Hilton Smith Died From Bullet Wound

City Jailer Could Not Survive Terrible Injuries.


Rabb, Who Confessed to the Shooting in Penitentiary. Taken Wednesday.

Thursday, at noon, Coroner Walker held an inquest over the body of City Jailer Hilton T. Smith, who died Wednesday night at the Columbia hospital as the result of a pistol wound in the abdomen inflicted by John Rabb, whom he was attempting to arrest Tuesday night.

The inquest was held at the parlors of McCormick & Pletscher, undertakers, where the body was taken Wednesday night shortly after death. The jury was composed of the following, with Mr. J. D. Larence as foreman; Messrs. James Whitton, J. W. Robinson, J. J. Robertson, J. D. Lowrance, J. B. Penland, G. E. Murtiashaw, J. H. Stelling, J. A. Perry, W. M. Perry, J. D. Smithdeal, W. S. Hornsby and Walter Hair.

The following verdict was rendered:

“Hilton T. Smith came to his death from gun shot wounds at the hands of John Rabb.”

The interment will take place Friday at Pisgah church. The pallbearers will be members of Live Oak camp, Woodmen of the World, and the Columbia police force. Chief Cathcart has appointed the following to serve from the department; Officers Rogers, Kibler and Hughey.

The Services will be held at the residence at the city jail Friday morning at 10 o’clock. The members of the police department will assemble at headquarters at 9 o’clock and march in a body to the home. Twelve members of the department will attend the interment at the church.

More than a dozen witnesses were examined by the coroner assisted by Solicitor Cobb. John Rabb, the negro who killed the officer, went home drunk, and told his wife that he wanted his clothes. As she was attempting to open a trunk to comply with his request, he picked up a lamp and threw it at her. She was not hit by the lamp, but seeing that Rabb was in an ugly mood, she said, she went to Jailer Smith for protection. The officer and the woman, Charity Rabb, returned to the latter’s house, 1629 Gadsen Street, but when they arrived there Rabb had gone. Mr. Smith found the negro on Lincoln street and stated with the prisoner to a call box. There were no witnesses as to what occurred, but the dying officer told those who gathered about him as he lad in the street, that Rabb had suddenly overpowered him and taking his pistol from the holster had fired the fatal shot.

Rabb walked rapidly toward his house and cried out to negroes who had gathered there, “Get out of the way or I’ll shot somebody else.” No one attempted to stop him, and he went northward in Gedsden street through the cemetery and spent the night in a patch of woods near the State farm. He slept until sunrise and then made his way toward Jacobs, on the Seaboard railway. At that place endeavored to sell Mr. Smith’s pistol which he had taken with him in his flight, and this act led to him immediate capture. A passenger who got aboard the morning train at Jacobs had heard of the shooting of the officer by a negro and upon his arrival in the city he told Chief Cathcart of the negro’s action.

Chief Cathcart, Special Officer Duncan of the Southern railway. City Electrician Talley Harth and Inspector Starling aboard. Mr. Harth’s automobile, left at once for Blaney where they expected to meet the suspect. Policement Rogers and Thorn, in a car furnished by E. A. Jenkins, left the city at about the same hour. Detective Forde and Motorman Liles of the Street car service went to Winnsboro and later Policemen Jones and Nettles joined in the search. Detective Richardson went to Prosperity to watch the trains of the Southern and the C. N. and L. railroads. Every direction was quickly guarded, and the arrest of the negro was expected at any moment.

The car carrying Chief Cathcart and those who accompanied him was the first to reach Blaney’s. Upon inquiry along the route they ascertained that a negro answering the description of Rabb had been seen endeavoring to dispose of a pistol. They waited at Blaney’s and a short time after their arrival there were rewarded by seeing Rabb walk into a store. They closed in on the negro whom they recognized as being the man who had shot the officer. “Don’t Shoot.” said Rabb as the three men closed in on him. “I am the man who did it; I’ll surrender.” The arrest was accomplished without any show of resistance on the part of the negro.

When the prisoner was searched the pistol was not found in his pocket and in response to Chief Cathcart’s demand to know what had been done with the weapon, Rabb stated that he had sold it to a man “on the road” for $1.50. Accompanied by Rabb, the party went to the house designated by the negro and recovered the weapon. The money, with the exception of 5 cents which had been spent for tobacco, was found on the negro.

The news of the arrest was telephoned to police headquarters and a large but orderly crowed gathered at the station house to catch a glimpse of the negro who had confessed to having inflicted mortal wounds on the person of the policeman.

Rabb, with a palor on his face and showing by his clothing that he had been a hunted man, was placed in a cell at the police station. Later he was removed to the penitentiary. There were no threats of violence, but the step was taken as an abundance of caution.

The only statement he made was to the effect that “whiskey was the cause of it all.”

An air of stillness and sadness prevails at the police station. The fellow officers of the dead man feel keenly his tragic and sudden end. He was a brave man and went to his death in the discharge of his duty – the enforcement of law and the protection of the people.

The Late Jailer Smith.

The body of the deceased was taken Wednesday night to the undertakers, where the coroner viewed the remains and an autopsy was held. It was found that but one bullet entered the body, passing through, perforating the intestines in several places and injuring the spinal cord. The wound was a terrible one and Officer Smith was paralyzed in the lower part of the body from themoment he was fired upon.

Hilton Smith, the dead officer, is a native of this county, having been born in the Cedar Creek community 31 years ago this month. He was a grandson of Capt. W. H. Sligh, one of the honored citizens of the county, and his wife is a granddaughter of the late Capt. Jno. H. Kinsler, one of the last survivors of the members of the Secession convention.

Mr. Smith’s father, Augustus Smith, also met death in a tragic manner, having been killed by collapse of a roof of a porch during a storm. In addition to other relatives, Jailer smith is survived by his wife, and two children, a boy of 2 and a girl of 4 years. Heyward and Newton Smith of this county are uncles. The deceased leaves two brothers, Julian Smith of Norfolk, Va., and J. B. Smith of this city, and three sisters, Misses Marvin and Ethel Smith and Mrs. Albert Eargle. His wife was Miss May Kinsler, daughter of Charles Kinsler, of this county.

May 19, 1910 State (published as THE DAILY RECORD) Columbia, South Carolina Page 10

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