John Adams DeArman

b. 26 June 1827, d. 1 November 1887
  • Father: John DeArman b. 15 December 1798, d. 18 August 1869
  • Mother: Stacy Taylor b. 1 January 1797, d. 14 September 1869
  • John Adams DeArman was born on 26 June 1827 in McMinn County, Tennessee.
  • He married Mary Isabel McMahan, daughter of Washington C. McMahan and Delila DeArman, on 14 September 1849 in Benton (later Calhoun) County, Alabama, first cousins; his father and her mother were brother and sister.
  • John Adams DeArman and Mary Isabel McMahan appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1870 in Jacksonville PO, Calhoun County, Alabama. Other members of the household included Abram Taylor DeArman. Also in the household were children J. J. (age 19), S. D. (16), J. M. (14), A. T. (11), M. V. (8), A. M. (3) and Frank Reynolds (1), and a nurse and cook. John was enumerator for this part of Calhoun County.
  • He was County Treasurer, according to the 1870 census.
  • The following appeared on 20 August 1881 in The Jacksonville Republican: Tuesday morning, the 16th inst., about 7 o'clock, our town was startled by a loud report of a gun on the public square and a few moments afterwards the news ran from lip to lip that Seab Crook had been killed by Jno. A DeArman.
         The day previous was the first day of criminal week of Court here and large numbers of men were in town, and much whiskey was drank. The Marshall made many arrests and incarcerated several in the Calaboose, among them DeArman which is supposed to be the incentive to the desperate deed afterwards committed by him. At night all incarcerated parties were released and allowed to go home, among them DeArman.
         Early Tuesday morning DeArman rode into town with a gun and dogs and announced that he was going on a hunt. He rode to a bar room and without dismounting, ordered a glass of whiskey which was handed him by some one. Crook was on the public square at the time and was watched by DeArman until he stopped at the hotel and sat down on the porch. Probably in anticipation of a renewal of the difficulties of the evening previous, Crook had procured three breech loading rifles belonging to the Military Company here and had placed them near him, with the remark "these never fail."
         Soon after, DeArman rode up in front of the hotel and addressing Crook, said "Seab can you blow a horn; at the same time holding up a hunting horn." To this Crook made no reply, it is said. DeArman again addressing him then said , "Seab, won't you go hunting with me today? You told me yesterday you would go." At this, Crook rose and leaving his guns, took two or three steps toward DeArman, directly facing him and not five feet from him, replied "I can't go today, Judge."
         At this, and without any warning, DeArman cocked his gun and before Crook could realize his intention, without raising the gun to his shoulder, discharged the load directly in his breast, the ball passing through or in the near region of the heart. Without a word and with a gasp, Crook fell back on the porch of the hotel, feet hanging over, a dead man.
         At the report of a gun, DeArman's horse wheeled and threw him heavily to the ground. He arose, and taking up his gun, advanced to the body and looking down upon it, he said, "I have done what I came to do." He then turned and walked deliberately away to undertake his horse, which had trotted off in the direction of his home. These facts we get from an eye witness to the whole affair and who was within two feet of Crook when he was shot.
         After DeArman had proceeded a few steps in the direction of his horse he encountered the Sheriff who was crossing the square diagonally and who was unarmed. He warned him not to attempt his arrest, at the peril of his life. While the Sheriff was still advancing toward him, several young men procured rifles belonging to the Military Company and shot guns and took up the pursuit. Meanwhile DeArman reached his horse and mounting him, fled down the hill leading north from the town. As he went over the hill and subsequantly some six or seven shots were discharged at him, but without effect.
         A large posse pursued in the direction of DeArman's house and proceeded to search for him. While a couple of the party were passing through a corn field adjacent to the house, they came upon DeArman lying prone on the ground near a bush with his face to the earth, apparently asleep. They at once covered him with their guns and ordered his surrender. He submitted without resistance. By him was found his gun with one barrel discharged. He was brought to town within two hours after the commission of the deed and is confined in a room of the Court house at this writing, awaiting the action of the Grand Jury now in session.
         For the benefit of people at a distance and who are unaquainted with the parties, we will state that DeArman is a farmer who has lived in this county for a great number of years, part of the time in Jacksonville and who at present resides two miles north of Jacksonville at Germania. He is a Republican in politics and in times past has been a local politician of some note. He is about fifty years of age and has a wife and children, some of them grown.
