From the “Adam Artis Family History”:
After Amanda died, Adam died Katie Pettieford of Goldsboro. They had one son, Pickney. Adam was 71 and she was 21 when they got married. Katie employed a male nurse to look after Adam. She sold off his land bit by bit.
Adam died of old age at about 100 years. His last wife, Katie, in 1923, had someone dig down to his coffin and saw off his feet. Several years later she committed suicide. She poured kerosene around a room and set it on fire.
In fact, Adam Artis married his fourth and final wife, Katie Pettiford, on 9 July 1902 in Wayne County. He was 71, as told, and she was about 20. Their only son, Alphonzo Pinkney Artis, was born in April 1903. By common account, Pinkney left home as a boy — ran away, in fact, to Baltimore. Adam died in 1919 at age 87. Katie, who remarried, died in 1940. Her death certificate notes that she burned up inside her house, but does not mention suicide.
As for the rest, the story I’ve heard is that Katie, guilt-ridden over her abuse of Adam in his decline, grew convinced that he was haunting her from the grave. On the advice of a root doctor, she had his body exhumed and his feet cut off to keep him from walking the world.