Murder in the Marsh

Capt. David Sabiston House circa 1782 
124 Ann Street
David Sabiston (1750-1811) is believed to to have been the first to bear the surname in Carteret County. 

On March 25, 1775, David married Nancy Piner, daughter of Joab Piner. Nancy and David had five children: William married Love Dudley in 1799; David Simon married Nancy Piver in 1813; Robert married Rebecca Adams in 1806; John married Nancy Taylor 1812 and Sarah Owens in 1830; Ann married Peter M. Noe in 1827. 

Portion of an 1857 Chart of Beaufort Harbor 
showing the islands and marshes off the 
west end of town in the early part of 19th century
On July 4, 1811, Capt.David Sabiston was bludgeoned to death with an oar, in the presence of Sabiston's slave Sal, who testified at the trial. The brutal murder was committed by slave Jerry, property of Mary Marshall, widow of Dr. John Marshall, near what was then known as Gabriel's Island, most likely a small island off the west end of Ann Street. Found guilty at trial, the murderer was hanged at the Beaufort Court House on Sept. 13, 1811.

An excerpt from the court minutes as transcribed by Rebecca W. Sanders in Early Carteret Court Minutes, "The State vs Negro Jerry, Property of Mary Marshall. John Marshall, Executor of John Marshall decd. - Indictment of Murder on the Body of David Sabiston. Justices present of this trial were - Jacob Henry, Josiah Davis, John Roberts, Nathaniel Pinkham, Buckner Hill, Edmund Daily, David Wallace, and Richard Whitehurst. Jury impaneled and sworn were - James Johnson, David Russell Sr., Thomas Reese, Gilbert Rumley, William Temple, David Bell, James Chadwick, William Fisher Sr., Newel Bell Sr., Josiah Bell, and Soloman Ward. Find the Defendant guilty. The sentence and judgement of the court pronounced by Nathaniel Pinkham as Chairman of the Court is - That he be returned back to the Prison from where he was taken and from thence to the place of execution and that he be hung from the neck till he is dead." (Source: The Researcher, Vol.X (No. III), 12-18, Dr. Robert Glenn Lewis,1994)