As sent to me by my cousin, Lloyd Nolan
Jackson, a descendant of William Clark White
William �Clark� White
married Eliza K. Wilkerson
Son, James Monroe (Bud) White married Amanda
Dau., Lota Ethel White married Edward Elmore
Dau., Mable Etha Neely married Nell Jackson
Son, Lloyd Nolan Jackson married Kathryn Jean.
Grissom .They live at Muscle Shoals, AL in 2002. Lloyd hired a
genealogist in Washington, D.C. who located the voluminous file in
that city about the murder of Clark White. I have extracted the
important sections for this story printed here. It is interesting
how the two newspaper stories in Giles Co. and family traditions
differ from the actual event.
War Department, Bureau of Military Justice,
January 29, 1867
To the President.
William F. Heron/Herrin was convicted of murder
by a military commission at Pulaski, Tennessee, in July 1865, and
sentenced to be hanged. This sentence was approved and confirmed by
Maj. Gen. Thomas, and ordered to be executed but was commuted by the
Executive, to imprisonment for life. He is now confined in the
penitentiary at Nashville, Tenn.
Hon. Ed. Cooper presents a petition for the
full pardon of the accused, signed by thirty two citizens of
Tennessee, with letters from prominent citizens in aid thereof. Mr.
Cooper states that he knows nothing of the facts in the case, but is
satisfied from the earnest appeals made in his behalf by the worthy,
and loyal men who sign his petition, that it is one fit for
The petition sets forth that the accused is the
infant son of an esteemed citizen and that when he committed the
murder for which he is undergoing punishment, he was but fifteen
years old, that he was of a very tractable disposition, and was in
company with some very corrupt men, one of whom was an officer, and
all neighbors who had an old grudge against the deceased; that they
gave young Herrin drink, and then incited him to the commission of
the act. It is set forth that the officer who commanded the squad
has left the county, or wanders unknown in consequence of the deed.
It is stated that the accused was mild, gentle, and generous towards
Federal officers in Southern prisons.
The record of his trial has been carefully
examined, and shows that, if he was as young in years at the time of
the commission of the murder, as is alleged, he has fully matured in
criminal capacity, as the act was surrounded by circumstances of
It appears that the accused was one of a band
of desperadoes, who, on the 24th of Dec. 1864 visited the
house of the deceased, Clark White, who was a loyal citizen of Giles
County, Tenn., for the purpose of robbing him of his stock. The
story of the murder and its attendant circumstances, is thus
narrated by the wife of the victim.
� I heard a gun fired and went to the door
and saw the parties mentioned coming up toward the house. They
stopped and drank whiskey in the lane, and rode up to the gate where
they drank whiskey again. They all rode up to our stable except two;
Jim Tucker and another man staid at the gate. They rode around the
stable hunting for stock, and called a darkey to them, and tried to
make him tell them where my boys and the horses were, - and my
husband. They cursed, and jabbed their pistols against his breast,
and into his face, and swore they would shoot him if he did not tell
him where they were. Geo. David, Buck Pugh, and Tom Greyson were the
most active around the Negro. My husband started to go out of the
house, and I begged him not to go out. The Negro told them when
asked by George David �where the D�d old Tory was�, that he
was in the house. Bill Skelton said, let us go and fetch the old
Tory out and kill him.
Geo. David said let us ask the nigger a
few more questions and make him tell us where the boys and
horses are. I told my husband I would go out and talk with them. He
said I must not as they would frighten and perhaps harm me- he said
he would go out if they killed him as he would not be trampled upon
in any such way. I started our and went into the yard and I heard
Jenk Walls order the nigger to throw down the fence, and told the
accused to go and kill the D�d old Tory.
Accused charged up towards the house on
horseback- my husband was following right behind me and met the
accused about ten steps from the door. The accused had a revolver
cocked in his hand and as he charged up my husband said � come
Gentlemen, do not scare my wife�. The accused leveled his revolver
upon him and said as he shot him
D--n you, you have good horses�. I was within two steps of
my husband when he was shot. After the accused had shot my husband,
he charged around the yard and cursed and swore and acted as if he
had intended to kill all of us. He did not get off his horse at all.
He staid at least an hour-as soon as my husband was shot, he fell
forward upon his face, and died immediately. The ball entered near
the right shoulder in front and came out on the left above the hip.
I implored them to help me get him into the house. I begged them on
my knees and they would not do it.
I sent my oldest girl after the neighbors. The
accused chased after her with his pistol cocked and swore he would
shoot her if she attempted to go, that no-body should come. I sent
another girl in another direction for the next nearest neighbors,
and the accused chased her some 200 yards and I got Jim Tucker to
run through the field and turn him back. He brought him back and the
girl went on. I think about half an hour after my husband was shot,
four of them helped me take him into the house. The four were; Buck
Pugh, Tom Greyson, John Tucker and Jim Tucker. My husband was an
uncle to the Tucker boys. I asked Jim Tucker who the man was that
killed my husband. He refused to tell at first, but finally said his
name was Heron. I looked at him long and well that I might know him
if I ever saw him again. The accused is the man who killed my
husband. The party rode off laughing and seemed in fine spirits over
the deed. I was pregnant at the time and was confined within forty-
eight hours afterward.
The testimony of Mrs. White is fully
corroborated. Indeed, the prisoner, by his counsel, admitted that he
killed the deceased, and pleaded the absence of malice. In view of
such a record which so clearly discloses the brutal nature of the
accused, exhibited, in the case under consideration, by the murder
of an unarmed man, whose loyalty to his country furnished sufficient
justification in the eyes of the murderer- it is recommended that
there be no interference with his sentence as mitigated.
It may be remarked that owing to the disturbed
state of affairs at the time of his trial, there were no civil
courts in the section of the country where the military commission
sat, as appears by the terms of the order convening it.
Judge Advocate General
September 23, 1902
Sept. 24, 1902)
Acknowledging receipt, by reference from the
White House, of your letter addressed to the President
(Theodore Roosevelt), under date of June 26th
last, urging, for reasons stated, a pardon for William F. Herron,
who was convicted of murder by a military commission, at Pulaski,
Tennessee, July, 1865, and was sentenced to be hanged- which
sentence was commuted by the President to imprisonment for life, the
prisoner subsequently escaping and remaining at large, I beg to
inform you that if view of the long time which has elapsed, and the
desire on the part of all good citizens to forget the horrors of the
period when this offense was committed, the recommendation of the
Judge-Advocate General of the Army that the unexecuted part of
Herron�s sentence be remitted but that a full pardon be not
granted , has this day been approved.
Acting Secretary of War
Mrs. John A. Jackson
P. O. Box
October 8, 1902
Mr. Wm. Cary Langer;
Acting Sec. Of War
My Dear Sir;
I am made happy and grateful this morning by
your letter bearing the glad tidings for William F. Herron !
Thank the Judge Advocate for me a thousand
times for his decision.
Mrs. John A. Jackson
Please note that William Frank Herron was
actually 17 years old [ not 15] at the time he murdered William
Clark White as the Washington D. C.
papers go on to state. Wm.
F. Herron hired Lolon/Colin? E. Rose, Esquire, as his attorney at
the Pulaski Court case.
James (Bud) Monroe
White and his sister, Charlotte, were both witnesses for
their father against Mr. Wm. F. Herron and both saw their father
murdered. Bud said he
had seen Wm. F. Herron the previous Sept. in town but did not know
him. He said the Herron family lived about 30 miles away in Lawrence
Co TN. He said all the other men were neighbors of the White family
in Giles County and known. His real name as seen in the
censuses was Benjamin Franklin Herron and he was called Frank Herron
by the citizenry of his county.
Andrew J. Pickett, and 7 or 8 others were lying
in the woods about 300 feet from the murder scene and saw it happen.
They scrambled away to safety. Andrew testified at the trial. He
said Jack Wallz? and Bill Skelton were part of the murderous
thieves. The name Jenk Walls is also mentioned and appears to be the
same as Jack Wallz?
The photo above is of William
Clark White's final resting place. A descendant, Lloyd Nolan Jackson
of Muscle Shoals, AL, purchased the beautiful Civil War era fencing
in the fall of 2002. With the help of his sister and Mr. Hartsell,
(the present owner of the William Clark White farm) Mr. Jackson
installed the fencing with double gates in the spring of 2003. Funds
for the fencing came from descendant cousins.