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"LOOKING BACK"& SECOND TRIAL

LOOKING BACK

The preceding two pages(G&H)were found before I saw any court records. I have a backlog of newspaper articles, none as dramatic as those enclosed, but all adding to the colorful story of Joseph "Noles". I seem to never allow time for copies. As the Alabama Archives is only storing the Supreme Court records, they were not indexed in "finding aids". Only after narrowing the case time frame, through newspaper court dockets-and, after inquiring whether the Court had its own archives, was I able to locate them. Archive personnel were extremely helpful, and provided very good copies of the original transcripts. For the most part, they were easily read, but were unwieldy(11x17). In my copies, I followed the line by line format, and tried to duplicate spelling, random capital letters, and punctuation(or lack thereof). One of my "backlogged" articles noted that Joseph Noles was sent to the Penitentiary on March 16 1855(along with fellow inmate, Henry Harrel). He, evidently, was later retried, or pardoned. Archive personnel believed it unlikely that he escaped, since he went no further than Louisiana-and, used the same name(Knowles-1860 Claiborne Parish, Louisiana).

Before finding the transcripts, on my second Archives trip, I allowed time for a visit to Selma, now the seat of Dallas County, hoping to, perhaps, find local court records. Despite finding hundreds of old records in the "Annex" basement, I only found Joseph Noles listed in the Criminal Court Docket-Spring Term, 1853. I also went to Burnsville, scene of the crime, but could not find Pea Ridge Cemetery, and the grave of George T. Sharp(listed in an Archive book as Geo. L.). I hope to get back to both locations later. Presently, the Montgomery papers appear to be the best chance for resolving the remaining mysteries, they are surprisingly intact during this period. Perhaps, a usable copy of the Governor's proclamation might yet be found in another paper. The search continues!

Larry C. Knowles-May 1995


                                             


TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


The following thirteen pages were found in a bound volume of the Alabama Supreme Court-January Term, 1855. A cover page noted that the appeal was filed February 12 1855-and that, the lower court decision was affirmed by Justice Rice(#245)-and certification sent, March 1 1855.  Also, on this page were the motions filed by plaintiff's lawyers(in an appeal the State was the defendant). A facing page contained very similar motions. Three attorneys were listed: Wm. M(?). Murphy, Thomas William(s?) Jr., and, George W. Gayle(both pages). Another page provided an index to items within the transcript.
L. C. Knowles-July 16 1995

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(Page 1)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854

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 September in the year of Our Lord One
thousand Eight hundred and fifty four being the
sixth day of November 1854 and of American Indep
endence the Seventy ninth year


                    Present the Honorable Nathan
Cook Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit

The State of Alabama               Circuit Court
     Dallas County               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 un-
lawfully 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                         Alabama
                    A True Bill
                              Saml M Hill foreman
                              of the Grand Jury
Filed in Open Court May 13 1853
                    E Whitted Clk.

          Spring Term 1853
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 indictment 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 eighteenth day
of May eighteen hundred and fifty three,  and it is
further ordered that the Sheriff fourthwith summon
Seventy Jurors in addition to those summoned(for the)week
________________________________________________


(Page 2)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


of this term from whom a Jury shall be empann
eled 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 1852(sic-3-overwritten!)
State of Alabama          
      vs          This day came James A
  Joseph Noles       Stallworth Solicitor of the second
Judicial Circuit, and also the prisoner in his
own proper person, and this cause is continued
by the defendant

          Fall Term 1854
State of Alabama
      vs          This day came James
  Joseph Noles                 A Stallworth Solicitor of
the second Judicial Circuit of the State of Ala-
bama, and the prisoner in his own proper person
and by Consent the trial of the prisoner is set
for Thursday of the second week of the present
term of this Court, being the 16th day of Nov-
ember 1854 and(being)it is ordered by the
Court that the Sheriff summon Seventy       
Jurors in addition to the regular Jurors
summoned to attend for the second week,
from whom a Jury shall be drawn to set upon
the trial of the prisoner, and it is further
Ordered that the Sheriff serve the prisoner
with a list of the jurors, and a copy of the
Indictment two entire days, before(before)the
day set for the trial

          Fall Term 1854
State of Alabama
      vs          This day Came James A
  Joseph Noles       Stallworth Solicitor of the second
Judicial Circuit of the State of Alabama, and the
prisoner in his own proper person and thereupon
came a Jury to wit- Elisha Camahan(?), Noah
Williams, L J Moore, James A Blair,
_________________________________________________


