Our guest blogger, my grandfather G.M.C. Massey, wrote 2 versions of many events. Here’s 2 renditions of a story concerning his younger brother defending himself against a school rival’s knife attack.
Back in the School-Year of 1901 & 1902, that was the first year after I had married and I was teaching at the GILBREATH school, That my brother next to me in age was still going to School at the Pleasant Grove “Ivanhoe high School”, and he was having some difficulty with another boy in the School; And was warned the day before that he had better come prepared for it the next day for it was coming to a head; So my brother just buckled an old pistol on himself (bulldog type or make) that he had traded for and had fixed it up so that he could operate it very well; knowing that the other fellow was larger than he was and he just wanted to be sure that he would have an equal chance; And at the dinner hour as they were upstairs, and the other boy beat him to the stairway, And preceded him down the stairs; And as my brother came down; the other Boy waylaid him at the turn of the stairs; and when my brother came to him, He had his knife out and grabbed the Brother to stab him, and my brother grabbed his right arm and held the Knife off till he could get his Gun; and he shot the other Boy before the boy could get his knife hand free enough to cut my brother at all; And then he knew that mother, and Father was gone to her Brother’s home over in Raines Co. to visit them, and he wanted to follow them up; And he wanted to see just what my parents wanted him to do; And the teachers wanted him to stay there at the School till the officers came and see just what they wanted him to do; But my brother told them that His parents were not at home; and he had to see them before he was going to turn himself over to anybody; But they insisted that they were going to see to it that he stayed there; But the Boy told them that he was not going to submit himself to any one till he had conferred with his father; And that if anyone tried to stop him, That he would resist him to the point of using the rest of the bullets that was in his gun; And they let him go; And he went home; and got a horse and saddle; and followed them up; And when he got to my school, he told me the whole story; and I just dismissed my school early, and went with him to see the Father; and we overtook them just before they got to Lake-Fork Creek, And when Father heard the story through; He said that he could handle the trouble; and that I could go on back home, so that It wouldn’t be necessary for me to lose anytime for the school; And father was a good friend to the Sheriff; as well as to the deputy-Sheriff which was the brother to the Sheriff. So that night when the Deputy Sheriff came asking about the Boy; My Father had him stowed away over at my cousin’s place; and would not let the deputy have him till he promised him that he would not allow the Boy to be put in a cell till he (my father) had a chance to get down to Quitman; and arrange BOND for him, So that the boy would not have to be put in JAIL; And the Deputy kept the boy out with him and even slept with him till My father returned home and went down to Quitman and made Bail for him, and took him home, and sent him back to school; And when the Grand-Jury met; they failed to bill the boy on the accusation; And that was the end of the matter for all time.
But to show you how men may differ about a thing when they are both eye-witnesses to the same overt act; At the end of the week I was at Quitman; to cash a voucher for my month’s pay and ran across two of the eye-witnesses, one at a time, And one told me that it was a very serious charge; and that My brother would be apt to have to spend some time for the Offense; And another told me that it would amount to nothing, And that he expected, “No bill.”
Second version from Massey memoirs:
Another thing that happened there, But 2 years after I had graduated, And I was teaching School Near Yantis. My next Brother, Four years my junior, Was attacked by one of the pupils that he had been having trouble with, and with a knife, and in his desperation he used a pistol that he had put on; expecting that if the trouble did come to a head that he would not be altogether at his mercy. The boy survived, and the grand Jury no-billed my brother; But to show you how two people who knew all about the matter, and was eye witnesses to the shooting see so different. I’ll tell you how one witness told me that it was going to go mighty hard with my brother and he would not be surprised if my brother did not have to do some time, for it before he got out of it; And on the same day I talked with another eye witness that said that I need not lose any sleep over the matter as he did not tthink that the Grand Jury would bill my brother under the circumstances, And if they did; That there was not a jury in the county that would convict him when the Evidence was in.