PETRIFIED BODIES FOUND MARION COUNTY ALABAMA 1885

Buttahatchie River (2) (1024x766)

The Hickman Courier, Hickman, KY – Aug 28, 1885

A WONDER VERIFIED

The Long Lost Ark of the CovenantFrom the Pulaski Citizen.

The readers of the Citizen will read an article that appeared in the Nashville American last Friday, which we copy below, headed “The Cave of Buddahattachie in which a most incredible tale of finding a small box and three petrified human bodies in a cave in Marion county, Ala., was told.  The discovery was so wonderfully strange and the supposed contents of the box so marvelous that, while it impressed the more thoughtful with the possibility of its truthfulness, there is little credence given it by the average reader, doubtless from the fact that the people and the press have been so frequently imposed upon by unmitigated liars and unprincipled writers in a manner which is shameful and outrageous. It is the privilege of the Citizen to give to its readers further evidence in regard to this miraculous and to corroborate as herein given the truthfulness of the story as published in the American.

We give the American’s article: TUPELO, MISS., Aug. 4,1885.- In coming to Hamilton, the shire town of Marion County, The other day, I was reliably informed and greatly interested in a wonderful discovery recently made by one of the citizens of the county, Mr. J. W. Hadden. A few days since, while out hunting, Mr. Hadden saw in a cluster of bushes a snow-white fawn which he approached, hoping to capture a prize. The fawn almost allowed him to pick it up, when it suddenly run off a short distance and again stopped. Hadden again approached, when the fawn again retreated. This course was pursued by Hadden and the fawn until they reached a high bluff overlooking Buddahatchie river, some four miles east of Pearce’s Mills, when the fawn suddenly disappeared over the edge of the bluff. Upon coming up, Hadden peered over the bluff, when to his astonishment he saw the fawn standing on a narrow bench, hundreds of feet below, near the root of a large spruce pine recently blown up. After much difficulty he succeeded in reaching the spot where the fawn was last seen, but the fawn was not in the range of his vision.

Upon looking around he discovered that the pine in being uprooted disclosed to view a circular orifice in the bluff some three feet in diameter. Prompted by curiosity and a desire to catch the fawn, he provided himself with a torch and entered the cavern, and made a discovery that will not only immortalize himself and be a source of fabulous wealth, but will be of immense value and interest to the scientific men and biblical scholars of the world. Stretched out at full length upon the cave’s rocky floor, lay the petrified bodies of three human beings, two males and one female – an oblong box, of curious and antique design, two feet long, eighteen inches wide and sixteen inches deep, besides many other curiosities of smaller dimensions. Surprised Hadden withdrew from the cavern and returned to his home.

The next day Hadden returned with a trusted friend to the scene of his discoveries and removed the petrified bodies and other articles from the cave. The box, also petrified, was carefully moved from its resting place and broken, and found to contain a small earthen jar, a large roll of parchment and a brass rod.

Now, the mystery is, to what race of people did these bodies belong and how came them there? The parchment manuscripts are undoubtedly written in the Hebrew language. Many theories have been advanced by our people, but the most plausible one that I have heard is that the bodies are of Hebrew origin, that the box is the long-lost ark of the covenant, the rod the veritable Aaron’s, the jar the pot of manna and the parchment manuscripts the seven lost books of the Old Testament.

The scene of this wonderful discovery is one of sublime and picturesque grandeur. Hundreds of feet above huge masses of rock lift their hoary heads high in the air, while far beneath are the limpid waters of the Buddahatchie on their way to the gulf, “gurgling kisses to the pebbled shore.  Mr. Hadden has carefully boxed his treasures and will start immediately for Washington, D. C where he will deposit them in the Smithsonian Institution. – Now, Mr. Editor, this wonderful discovery is no “Joe Mulhattan yarn,” but can be fully substantiated by calling on or addressing the following parties of Hamilton, Ala.: J. C. Hamilton judge probate court, Maj. James H. Gast, editor Marion County Herald, and Col. James Pearce, on whose plantation the wonderful discovery was made. J. W. S.

A WONDERFUL CAVE

THE REMARKABLE STORY OF A COMMERCIAL TRAVELLER

A Tupelo, Miss, letter to the Nashville Banner says:

In coming to Hamilton, the shire town of Marion County, The other day, I was reliably informed and greatly interested in a wonderful discovery recently made by one of the citizens of the county, Mr. J. W. Hadden. A few days since, while out hunting, Mr. Hadden saw in a cluster of bushes a snow-white fawn which he approached, hoping to capture a prize. The fawn almost allowed him to pick it up, when it suddenly run off a short distance and again stopped. Hadden again approached, when the fawn again retreated. This course was pursued by Hadden and the fawn until they reached a high bluff overlooking Buddahatchie river, some four miles east of Pearce’s Mills, when the fawn suddenly disappeared over the edge of the bluff. Upon coming up, Hadden peered over the bluff, when to his astonishment he saw the fawn standing on a narrow bench, hundreds of feet below, near the root of a large spruce pine recently blown up. After much difficulty he succeeded in reaching the spot where the fawn was last seen, but the fawn was not in the range of his vision.

Upon looking around he discovered that the pine in being uprooted disclosed to view a circular orifice in the bluff some three feet in diameter. Prompted by curiosity and a desire to catch the fawn, he provided himself with a torch and entered the cavern, and made a discovery that will not only immortalize himself and be a source of fabulous wealth, but will be of immense value and interest to the scientific men and biblical scholars of the world. Stretched out at full length upon the cave’s rocky floor, lay the petrified bodies of three human beings, two males and one female – an oblong box, of curious and antique design, two feet long, eighteen inches wide and sixteen inches deep, besides many other curiosities of smaller dimensions. Surprised Hadden withdrew from the cavern and returned to his home.

