Re: John Van Dyke of Texas
4.Nancy Beams' murder of John VanDike.excerpt from VanDike Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 2, Feb. 1997]
" On August 6, 1843 Nancy Beams, a slave of John and Nancy Van Dyke, at the direction of her mistress, struck John on the left side of the head with an axe, killing him. Both Nancys were arrested along with Amanda Moore (daughter of John and Nancy Van Dyke) for the murder. In November 1843 Nancy Van Dyke, as widow of John Van Dyke and guardian of my minor children, and Amanda Moore, daughter of John Van Dyke, transferred the entire estate of John Van Dyke, both real and personal, as a fee to their attorneys for their defense. This transfer included two horses, one claimed by Andrew Van Dyke and one by Amanda. Wilson is not mentioned, however, he was in prison in Mexico at the time for his participation in the Meir Expedition, and thus, unable to contest this."
"In November 1844 Nancy Beams and Nancy Van Dyke were tried and convicted of murder. The details of the case are not known but the jury recommended them to mercy. The judge, however, was not so sympathetic and sentenced them to death by hanging in December 1844. Two weeks before the execution was to take place the President of The Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, sighting 'representations of a satisfactory character', granted them a full pardon."
"What became of Nancy Van Dyke, Andrew B. Van Dyke, Amanda (Van Dyke) Moore, Nancy Beams, or the 'minor children' of John and Nancy is a mystery. They do not show up on the 1850 census for th State of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabams, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, nor California. Perhaps they changed their names or moved to another state or territory."