         Crook was a son of W. P. Crook, once Clerk of the Circuit Court of this county and cousin of Capt. James Crook, one of the State Railroad Commissioners. He was quite a young man of unbounded liberality and generosity of character, and brave to a fault. He had been Marshall of the town for some years and was very efficient, the only objection ever urged against him was his rashness. He had many warm friends and of course some enemies, as any man would have occupying his official position.
         But the grave intervenes to bury the resentments of the latter, while his virtues and generous qualities will long remain green in the remembrances of the former.
         The event is greatly deplored in this community and the families of both the slayer and slain are to be greatly pitied.
         LATER -- The evening of the day of the commission of the offense, the Grand Jury found an indictment against DeArman for murder. He wa brought into open Court from jail and plead "not guilty." Friday was set as the day for the trial and the Sheriff was ordered to get a jury of one hundred men for that day. DeArman is now in jail. All the wild reports flying about concerning contemplated lynching are without foundation. This community will let the law take its course and deprecate anything like violence.
         A very large number of people gathered at his father's residence to attend the funeral services of S. J. Crook and all day long throngs of people were going to the house to view the remains and tender such sympathy as they could. In the evening the body was taken to Alexandria for interment Wednesday morning in the family burial ground.
  • The following appeared on 3 September 1881 in The Jacksonville Republican: Mr. Editor, In justice both to myself and the dead, I deem it my duty to make a statement in regard to the reported mistreatment of John A. DeArman by S. J. Crook, on the occasion of the arrest and incarceration of DeArman on the day prior to the killing of Crook.
         It is currently reported that Crook kicked DeArman as he put him in the calaboose that day. I was employed on that day not as an arresting officer but as a guard at the door of the calaboose and was present when Crook brought DeArman to prison. When DeArman reached the door he placed his hands against the door and remarked that he did not want to go in. Crook replied that he must and placing his hands upon his shoulders and his knee in his back he forced him through the door and closed it.Crook used only such force as was necessary to do this, which force was not violent or unnecessarily harsh. Crook did not enter the prison after DeArman went in. This much I state, not for the purpose of making opinion, but as a simple act of justice to one who is dead and cannot speak for himself, as well as to myself, who was employed as guard at the door of the prison, and whose duty it would have been to have interfered in case of rough treatment of prisoners by arresting officers. -- R. H.
  • The following appeared on 1 October 1881 in The Jacksonville Republican: In the habeas corpus trial now going on in the DeArman case before Hon. L. E. Hamlin, Messrs. Solicitor Martin, Col. Bradford, Col. Frank Bowden and Messrs Dunlap & Dortch are conducting the prosecution; Messrs. Geo. W. Parsons of Talladega, Denson and Disque and Whitlock and Son of Gadsden, representing the defense. On Monday at noon, after some haggling among the lawyers in regard to a witness remaining in the courtroom after being put under oath, the case was opened by Col. Bradford for the state, introducing as a witness Henry Reavis, landlord of the hotel at Jacksonville, who was the nearest eye witness of the homicide.
         Henry Reavis testified that "last August about 7 o'clock int he morning, defendant rode up to the Jacksonville Hotel of which he (Reavis) was proprietor, called out to Crook and asked him if he could blow a horn and if he would not go hunting with him. Crook responded, "No Judge, I can't go with you today". DeArman said "You promised me you would go." Crook still declined. In the hallway of the hotel where Crook was standing, there were three empty Army guns leaning up against the wall. After Crook's second refusal to go, Reavis heard DeArman's gun click and he (witness) then took his hand off of Crook's shoulder where it was resting and stepped one pace away. Crook was standing erect with his hands down by his side. When the gun fired he fell, giving one short gasp. He never spoke after the fall. DeArman's horse threw him; in a few seconds he recovered himself from the fall, returned to where Crook was and remarked to the bystanders, "God'm him, I came here to kill him and I have done it! I said I would kill him and I have done so," and in a few minutes afterwards called on some persons near to catch his horse, mounted him and rapidly left town. Crook wore black pants and a linen duster coat."
