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(Page 1)

Be it remembered that the following proceedings were had at
a term of the Circuit Court of Dallas County State of Alabama
at a Circuit Court began and held on the sixth Monday after
the fourth Monday in March in the year of our Lord One
Thousand eight hundred and fifty four being the eighth day of
May 1854 and American Independance the Seventy eight

Present the Honorable Nathan Cook
Judge presiding

The State of Alabama Dallas County(Circuit Court)Spring Term
1853. The grand jury of said Dallas County charge that on
the fourteenth day of February Eighteen hundred and fifty three
Joseph Noles unlawfully and with malice aforethought
killed George T. Sharp by shooting him with a gun against
the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama.
                                 J.A. Stallworth Solicitor of the
                                  Second Judicial circuit of
H.W. Randall Pros(?)
        A True bill-Saml M Hill foreman of the grand jury
        Filed in open Court May the 13th 1853-E. Whitted clerk

     Spring Term 1853

The State of Alabama         This day came James A Stallworth
          Vs                            Solicitor of the second judicial Circuit
   Joseph  Noles                  of the State of Alabama and the prisoner
in his own proper person who being arraigned upon the bill of in
-dictment for a plea thereto pleads not guilty whereupon it is ordered
by the Court that the trial of the prisoner be set for Wednesday of the
second week of the present term of this court it being the eightee
nth day of may Eighteen hundred and fifty three and it is
further ordered that the Sheriff fourthwith Summons Seventy
Jurors in addition to those Summonsed for the second week
of this term from whom a Jury shall be impaneled to try the
prisoner and further ordered that the Sheriff serve the prisoner
or his council with a copy of the indictment and list of the
Jurors two entire days before the day set for said Trial

     Spring Term 1853

State of Alabama        This day came James A Stallworth Solicitor
 Joseph ^ Noles           of the second Judicial Circuit and also     

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the prisoner in his own proper person and the cause
is continued by defendant

     Spring Term 1854

The State of Alabama       This day came James A Stallworth
           Vs                          Solicitor of the second Judicial Circuit
    Joseph  Noles               of the State of Alabama and also
Came the prisoner in his own proper person and by consent
it is ordered by the court that Thursday of the second week
of the present term of this court being the eighteenth
day of May Eighteen hundred and fifty four be appo
-inted and set apart for the trial of the prisoner and
it is further ordered that the sheriff fourthwith summons
Seventy        Jurors who together with the original
pannel Summonsed for the second week from whom
a Jury shall be impaneled to set upon the trial of the
prisoner and that the sheriff serve the prisoner with
a list of the Jurors and a copy of the indictment
two entire days before the day set for the trial of this
     Spring Term 1854

The State of Alabama            This day came James A
         Vs                                Stallworth solisitor of the
   Joseph  Noles                     second Judicial Circuit of
the State of Alabama and the prisoner in his own
proper person and the prisoner withdraws his plea
of not guilty and demurs to the indictment on the
ground that it does not conform to the forms of the
Common law which being argued and fully conside
red by the court is overuled and thereupon the pris     
-oner pleads not guilty whereupon came a Jury to
Wit  William M Ridgeway Nathan B. Reed Alex
-ander J Warford James Chislon(?) James M
Sorrel Herman Van Pitt Richard U Bryant
Peter W Webster John S Mayse Edward Rollen
James A Fountain and Samuel J Howard
who being elected       and sworn well and truly
to try and true deliverance make between the
State of Alabama and the prisoner at the bar
upon their oaths do say they find the defendant
guilty of murder in the first degree and sentance him
to be hung and thereupon the prisoner was remanded to Jail


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The State of Alabama      On this 31st day of May 1854 after
         Vs                          the defendant Joseph Noles had
   Joseph  Noles               been sentanced by the court the said
Noles by his council submitted the following motions
1st  To set aside the verdict because the same is uncert
-ain and insufficent and without any warrant in law
2d  Because the verdict purports to find the prisoner
guilty of an offince for which he has not ben(sic)indicted
3d  Because the verdict of the Jury has been rendered before
the prisoner has been indicted
4th  Because the Jury rendered their verdict before any
indictment has been prefered against the prisoner
5th  To amend the verdict by striking out the following
words in the verdict viz --in the first degree and that
we sentance him to be hung
6th  To amend the verdict by striking out the words found in
the verdict as follows--and we sentance him to be hung
If the above motions are refused then to arrest the Judgment
on the above grounds and on the additional following grounds
1st  Because the indictment is informal insufficent and
defective in not describing the offence according to the com
-mon law nor according to the statute prescribing and dict
-ating the offence
2d  Because it does not appear by the indictment that the
offence was committed in Dallas County and without
which the court would not have Jurisdiction
3d  Because the offence for which the prisoner has been convict
-ed is not described in the indictment with that degree of
Certainty as to enable the court to pronounce judgement
upon the conviction according to the right of the cause(?)
4th  Because no judgement can be pronounced by the court
on the finding of the Jury the same being informal in
sufficent and defective and not according to the requiremen     
-ts of the statute
Which several motions having been heard by the court were
severally overuled
             And now at this day to Wit the 31st day of May
1854 the prisoner Joseph Noles is brought into court and says
nothing why the sentance of the law should not be pronounced
against him  It is therefore the sentance of the court that
the prisoner be remanded to the Jail of Dallas County

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there to remain until the 11th day of August AD 1854
and on that day he be taken by the sheriff of Dallas
County either to said Jail or to the yard thereof or to
some other convenient place if it cannot there be conv
-eniently done and then and there be hanged by the
neck until he be dead

The State of Alabama     Circuit Court Spring Term 1852(sic)
        Vs                          Be it remembered that on the
   Joseph  Noles              trial of this cause in which
the defendant was charged with the murder of one
George T Sharp the State introduce(d) one James H
Burns who testafied that he was at the time an
acting Magistrate of Dallas County and issued
as such magistrate the warrant which was after
being thus proven read to the jury and is in the words(?)
and           following to Wit
The State of Alabama Dallas County
To any Sheriff Coroner or constable of said County
Greeting  Whereas Mary Noles wife of Joseph
Noles of said County has personally appeared before
the undersigned an acting Justice of the Peace in
and for said County and has taken a corporal
oath that she the said Mary Noles is affraid
that her husband Joseph Noles of said County
laborer(?)will beat wound maim or kill her or do
her some bodily hurt and has therefore prayed surety
of the peace against him the said Joseph Noles
     These are therefore to command you in the
name and by the authority of the State of Alabama
that amediately upon recipt hereof you
bring the said Joseph Noles before me or some
other Justice of the Peace of said county to find
Surety as well for his personal appearance at the
next Circuit Court to beholden for the said County
as also for his keeping the peace in the mean
time towards the Citizens of this state and chie
-fly towards the said Mary Noles Given under
my hand and seal this 11th day of February 1853
                                J H Burns JP(Seal)
Mr G T Sharp is authorized to execute this warrant
February 14th 1853            J H Burns J.P.


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The Said Burns being further examined stated that
on the morning of the day of Sharps death the prisoner
was in the vilage of Burnsville in Dallas County where
he(Burns)resided and that he(Burns)informed the
prisoner of the issuance of said warrant and stated to
him that there was no constable in the Beat to arrest
him[but]but that if he could get any one to serve as
special constable he would appoint him as such
and have the prisoner arrested in a few minutes after
this conversation the prisoner went into the office of
Burns and demanded or claimed an investigation of the
Charges against him imbraced in the warrant in reply
to this demand Burns told the prisoner that he knew
that he had no officer to arrest him or to whom he
could surrender himself and that he could not hear(?)
the cause until he was in custody and he stated to
the prisoner that if he(the prisoner)could get anyone
to consent to serve as an officer for his arrest that he
(Burns)would appoint such person Special constable and
that he[then]could then surrender himself or be arrested and
the investigation could be had on the warrant soon after this
the deceased George T Sharp at the request of Burns the mag
-istrate consented to act[as special]constable for the arrest of Noles and
was accordingly appointed the prisoner[was]still in Burnsville
when this appointment was made but there was no proof as to
whether the prisoner knew of this appointment or not in
a verry few minutes after this the prisoner left the Village
of Burnsville and started in the direction of his home a(sic)
which was at the distance of near two and a half miles the
proof did not show whether or not at the time of his appointm
-ent by the magistrate as such special constable the Mag
-istrate gave to him(Sharp)the warrant for the arrest of
Noles there was evidence tending to show that verry soon
after Nowls started home Sharp started in the same direction
and overtook Noles at the house of a Mrs Kelly in the edge
of the Village and some three or four hundred yards distant
from the office of the magistrate Burns Mrs Kelly called
upon Sharp to make Noles leave her house and about
this time one Perry who was intoxicated was quareling
with Noles and made an attempt to strike him with a stick
which Sharp prevented by getting in between them
and then urged Noles to go home and shortly thereafter


(Page 6)

