HAMILTON NEWS PRESS, Dec. 12, 1895 – pg 5 GOOD MAN FOULLY MURDERED – a Shocking Crime Committed in Itawamba transcribed from microfilm by Veneta McKinney.
One of the most horrible murders ever committed in any country, and the details of which are sickening in the extreme, occurred in the eastern part of Itawamba County, Miss., near Rara Avis, last Friday morning. We refer to the murder of E. JORDAN CHASTAIN near his home. To add to its horribleness his own wife is under arrest charged with the crime.
Mr. CHASTAIN was one of the oldest and best known citizens of Itawamba. He was over 75 years of age, and was very badly crippled. He could not walk at all without the aid of a crutch. He had lived at the same place as a merchant and farmer where he met his death for over 50 years, and was universally liked by his neighbors. In fact, every one in this scion who had the pleasure of his acquaintance speak of him in the highest terms of praise. Mr. and Mrs. CHASTAIN had lived together 48 years and reared a large family, seven sons and two daughters, and they are prominent citizens in the communities in which they reside.
From the evidence adduced before the coroner’s jury it seems that h e and his wife , who is over 68 years of age, but a well preserved and fine looking woman, of late had been at outs about several little trivial matter, and for two or three days prior to the fateful morning had not spoken to each other. The last row grew out his buying some package coffee and failing to bring home the glass prizes given away with it.
On Friday morning about 9 o’clock he took his ax and went to the woods about 150 yards from his house for the purpose of cutting some fire wood. He had been at work for some time when his wife sent a negro girl named Fannie that she had hired to the post office, which is a mile from the house. It is claimed that this is an unusual thing for her to do. The girl claims that she noticed him chopping about 10 o’clock. When she returned from the post office she prepared dinner, and Mrs. CHASTAIN instructed her to go after her husband. The negro girl, not hearing him chopping, went to the woods and finally found him cold in death with three frightful gashes in his head and his skull split wide open, which had been done with a small ax. She at once gave the alarm, and the neighborhood gathered there to witness the gruesome spectacle, and to find out if possible who had committed the foul deed. Upon inspection, it was found that some one whose track exactly tallied with that of Mrs. CHASTAIN had passed from the house through the orchard going in the direction of where the murdered man was found. The premises were examined, and the small ax was found with human blood and gray hair all over it. This was examined and tested by competent physicians present, who swore before the jury that the ax was the instrument used and that the hair and blood was that of the dead man.
The body of the unfortunate man was consigned to its last resting place on Monday evening, and was followed to the grave by all of his neighbors as well some friends from a distance who had heard of his terrible death. The Masonic Lodge, of which he was an honored member, will hold memorial services at some time in the near future, as it was impossible at the time to get that body together in order to have a Masonic funeral.