Bunnell, Florida
Thursday, August 25, 1927


Sheriff Perry Hall died in the Flagler East Coast Hospital at St. Augustine, following a fracture of the skull inflicted by a Negro named Jim Smith, who struck the officer over the head with a bottle of whiskey early Sunday morning at Roy, a small settlement in the northern part of the county, when the sheriff attempted to arrest Smith.

A posse, numbering 150 and 200 men, searched the county and adjacent neighborhoods for the assailant an up to the present time the Negro is still at large.

The negro, according to reports reaching the sheriff’s office here, delivered a blow from which Sheriff Hall never regained consciousness when commander to throw up his arms. The assailant, it was said, fled immediately and was believed to have taken to the hammock lands nearby in an effort to escape.

Bloodhounds were put on the trail Sunday. They circled the wooded section near Roy but did not track the fugitive.

Sheriff Hall was rushed to the St. Augustine hospital after news of his injury was made known. He was admitted to the hospital at 3:30 a.m., Sunday and died at 1:30 p.m. without having gained consciousness.

Full details of the encounter are not known, but it was stated that the sheriff entered single handed a place where several Negroes were drinking. When he ordered one of the number to throw up his hands the Negro first raised one and then the other, bringing down with the second, a liquor bottle, which felled the officer.

Henry Williams, Yelvington Negro at whose house Smith is said to have hidden for several hours following his attack on Sheriff Hall is held at the county jail in Palatka.

There was no actual witness to the killing and Negroes in the vicinity of Roy have told conflicting stories about it. Several Negroes are being held in jail here for questioning.

Deputy Williams was about a quarter of a mile away when the sheriff was attacked. Negroes in the building are said to have hear the attack and investigated, finding the sheriff unconscious on the ground. Deputy Williams was notified and carried the Sheriff to Hastings where first aid was given. Deputy Sheriff A. P. Turlington, St. Johns County, drove the injured sheriff to the East Coast Hospital at St. Augustine, while Williams returned to the scene of the attack.

Henry Williams, Negro of Yelvington admitted that Smith had stayed at his house following the killing until 6 o’clock Sunday morning. He was arrested by sheriff’s deputies of Putnam County who feared that members of the posse might lynch the negro for his part in the affair and was rushed to the jail in Palatka for safe keeping.

Bloodhounds brought into service by the posse failed to track the Negro, although authorities seem to think that he was unable to get very far away.

Meanwhile the sheriff’s offices in neighboring counties are making every effort to bring the Negro to justice. The opinion was expressed that the Negro is being hidden out by his friends. Up to the present time nothing authentic has been learned of the Negro’s whereabouts.

Sheriff Hall was serving his first term as sheriff and is survived by a widow and three children.

Funeral services were held here and at Hastings Tuesday. Services here were conducted at the Baptist church at 10 o’clock in the morning for those friends who were unable to attend the service at Hastings, and it is estimated that there were about five hundred present at the Hastings service. Burial was at Oak Hill Cemetery, Palatka.


Bunnell, Florida
Thursday, September 1, 1927


The search for Jim Smith, Negro slayer of Sheriff Perry Hall of this county, who was killed nearly two weeks ago in a raid on a Negro drinking den at Roy in the northwestern part of the county, led to Madison this week when Sheriff G. L. Mo­row of Madison telephoned Sheriff W. H. Dowling of Jacksonville and advised the Duval County official that he had taken into custody a Negro answering the description of the slayer broadcast by Flagler County authorities. The authorities here were notified also and several left today for Madison to see if he is the Negro wanted.

Sheriff Morrow requested the full description of the Negro which was received by him several days ago and Morrow expressed the opinion that he had the right Negro under arrest.

Meanwhile Duval County officers gave up their search in Twelve-Mile Swamp, five miles beyond. Bayard off the St. Augustine road, where tracks were seen leading into the swamp. Bloodhounds from the Duval County prison farm failed to take the trail Monday as the tracks were cold, according to a Duval County deputy sheriff.