Noles left-a boy about twelve or fourteen the < (Thomas C. Knowles)
son of the prisoner stated that he was present at
this time and that during the controversy between
Perry and Noles Sharp said to Noles that if he
Noles)struck Perry with the stick that he(Sharp)
would kill him(Noles)and that this ocured in the
road in front of the house of Mrs Kelly and some
twenty or thirty steps from her door the other witness
-es stated that they heard no such conversation and
that Noles was at the time of this controversy in
the house of Mrs Kelly and that when he left the
house he proceeded amediately on his way home
this ocured about ten O clock in the morning
of the day in which Sharp was killed there was no
evidence that at this time the said Sharp said
anything to Noles about the warrant About two
hours after this the deceased as such Special cons
-table with the warrant in his possession in compa
-ny with one Leslie one Carson and one Strickland(sic)
went to the house of the prisoner to arrest him
on said warrant That the deceased and his associates
were all unarmed and approached the house in an
ordinary quick manner when they(the deceased and
his associates)were within some twenty or thirty yards
of the house of Noles which was in an open field and
they approached it in front the prisoner came out with
a gun in his hand cocked and leveled at Sharp and
ordered them to stop or he would kill some of them
and thereupon the deceased and his companions
halted their horses and turned to ride off as they
done so Kirkland who was present said that deceased
said to the prisoner that Mr Burns(the Magistrate)
had sent him Sharp to take him Noles on the war
-rant and that he would be back for that purpose
in the evening the reply of Noles was to this Verry
well I shall be here Leslie and Carson[stated]that they
did not hear these declirations that from(their)posision(?)
their opportunity to hear it was as good as Kirklands
that their attention was not directed to what passed
between deceased and Noles and that these decli
-rations pro and con might have been made without
their having heard them late in the afternoon of the

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same day the deceased returned with the warrant to the house
of the said Noles in company with one Hall one Cox and some
five or six others none of the company having a gun but the deceas
-ed-that as they approached the house Hall and Cox being
several yards in advance of deceased and riding the one on one
side and the other on the other side of a path leading up to the
house-in which the deceased was riding and when they were
within about sixty five or seventy yards of the house the
prisoner steped in front of the house from around the end
where up to that time he had been concealed or was not seen
by any of the company with a large single barrelled shot gun
in his hand cocked and leveled Hall says for an instant
at him and then moved it from him in the direction of Sharp
though the deceased being rather behind him he could only[judge]
of this by the direction in which he was the witness nearest to
Sharp and had a full view of both Noles and Sharp-state(sic)
that the gun was held for an instant on Hall and then leveled
at Sharp who was at the time on his horse with his double
barreled shot gun lying across his lap Noles called out
to them Stop or I will kill some of you all the company
including the deceased except Hall and Cox who rode on
Stoped amediately Hall stated that he called out he is
going to Shoot another witness said that Hall said shoot
he is going to(shoot?)some of us when Hall said this the deceased
got off of his horse on the left side in the act of decending
taking hold on the barrells of his gun in his left hand
and as he landed on the ground on his feet he took hold
of the brich(sic)with his right hand all of this time the gun
of Noles being levelled(sic)with him and that the deceased as
he landed was in the act as witness thought of bringing
his gun to a level or present and at that moment and
[and]amediately upon Sharps lighting upon the ground Noles
fired giving to the deceased the wounds of which in a few
minutes he died That after the death of Sharp both barrells[hammers]
of the doubled barrell shot gun were down and on the
tube of the right hand barrell there was no cap no one exam
ined the gun to se(sic)whether it was loded or emty(sic)it was
a gun which had been taken from a store just as they left
Burnsville to go to make the arrest It was not proven that
the prisoner lived in the beat of Burns the Justice but it
was in proof that his residence was in Dallas County
It was further in proof that the prisoner amediately

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after the killing fled and was persued for some
distance by Cox and Hall who were not able to ovetake(sic)
him-and that as he ran he loaded his gun-that he
got away entirely and was some weeks thereafter arr
-ested in Georga(sic)and brought back It was admitted
by both parties that a Justice of the Peace under the
law had a right to deputize a person to act as constable
for the execution of process in cases of emergency The
evidence being through the court charged the Jury that
the deceased had a right to arrest the prisoner out of
said Burnses beat under the warrant and any where
in the County to this charge the prisoner excepted
The prisoner asked the court to charge the jury
that unless there was an emergency to appoint the deceased
special constable his(his)appoinment was void and
he had no right to attempt to arrest Noles under it
This charge the court gave with the qualification that
if there was no officer in the beat or in the neighbour
-hood that showed a sufficent emergency or that
at all events the magistrate making the appointment
must Judge of the emergency         to this refusal
to give the Charge asked without a qualification
as well as to the qualification given the prisoner excepted
The prisoner also asked the Court to charge the jury
that if the warrant[did not]recite the substance of the compl
-aint it was a void process and gave no right to arrest
Noles this charge the Court gave but stated that suf
-ficient appeard(sic)upon the face of the warrant to
authorize an arrest to the charge as refused and as given
the prisoner excepted The prisoner also asked the Court
to Charge the Jury that if an officer in attempting to
         a process does what the law does not authorize
him to do he is a trespasser and the person charged is
not bound to regard him as an officer and may resent
him This charge the Court refused to give on the ground
that (it)was abstract and the prisoner excepted and now
the prisoner prays that this his bill of exceptions may
be signed and sealed in term time which is done
accordingly The Court also charged the jury that if
the prisoner did not know deceased to be an officer he
was not bound to respect him as such and in that case
the prisoner had a right to treat the deceased as he would

