Friday, September 07, 2018

John Walter (Chicken) Stephens Revolver

Click for Larger Image
                Stephens Revolver

Earl Jones Smith (1910-1985) with revolver taken from John Walter (Chicken) Stephens (1834-1870). The item appeared in The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), probably around October 1953. Image courtesy The Caswell Messenger and Jerry Parks Cooper. The revolver now is on display at the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, North Carolina.

"Earl Smith, local banker, is a collector of antique firearms, having quite a varied display of old muskets, rifles, and pistols. Here he is shown holding a plaque with the ball and cap Colt revolver which once belonged to John Walter (Chicken) Stephens, who was murdered in the Courthouse here during Reconstruction days. Mr. Smith acquired the revolver from Giles Mebane, who received the gun from Mrs. Alice Denny Lea in 1930. A affidavit states that Mrs. Lea received the gun from her brother, James Denny, who acquired it on the night when Stephens was knifed to death in the year 1870."

Click for Larger Image
John W. Stephens's Colt revolver. According to Mrs. Alice Denny Lea, this was one of the three taken from Stephens when he was killed. Her brother, James Denny, brought it to her for concealment on the night of the killing. It remained hidden in an old trunk until 1930.

Eliza Alice Denny Lea (1850-1933) is a daughter of James L. Denny and Isabella Adams. Her brother, James G. Denny (born c.1847), is believed to be the James Denny who brought to her the Colt revolver taken from John Walter (Chicken) Stephens the night he was killed.

Eliza Alice Denny married Sidney Slade Lea (1853-1932), brother of Caswell County Ku Klux Klan leader John Green Lea (1843-1935).

"W. H. Stephens, brother of the deceased, was then called on the part of the State and examined. Lived at his brother's. He left home on the 21st of May about 9 o'clock in the morning, and stayed about the Courthouse till the Democratic meeting took a recess. Went home and took dinner. There met his brother, who ate and left for the town about 20 minutes before he did. The meeting reassembled at 2 o'clock. Brother had three pistols usually. Saw him take them out of the wardrobe that morning, and place a ten-shooter in the breast pocket of his coat and two derringers, one in each breeches pocket. . . ."

Source: The Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina), 31 August 1870, Wednesday, Page 1.

No comments:

Post a Comment