A Duel:GilliamvsNoble | Gilliams of Virginia

A Duel: Marius GILLIAM versus William Noble
Updated March 13, 2016

Marius Gilliam, the son of Dr. James Skelton Gilliam, Sr., and Mary Feild, and husband of Rebecca Shute Dunant apparently misplaces his wallet and accuses William Noble of theft. It is not known whether Noble was guilty or not; however, he respond in print challenging Marius Gilliam to a duel. Marius responds in print declining the challenge stating Noble is not a gentleman.

Marius according to the Richmond Dispatch. Tuesday morning...August 16, 1864: “A report is current that Marias Gilliam, a well-known citizen of Prince George, who was taken prisoner by the Yankees and confined at the Rip Raps, is dead. He was a man well advanced in years, and held a prominent position in society” dies well-advanced in years tat the Rip Raps prison in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The below broadsides are
from the renowned collection of Norm Flayderman, and are pictured in his monumental reference on American firearms Flayderman's Guide to Antique Firearms, 9th Edition, pg. 449. This pair of broadsides is also pictured in Mr. Flaydermans article in Gun Digest, "About Dueling & Dueling Pistols, Throwing Down a Gauntlet", pg 125 with this description. "Public challenge to a Duel (popularly referred to as "posting" an individual for a real or imagined slur, misbehavior, or other wrongdoing, etc.). Publicly posting printed broadsides or posters such as these was a conveniently proper and customary manner to challenge a transgressor to a duel. The act of bringing the accusation to public notice could hardly be ignored by the party thus disgraced. In Petersburg, Virginia, on March 12, 1825 William Noble publicly challenged Marius Gilliam to a duel for the reasons so-described here. Two days later Gilliam made public his refusal to the duel (highly unusual) naming, in turn his adversary William Noble" . . . an unprincipled vagabond and scoundrel." These mementos of that altercation may suggest a duel dodged . . . or perhaps a more bitter one in the offing?"

To the Public
Whereas Marcus [Marius] Gilliam has by means the most base and false, tried to destroy my reputation, and would not concede to any efforts that have been made by my friends to have the matter investigated; and at the same time decline to say that he was of opinion that I was guilty of the act, which has according to report, been laid to my charge; he has also refused to give me the satisfaction that an injured person has a right to require. I therefore pronounce him a liar, a base slandered and a coward.

Wm. Noble
Petersburg, March 12, 1825

To the Public
The circumstances attending the loss of my pocket book were so strong, and so fully warranted my suspsicions, as to convince me and every friend with whom I advised, that I could not, with propriety accept the invitation contained in the note of Wiliam Noble. The ground of my refusal was, that I did not believe him to be a gentleman, which was distinctly stated to his friend who handed me the note. A regard to the public opinion alone induces me to take this notice of an unprincipled vagabond & scoundrel.

Marius Gilliam
March 14, 1825