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 • Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church Cemetery
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 • Cabarrus County
 • North Carolina
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Emma Hartsell
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Birth: Sep. 11, 1885
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA
Death: May 29, 1898
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA

Emma Hartsell, Mary Emma per one source, was the youngest of several children born to Samuel Joshua Hartsell (1860-1938) and his first wife Elizabeth C. Petrea (1859-1889). Her siblings were Elizabeth Pauline Hartsell (1881-1928, Mrs. Garmon), Andrew Coyt Hartsell (1882-1949), Walter Albert Hartsell (1883-?), and there may have been an infant born after Emma.

After Emma's mother died, her father married Lula Jane DeArmon (1872-1933) in 1893, and they had twelve more children, born from 1894 to 1918. The ones living when Emma died were: Columbus Payne Hartsell (1894-1975), Cora Adelaide Hartsell (1895-1973), and Winfield Scott Hartsell (1897-1925).

One Sunday morning in May of 1898, Emma's family went to church, leaving her behind to care for a sick sibling. Two men broke into the house and brutally attacked, molested and murdered poor Emma. She was only 12 years old. This inspired a folk song that begins "In Eighteen Hundred and Ninety Eight, sweet Emma met with an awful fate..."

From the "Daily Concord Standard"
Monday, May 30, 1898:
"The remains of Miss Emma Hartsell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Hartsell, were laid to rest in the cemetery at Poplar Tent this (Monday) afternoon. Miss Hartsell was an exceptionally pretty girl and her character is unstained and was a friend to all in the community, as was signalized by the many and many sad faces. She was a member of the Presbyterian church at White Hall. The funeral was preached by her pastor, Rev. C. F. Rankin, which was of course touching and pathetic."

From the "Concord Times"
Thursday, June 2, 1898:
In an article detailing the murder and the aftermath, "Miss Hartsell would have been thirteen years old next September. She was a pretty girl and well grown for her age. No one speaks of her but in the very highest terms. It is evident that she fought heroically for her honor and her life."
Family links: 
  Samuel Joshua Hartsell (1860 - 1938)
  Elizabeth Caroline Petrea Hartsell (1859 - 1889)
  Elizabeth Pauline Hartsell Garmon (1881 - 1929)*
  Andrew Coyt Hartsell (1882 - 1949)*
  Emma Hartsell (1885 - 1898)
  Columbus Payne Hartsell (1894 - 1979)**
  Cora Adelaide Hartsell Hudson (1895 - 1973)**
  Winfield Scott Hartsell (1897 - 1925)**
  Virginia Thelma Hartsell Johnston (1901 - 1929)**
  Boyd Allen Hartsell (1903 - 1987)**
  Roy Brevard Hartsell (1905 - 1947)**
  Harry Glenn Hartsell (1908 - 1995)**
  Wilson Joshua Hartsell (1918 - 1975)**
*Calculated relationship
Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA
Created by: John Field Pankow
Record added: Jul 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39849462
Emma Hartsell
Added by: Susan I. Grills
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

More information about the aftermath of Emma's rape and murder case is at the Concord library. The 2 African-American men were apprehended and arrested. That night some men took them from the Concord jail. They were lynched on Gold Hill Road.
 Added: Aug. 21, 2015

- Mark A Cline
 Added: May. 25, 2012
- Elaine Hahn Crow
 Added: Mar. 7, 2011

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