Death of an Overseer Essay

1686 Words Jan 8th, 2011 7 Pages
Historical Methods
Death of an Overseer

Who killed Duncan Skinner and why?

The murder of Duncan Skinner is a complex event and is difficult to fully understand. So many people were involved or had questionable motives that it becomes a large web of interactions to sift through. And so with all the evidence presented, here is my best interpretation of what may have happened. The three slaves Henderson, Anderson, and Reuben murdered Duncan Skinner, although many other slaves were involved in one way or another. John McCallen had an unusual relationship with the slaves but did not orchestrate the murder plot. Conclusions such as this are hard to come to with an absolute certainty because of the nature of the information provided. We
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It would have been easier to just wake him up and in that case he would have been less likely to be on guard, unlike if he was experiencing a break in. There was a beating and one heavy blow to his head from a stick or club of some sort. At this point weather or not he is dead differs in different testimonies of the event. In any case he is taken to the woods. Reuben then snapped his neck when it seemed as though he was not dead. Anderson goes back to the cabin to get some things to make it look like Skinner was out hunting, including his game bag, gun and Skinner's horse. They dressed him in his clothes and rode him in the woods out by horse to the place where his body was discovered. They then laid him over trampled tree roots. They left him with his gun which was fired once into the air. His horse was left to wander and his belongings were put on the ground around him to make it look like the horse was frightened and threw him to the ground. Now there are many other things the slaves did to try and conceal Skinners death that day, and this involved many of the other slaves. They also emptied his cabin of his money and split it between all the salves on the plantation, meaning that they all knew of what had happened. Jane, the cook, had witnessed some things and had help to hide some of the evidence. Dorcas had helped many of the slaves hide their share of Duncan Skinner's money.

All this make you question why three slaves would murder their…