The next day Hadden returned with a trusted friend to the scene of his discoveries and removed the petrified bodies and other articles from the cave. The box, also petrified, was carefully moved from its resting place and broken, and found to contain a small earthen jar, a large roll of parchment and a brass rod.

Now, the mystery is, to what race of people did these bodies belong and how came them there? The parchment manuscripts are undoubtedly written in the Hebrew language. Many theories have been advanced by our people, but the most plausible one that I have heard is that the bodies are of Hebrew origin, that the box is the long-lost ark of the covenant, the rod the veritable Aaron’s, the jar the pot of manna and the parchment manuscripts the seven lost books of the Old Testament.

The scene of this wonderful discovery is one of sublime and picturesque grandeur. Hundreds of feet above huge masses of rock lift their hoary heads high in the air, while far beneath are the limpid waters of the Buddahatchie on their way to the gulf, “gurgling kisses to the pebbled shore.  Mr. Hadden has carefully boxed his treasures and will start immediately for Washington, D. C where he will deposit them in the Smithsonian Institution. – Now, Mr. Editor, this wonderful discovery is no “Joe Mulhattan yarn,” but can be fully substantiated by calling on or addressing the following parties of Hamilton, Ala.: J. C. Hamilton judge probate court, Maj. James H. Gast, editor Marion County Herald, and Col. James Pearce, on whose plantation the wonderful discovery was made. J. W. S.

Source: Thursday, August 27, 1885   Patriot Newspaper (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) ; page: 3

 

 

SHERIFF METCALFE AND C. W. HALL BRING THEM BACK

Lee S. metcalfe and Jala Guin Metcalfe cira 1889 (2) (780x1024)

Sheriff Lee S. Metcalfe with wife, Jala Guin Metcalfe about 1889.

 THEY ARE GONE – But Not to the Penitentiary

 The two prisoners, WILL COX, white and LUTHER METCALFE, col. who were sentenced to the penitentiary at the last term of the circuit court and were confined in jail here waiting for the penitentiary authorities to send for them, escaped jail Sunday evening about dark.  When Mr. WIMBERLY, the jailor, carried their supper to the jail he placed it inside and closed the door of the cell and pushed the bolt in place, then he closed the outside door, or the door of the corridor and pushed one of the bolts in place, but did not secure either – not thinking there was any possibility of the prisoners being able to reach the bolts – and went into an adjoining yard for a bucket of water, during his absence they succeeded in prizing back the bolt to the inner door with a stick of stove wood, and COX slipped his hand between the bars of the cage and reached the bolt of the outer door and slipped it back., and they were free, as the doors to the building are never fastened.  It was getting dark and no one was near the jail, so they had no difficulty in making their escape.  Mr. WIMBERLY gave the alarm, but it being dark and no dogs to trail them nothing could be done towards capturing them.

One prisoner, BOB LAMPKINS, who was committed to jail late Friday did not try to escape, and was very sensible for not leaving as he was bailed out last Monday.

Since the above was written LUTHER METCALFE has been brought back. Mr. C. W. HALL brought him in and received the reward of $25.00 which was offered for his apprehension.

COX was brought in by Sheriff METCALFE Wednesday evening.  He was caught on the platform at Guin waiting for a train. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 12, 1888.

Mr. HALEY, traveling agent for the T. C. L. & Railroad Co. was in town Wednesday after the two prisoners, COX and METCALFE, and left for Pratt Mines with them to charge. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888. The jail is now empty. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 26, 1888.

 

A DASTARDLY ASSAULT – Unknown Parties Shoot at Sheriff L. S. METALFE in the Dark

On last Friday night, about 11 o’clock Sheriff METCALFE walked up to his stable in town to see about his horse, which had been sick that evening, and as he was returning to the hotel when passing the north-east corner of the court-house yard, he saw two men standing out in the street about ten yards away, and supposing them to be some of the town boys spoke to them and asked “Who is there?” at the same time taking a couple of steps toward them. When he did this one of the parties threw up a pistol and fired, the ball passing through Sheriff METCALKE’S hat brim about one and a half inches from his head. Sheriff METCALFE returned the fire instantly with two shots at the then fleeing parties, who, when they saw he was going to return the fire unceremoniously took to their heels, running down in the direction of the jail. It is not known whether either of his shots took effect, as the parties made good their escape. No cause for such an assault can be given, as Sheriff METCALFE has no enemies who would attempt to take his in the dark. The night was so dark that he could not see the parties well enough to give any description of them A telegram was sent to Pratt Mines for blood hounds to be brought down to tail up the parties but none could be got all of them being in use at Pratt Mines. June 27, 1889 Vernon  Courier Vernon, Alabama.

SHERIFF METCALFE SON OF WILEY SAINT CLAIR METCALFE EARLY SETTLER OF SULLIGENT

Wiley Saint Clair Metcalfe born in 1837, married Virginia Ellen Bradley in 1858. Wiley and Virginia were early settlers of what is now Sulligent and Lamar County.

 Mrs. Virginia Metcalfe was known in Sulligent as “grandma Metcalfe”. The Metcalfe’s reared nine children and had 36 grandchildren.  The Metcalfe’s children were: Martha Elvira, who married Perry Evans; Leander Saint Clair “Lee”, married Jala Guin Lee served as Lamar County Sheriff; Henry Franklin married Melinda Shaw. Henry worked for the Frisco railroad; Sarah Anna Elizabeth, married John Bannister. John was Sulligent Marshall; James W. “Jim Buck” married Amanda May; Rosa Ellen, married first William Cobb, second Cannon Richard Weaver, after Mr. Cobb’s death; John Edward “Ed” married Lou Ella Brown. Ed founded the Metcalf Grocery and Market that was in business in Sulligent  for 70 years; Hattie Stella married Rudolphus Brown, a brother to Lou Ella Brown; George Tollivar Carrington “Toll”, married Bessie Lee Stanford. Toll worked as stock broker in Kentucky.

Historical newspapers are transcribed by Veneta McKinney from microfilm. Metcalfe picture is from Rose Marie Smith Collection housed in Mary Wallace Cobb Memorial Library Vernon, Alabama.

JOHNSON HOLDING HIS PISTOL CLOSE TO A SHADE TREE TOOK DELIBERATE AIM AND FIRED – SULLIGENT MURDER

Sulligent street

L. D. Byrd Killed. Early Thursday morning even before the sun had risen far above the eastern horizon, the alarm at the telephone rang out and “Hello what is wanted” went from the operator at this place. But how unexpected and how shocking was the reply which came from Sulligent. “Mr. Byrd was shot and instantly killed a moment ago by Burley Johnson of near this place.”

It seems that an old grudge had been cherished between them for some time past, and they were evidently expecting trouble as both were armed and when the fatal combat occurred. It also seems from the best information we can get that Mr. Byrd was using every means possible to escape, when they met for the last time. Details are meager here, notwithstanding the affray occurred Thursday morning.

According to our information, Mr. Byrd, when seeing that he must meet Johnson, said to his nephue that Johnson was hunting trouble and so saying left the side-walk, giving to Johnson the right-of-way. They had not proceeded far when Johnson holding his pistol close to a shade tree took deliberate aim and fired. He continued to fire until he had fired five shots, four of which took effect, Mr. Byrd fired two shots, neither of which took effect. Johnson succeeded in making his escape. Source: The Lamar Democrat Vernon, Alabama  07-23-1898, transcribed by Barb Carruth.

“Lucian David Byrd, son of John K. and Elvira Moore Byrd, was born September 26, 1861, near Detroit, Alabama. Later, the Byrd family moved to Splunge, Mississippi. On November 27, 1878, he married Mary F. Collier who died when their son was born. Their children were Lillian Byrd, who married R.C. Paul, and Haston Byrd, who married Donnie G. Nichols.

Later, L.D. Byrd married Lula Duncan Guthrie. They had five children, but only two lived: Gertrude Byrd, who married Byron Woods, and Annie Mae Byrd, who married Jake Green.

In the early days of Sulligent, this family moved to the new town where Mr. Byrd established a mercantile business. He owned farm land where the Hyster Company now stands. Through the years this land has been called the

Byrd Place. The old Byrd home is still standing on Vernon Street in Sulligent.

L.D. Byrd was a strong leader in First Baptist Church from its beginning. He was a charter member and soon was elected church clerk, a position he held for eight years. Many times, he served on church committees and often was sent as a messenger to the Sipsey Baptist Association. When he died on July 21, 1898, the church lost a valuable member.” Source: First Baptist Church Sulligent, Alabama 1890 – 1990 Our Heritage Our Hope a History of 100 Years, written by Mrs. Virginia Woods Gilmer.

BANG! BANG! MOONSHINERS-DISHING OUT PURE JUICE CAPTURED IN VERNON

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Pratt Mines

Smith Brothers sent to Pratt Mines. “Their friends paid up the cost in all the case which leaves them to work out only the penalties which is, JOHN 115 days and JEFF. 155 days.”

The quiet streets of Vernon presented a very excitable scene Tuesday night.  Two wild-catters, brothers, by the name of John and Jeff Smith, from Marion County, were overhauled in Yellow Creek Swamp about a half mile from town, dishing out the pure and unadulterated juice to the boys.  They were captured by Constable Haley and posse, they showed fight when the officers walked up on them, and in the tussle Jeff discharged his pistol the ball striking Mr. Tom Moore on the left arm, but being a very small pistol and at such close range the ball did not break the skin.

They were brought to town and warrants were issued by Judge Young on the charge of violating the revenue law and prohibition law, and a charge of resisting arrest was placed against Jeff.  Not being able to give bond they were committed to jail, and when the officers started with them to jail the fun commenced again.  John jerked loose from two men, one holding each arm, and started for Yellow Creek Swamp at a lively rate, with Constable Haley close behind.  Several shots were fired in the chase none of which took effect, he was soon overhauled, however, and brought back and the cell doors closed on him.

Their trial came of Wednesday in the county court.  They plead guilty to retailing and accepted the lowest fine, $375 each, and Jeff was fined $10 for the assault.  Up to going to press they had not confessed judgment but are expecting their friends from Marion county to come to their relief. Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 12, 1888.

Up to the time of going to press no disposition has been made of the Moonshiners.”Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888.

The friends of JOHN AND JEFF. SMITH were in town Monday seeing what could be done towards securing their release, but while they were seeing what they could do, Mr. HAYLEY, agent for the T. C. I & Railroad Company arrived in town as soon had them dressed for a trip to Pratt Mines, and left for that place with them in charge.  Their friends paid up the cost in all the case which leaves them to work out only the penalties which is, JOHN 115 days and JEFF. 155 days. Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888 transcribed from microfilm by Veneta McKinney.

PRATT COAL & COKE COMPANY HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

To meet the pressing demand for labor in the early days, the Pratt Coal and Iron Company (later TCI) employed state convicts. The practice of working convicts outside the prisons, begun in Alabama in 1866, was common across the South well into the 1900s. Private companies paid state and county governments a certain amount each month for each convict. The company built prison facilities and clothed and fed the men, who were required to work 10 hours a day and fill a quota. TCI continued the practice until 1914, and other District mining concerns worked convicts until 1928.

In 1883, a new Alabama law required the state penitentiary physician to reside where the greatest number of convicts were confined. Thus Dr. Russell M. Cunningham moved to the prisons at the Pratt mining camp to take care of some 1,000 inmates a year. His attention to sanitary conditions, hours of work, diet and recreation resulted in the reduction of the mortality rate from 18 percent in 1881 to two percent in 1884. In reports to the state inspector of mines in 1883 and 1884, Cunningham recommended a stockaded convict town be built, with 50 cabins, a hospital, adequate bathing arrangements, guardhouses, a cook room, kitchen and space for outdoor recreation, so that the welfare of the prisoners would approximate that of the free miners. His findings and recommendations created a stir among lessees of convicts and led to improvements in sanitation and living conditions at the mines.

Prison facilities were enlarged in 1888 after TCI signed a 10-year contract for 500 to 600 convicts with the State of Alabama. An 1888 Sanborn map of the Pratt mines shows a complex of frame structures including a prison, convicts’ kitchen, convicts’ dining commissary, bathhouse and kettles to boil clothes. By August 1906, probably the era of maximum use of convicts at the Pratt Mines, 906 state convicts (described as able bodied males, age 16 and over from 23 county and state prisons) resided here. Of these, 300 worked at No. 1.

Until January 1914, Cunningham retained charge of medical services for convicts employed by principal mining contractors throughout the state and served as company physician for the Pratt Company and TCI, At Ensley he constructed a private infirmary, the Cunningham Hospital, to serve his large industrial practice. During this period, he also launched a successful political career, serving as state senator (1896-1900), lieutenant governor (1901-1904; 1905-1907), and acting governor of the state (1904-1905). Throughout his political career, Cunningham worked for reform of the convict lease system, inspection of coal mines and regulation of mine sanitation.

Source: HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD National Park Service Department of the Interior P.O. Box 37127 Washington, DC 20013-7127.

https://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/al/al1000/al1048/data/al1048data.pdf

Picture source: https://www.loc.gov/item/al1109

MOORE’S MILL 1895 ACCIDENTAL KILLING- JOKE ENDS IN TRAGEDY

 

Moore's Mill (2)

Sometime in the late 1930’s Dan Box and a friend posed for this picture in the boat with no bottom at Moore’s Mill, south of Vernon. Moore’s Mill was probably built in the late 1800’s but was called by several names. The mill still stood into the 1940’s. Source: Personal collection of Rose Marie Smith housed in History room of Mary Wallace Cobb Memorial Library Vernon, Alabama.

ACCIDENTAL KILLING – A Joke Ends in a Tragedy

On Tuesday night there were assembled at Moore’ Mill two miles south of town, a party of young men who had done, some early in the day and some at night fall to have a pleasant fish fry. This is usual every year, the young men of Vernon taking an outing like this. The party consisted of Messrs J. E. MORTON, V. E. MORTON, J. L. GUYTON, DICK NESMITH, W. A. COBB, DEWITT MORTON, FLINT MORTON, DICK MORTON and several others.

They were joined in the day by GEORGE JOHNSON, a lad of about 17 years and son of a widow lady who lived a few miles south.  The boy remained with them as one of the party, enjoying their hospitality, until about 11 o’clock that night when some of the party decided to visit the hooks set out, and young JOHNSON was one of the party to go along.

An agreement was made to have a sham attack made on the party, some one feigning to be shot, to scare the boy.  Mr. DICK NESMITH went forward some distance and stopped by a stump at a bluff in the turn of the road, when the party carrying a lantern camped, he cried hault and fired a pistol, the party began to run and he shot again, back the way they had come, and unfortunately shot the boy, hitting him in the shoulder and ranging downward, it is supposed entered the heart killing him almost instantly.  He seemed to have taken in the situation or from some cause had not run on with the other party, and to their utter dismay and awful sorrow there lay the boy dying

There is no question about the harmless intention of the parties in the joke that proved to be so sad a tragedy. It was some time before some of the party could realize that such an awful thing had happened. The young man sent to town for friends and justice to act as coroner if one should be needed but no inquest was held as it was known how he came to his death.

The young man had every necessary preparation made for his burial and turned his body over to this relatives who were possibly no more heartbroken than themselves.  Nothing has so profoundly stirred the community for years.  There is profound sorrow and sympathy for the poor boy and his mother, and then for the young men who in jolly good humor, by one of those unaccountable accidents that no one could dream of or foretell to have such a shadow cast upon their recreation and their lives calls the deepest sympathy.

They do not seek to evade the responsibility but each seems to reproach himself as being the greater to blame, and those who knew nothing of the intended joke until it was over seem to feel the same.  It was one of those things that have happened that could have been avoided; but who would ever think of such results.

We are surrounded by a world of the unforeseen; we may go one road to a place and one unaccepted thing may lead to fortune or calamity. We might have gone another quality as near to the destination and missed it all.  No one and tell what an hour may bring forth. Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama July 18, 1895. Transcribed from microfilm by Veneta McKinney.

Doctor Loses Eye In Unique Accident

Car

Aberdeen, Miss., Oct. 17. – (AP)- Dr. George Barker of Sulligent, Ala., lost the sight of an eye today when a nail flew from the hammer of a blacksmith here. Dr. Barker was driving past the shop when the nail flew through the lowered car window striking him in the eye. Date: Thursday, October 17, 1929   Paper: Daily Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi)   Page: 1.

Who was Dr. Barker?

