by AUDREY CREEL / December 17, 2020
©Audrey Creel, 2020 (All rights reserved.)
The only information known about Charles Maney comes from second-hand sources after the Civil War. Several accounts and newspaper articles recount an 1836 trial in which Charles Maney was tried and hanged for the assault of a white woman living in Murfreesboro.[i] The only information known about Charles’ enslavement is that he was enslaved by a “Mr. Maney,” so it is unknown which member of the Maney family owned Charles in 1836.[ii] The 1886 Goodspeed’s History of Rutherford County stated that the evidence against Charles Maney was circumstantial and many believed that he was not guilty.[iii] However, according to C.C. Henderson, Charles was tortured in an effort to obtain a confession.[iv] Charles maintained his claim to innocence but was convicted by the court and sentenced to death by hanging.[v] Several years later, an African American man being tried for a similar crime in Mississippi confessed to perpetrating the assault for which Charles was hanged.[vi] It is unknown where Charles was born or if he had a family prior to his execution in 1836. There are no Tennessee State court records which can be found for the trial or execution.
[i] C.C. Henderson, “Murfreesboro and Rutherford County: A Historical Story by C.C. Henderson,” The Daily-News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN: August 17, 1929, 2, accessed December 17, 2020 from newpapers.com database, https://www.newspapers.com/image/359028457/?terms=Charles%20Maney&match=1.
[ii] Henderson, “Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.”
[iii] Goodspeed’s History of Rutherford County, 1886, in Greg Tucker, “The first documented execution was in 1813,” July 24, 2011, accessed December 17, 2020 from http://rutherfordtnhistory.org/first-documented-execution-was-in-1813/.
[iv] Henderson, “Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.”
[v] Henderson, “Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.”[vi] Goodspeed’s History of Rutherford County, 1886, in Greg Tucker, “The first documented execution was in 1813.”