Christmas day began easily enough for Thomas Evans. He lounged on the farm of Ezekiel Mackins and probably looked forward to the coming of 1818. Rumors circulated that Madison county planned to absorb the tiny Elk county. This barely impacted Thomas Evans’s daily life as he served as a farmhand and lacked much free time to worry about the maneuvers of local politicians.
All he knew was that Christmas arrived and he could enjoy this little bit of downtime before setting back to the breaking of earth and planting of seeds.
Then the McGaha brothers arrived.
John McGaha and Livingston McGaha came to the Mackins farm to whoop up on somebody and they did just that. When the McGaha boys found Thomas Evans they set upon him with a ferocity not seen since the days of John B. Haynes. People literally thought the man might die. They held Evans down and kicked him. They beat him with sticks and fists as they cussed him out for whatever slight he delivered to them. Then came the coup de grace. When the sticks broke and their fists grew tired they grabbed the nearest item they could to continue the walloping.
That item happened to be several “ears of corn.” The McGaha brothers tried to beat this man to death with corn.
The court case gives no concrete description of where the assault took place. However, some context clues give us room to speculate. We know that although Alabama winters are mild there sure ain’t no corn growing during the depths of winter. So they managed to get inside somehow. As Thomas Evans labored on Ezekiel Mackins’s property he probably lived in an outbuilding and not the main house. Other popular outbuildings on any given farm during the 19th century included an outhouse, a barn, and a corn crib.
There’s no mention of the McGahas stealing any corn or otherwise robbing Ezekiel Mackins, so it appears that they followed Thomas Evans to the corn crib and assaulted him there. No word on whether or not he developed a gluten allergy after surviving the assault.