St. Louis Post Dispatch December 13, 1914


Man Wounded as He is Held by Police Who Had Been Summoned at Louisiana

By a Staff Correspondent of the Post-Dispatch

 Louisiana, Mo., Dec. 12. This city has its west end, where a majority of the wealthy families have homes, and Just at the present time the west end is deeply stirred by the somewhat mysterious shooting last Monday night of Abe Nance, a widely known negro character, in the rear yard of the residence of Powhattan Baird, 82 years old, and a pioneer settler.

No formal charge has been made as a result of the shooting, but the reports caused Mayor W. J. Crewdson to call upon City Marshal William Dillender for a formal statement as to the knowledge of the police regarding the disturbance.

Powhattan Baird is wealthy, as is also his son, Henry. They occupy adjoining residences at 1102 and 1106 Georgia Avenue. A long lattice fence painted tween the houses cutting the rear of the houses off from general view.

Call for Help Flashed

It is the custom in this town for stores and offices to be kept open Saturday and Monday evenings and a large proportion of the men of the city are downtown at these times. According to the report made to the Mayor and given by him to a Post-Dispatch reporter, the police alarm flashed a call for help at about 7:30 Monday night. This alarm consists of a big red light and a bell at the corner of Third Street and Georgia Avenue. Anyone who asks the telephone office to send police aid is answered by Central pulling a switch, which turns on the light and starts the bell to ringing, so that citizens can notify the scattered policemen.

The Mayor states that Policeman W G. Ebeneser and Constable John Moss responded to the alarm, asked Central from what place it was sent and were told it came from the residence of Powhattan Baird or Henry Baird. With Powhattan Baird lives his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Edward McCuen. McCuen is bookkeeper in the Bank of Louisiana. When the two officers reached Powhattan Baird’s residence they report that a woman answered their ring at the doorbell and told them that she knew of no trouble in the neighborhood and could not guess who might have telephoned a police alarm. The two officers state that they were leaving the place when they heard loud talking in the back yard.

They report that they went there and found Henry Baird, revolver in hand. He told the officers that Nance was in the cellar. Nance had lived with the Baird family for a number of years prior to nine years ago, when Henry Baird had him arrested for stealing clothing from his store, and the Negro served an 15 months’ sentence in the county prison.

While Moss remained with Baird the officers report that Ebeneser forced the cellar door and arrested Nance. As Nance was brought out, Baird opened fire. The officers report that one finger upon the right hand of Nance was shot completely off and that he told them he had also received a bullet in the groin. According to their report, while they were trying to calm Baird the Negro escaped. He has not since been seen by the authorities.

During the shooting the right cheek of Constable Moss was slightly cut by a bullet fired by Baird and the skin scorched.

Henry Baird refuses to discuss the shooting. He stated to a Post-Dispatch reporter that he had simply gotten after a trespasser upon his father’s property and that he regarded the affair as purely his personal business and not a subject for general discussion.

City Attorney James E. Pew says that as no complaint has been made to him by Baird regarding the Negro and no complaint by Moss because of the slight injury inflicted by the shot fired by Baird, that he does not feel it necessary to take any official action in the affair. Nance has been considerably interested in local politics. Since Edward Vincent, the Negro political leader, was shot and year ago, Nance has been recognized by a large number of the Negroes as leader. He has worked as a waiter, as a nurse and as a houseman. Inquiry among the Negroes indicates that he has not been seen by any of his friends since the time of the shooting.

%d bloggers like this: