The men were carried to Hampton and lodged in jail. Mr. G.W. Arms went over to Hampton Sunday and returned with the prisoners Tuesday morning. When arrested, the men each had a .38-caliber revolver, and one of them had a razor, a 32-caliber Winchester rifle and a long-blade pocket knife.
Mr. I. Cannon, of Strawberry, into whose store the supposed murderers did so much firing, came up Tuesday afternoon at the request of Sheriff Daniel for the purpose of identifying the prisoners. He says that they are not the men who were in his store some weeks ago.
The negroes were interviewed by a reporter for The County Record Wednesday morning and gave their names as Louis Gardner and Jim Williams. Gardner is a very dark brown fellow, about 5 feet 8 inches in height and weighs about 145 or 150 pounds. He says he was born and raised in Charleston; that he left there about three years ago and has worked at various places in Georgia since that time, the last being with Mr. Padden Porter at Clyo, Ga.; that he and Williams left Clyo Friday morning to visit some friends at Estill and were arrested there Saturday. He worked on a chain gang in Effingham county, Ga., from January 1896 till February 1897. Gardner said he was then known as John Edwards.
Williams said he was an Alabamian; had been in Georgia for several years; he and Gardner had worked at Mr. Porter's together, etc., his tale corroborating Gardner's. Williams is a black man about six feet in height, weighs about 145 pounds and is about 30 years of age. He has a scar about 2x1-1/2 inches in size, caused from a burn, on the right arm just below the elbow.
The rifle taken from the negroes is in good condition but shows signs of having been used quite a good deal. Williams' pistol is one of the Iver Johnson Arms Co.'s make with a six-inch barrel, in excellent condition. The cylinder will take five .38-caliber cartridges. Gardner's "shooting iron" is a Harper & Allen short-barrel .38-caliber, five-shot revolver and is in a very battered condition. The razor was an old one but had a keen edge. The knife was only an ordinary, long-bladed one and was in pretty fair condition.
The negroes will be kept in jail until they can prove where they were on the night of the murder.
Governor Ellerbe on Monday offered a reward of one hundred dollars for the arrest and conviction of the murderers. The governor would have offered a reward sooner, it is said, but for the fact that up to last Friday no less than nine men had been arrested for the crime, and until then, he had received no official request for the reward.
The two men who are now in jail were arrested before the sheriff made the request for a reward, so we suppose that should these negroes be the right ones, no reward would be paid at all. Up to this time, eleven men have been arrested for killing the two Italians, and it is hoped that the right men will yet be caught.
The County Record, May 6, 1897