         There is a perfect cloud of witnesses, some 75 or 80 in number and the case will more than probably consume the whole week. The expense to Calhoun county of this part of the trial alone will be several hundred dollars. We were pleased to meet among the witnesses our old friends, Jno. M. Caldwell, Alfred Dean, D.Z. Goodlett, Henry Reavis, Walter Hammond, Berry Beale and John Ramagana of Jacksonville and Messrs. Jake Grreen, John M. Crook and E.G. Leeof Alexandria.
         D.Z. Goodlett and J.S. Kelley were examined Monday evening and their evidence was substantially the same as Mr. Reavis. On Tuesday morning, Walter Hammond, another eye witness, was put on the stand and gave about the same evidence with the addition that Dr. Francis pulled Crook's hand out of his duster pocket after he fell but that he saw no weapon. He did not hear the conversation between defendant and deceased.
         Ed G. Lee was also sworn. He was the Bailiff who arrested DeArman. He stated as to the declarations of DeArman after his arrest and also that some of the arresting party spoke of shooting Crook. Next week we will give a condensed statement of entire testimony including that for the defense.
  • The following appeared on 26 August 1882 in The Jacksonville Republican: The verdict of the jury in the case of John A. DeArman, charged with the murder of Seaborn J. Crook, was returned Saturday morning last. The prisoner was brought into court and the verdict read. It was guilty for murder in the second degree and penitentiary for twelve years. The prisoner exhibited no emotion that was observable. At the assembing of court in the afternoon, Judge Box pronounced the sentence, but informed the prisoner that his counsel would ask a bill of exceptions for the purpose of taking the case to the Supreme Court and that in the meantime he would be returned to the jail at Gadsden. In answer to a question of the Judge as to whether he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced against him, he replied "nothing." Counsel for the prisoner will submit their bill of exceptions during the term of the St. Clair Circuit court which is some weeks off. Some of the Jurors, after rendering their verdict, told how the jury stood before a verdict was agreed upon. According to their statement, there were three for finding a verdict for murder in the first degree, five in favor of a verdict for murder in the second degree and four for acquittal. DeArman is now about fifty-five years of age. If the Supreme Court sustains the rulings of Judge Box, the sentence against him Saturday will be carried out, in which event he will be sixty-seven years of age when he comes forth from the prison, if he should live so long. If the Supreme Court reverses Judge Box, there will be another trial. HIs life will not again be put in jeopardy. No jury can hereafter in any future trial, find a verdict for murder in the first degree. His crime having been reduced by a verdict of the jury, from murder in the first degree to murder in the second degree, he will be permitted to give bail, if the case is sent back for a new trial, and it may be years before it is tried under the present croweded condition of the dockets. Jail cases have the preference in these matters.
  • The following appeared on 14 April 1883 in The Jacksonville Republican: The Supreme Court has reversed and remanded the case of John DeArman, which went up from this county and he is now out on bond. The case will consequently have to be tried over again at some future term of our court. We understand the bond was fixed at $5000.
  • The following appeared on 12 April 1884 in The Jacksonville Republican: Mr. John A. DeArman called Tuesday and showed us the model of the bed he has recently patented. It is a most ingenious and useful invention and will no doubt secure him a fortune. We learn that he has sold the right to Canada for $10,000. and has been offered $10,000. for the United States which he has declined. The Purveyor-General of the Army talks of adopting it.
  • The following appeared on 21 February 1885 in The Jacksonville Republican: The counsel of Jno. A. DeArman moved for a new trial last Saturday and Mr. Geo. W. Parsons supported the motion in a very able speech, but Judge Box denied the motion and DeArman was sent to the Etowah county jail. The case will be taken again to the Supreme Court.
  • John Adams DeArman died on 1 November 1887 at age 60 in Wetumpka, Elmore County, Alabama.
  • His wife Mary Isabel McMahan became a widow at his death.
  • The following appeared on 26 November 1887 in The Jacksonville Republican: Jno. A. DeArman died at Wetumpka, Nov. 1st after an illness of several weeks. Mrs. DeArman was with him the last sixteen days of his illness, and it is from a letter written to one of her sons here that we learn of his death.
  • Last Edited: 7 Nov 2013

Family: Mary Isabel McMahan b. 2 April 1833, d. 2 April 1922