Miss Twitty, the cackling character witness

“North Carolina’s closest version of the Scopes Monkey Trial of Tennessee [was]  Pentuff v. Park….  J.R. Pentuff, a [Concord] minister who was outspoken in opposition to Darwinism, was lampooned in a Raleigh newspaper [in 1926] … and he sued for $60,000 in damages….

“A lot of embarrassing facts came out about Rev. Pentuff during the trial….. He had claimed his hen, Miss Twitty, could lay multiple eggs a day, which isn’t possible. It was something he said just to sell more eggs.

“Pentuff claimed he deserved enhanced libel protection, because giving a minister a bad reputation would take away his livelihood. He actually won at the state Supreme Court, [but] later a jury of mostly farmers threw out the case and gave Pentuff zero.”

—  John Wertheimer, author of “Law and Society in the South: A History of North Carolina Court Cases” (2009), describing for North Carolina Lawyers Weekly (June 22, 2009) the book’s strangest or most surprising case.”

The offending editor: Oscar J. “Skipper” Coffin, who would soon leave the Raleigh Times to become head of the journalism department at Chapel Hill.

One thought on “Miss Twitty, the cackling character witness”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *