Rebecca Chandler

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Daily Press
April 10, 1910

Alleged victim of VanDyke dead

Hampton negro girl, said to be criminally assaulted, dies in hospital

May add murder charge on white man

Having been ill since the time the crime is said to have occurred, Rebecca Chandler passes away, Coroner’s jury to investigate case today.

Rebecca Taylor Chandler, nine years old, the alleged victim of E. A. Vandyke, the white man now in the Hampton jail charged with criminal assault, died in the Dixie hospital yesterday afternoon. According to the physicians the child’s death was due to pneumonia, brought on by exposure on the occasion that Vandyke is alleged to have mistreated her.

Following the child’s death, Sheriff R. K. Curtis, informed Dr. George K. Vanderslice, the coroner, and the latter decided that an investigation of the facts in connection with the crime charged against Vandyke was necessary. The Sheriff then summoned a jury consisting of J. Vaughan Jones, L. N. Mears, R. H. Richardson, Thomas W. Keaton, J. D. Hicks Jr and H. B. Johnson.

The jury went to the hospital and after viewing the remains of the dead child, adjourned over until this afternoon at 4 o’clock, when the investigation will take place in the office of Sheriff, R. K. Curtis.

Ill Ever Since

Dr. Caesar Bassett, who attended the child, and Drs. W. E. Atkins and Harry D. Howe, who were called in consultation, will be witnesses before the coroners jury, while the child’s mother and a small colored boy will also give testimony.

The child was taken sick soon after returning to her home on the day that the alleged crime is said to have been committed on Thursday of last week and her condition continued to grow more serious.

Friday pneumonia developed and the child was then removed to the Dixie hospital. Wile none of the physicians will discuss the case, it is understood that the child was horribly bruised and internally injured.

Means Murder Charge

Vandyke, who is confined in the jail, stoutly denies his guilt and declares that he will be able to prove his innocence when the preliminary hearing is taken up. He retained Fay S. Collier as his attorney.

In the event that the investigation of the circumstances in connection with the death should show that the child died from the effects of the treatment she received, Vandyke will also likely have to answer the additional charge of murder. In either charge against him the severest penalty is death.

Vandyke’s wife is said to be desperately ill. She and her children are living in LaSalle Avenue.


Daily Press
April 12, 1910

Special jury on E. A. Vandyke case

Judge Robinson acts quickly in charge of criminal assault on negro girl

Coroner reports on death of the child

Investigation of alleged crime against white man is to be taken up at once and his trial in Circuit court expected at present session – wife seriously ill

A special grand jury will be summoned today by Judge Clarence W. Robinson, in the Circuit court of Elizabeth City County, to take up the case of E. A. Vandyke, the white man charged with criminally assaulting Rebecca Taylor Chandler, the nine year old negro girl, who died in the Dixie Hospital at 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon.

The jury, under the instructions of Dr. George K. Vanderslice, the coroner, returned this verdict at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

Jury’s Verdict

“We, the coroner’s jury, empanelled and sworn to ascertain how, when and where Rebecca Chandler came to her death, upon our oaths do say, that the said Rebecca Chandler came to her death, from acute labor pneumonia at the Dixie Hospital on Saturday, April 9, 1910, at about one o’clock pm following an alleged criminal assault on March 31, 1910, by E. A. Vandyke.
“G. K. Vanderslice, M.D. Coroner”
“R. H. Richardson”
“W. D. Hicks Jr”
“T. W. Keaton”
“I. N. Mears”
“H. B. Johnson”
“Coroner’s Jurors”

Damaging evidence

The coroner’s jury was summoned by Sheriff Curtis shortly after the death of the girl Saturday afternoon and the investigation was set for Sunday afternoon. The jury met in the office of Sheriff Curtis Sunday and after spending five hours listening to the evidence of the three physicians and members of the girl’s family, took adjournment until noon yesterday, when the inquisition was again taken up and completed.

The jury made a most searching inquisition into the circumstances covering the child’s death and the ride she is said to have made on Vandyke’s oil wagon when the assault is claimed to have been committed. The evidence hs said to be damaging to Vandyke, both from the physicians and the witnesses who were present when the accused man is said to have offered to compromise the case with the child’s mother. In fact the evidence is revolting and the coroner’s jury lost little time in arriving at it’s verdict.

Judge Robinson Acts

As soon as the news of the coroner’s jury was conveyed to Judge Robinson, Commonwealth’s Attorney Edgar E. Montague, made the request that a special grand jury be summoned by the court to make an investigation. Clerk of the Courts Harry H Holt and other court officials thought hte case needed immediate action by the court. In this opinion Judge Robinson agreed and the special jury will probably begin the investigation either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Should the grand jury indict Vandyke the trial of the man will be set for an early date in this session of the court.

Vandyke’s wife, who is an invalid, is now very ill at her home in LaSalle Avenue. She is receiving attention from her neighbors, who say that Mrs. Vandyke is a very highly respectable lady. The plight of her husband has naturally had its effect upon the invalid and her condition is serious.

Vandyke is still confined in his cell in the Hampton jail, where he must remain until the case is disposed of by a jury in the Circuit Court. He maintains his innocence and his attorney, Mr. F. S. Collier, is working up on the case for the defendant. Judge Edgar E. Montague, the commonwealth’s attorney, and Mr Collier were present at the coroner’s investigation.


Daily Press
June 7, 1910

Vandyke loses appeal

Supreme Court refuses writ of error in case

Must serve time in pen

Hampton man convicted of attempted criminal assault upon negro girl will be taken to Richmond within few days to begin term

Earl A. Van Dyke, convicted of attempted criminal assault upon Rebecca Chandler, a nine year old negro girl, will have to serve eighteen years in the penitentiary in accordance with the verdict of the jury, which heard his case in the Circuit Court.

The Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, the last tribunal to which Van Dyke could appeal, yesterday notified Clerk of the Courts H. H. Holt of its decision to refuse a write of error and supersedes to the convicted man, thus taking away his last hope for freedom. Van Dyke probably will be removed to the penitentiary in the next week, as the papers were forwarded to Major Wood, the superintendent of the institution, by Clerk of the Courts Holt yesterday.

The man’s invalid wife still resides in LaSalle Avenue.

Several days ago, F. S. Collier, who made a hard fight to save Van Dyke from the prison, applied to the Supreme Court for a write of error and until yesterday Van Dyke had hopes of receiving a favorable verdict from the highest court.

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