1930 U. S. Census Lamar County, Alabama Moscow Beat 9 Sulligent, Dwelling number 141, George Barker, age 49, occupation: dentist; industry: general practioner; listed with wife Cordella, age 38; daughters: Willie M. age 18, Faye age 14. Neighbors: Dwelling number 139: Jud C. and Ellis Buckelew; Dwelling number 140: Dudley and Etta Cooper; Dwelling number 142: James E. and Ella Metcalfe; Dwelling number: 143: Everette and Birdie Metcalfe; Dwelling number 144: Acklen U. and Fannie Hollis.

Information from U. S. World War I Draft Registration Card: George Jefferson Barker; Address: Berry Fayette, Ala.; Birth 6 June, 1880; Occupation: Dentistry Self Employed; Business Address: G Berry Fayette, Ala.; Tall Height; Slender Build; Blue Eyes; Red Hair.

From 1910 U. S. Census Beat 5 LaFayette, Mississippi, it appears Dr. Barker’s father was John J. Barker.

Bathing the Baby

BATHING THE BABY

Baby Vintage (1024x644)

               Those who have once become accustomed to the daily bath will be loath to give it up.  I never think we can commence a good habit too early’ so I have always had my babies put into the bath from the time they were a fortnight old, says a lady correspondent.  My last baby, however, proved an exception.  For five weeks after his birth I was too ill to attend to these things myself, and the nurse was too ignorant or too idle.  The consequence was, when I was able to take charge of the young gentleman myself, there had to be a battle.  I had the water slightly warm, so as to cause no chill, and when baby was undressed I popped him straight in.  The little man kicked and screamed for a minute or two, but soon ceased.  For the next two or three mornings, there was a slight resistance, fainter every time; after that, the crying was performed when he had to be taken out of the bath; not when he was put in.

A warm or tepid bath should be given every night, until the child is three or four years of age; then a bath twice a week is quite sufficient.  After cold bath the children should be well and briskly rubbed all over with a coarse towel.  This is of great importance.  If a child displays symptoms of weakness in the spine, indicated by general lassitude and an inclination to stoop, it is a good plan to put a handful of very coarse salt into a bowl of water, and sponge the little one’s back and chest with this when it is in the bath.  No one, either old or young should stay in cold water more than a minute or two at the outside.

Source: The Lamar News March 11, 1886, transcribed from microfilm by Veneta McKinney.

1887 REUNION OF CO. K AND G. OF 16TH ALABAMA INFANTRY AT CANSLER

REUNION OF CO. K. AND G. OF 16TH ALA. INFANTRY

THE REUNION AND PICNIC AT OGDEN’S MILL

Moscow CSA Left to right (3) (1024x643)

Saturday the 20th of August will long be remembered by the citizens in and around Cansler and Moscow. And the train of memories awakened from the slumbering past by the 1st reunion of veterans in Lamar County will be green in the hearts of all who remember the bitter struggle of twenty-six years ago.

On the 19th the survivors of Co’s K and G of the 16th Alabama Infantry met at Cansler bringing with them the simple rations of the soldier, and when the shades of evening were darkening gathered round their campfire, cooked their frugal meal, and after the repast was ended lit their pipes and around the smoldering fire recounted the deeds and memories of the campaigns in which they had figured so gallantly.

On the next morning a large number of citizens assembled and the matrons of the company, the gentle commissaries of all successful out door fetes came well supplied with baskets of the choicest viands.

At eleven o’clock the two companies were formed and under the command of Hon J. H. BANKHEAD, former Captain of Company K., marched in double file to the grove where the appropriate ceremonies of the occasion were to be performed, and halted in front of the speaker stand tastefully decorated with flowers and evergreens, surmounted by the motto “Co. K.” framed in an artistic garland of flowers, the work of Mr. G. E. BANKHEAD.

1st Sergeant D. W. HOLLIS opened the ceremonies with a few elegant and feeling remarks that sent a thrill of emotion throughout the large assemblage, and proceeded to call the roll of Company K in the midst of a profound silence. Twenty-two answered to the call and Sergt. T. M. WOODS accounted for the silent ones whose voices had been hushed forever in roar of battle, or the groans of the hospital. The frequent answer, killed at Fishing Creek, Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Knoxville, Jonesboro, Newhope, Atlanta, told eloquently of how unfalteringly those gallant men who went forth from the quiet hills, and marched though the red path of battle to the leaden halls of death.

The roll of Co. G was called by Sergt. A. J. HAMILTON, now one of Marion’s noblest sons whose patriotism and public spirit is well-known throughout the land. Here was a touching episode. The first name upon the roll was that of the Sergt’s father who was among those who had laid down their lives upon the altar of their country. The gallant sergt’s voice quivered with emotion as he called the name and manly tears that brave men shed trickled down the veterans cheeks as they stood in line and listened to a repetition of the story of heroism and sacrifice that had glorified their comrades of Co. K. in the struggle that tired men’s souls. Eight responded to the roll, these were all who had been apprised of the reunion of Col. K. and had responded to the invitation of their comrades to be present.

As it was soldier’s day a still older reminiscent of the patriotism of our citizens was given to the audience. The roll of the Company of Capt. D. U. HOLLIS which had enlisted for the Indian War of 1836, up on the self same spot where their sons enlisted for our late war, was called by Sergt. HAMILTON from an issue of the North Alabamian, published at that time, and which has recently been found among Judge TERRELL’S (deceased) papers.  But one answered to the roll, Mr. JOHN W. GUYTON, an old citizen of this county, a venerable pure and patriotic man who is now going far down the western slope of life, adorned with shining habiliments of good deeds, and upright character and blessed with the reverence of all. The roll of this Co. will appear elsewhere in this issue. We will also give a list of Co. K. and G. in next weeks issue.

Capt BANKHEAD gave an interesting synopsis of the history of the Company, and was followed by Capt. BISHOP, of Co. G. who enunciated the principles of constitutional liberty for which those companies fought, and exhorted them to always defend them whenever the occasion should arise.

Capt. S. J. SHIELDS was then called to the stand and delivered an appropriate speech up on the occasion.

Dinner was then announced, and such a dinner – can we describe it – we are now as we were then too full for utterance, suffice it to say that it was all that could be desired, and was such a one as the people of Cansler and Moscow, always renowned for hospitality and good cheer, had busied themselves in spreading for delighted guests.

Moscow reunion 2 2015 (2) (1024x592)

The entire entertainment was a success and all retired when the lengthening shadows were falling upon the hillside, sated guests from the banquet, and with heats filled with solemn and reverent thoughts of the brave who had passed away and those who still lingered upon the stage and proud emotions in view of the fact that they had been face to face with living witnesses of the valor and devotions of our citizens for half a century.  (SOURCE: The Vernon Clipper Vernon, Alabama, August 26, 1887 – transcribed from  microfilm by Veneta McKinney).

News of a Terrible Affray in Sulligent

Sulligent Depot

 

Taken from The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama Thursday, April 16, 1896

The news of a terrible affray in Sulligent in which two former citizens of Vernon were the actors startled our town last Saturday morning. The parties were Mr. A. – SMITH and Mr. A. L. GUIN.  GUIN received wounds from which he died that night.  SMITH was considerably bruised up and shot — the to-.  It is said that Mr. SMITH will surrender himself and have a trail soon, but nothing definite is known. He has been in consultation with lawyers, and his friends inform the Sheriff that he will surrender in a day or town.  The matter when investigated in the courts will then be a subject of a newspaper comment, but before that time a very great injustice might be done the state or the defendant, therefore, it is not decr— prudent to give details of the affray.

Taken from The Vernon Courier Thursday, April 23, 1896

A. Q. SMITH, who shot A. L. GUIN at Sulligent on the 11th surrendered to the sheriff last Saturday.  He was brought before Judge YOUNG and a new warrant was sworn out charging him with murder in the second degree.  The first warrant having been issued before the death of the wounded party was only for assault with intent to murder.  Mr. J. C. MILNER is prosecuting the case.  Messrs. MCCLUSKEY, SHIELDS, and NESMITH appear for the defense.  Bail at $1,000 was agreed on and the trial set for next Friday, 24th. Thirty-nine witnesses have been summoned.  The defense will set up self defense, while the prosecution will contend that the force used exceeded that required and proper under that plea.

Taken from The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama Thursday, April 30, 1896

 Preliminary A Synopsis of the Evidence in the Trial of A. Q. Smith.

Testimony Will be Heard Today.

The case of State vs. A. Q. Smith, for the killing of A. L. Guin, was on trial last Friday and Saturday, and on account of absent witnesses the court adjourned until today. Some previous engagements of parties interested and the sickness of Capt. J. D. McCluskey, one of the  attorneys for the defense, caused the continuance to be made longer than otherwise. There was considerable interest manifested during the whole trial. There has been a most solemn air pervading the court room. The mother of the deceased, with some other lady friends, have been in constant attendance upon the trial. The serious of the affray seems to have impressed itself on many of the witnesses in a way that they do not easily shake it off. In that awful struggle not a word was spoken. It appears from all the eye witnesses that though no word was spoken they knew at once it was a struggle to the death. The trial has gone on smoothly. There is but little clashing between the lawyers, when an objection is interposed, it is promply settled. The examination of the witnesses has been thorough and covers the ground fully. The Courier gleaned the following from the testimony, being substantially what the witness said:

S. Henson

The first witness for the prosecution was Mr. H. S. Henson who testifies as follows: “ I know defendant and knew A. L. Guin, who is now dead; was about sixty feet from front door heard noise, saw Guin at the door he had an axe handle drawn. Smith was leaning over, witness saw no lick – Smith shot, and Guin followed Smith about ten feet down the aisle in Ogden’s store in the town of Sulligent, in Lamar County, Alabama. Smith fired second time, then Guin followed Smith two or three steps and stopped, and Smith turned walked back and fired upon Guin – think the ball struck deceased about the jacket pocket in front. Afliant was about twenty feet from defendant when the last shot was fired. Had talked with Smith in regard to decedent; defendant said Guin was making grave charges reflecting on defendant’s character- that defendants character was worth as much to him as deceased’s character – that there was a law to protect a man’s character. There was a back entrance to the store house which was open at the time.

On cross-examination – “I was sixty feet from the door and heard a noise; saw Smith drawing a pistol. He was in a leaning position at the door as if he had been struck and had fallen back. Didn’t tell Ed Molloy, in the post office, that Smith turned and cocked his pistol. Did not get under the counter part of the time; was not in the grocery department during the fight. Didn’t say the presence of J. T. Thompson, at the post office in Sulligent, that Smith ran forward and cocked his pistol and run back and fired, did say that it looked like he went through the motion of cocking his pistol. At the firing of the third shot, deceased was standing with an axe-handle resting on the floor – deceased had followed defendant about three steps down the aisle and stopped and defendant walked six or seven steps down the aisle and returned to within about six feet of deceased and shot; defendant was rather to the South or East side of the aisle when he fired the last shot and Guin on the West side; defendant was about six feet further from front door than the deceased”.

