allen was found dead his body was in the attitude of perfect sleep,the eyes being shut peacefully, and there was not even a sign on his face thathe had died hard. A pistol was found a few inches from his head, the muzzlepointing toward the wound. The position of the revolver was what attracted thenewspaper man's attention and he called the coroner's notice to it. Nine timesout of ten when a man commits suicide and puts the mussel of a gun to his headthe gun after being discharged will not fall perfectly straight, but throughkicking will hurl over and the muzzle point in another direction.
In the course of her story to the officers it is said that Mrs. Allen saidthat about one o'clock Lindley was talking to her and said that she had bettergo to sleep as she needed some rest. She said that a lantern was burning in alittle room adjoining and that Lindley got up and put this lantern out. She
says she heard the report of a revolver and the noise of a man's feet steppingquickly across the room.She said she got up and went over to the hearthwhere Lindley generally slept and that he had his head wrapped up in a quilt and pretended to be sound asleep.
According to the officers she gave as her reason for not testifying this wayat the inquest that she was afraid and did not care to tell.
While the woman told nothing of any real understanding between her andLindley about leaving Greenville together, the officers picked from herconversation that Lindley was madly infatuated with her and that he had madeovertures to her to dispose of all her goods and get ready to leave with him.
The officers say that Mrs. Allen said that Lindley and her husband had beengood friends up until a few weeks before his death and for a while almostdaily disputes and angry words passed between the two.The woman says she hadno part in the killing of her husband and did not conspire with Lindley for
his death. She denied being intimate with Lindley but did not deny she did notintend leaving with him after the death of her husband. Lindley has claimedhis innocence all along and even yesterday _______.
The Greenville Daily News, April 30, 1910
ALLEN'S ALLEGED SLAYER GETS PRELIMINARY TODAY
J.G. Lindley, held on murder charge will be examined at noon.
MRS. ALLEN GIVES INTERVIEW
But conversation was suddenly stopped by her father-in-law who orderedreporter out of the house, however she talked enough to fully corroboratestatements given to county officers the day before -- something of the womanand her children.
J.G. Lindley, the young white man held on the charge of murdering Ben Allenat his home on Hammett Street, Poe Mill, one night about ten days ago, will begiven a preliminary hearing today at noon before Magistrate Stridley, hisattorneys Messier Jas. W. Price and George M. Pritchard having demanded that
he be given a preliminary hearing.
When seen at the jail yesterday Lindley seemed not to be unnerved by theconfession of Mrs. Allen, in which she claims her husband met with foul play,and he stoutly protested his innocence. However, he refused to give out aninterview, saying that he cared not to talk until his trial.
A News reporter called on Mrs. Allen at the home of her Father-in-law at PoeMill yesterday and obtained a partial confession from her, but before theconversation was complete the old man interfered by ordering the newspaper manfrom his home, saying that he did not propose to have the matter aired in thenewspapers and charging the reporter with being in league with his brother whois one of the attorney's representing the defendant.
When the reporter first called Mr. Allen invited him in the house and seemedto be quite civil. Mrs Allen the wife of the dead man, was in the kitchen andit was while in this room that the father of the dead man suddenly changed hismind about allowing his daughter-in-law to talk about the matter and orderedthe reporter out of his home with practically threats of violence. Whenassured of the fact that the reporter wanted a clear-cut story from Mrs. Allenregardless of whether it was favorable to his brother's client or not. Mr.Allen wouldn't listen and was even more insulting. Mrs. Allen dictated apartial confession to the reporter, but he was forced to put the writing inthe stove, but he did not forget what was told him nevertheless.
Mrs Allen seemed anxious to tell the story of the shooting and no doubt wouldhave given a more complete confession than the ones given to the countyofficials, had she not been interrupted by her father-in-law.
Mrs. Allen said that about one o'clock on the night of the killing she hadabout dozed off to sleep when she heard a pistol shot in the adjoining roomwhere her husband was sleeping and also heard her little girl scream. She saidthat Lindley slept on a pallet in her room , not another bed and not close to
her bed. She said upon the report of the pistol she awoke and saw Lindley falldown on his pallet. She said she got up and went over to where he was andpushed him on the shoulder a couple of times before he would raise up. Shesaid she asked him what the firing of the pistol meant and he told her he
didn't know.About this time Mr. Allen came in the room and the interview wasbroken into.However, The News exclusive story yesterday was right to the point according to Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger, Coroner Batson and Sheriff Poole,all of whom talked to the woman, and claim she told them enough to make it warm for Lindley.
In calling on Mrs. Allen yesterday The News reporter could not help but feela touch of sympathy for the four little children of the dead man. Around thetable they were seated in the kitchen eating their dinner not realizing thegreat _ _ _ _ that would follow them to think to _ _ _ _ that of their motherbeing talked of as being a woman untrue to her marriage vows. Mrs. Allen isnot an ugly woman, neither is she a pretty woman. Her complexion is clear, herhair dark, her eyes brown and even frank, and by looking into them one wouldnot suspect that she could be treacherous to the man she was supposed to love
and honor. She was courteous too and she seemed to regret that her father-in- law saw it to order her not to talk for publication. A large crowd no doubtwill be present today at the preliminary hearing in Magistrate Stradley'scourt. There is hardly any doubt but that the case will be sent to the highercourt for trial at the coming term of the court, though the _ _ _ _ _ ofhaving the preliminary ordered according to the defendant's attorneys issimply to _ _ _ _ _the exact nature of the charge of murder against Lindleyand weather or not the alleged proof of the shooting is sufficient to holdhim.
Note: the following is only the part of the article that pertains to Ben
The Greenville Daily News, May 2, 1910
CRIMINAL COURT WILL CONVENE TODAY
Grand Jury indicted( J.G. Lindley for the murder of Ben Allen.Perhaps the two most interesting jail cases that no doubt will come up arethe Liddell and Allen Murders. Mystery surrounds both the killings and theoutcome of these two trials will be watched with interest. Liddell wasbrutally murdered and for his murder three men have been arrested. They eachclaim their innocence and have retained prominent lawyers to defend them. Mr.Ed Pepper, brother of Jim Pepper has retained McCoullough and Blythe to defendhis brother and will fight for his freedom until the last. Fuller's friendshave retained Mr. Jas. H. Price and M. George M. Pritchard to defend him, andMr. T.K. Earle will represent Joe Barker.
The mere fact that a mystery surrounds the death of Ben Allen makes the caseof J.G. Lindley all the more interesting. Lindley's brother and father have come to his rescue. They live in Newport, Tenn. and the brother has alreadyarrived in the city to be with his brother during trial. Sensationaldevelopments have recently come to light in the Allen case, and they may havesome bearing on the outcome of the trial. However Lindley Stoutly denies hisguilt and is anxious for a trial. He is represented by Price and Prichard.
The Greenville Daily News, May, 1910
LINDLEY'S CASE SENT UP TO HIGHER COURT
White man held for murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill given preliminaryyesterday at noon before magistrate Stradley -- Big crowd was present to hear interesting case.
Nothing more than what was printed in the news exclusive stories of Thursdayand Friday morning about the confession of Mrs. Ben Allen as to the killing ofher husband came out yesterday at noon at the preliminary hearing of J.G.Lindley, the white man held on the charge of murdering Allen. After hearingthe case Magistrate Stradley ordered that Lindley be sent to the criminalcourt for trial.It will be remembered that on Thursday morning The Newscarried a story to the effect that Mrs. Allen had given a confession to thecounty officials in which she says she believes her husband was murdered byLindley. At the trial yesterday nothing more than what has been printed inthese columns before came up.
A great crowd was in the court room to hear the preliminary. In fact thehalls in the building were packed, everybody curious to get a glimpse at thewoman in the case. She sat there with head bowed and fingers nervouslytwisting between the others. Near her sit her father-in-law, who though she
has been the recipient of a lot of talk of scandal, seemed to want to shieldher character from anything that might develop in the trial.
The defendant is represented by Mr. Jas. H. Price and Mr. George M. Pritchardand they closely questioned the witnesses in the case.
Thursday Morning--- The Greenville Daily News, May 12, 1910,
LINDLEY'S FATE RESTS WITH THE JURY TODAY. CHARGED WITH THE MURDER OF BEN ALLEN
ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO. MUST BE ACQUITTED OR HANGED.
Most unique case in criminal annals of Greenville County in the fact that thejury must return a verdict of either Guilty without mercy or not Guilty - Casewas started at noon yesterday and testimony was in by five o'clock.
Today a jury of twelve good men will decide the fate of J.G. Lindley, who isbeing tried for the murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill over two weeks ago.
The case was begun at twelve o'clock yesterday after the jury in the case ofthe State against Ernest Gowens had returned a verdict of guilty of murder inthe first degree with recommendation to mercy. Gowens shot and killed WarrenMason at Paris Station about two weeks ago and must serve a life sentence inthe penitentiary.
The Lindley case is perhaps the most unique and interesting of any case evertried in the criminal court of Greenville, and perhaps the fastest case everheard in the general session. The case was started at noon and by five o'clockpractically all the evidence was in.
It will be remembered that Ben Allen was found dead in his bed at his homeabout one o'clock at night and Lindley was arrested charged with his murderthough the coroner's jury at first wanted to return a verdict of suicide byAllen, but in order to leave the case open for investigation a verdict wasrendered that the deceased came to his death from a gunshot wounds in thehands of an unknown party.
The uniqueness of the case lies in the fact that the jury can only render twoverdicts, either guilty of murder without recommendation to mercy or not guilty. The state charges that Lindley murdered Allen while he slept, while the defendant claims his innocence.