(Page 3)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


Patrick Chisohn, David Parnall?, John H Limbast?,
E Y Wilson, John Chisohn, John Weeden, Allen
Stephens and David Rodgers, who being elected       
and sworn well and truly to try the issue joined
between the State of Alabama and the prisoner at
the bar, upon their oaths do, say they find the
prisoner guilty of murder in the first degree and
(sentence him-to)penitentiary for life

               Fall Term 1854
State of Alabama
           vs          And now at this day to wit
  Joseph Noles                 the eleventh day of December 1854
The prisoner being brought into Court and says nothing
why the sentence of the law should not be pronouced
against him  It is therefore the sentence of the Court
that the prisoner Joseph Noles be confined in the State
penitentiary for and during his life and the Sheriff
of Dallas County is charged with the execution of
this sentence  It is further ordered that the execution
of this sentence be stayed until the fifth day of
March 1855 to await the determination of this case
by the Supreme Court


The State          Dallas Circuit Court Fall Term 1854
     vs               Before his Honor Mr Justice
Joseph Noles          Cook
                         Be it remembered that at the
Fall Term of the Circuit Court for Dallas, Came on
for trial before Mr Justice Cook, the case of the State
of Alabama against Joseph Noles, for the murder
of George T Sharp
               The following is the evidence
James H Burns, was the first witness sworn, He
said he was an acting Justice of the Peace in the
(beat?)where the prisoner lived and at(and)before the
time and where the murder was charged to have
been committed
          Here an affdavit made by the
wife of the prisoner before Burns, and a warrant
issued by Burns, were offered(?)by the State, and
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(Page 4)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


objected to by the prisoner, which objection was
sustained and the affidavit and warrant(were)
both excluded from the jury
     The State then offered(?)to prove the
fact that the wife of Noles the prisoner having
made an affidavit against the  prisoner
that this fact was Communicated to the
prisoner, this was objected to by the prisoner
but the objection was overruled and the
prisoner excepted
          Burns then testified that Mrs
Noles had made an affidavit before him,
that he read the affidavit to Noles the prisoner
who demanded an investigation, that Burns,
told the prisoner he had no Constable or Officer
to arrest him and that he would not try him
unless he was regularly arrested, but if he would
surrender himself to some one, he Burns,
would appoint such person Constable and
investigate it, that Noles replied he would see
about it, and left, this was on the morning
of the day Sharp was killed. the prisoner
again objected to this evidence, and moved(?)
(the Court)to exclude it, but the objection was
overruled and the prisoner excepted, Burns
also said that Sharp the deceased and Noles
the prisoner were both in the village of Burns-
ville on that day,  Burns also testified that
Sharp, first refused(?)but after being pressed agreed
to go and arrest Noles, that he authorized him
to go, by appointing him special Constable there
being none in the beat(?), that he gave him the
paper he had issued and Sharp said he would
go,  the prisoner objected to(so?)much of what
this witness said saying he gave Sharp au-
thority to go and that he gave Sharp the paper
he had issued but the Court overruled the
objection and the prisoner excepted, Burns
said this was after Noles had talked with
him and that Noles was not present, and
that Sharp went off towards Noles' house
this was in the morning of the day Sharp
_______________________________________________


(Page 5)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


was killed  This witness also said that Sharp
Consented at the Solicitation of others  He said a
young man named Cole then a Clerk in his Burns
Store in Burnsville, had a double Barrel gun in
the store, which the young men some times hunted
with, and which was kept loaded at night  This
young man Cole was now dead  Burns testified
he did not see the party when they started to go to
Noles' house nor did he examine the gun after the
killing of Sharp, nor did he know this was the
Gun Sharp had at the time he was killed
               Kirkland testified that he was in
Burnsville on the day Sharp was killed that in
the morning of that day, Noles the prisoner was
in Burnsville and had a quarrel or difficulty with
a man by the name of Perry, in the house of Mrs
Kelly, that Mrs Kelly requested Sharp, the deceased
to take Noles out of her house, that Sharp went
into the house talked with Noles, and they came
out in a friendly manner that Noles then went
off towards home,  Shortly after this Sharp summoned
the witness with six or seven other persons to go
and arrest Noles, who lived some short distance
from Burnsville, when Sharp and his Company
got within 40 or 50 yards of Noles' house, Noles
came out into the yard with his gun, in his hand
and ordered Sharp and his party to stand off, that he
said if we          him he would shoot some of us
he said to them, they were a drunken rowdy set &
if they would go away and send some old men
he would go with them, or if they would send a ten
year old boy he would go with him, this witness
said he had not been drinking, but that Perry had
but was not drunk and none were and(Perry?)was the
man Noles had quarreled with that morning in
Burnsville, neither Sharp nor his Company had any
Gun or other arms that he saw or knew of, he said
when Noles ordered them to stop, they did so, that
Sharp said to Noles not to shoot they would not
rush upon him, but that he would return in the
evening and arrest him, Noles replied he would
be at home, Sharp and his party then left,
____________________________________________


(Page 6)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


he said they were all peacible(sic) and quiet & none
of them drunk,  This witness further testified that
Sharp and his Company returned to Burnsville
that he Sharp, then got a double Barrel(shot)
gun but did not know where he got it from
that Sharp summoned Wm B Hall and a man
named Coxe, these men were older than the others
were to return to Noles house for the purpose
of arresting Noles, the gun was given to the
Witness, which he carried until they got in sight
of Noles' house when he gave the gun to Sharp
that the Company rode(sic)on, Hall and Coxe
in front, some 30 or 40 yards ahead of Sharp
that the Witness was behind Sharp on his left
some ten or fifteen yards off-that Noles came
out into the yard that he then had his Gun in
his hand, and ordered the Company to stop
raising his Gun to his face and saying if
they advanced he would shoot some of them
the Witness says he only heard one command
to stop, they all stoped, that Sharp who
was then 60 or 70 yards off stoped and dism-
ounted quickly On the left side of his horse
holding the Gun in an elevated(?) position(?)
in his left hand about the middle of the Gun
and the bridle in his right hand, that Sharps'
horse pulled back, he saw the Gun of Noles,
(waivor?), as if directed from Hall and Coxe
who were On the left of Sharp so as to(bear?)on
Sharp, that he kept(his)eye on Sharp expecting
him to shoot, as he had the warrant and
Gun that as soon as Sharp was on the
ground and fairly erect, Noles' Gun fired
that Sharp did not present his gun to shoot
(as)he saw that he Could have shot verry(sic) quick
if Noles had not shot him first, that he
only had to bring his right hand to the
Gun and(and)he would be ready to shoot
that he heard but One report he did not
examine Sharps' Gun nor did he know
whether it was loaded although he carried
it part of the way, Sharp lived about
_____________________________________________


(Page 7)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


ten minutes after he was shot Noles fled, Wm B Hall(next witness,
said:)he went to Burnsville on the day Sharp was killed
that between 2 & 4 ock. of that day Sharp summoned
him to go and aid in arresting Noles, that he went
and several other persons went also, That Sharp
had a double Barrel Gun with him, that the
Witness and a man by the name of Coxe were riding
together in advance of Sharp, and the balance of
the Company some 20 or 30 yards, that when he
first saw Noles he had his Gun in his hand and
Ordered the Company to stop, he said he would not
be intruded on, and if they did not stop he would
shoot,  Sharp and the Company that were behind
stoped, but the witness and Coxe did not stop,
but advanced and witness saw from the cut(?) of
Noles' eye "he was about to shoot attempted to
throw himself from his horse in such a way as
to avoid being shot, that he called out he(was)
is about to shoot, or we are about to catch it, that
Sharp was behind him some distance and at
this time he did not see him, but he saw
Noles move(?) his Gun quickly and the Gun fired
and Sharp was killed that Noles fled and
he pursued him some distance but did not over
take him, he heard but One report, the Company went
up to Noles house in a peaceble(sic) and quiet manner
did not attempt any personal violence on Noles,
does not remember saying shoot he is going to shoot
us he had no arms with him
     C R Coxe testified that in(reference to?)after-
noon of the day on which Sharp was killed he was
summoned by Sharp to go, and aid in arresting
Noles, Sharp had a Gun and this witness had
a pistol in his pocket but did not draw it
the Witness and Wm B Hall were together and
in advance of Sharp, and the balance of the
Company some 30 or 40 yards  When they got
within some Twenty or thirty yards of the house
he saw Noles, as if he came around one corner
of the house, he did not then have his Gun
in his hand and he forbid(?) the approach of the
persons any further and saying he would not
_________________________________________________


(Page 8)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


be intruded upon  Sharp and the party be-
hind the witness and Hall stoped  Hall
said to the Witness let us go on, they(said?)did
so, when Noles steped to the Corner of the house
where he had come around and took(upon) up
his Gun, Ordering them(again)to stop, saying if they
did not he would shoot them  the Gun was
then presented when, Hall immediately made
an effort to get from his horse and cried out
"Shoot him he is going to shoot us" at this
moment Noles passed his Gun from the
Witness and Hall towards Sharp and very
quick the Gun fired  The Witness said he
distinguished two reports, but he thought One
at the time and still thinks that the[2nd]report
was from the echo at the house, after the
shooting he found Sharps' gun upon the ground
near where he was shot the right hammer[was]
down and the Cap was either busted(?)or off
he did not examine otherwise whether the Gun
was loaded
     F Carson was present in the morning
when the Company went first to arrest Noles
he forbid their approach and said they were
a drunken set and he would not be intruded
on, (then)ordered them to stop they did so 40 or
50 yards off Sharp said he would not arrest
him then but would return in the evening
and do so Noles said you will find me here
the party had no Gun or other arms, they
were peaceable and quiet, the party were not
drunk,  they all went back to Burnsville
Sharp got a Gun and Summoned some more
men Hall and Coxe, and when they Came
in sight of the house witness and several
others were behind Sharp ten or fifteen yards
and were off to his right  Hall and Coxe
were before(?) some distance  the first he saw
Noles was in the yard with his Gun and
ordered the party to stop and said if they
rushed on him he would shoot some of them
that his gun was pointed at Hall &
_____________________________________________


(Page 9)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


and Coxe, Sharp was then upon his horse, Sharp
then got down quick from his horse and Noles then
(wavid?)his Gun from Hall and Coxe to Sharp, this
was not until Sharp had got down or had started
to get down from his horse, and the Gun did not
fire until Sharp was fairly on his feet, he did
not hear any one say "Shoot him" he was behind
Sharp who had let his horse go before he was shot
he only heard one report
          Mr(?) Lassiter was with the party in
the morning and(proved?)about the same as the
other witnesses  Was present also when Sharp
was killed  The first he saw of Noles he was
in the yard with his gun in his hand presented
he said stop or I will shoot, he would not be
rushed on and the Gun fired nearly as soon as
the Words were out of his mouth he did not hear
any body say "shoot" the Gun was not pointed
at Sharp until he got down, when he got down
from his horse, he had his gun in his left
hand  Witness was behind Sharp some thirty
paces  Sharp had let his horse go, the bridle
reins over his neck before he was shot and was
on the ground, when he was shot, heard but one
report
     Dr Gee(?) examined the wounds of the deceased
his death was produced from the wounds he
examined  they were in the left side, there
were two wounds on his left arm-both infli-
cted by one shot-where the shot entered and where
it passed out, making two wounds this wound
was about 2 or 2½ inches below the point of the
shoulder(blade)where it passed out where this
shot entered the arm it must have broken the
bone if the arm had been down-it could
only have taken the directed(?)it did when the
arm was raised  Dr Gee's(?) opinion was that
this arm was raised level when this shot
struck it-that it passed up the arm and
went out at the point of the shoulder
               Mr McCain was not present
at the shooting he followed the prisoner into
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(Page 10)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


Dooly County State of Georgia where he arrested
him and brought him back to Alabama
          B T Sharp was brother to the
deceased saw Noles when he shot was 150
yards off still behind all the Company
thinks brothers Gun did not fire the horse
deceased rode was a very wild horse, and
deceased knew he could not shoot off of
him
     This is all the evidence given by the
State               It was then admitted by the
State that Mrs Barrett if present would
prove that she heard two distinct reports
of Guns in quick sucession between ¼
and ½(?) a mile from the place and at
the time Sharp was killed
               West(?)also proved that Hall
One of the Witnesses for the State told him
that when they went to Noles they did
not want to take him, they wanted him
to go away
          His Honor among other things
Charged the Jury
                    1st That Sharp and
his party in going to the house of Noles to
arrest him not having any warrant to do
so, and no charge of felony against him
were all trespassers and that the prisoner had
the right so to Consider them and to treat them
as such
                    2d But notwithstanding
this if neither Sharp nor his Company intended
to Commit any felony against Noles as by
killing him or doing him great bodily harm
stealing his goods or burning his house or the
like and that neither Sharp nor(any of)his Company
said or did any thing which might induce
Noles to apprehend they intended to commit
a felony or such thing as are above refered to
then Noles could not justify killing Sharp
but that he would be guilty at least of man-
slaughter and of murder if the killing was of
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(Page 11)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


malice as the Court will hereafter explain
               3d That the law regarded the
liberty of the Citizen as sacred and every arrest of
a Citizen without warrant where no felony actu-
ally committed was charged and where the arrest
was not to prevent the commission of a felony
was a trespass and that such arrest was unl-
awful(that such unlawful)arrest was in law a great provocation
sufficient to excite and heat the blood of the party
arrested and that if under such heat and excitement
the party about to be arrested to prevent it(killed?)
the trespasser it would be only manslaughter
               But 4th If in this particular case
the prisoner knew and believed that Sharp and
his party only intended to arrest him and Carry
him before Esquire Burns to answer the Complaint
to keep the peace and to prevent this he killed
Sharp, with what the law calls malice as already
explained to the Jury then he would be guilty of(?)
murder notwithstanding the unlawfulness of ____        
         so intending to Carrying(?) him before jus-
tice Burns
               The prisoner excepted to the Charge
of the Court-and wrote out and asked the following
Charges
          1st  If the deceased Sharp and his Comp-
any went to the house of the prisoner in order to arrest
him having no warrant or authority to do so then
they were all trespassers and the prisoner was not
bound to submit to their arrest and in forbidding
their approach he did no more than he had a
right to do and if the Company or any of them ref-
used to stop but still advanced intending to arrest
him and he could only prevent the arrest(but?)by
taking up and presenting his Gun at the parties
so advancing he had the right to do so, and if when
he so presented his Gun still forbidding their
approach one of the party called out to Sharp to
shoot the prisoner, if Sharp had a Gun and
dismounted immediately and did then any act
or acts calculated resonably to satisfy the prisoner
that he was then in danger of being immediately
______________________________________________


(Page 12)     
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


Shot by Sharp then it(then it)was lawful for
the prisoner to shoot, and if he killed Sharp
it was neither murder nor manslaughter
and the prisoner(was)entitled(to?)an acquittal
Which Charge the Court gave the Jury
          2d That the           of every
free white man is sacred in law and every
arrest or attempt to arrest him without warr-
ant or other legal authority is a violation of
their rights and to which he is not bound to
submit and if he can only prevent such
unlawful arrest by taking the life of the
aggresser he has a right to do so, Therefore
if Sharp and his Company having no warr-
ant or other legal authority to arrest the
prisoner went to the house of the prisoner
intending to arrest him and then & there
attempted to arrest him and such arrest
could only be prevented by taking the life of
Sharp then the prisoner is entitled to an
acquittal This charge the Court refused & the
prisoner excepted
          3d If Sharp and his Com-
pany went to the house of the prisoner to
arrest him without warrant or other legal
authority the prisoner was not bound to
submit to that arrest nor was it neccessary
for the prisoner to fear or believe that Sharp
and his Company intended to Commit a
felony or to Commit such violence on his
person as to produce to him great bodily
harm, but in order to preserve(?)protect and
defend his liberty he had a right to resist &
prevent this unlawful arrest, and if while
doing so, Sharp and his party still pres-
isted(sic)in their determination and attempt
to arrest the prisoner then the killing of
Sharp is not more than manslaughter at the
most and if the arrest of the prisoner could not
be prevented otherwise than by killing Sharp
then such killing is neither murder nor
manslaughter and the prisoner should be
_______________________________________________


(Page 13)
TRANSCRIPT-SECOND TRIAL OF JOSEPH NOLES, NOV. 16 1854


acquitted  This charge as a whole the Court refused
and the prisoner excepted
                    4th  If Sharp and his
Company went to the house of the prisoner intending
to arrest him on any charge not amounting to
felony and the prisoner had fled or refused to sub-
mit to the arrest then if Sharp and his Company
could not arrest the prisoner without taking his
life and the prisoner had been killed by Sharp then
such killing would have been murder in(?) Sharp
and his Company so Consenting to the same which
Charge the Court gave
                    6th When a man acts
under a necessity malice is not implied from
such acts, but such acts are        to the necessity
under which he acts
                    The Court gave the first
Charge as asked, and in the words asked,
But refused to give the second charge and the
prisoner excepted, the Court also refused to give
the third charge, and the prisoner excepted
     The Court gave the fourth charge as asked
     The Court gave the sixth charge(d) as asked
          The Jury found the prisoner guilty of
Murder in the first degree
                              The prisoner
prayed the Court to sign(and seal?)that this(was his?)bill of
exceptions and that it may be ordered to become
apart(sic) of the record and proceedings in said case
and which is accordingly done & ordered in term time
this 29th day of Nov 1854       Nat Cook(seal) pre Judge

State of Alabama     I E Witted clerk of the Circuit Court of
Dallas County     Dallas County and State aforesaid do Certify that the
forgoing(?) pages numbered from one to thirteen contain a full true per-
fect and complete transcript of all the record and proceedings
                    in the Case of the State of Alabama vs Joseph
                    Noles which appears of record & on file in my
                    Office except the proceeding had in the former
                    trial  Given under my hand and seal
                    of Office at Office this 20th day of Dec 1854
                                   E Whitted Clerk
_____________________________________________

               Larry C. Knowles, June 9 1995