Van Livingston

The second witness for the state was Mr. Van Livingston, who testified as follows:

“I know both defendant and deceased. Guin is dead. On Saturday, about the 11th of April, 1896 in Ogden’s store my attention was attracted by a noise in front of the store. I am a salesman in the said Ogden’s store and was about thirty feet from front door behind the counter in the dry goods department. I saw Guin in the door with an axe-handle. Smith had been sitting inside or outside the door. I saw that there was trouble and drooped behind the counter. There was two shots fired after which I looked up and Guin was about opposite me across the aisle. Smith was in a leaning position, leaning from deceased and was straightening up; when up he stepped forward and fired a pistol at the deceased. The pistol was pointed at the body of deceased; think it would range about the stomach. The parties were about six or eight feet apart. The defendant walked to the front door and out and the deceased followed and I took hold of his arm there at the front door; deceased walked slowly to the door, soon he remarked to me, ‘He has killed me.” The shots were in quick succession. I think the second and third were the closer together.

Dr. R. J. Redden

Dr. R. J. Redden, the next witness says: “I am a practicing physician and was called to A. L. Guin on the 11th day of April, 1896, when I found the deceased suffering from three gun or pistol shot wounds. One in his left wrist ranging up breaking the bone in the forearm; another had passed through the fleshy part of the arm and the third entered the body just below edge of the ribs, about two inches to the right side and passed through the body and lodged under the skin in the back. This wound was mortal, producing profound shock and internal hemorage from which death ensused.” On cross-examination –“The deceased when intoxicated had reputation as quarlesome and dangerous man. Others spoke of him as rather a bluff than dangerous.

Capt. F. Ogden

Capt. F. Ogden, the next witness for the state testified as follows: “I was sitting leaning against the front of the store house of F. Ogden & Son in the town of Sulligent on the evening of the 11th of April 1896, when Mr. A. L. Guin came across the street from the office of Dr. R. J. redden,. Mr. Guin had an axe-handle in his hand. He came by and went to the door. Mr. A. Q. Smith the defendant was sitting in the door. I heard the disturbance to my right and looked around and saw a blow with the axe-handle falling upon the arm of Smith. The blow was struck by Mr. A. L. Guin, I immediately rose up and my eyes were turned from the combatant. Two pistol shots followed in quick succession. I stepped back behind the wall. I again looked in either at the door or window. I think it was the door, and saw defendant and Mr. Guin standing facing each other. Mr. Smith had his pistol pointed at Guin and fired instantly. I think the pointed or ranged to the stomach of the deceased. The defendant walked back and out at the front door. The deceased followed and the defendant turned in the street and started back. Some one shouted ‘go away’ and he crossed the street. I stepped in the store and picked up the defendant’s bat and laid it on the counter. There was not a word said that I heard by the combatants. The deceased was naturally slightly stooped in the shoulders; my best judgement is that he looked a little more stooped than he is at the moment of the last pistol shot.

Trial of A. Q. Smith for Guin Murder continued.

J. A. Poe

Mr. J. A. Poe, witness for the state testified as follows:

“ I was sitting in front of Ogden & Sons’s Store on the evening of 11th of April, 1896. I saw Mr. A. L. Guin coming from across the street from what is known as the Pennington corner. His little son was with him – he stopped and sent his on back. He had an axe handle in his hand he came on and when near the door he made a quick step and struck defendant Smith with the axe-handle. They both went into the house. Two shots were fired in very quick succession. I then went to the door of the dry goods department and just before I looked in I heard another report. I then turned back and defendant came out of the front door and Mr. Guin followed after him to the door. The defendant stopped and turned, Dr. Hollis shouted ‘Go on and have no more fussing here’. He crossed the street. There were only three shots fired. The first two were fired so close together as to be hard to distinguish from one report. The third report was after a longer interval. The third shot was a very short time from the second shot. The shots were fired almost as fast as cold be counted. I was sitting about midway between the door and window, I got up and went to the door-just before I looked in I heard third report. I was sitting about six feet from the door. I commenced to rise from my seat when the difficulty commenced.”

Perry Gilmore

Perry Gilmore, another witness for the state testified as follows: “I heard the defendant telling M. W. W. Ogden about one month ago that if M. A. L. Guin did not let him alone or if he run on him he would shoot him. That he had ran on him the evening before with a knife.

A.U. Hollis

A.U. Hollis, the last witness for the state testifies that on the morning before the killing that the defendant was in his office and said to him he had head that Guin was cursing out him and his friends and that Guin had better let him alone, he was not interfering with Guin.

Dr. D. D. Hollis

Dr. D. D. Hollis, the first witness for the defense said: “I was sitting on the pavement in front of Ogden’s store and the defendant was sitting in the door, his face was out of the door and his feet were on the door sill. Mr. Guin came up and made about three rapid strides and struck the defendant with an axe-handle. The handle was home made and not exactly finished. Smith threw up one hand and possibly both and from the effort to evade blow or the blow itself defendant fell back into the house on his back. While in a recumbent position defendant fired a pistol at deceased-that the deceased pursued defendant with axe-handle drawn and struck him again. As to whether both blows were struck before the first shot, I am not able to say. When Smith had gained an upright position he fired again. The range of the pistol appeared to be at the breast of the deceased. The deceased continued to advance after the second shot. Affiant saw defendant presenting his pistol in position to shoot the third time, the deceased was advancing with axe-handle drawn. Affiant jumped behind the wall to get out of range of the bullet. The defendant walked out of the front door and rather up the street. He then turned down the street in front of the door and affiant told him to go away,-defendant made no effort to re-enter the house nor did he come toward it. The deceased came to near the front door where Mr. Livingston took hold of him. As to the difference in the time of fireing affiant thinks and it is his best judgement that from the distance moved and the positions occupied that there was a longer interval between the first and the second shot than the second and third. Affiant examined the wounds of decendant. The wound in the arm and the stomach very nearly on the same elevation. The ball entering the body ranged downward two or three inches. Affiant knows the reputation of the deceased for violence and peacelessness, and that deceased was not regarded as a peaceable man when in liquor and that deceased had appearances of having been drinking. The whole time consumed was not more than seven or eight seconds, possible less am not positive as to the time between second and third shots. The bullet striking the forearm was evidently weakened in force or its penetration would have been greater. Some years back there was unpleasant feelings between affiant and deceased, the day before the killing the deceased while in liquor seemed to be angrey with affiant and spoke unkindly. Affiant refused to bandy works or say anything unpleasant to the deceased. The deceased came next morning and apologized for his speech the day previous.

