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Assassination of John Walter Stephens

The year 1870 is one of the years that will go down in history as one of great social and political significance, and it well marks the culmination and the decline of the Ku Klux organization. Never before, nor perhaps since, was there a time when prejudice and feeling, intermingled with crime, ran so rampant along social and political lines. It was a time when the Negro, or the white man who took any part with the Negro in politics, on hearing after Nightfall the clattering of horses’ feet or the loud tap on his door, would feel his blood run cold in his veins for fear there was a raid on foot and perchance he might be the victim. John Walter Stephens was born October 14, 1834, in Guilford County, N. C. His parents were good people, comfortably situated on a farm, and were consistent members of the Methodist church. His father died when he was about 18 years of age, leaving a wife, four sons and two daughters. Walter, with his brothers, lived on the farm and supported the family. A few years later he learned to make harness, and went into the harness business. His education was of a very ordinary sort, for he had only the advantages of the common schools. He studied a great deal at home, however. When he grew into more matured life he “often mourned his lack of education, and he used to say that was what every poor man owed to slavery.” In 1857 he married Nannie E. Walters, who died two years later, leaving him a little girl one...

Biography of James W. Reid

Idaho has won distinction for the high rank of her bench and bar. Perhaps none of the newer states can justly boast of abler jurists or attorneys. Some of them have been men of national fame, and among those whose lives have been passed on a quieter plane there is scarcely a town or city in the state but can boast of one or more lawyers capable of crossing swords in forensic combat with any of the distinguished legal lights of the United States. Idaho certainly has reason to be proud of her legal fraternity. In James W. Reid we find united many of the rare qualities which go to make up the successful lawyer, and he is today regarded as one of the most prominent representatives of the bar of the state. He possesses perhaps few of those dazzling, meteoric qualities which have sometimes flashed along the legal horizon, riveting the gaze and blinding the vision for the moment, then disappearing, leaving little or no trace behind: but he has, rather, those solid and more substantial qualities which shine with a constant luster, shedding light in the dark places with steadiness and continuity. He has in an eminent degree that rare ability of saying in a convincing way the right thing at the right time. His mind is analytical, logical and inductive, and with a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, he combines a familiarity with statutory law and a sober, clear judgment, which makes him a formidable adversary in legal combat. Mr. Reid is a native of North Carolina, his birth having occurred...

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