Roanoke Beacon, pg. 2
March 4, 1898
I have just seen an article in the “Assembly Standard” which is not only untrue, but does me a gross injustice. I am charged in said article, as being the cause of trouble, which occurred in the town of Plymouth last Saturday night.
The facts are these: Mr. Louis Owens and Emporer Spruill had some hot words, and Owens struck Spruill in the face. This was the direct cause of the excitement and bad blood that followed. In a few minutes after this difficulty I noticed a large crowd of coloredpeople standing on the street, they seemed to be excited and mad on account of Spruill being struck. Some of the colored people and whites had been drinking too much, during the evening, after the fire, and there was several intoxicated persons among them.
A short time after Spruill had been struck J.T. Pettiford, J.P., came to me with a warrant to arrest Owens for a simple assault. Having seen the previous condition of tthe bystanders, I tried to persuade him not to have the warrant executed tonight, but to wait until Monday morning, but he demanded that the warrant should be executed at once. Seeing that I could not prevail upon him, I took the warrant and went to look for Owens, when I was met by J.P. Hilliard, a Justice of the Peace, with another warrant which he gave me and demanded that I should serve at once, which I did, and the case was continued until Monday morning and I returned Pettifords’ warrant to him.
The reason why I acted in this matter as I did, was, I honestly believed that if I had brought Owens to trial before Pettiford at once, that there would have been grave and serious trouble between our people, and what I did was to preserve the peace, and to prevent any difficulty from taking place.
I believed then and I believe now, from the intoxicated condition and the bad blood amongst some of our people, that the course I pursued in this matter was the only one that saved the town from having a serious trouble. During my term of office as constable of this town I have tried to preserve the peace and have been fair and impartial to the people of both races. — Jos. Tucker