No further word has been received from Madison by officers here, but it is believed the Negro could easily be the one sought, in view of the fact that he has had plenty of time to travel the distance.


Bunnell, Florida
Thursday, September 15, 1927


Justice overtakes the guilty, sooner or later was again demonstrated Sunday afternoon when a posse attempted to arrest Jim Smith, alias Geo. Jones, slayer of the late Sheriff Perry Hall, shot the Negro to death in Brooksfield, Georgia, according to O. O. Thomas, special deputy sheriff, who was in the posse.

The Negro was known here as Jim Smith and was known at Brooksfield as George Jones. He killed Sheriff Hall while the sheriff was making a raid on a Negro joint at Roy in the northwestern part of this county on the night of August 20.

The Negro had told here before the murder that he once resided in Tifton, Georgia and officers there were notified at the time the crime was committed. It was also known that either relatives of himself or wife lived at Brooksfie1d. According to Mr. Thomas the Negro went to Brooksfield on. Sunday, September 4, and sent word to his wife here to join him at Brooksfield. Deputy Thomas followed the woman to Tifton. In the meantime the Georgia officers had learned that Smith was in Brooksfield and made a search for him Saturday night but failed to locate him. Smith, it is said, had a double­barreled shotgun, which he kept with him at all times ready for use.

Sunday afternoon the officers learned that Smith was in the house of John Chatman, Negro, in the turpentine still quarters of Bowen & Harrell, at Brooksfield, and the house was su­rounded by a posse composed of Deputy Sheriff O. O. Thomas from this county, Sheriff J. O. Thrasher, Deputy Sheriff Chesley Thompson, Chief of Police E. F. Preston, Warden J. G. Nelson, Commissioner N. L. Coarsey all of Tift County, Georgia. When two of the officers went in the front of the house, Smith ran out the back and he was shot down when he refused to halt. Deputy Thomas stated that the Negro ran about 100 yards from the house and fell dead.

After death of the Negro, the body was identified by Smith’s wife and others there who knew him at Brooksfield. Deputy Thomas carried the body to Tilton and had it embalmed and brought it back here, arriving Monday afternoon where it was further identified by a number of Flagler County White men and several Negroes who knew him here. The body was buried Tuesday morning by the county convicts.

No doubts are entertained here about the Negro being the one who committed the murder. It was reported by Mr. Thomas that the murderer, after arriving at Brooksfield, carried the shotgun all the time and boasted to Negroes at Brooksfield about what he had done in Florida and what he would do if officers tried to catch him. Having heard these reports, naturally the officers were prepared to shoot to kill when they went after Smith and did not give him a chance to use his gun and make good his boasts. .

Deputy Thomas stated to The Tribune that the Georgia officers are to be thanked by people of this county for their work; that they acted with promptness when called upon and gave perfect cooperation in the raid and capture of the Negro.

After the killing of Sheriff Hall, Son Durrance, deputy sheriff of this county, was killed by another Negro while searching for Jones or Smith. The deputy also shot his slayer, but the Negro is recovering and is being held in jail for trial. Jones, or Smith, it is said, also gave another Negro a pistol with which to kill a Negro woman. The deputy was shot at a water tank while he was looking for Smith or Jones.


Bunnell, Florida
Thursday, September 15, 1927

The passing away of Perry Hall on August 21st was a profound sorrow in the membership of the First Baptist Church of Bunnell.

Mr. Hall had been a member of the Baptist church here since in organization. Through his willingness to help with the church work, he had endeared himself to everyone.

WHEREAS, an all wise, just and loving Father has permitted to be taken from our friendship on earth to a companionship in Heaven, our beloved brother. Be it resolved:

FIRST: That we vow in humble submission to the Will of Him who doeth all things well.

SECOND: That we express our deepest sympathy to the bereaved family, praying God’s sustaining grace upon them.

THIRD: That a copy of these resolutions be published in our local paper, a copy sent to the bereaved family, and a copy be recorded in our church book.

Mrs. D. B. Brown,
Mr. F. B. Miller, Committee