THOMAS HARRIS
Thomas Harris, also for the defense says: “I was not present at the difficulty. Deceased made threats at different times.  On Friday night before the killing he said to me, “Gus Smith has robbed me and we both can’t stay in this town three days.”  He said, “you are a friend to me aint’ you”” I said yes, he said, “you come down tomorrow and bring your big pistol, and stand by me.”  He said “tomorrow is you democrats election day – I will have an election.”  I have heard him at other times say that he and defendant could not live in the same town.  About one month ago when he was drinking he wanted me to go down town and back him up that Gus Smith was trying to run over him. Communicated the threats Friday night. When drinking he was regarded as dangerous. At one time he said one or the other would have to leave the country or die. This was said on Friday night before the killing. Communicated these threats on Friday night before the killing.  I told Guin that he ha better watch Smith. I knew of the ill feelings existing, and thought that they would both fight. Smith told me that, “Guin had better le t me alone,” he said.” He would let him [Guin] alone if he let me alone.’ Did not tell J. R Guin in Sulligent on Sunday morning after the killing that both had made threats. I told him that I guess they both have made threats.

PLEAS MAY
Pleas May testified for the defense as follows:
“I was sitting on the dry goods counter in the store of F. Ogden & Son at the time of the difficulty. The first thing at attracted my attention was the first pistol shot. Guin was striking the defendant with an axe-handle. Three or four blows were struck at the firing of the second shot Smith was down, not exactly flat one the floor.  At the firing of the third shot Smith had gotten about straight. I think that Smith was nearer the front door. The entire difficulty was quick and there was no stopping of the fight until Guin stopped at the front door.  Smith had gone out. The combatants were close together, rather too close for effective use of the stick in my judgment. No words were spoken. When the difficulty was over I went out at the back door which was open. judgment is that the second and third shots were closer together than the first and second. The distance covered by the combatant between the first and second report being about twenty feet, while the distance covered between the second and third shot was less.  My best judgment is that the deceased struck defendant with the axe handle after the third shot was fired.  The deceased was rather beside the defendant as they went back into the room. Defendant had his head tucked down. The blows appeared to fall on defendants head and shoulders.

JOE NOE
Joe Noe, another witness for the defense says
“I was standing in Ogden’s store in Sulligent, and looked around after the first report of the pistol and saw deceased strike the defendant on the side of the head with an axe-handle; they came back toward where I was standing.  Smith was stooped over.  After the second shot was fired the deceased knocked defendant down, and defendant got up about straight and fired. There was no cessation in the fight from start to finish. After the third shot I got behind the counter. I had been standing in front of the counter up to that time. The combatants came to within fifteen feet of where I was standing; I dropped under the counter after the firing ceased, was very much excited, but remember distinctly what I saw.  I am nearly 21 years of age.”

J. A. SMITH
J. A. Smith, testified for the defense as follows:
“I examined the person of defendant on the morning after the difficulty and found a bruise on this muscle of his arm; one on the back of his hand and two bruises on the back, well up on the shoulders.  I knew the general character of the deceased.  He was a dangerous violent man when in whiskey; when sober, otherwise.  The relation between deceased and myself have always been pleasant. I and defendant are warm friends.

C. G. SWAN
C. G. Swan testifies that he, on the day after the difficulty saw the person of defendant and he had a bruise on his arm and hand and there were three or four bruises on this leg below his knee and thinks it was his right arm and leg that had the bruises. The bruise on the arm gave indications of a severe blow.

ED MOLLOY
Ed Molloy also for the defense says: “Heard shooting in Sulligent Guin had in my presence said that he and defendant could not be in the same town many days longer. I heard H. S. Henson say that defendant cocked his pistol and shot.  I told him that the pistol was a hammerless pistol,. Henson said he acted as though he was cocking his pistol quite a crowd heard the conversation. I did not communicate the threats to the defendant.

Taken from The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama Thursday, May 7, 1896

In the case of the State vs A. Q. SMITH in preliminary trail last week the result was the defendant held in $500 bond to answer the charge of manslaughter. The witnesses examined last Thursday gave testimony favorable to the defendant. The argument by the counsel consumed the entire afternoon session. The prosecution was opened by Mr. J. C. MILNER for one hour and was then followed by Messrs SHIELDS and MCCLUSKEY for the defense for one hour each.  The speeches showed preparation and would have done credit to any bar in the state.  It is said by spectators that no more painstaking and dignified examination has ever been witnessed.  Numbers of the friends of both the deceased and the defendant attended the trial The contention of the prosecution was that at the time the last shot was fired, which the state contends was the fatal one, that the defendant could have retreated without endangering his life or limb, or increasing his peril, or suffer great bodily harm.  Even the proof supporting this contention was not sufficient to make the offense in the opinion of the Judge more than manslaughter in the first degree, while the defense offered contradictory evidence tending to show that he was at all times trying to get away and that he was being assaulted when the last shot was fired, and that the affray only lasted about eight seconds and was continuous from start to finish.

Newspaper transcriptions by Veneta McKinney (microfilm) and Barb Carruth (printed copy).

GOOD MAN FOULLY MURDERED. The last row grew out of his buying some package coffee and failing to bring home the glass prizes given away with it.

Death by axe

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.