During the Civil War, 25 Nov 1862, Lawson Franklin Earles was born to Caroline Earles in White County, Tennessee with father unknown.
The first colorful part of Lawson’s life is recorded in the court records of White County, Tennessee. In the 1876 October term, when Lawson is just about fourteen years old, he is accused of the malicious stabbing of John Whitenburg.
In October 1876 the Grand Jurors for the State of Tennessee “on their oath present that Lawson Earles on the 1st day of October 1876 in the county and state aforesaid did unlawfully and feloniously commit an assault and battery upon John Whittenburg with a certain large knife in his right hand, then and there held in and upon the body of the said John Whittenburg unlawfully maliciously and feloniously stab, cut, and wound the said John Whittenburg against the statute in such cawse made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the State.” (John Whittenburg did not die)
A year and a half later Tuesday 29 January 1878 the “defendant says he is not guilty and for trial puts himself upon the county and the attorney General doth the like.” So, a jury is called of “good and lawful men.”
A day later on Wednesday 30 January 1878 the jury “not having agreed upon a verdict they were respited until tomorrow morning and placed in the charge of their officer.”
Thursday 31 January 1878 the jury, “upon their oath do say they find Defendant guilty of assault and battery and assess the fine at fifty dollars and recommend him to the mercy of the court.”
Friday 1 February 1878 “the court being of opinion that the facts in the case do not merit the fine of fifty dollars as found by the jury remits all of said fine except five dollars”……….HOWEVER … “the Defendant is insolvent. It is therefore considered by the Court the costs accrued in this cause on the part of the State be allowed and paid out of the Treasury of the State of Tennessee”
IN OTHER WORDS….. young Lawson is accused of malicious stabbing, claims he is not guilty, found guilty by a jury and fined $50.00. The motion is overturned and Lawson is only charged $5.00 by the court. Then he is found to be insolvent so the fine is paid out of the Treasury of the State of Tennessee.
Check back later for part 2 of the Law Some of the time Earles