The main grounds upon which Lindley is being tried is upon a recent statement by Mrs. Allen that she heard the pistol shot and saw Lindley drop to his cotin her room a few seconds later. It is an admitted fact that as three of thechildren in the Allen family were sick with measles. Lindley had agreed to
sleep in Mrs. Allen's room to look after the children at night, while Allen slept in an adjoining room.Mrs. Allen has told two stories about the death of her husband. At the coroner's inquest she testified that she did not evenhear the pistol shot and knew nothing of the shooting. Later she gave out astatement to the coroner, Sheriff Poole and Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger and partof one to a News reporter -- Whose interview was ended abruptly by beingordered out of the house by the father of the dead man -- in which she claimsshe heard the pistol shot and that she saw Lindley fall to his cot. It is upon
this evidence that the state expects to win its case.
Attorneys Jas. H. Price and George M. Pritchard representing the defendantfeel that the jury will give a verdict of not guilty because of two conflicting tales told by Mrs. Lindley.
They bought it out in the trial yesterday that one of the two stories musthave been a falsehood and that under such circumstances the jury could hardly afford to convict a man of murder in the first degree, for which he would hang. Mrs. Allen explained yesterday on the witness stand that the reason shedid not give this statement at the inquest was that she was frightened.Ittook some time yesterday to draw the jury for the defense Objected to tenjurors and the state excused five. For a while It was thought that it would benecessary to draw an extra venire of jurors to get a jury, but the jury in thecase of Ernest Gowans came out about this time and four jurors were selectedfrom this . He will complete his argument this morning and Solicitor Bonhamwill close for the state.
Jury, The following is the jury in the Lindley case: Robert Turner, J.C.Mitchell, A.S. Agnew, John Griffith, Clarence Watson, W.E. Mackey, J.S. Hill,L.C. Coker, L.R. Henderson Forman, T.B. Barton and W.R. Golightly.
There were not many witnesses in the case. The state put up Dr. Wright, whoexamined the body of Ben Allen; W.M. Allen, The father of the dead man; MissMettie Beaver, Sister-in-law of Ben Allen; Mrs. C.E. Allen and Coroner Batson.
Mrs. Allen on the stand repeated the confession she made to the coroner, thesheriff and the deputy sheriff. She said that Lindley had boarded at her homefor almost a year, he first coming to their home in North Carolina. They movedhere and first went to the Woodside Mill, but afterwards moved to Poe Mill andhad been there but about two weeks when Allen's death occurred.The woman wascross examined severely by Attorney Price.
Only two witnesses were put up by the defense. Lindley himself testified,claiming his innocence stoutly, Lindley's brother Ed Lindley, who came herefrom his home in Tennessee to be with his brother during his trial, testifiedthat he knew Allen and not long ago heard him say that he was of a "good mind
to end it all." Mrs Allen admitted on the stand that her husband had been under treatment of a physician before he came to Greenville and was stillsick. The object of the defense was to show that there were reasons for Allen to commit suicide.
As stated above this is perhaps one of the most unique cases on record in Greenville County. It is unique in the fact that it is the shortest big murdercase on trial, that is in the length of time occupied in its hearing, and tooin the fact that the jury must return either a verdict of not guilty orguilty. If he is found guilty he must hang, for in such a case there can be norecommendation of mercy by the court for the state alleges that the man wasshot in cold blood while sleeping. This prevents the jury if it finds a
verdict of guilty from recommending mercy or returning a verdict ofmanslaughter. Then the other verdict is not guilty.
Mr. George M. Pritchard made the opening argument for the defense. Mr. Pricethen followed, but not only part the way through his argument as the courtadjourned at 6:30 o'clock. The case is of unusual interest and the mere factthat the jury can return but a verdict of either not guilty or guilty, makes
the trial doubly interesting. Mr. Pritchard made a fine plea for the defense, and Mr. Price's speech as _ _ as he spoke was well directed. TheSolicitor, who has a fine delivery of speech and a man of good address to ajury, will make the only argument for the state this morning and he willendeavor to impress it upon the jury that Lindley is guilty.
Judge Watts will enarge the jury immediately upon the close of arguments byMr. Price and Mr. Bonham and Lindley's fate will rest in the hands of thejury. A little human interest story came out in the trial yesterday and thosewho know it were greatly touched. Ed Lindley a young brother of the man on
trial, sat in the court room and from the beginning of the trial until courtadjourned at 6:30 o'clock, tear after tear flowed down his youthful cheeks andas his attorneys would make a good move he would exclaim in a meek voice"thank God." He is nothing but a youth, about eighteen years and when asked
why his father could not come from his home in Tennessee to be at hisbrother's trial, he said with tears in his eyes that his father was very sickand could not come.
No doubt a big crowd will be in the court room today to hear the arguments ofMr. Price and Mr. Bonham and will wait with breathless silence theannouncement of the jury's verdict which will be either condemn Lindley todeath on the gallows or will make him a free man.
End of Part 1.............