(See notes at bottom of this page , and in "Looking Back")

(Page 9)


any other private individual and neither the warrant or the
appointment of the deceased should have any thing to do with
their considerations or verdict in the case and the prisoner(prays?)that
this may be signed and sealed as his bill of exceptions which
(was)done in term time by the Court
                                           Nat Cook(Seal)
                                             Pre  Judge

The State of Alabama
       Dallas County          I Esker(?) Whitted Clerk
of the Circuit Court in and for said County do
hereby certify that the foregoing pages numbered
from 1 to 9 inclusive-contains a true perfect
and complete transcript of all the[records]& proceedings had
in the cause wherein the State of Alabama
is the plaintiff and Joseph Noles the defendant
as appears of record and on file in my office
                 Given under my hand and seal of
                 Office-at office in Cahaba this 2nd
                 day of June A.D. 1854
                                 E. Whitted


The foregoing information was found in a bound volume of the Alabama Supreme Court, June Term-1854.   It consisted primarily of a nine page transcript, copied and certified, June 2 1854, by E. Whitted, Clerk of Circuit Court, Dallas County Alabama. A cover page also noted that the appeal was filed on June 8 1854-entered by clerk(John D.)Phelan. It also showed that on July 27 1854, Chief Justice Chilton overturned the lower court ruling. A good look at the cover page shows that Justice Chilton initially upheld the Circuit Court decision, the word "affirmed" is crossed-out(x-x-x-x). The clerk's notation, in pencil, shows: "Cert prep-recalled", perhaps, certification(?)prepared, then recalled? Terms like, Recension(?), Reversal, and Remanded(and others)are hard to decipher, but a new trial was ordered!(Clerk note: "Cert-sent"). There was also a loose "Writ" from Clerk Phelan to Clerk Whitted, dated July 20 1854, requesting other documents-perhaps, the three or four pages following the transcription, containing a list of Jurors, and Grand Jury organization. Joseph Noles was retried in November 1854, again found guilty, then sentenced to life in the penitentiary-subject to Supreme Court approval. Hopefully, records of that review(and trial)will be found in the January Term of the Supreme Court in 1855!

                             Larry C. Knowles-June 1, 1995

MORE NEWS ARTICLES(see notes in "Looking Back")

Page G      
Circuit Court in Dallas

The Selma Sentinel gives an account of the proceedings of the Dallas Circuit Court........(typos- defendants underlined in red).
   A man by the name of Darrell, venue from Wilcock, was convicted and sentenced to the Penitentiary for life.

   A negro man named Wyatt was convicted of burning his master's gin-house--the penalty of which is death!

   On Friday a jury was empannelled for the trial of Miles. (who was convicted of murder at the last term of the Court and sentenced to be hung--but on an appeal to the Supreme Court the judgment was reversed and a new trial granted. The case was progressing all day Saturday--the result of which has not been ascertained. We doubt not he will be convicted--as the testimony is very strong for the State.    (article found in the Weekly Alabama Journal-Nov 25, 1854)

(Note: In Alabama, the County Circuit Court is similar to Georgia's Superior Court)

Page H                 
Alabama Matters

Circuit Court--On Monday night last, our Circuit Court adjourned, after a session of five weeks and one day.

On Monday the Judge passed sentence on the following named convicted criminals, viz:

Joseph Noles, Murder. Imprisonment in the Penitentiary for life. Sentence to be carried into effect on the 3rd of March, if it is confirmed by the Supreme Court.

Henry Harrell, Murder. From Wilcock. Same disposition made of this case.

John Stewart. Assault with intent to murder. Imprisonment for ten years in the Penitentiary. Case carried to the Supreme Court. Prisoner to await in jail the decision of this high tribunal.
------Dallas Gazette
(article found in the Advertiser and State Gazette-Dec 20, 1854)

(Note: G & H were originally single page photocopies)