27 April 2013

Hanging at Macon: the Sheriff Never Did a Neater Job

The Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)
26 May 1894, pg. 3

HANGING AT MACON.

Henry Miller, one of John Braswell's Murderers, Dies on the Gallows.

A MEMBER OF A DESPERATE GANG

Though He Declared He Was Innocent When on the Scaffold He Had Confessed Some Terrible Crimes.


Macon, Ga., May 25. -- (Special) -- Henry Miller, colored, was hanged today, at 12:17 o'clock, for the murder of Mr. John Braswell, a well-known farmer of this county. The execution was private, in the jail yard, in this city. He was hanged on a new patent iron gallows, which worked perfectly under the manipulation of Sheriff Westcott. There was nothing bungling whatever about the hanging. The sheriff never did a neater job. Within six minutes after the trap was sprung Miller was pronounced dead by the attending physicians, J. C. Johnson, E. G. Ferguson and J. H. D. Worsham. His neck was broken by the drop. Soon after the hanging the body was carried to Miller a former home, in the Warrior district, a few miles from the city. Miller was twenty-six years old. He has always claimed that he was innocent of the crime, and he died on the scaffold today protesting his innocence. He said that his blood would rest on the head of the jurors and all others who had anything to do with sending him to the gallows. He declared that on the night of the murder, when he left the several negroes, who were arrested for the crime George Troutman had the gun, but he didn't know who fired it. Miller was tried several months ago, found guilty and sentenced to death.

The case was appealed to the Supreme court, but a new trial was refused, and Miller was resentenced to die today. One of his associates in crime, Wash Boston, is serving a life sentence in the penitentiary. The other negroes, who were charged with the crime, have been discharged from custody.

In the latter part of last year, one night, Mr. Braswell while in his wagon, en route home, was waylaid murdered and robbed. The crime was traced to Miller and Boston.

Miller stated today that he was one of a band of negroes who styled themselves kuklux and had committed numerous crimes. He intimated that he had killed the negro, Pink Ryan at the street car stables several months ago and participated in the murder of two men whose bodies had been thrown into the river. He said the members of the kuklux band had sworn never to tell on each other.

20 April 2013

Oglethorpe Monument in Savannah's Chippewa Square

Pride and gratitude have always mingled in the emotions with which Georgia has contemplated the career and cherished the name of Oglethorpe; but almost two centuries elapsed before an adequate monument to the great humanitarian was reared in the city which he founded. At last, under bright skies, on November 23, 1910, in the city of Savannah, a superb bronze statue surmounting a pedestal of granite, was unveiled in Chippewa Square.1

...the Great Soldier, Eminent Statesman, and Famous
Philanthropist, General James Edward Oglethorpe, who, in
this city, on the 12th day of February, A.D., 1733, founded
and established the Colony of Georgia. 
One of four lions holding shields at base of monument.
This shield bears the Georgia State Seal.
All photos © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum

Footnote:

1. Ancestry.com. Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends [images on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
Original data: Knight, Lucian Lamar. Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends. Atlanta, Ga.: Printed for the author by the Byrd Print. Co., state printers, 1913-1914.

19 April 2013

The Capture of Jefferson Davis

Two miles to the west of Irwinville, in what is today a dense thicket of pines, there occurred at the the close of the Civil War an incident concerning which a host of writers have produced for commercial purposes an endless amount of fiction.

...That is how Lucian Lamar Knight began his chapter on the capture of Jefferson Davis in his 1913 publication of Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends. The thicket is not quite as dense today, but you can still get a feel of how things were. And some might recall the gossip surrounding the incident, as it most certainly has continued to be passed down over the last 148 years, one of the most common bits being that Davis was captured while wearing women's clothing.

Mr. Knight refutes this in his writing by way of Mr. James H. Parker, a Federal soldier who witnessed the arrest, who stated:

"I am no admirer of Jeff Davis. I am a Yankee, full of Yankee prejudice; but I think it wicked to lie about him or even about the devil. He did not have on at the time he was taken any such garment as is worn by women. He did have over his shoulders a waterproof article of clothing, something like a Havelock. It was not in the least concealed. He wore a hat and did not carry a pail of water on his head."

Mr. Knight also cited T. H. Peabody, one of the captors of Mr. Davis, as saying that the "hoop-skirt story was purely a fabrication of newspaper reporters."


Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site
338 Jeff Davis Park Rd
Fitzgerald, GA

Photos © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum

17 April 2013

An Important Piece of the Story?

I saw this little news item and thought it might be an important piece to someone's family history, so here it is:

The Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)
3 February 1910
(Digital image viewed online at Ancestry.)
CHILDREN WEEP BITTERLY WHEN AWARDED TO FATHER
Savannah, Ga., February 2. -- (Special.) -- Judge Davis Freeman today awarded four of five children to John M. Lubeck, but gave the fifth to Miss Lillie Dotson, their aunt, because the mother of the children before her death had expressed a desire that the eldest child should go to her sister.

Judge Freeman, however, required her to promise that no whisky or gin should be given the boy, as had been done in the past.

After this disposition was made of a case that has run for three days in the city court, two of the smaller children wept bitterly when they learned their father had won them from their aunt, and one little boy ran to a cab that was waiting for them, grasped the whip and announced he would fight before his father should have him. He was pacified.

07 April 2013

An Instance of Wifely Devotion Unprecedented in the History of Georgia

The Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)
2 October 1892

TOGETHER STILL

Are Man and Wife, Though the Husband is Dead.

A SENSATIONAL STORY FROM CORDELE

Which Involves One of the Leading and Best Known Families.

A GLASS COFFIN IN A PARLOR

Is the Mausoleum of Dr. Marvin, the Late Mayor -- He Once Lived in Atlanta and was Well Known Here


A ghastly, thrilling story comes from Cordele, that progressive, thriving town down in Dooly.

So ghastly and blood-curdling is the story that many who hear are not inclined to believe it, while those who do believe it shudder when they hear it hinted.

The central figures in the story are well known in Atlanta, where they resided until a few years ago.

And both will be readily recalled by Atlantians -- those especially who were accustomed to traversing Whitehall street.

Whitehall Street, Atlanta
J. L. Schaub, Photographer [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Three years ago Dr. George W. Marvin was one of Atlanta's best known citizens. On the streets he was a well-known character, and when once seen never forgotten. For years he and his wife had lived on Whitehall street near Smith street, and there was hardly an afternoon when the weather was pleasant that they could not be seen promenading the sidewalk, sitting upon their spacious veranda or lounging around in the beautiful flower garden in front of the pleasant, happy home.

Down town the doctor was well known and by those with whom he came in contact he was liked. He was a gentleman of scrupulous neatness and apparently gave much time to his toilet. His clothing was always of the latest style and more than ordinary taste was displayed in his selections. He was not above the average size, but the immense side whiskers and heavy, drooping mustache he wore gave him something of a distinguished look. He seemed to pride himself on his personal appearance and would shun a speck of flying dust as quickly as he would dodge a mud-bedaubed buggy wheel casting off its load.

Dr. Marvin was not only partial to neat clothing, but he was especially fond of handsome jewelry. He wore a magnificent cluster of diamonds on his short front while an extra inlet was made in the linen to accommodate the fourth large diamond stud. His fingers were bedecked with the same shining stones and it was the boast of the doctor that he wore a limited fortune around with him -- a fortune any pawnbroker would gladly gather.

Dr. Marvin was abundantly able to enjoy the luxury of the diamond display. His tax returns were not at all small and his check, annually given the city, was quite a sum. On Whitehall street he owned several residences, while Smith street owes many of its pretty cottage homes to the doctor's spirit of improvement. On Marietta street he owns two or three stores, while other business houses in other parts of the city were charged to him on the assessor's books.

A few years ago, Cordele, in Dooly county, sprang up and Dr. Marvin's judgement caused him to go there and invest. He quickly became a prominent citizen and besides being elected president of the Cordele Bank was made mayor of the thriving city. There he carried with him a large gold-headed cane which all of his Atlanta friends knew.

A few months ago Atlantians were astonished to hear that Dr. Marvin was dead, but in a short time he was forgotten. A day or two ago a well-known Cordelean came to Atlanta and in talking with one of Dr. Marvin's old friends remarked:

"It's funny that he was never buried."

"Never buried!" said the Atlantian in surprise, "what do you mean?"

The Cordelean thought the Atlantian knew it all, but when he found that he did not, said:

"Well, Dr. Marvin's body is in a glass coffin in his wife's parlor. Through that coffin you can see him just as you used to see him here on the streets. He is dressed in that same faultless style, and has on all those brilliant diamonds. In his hand is that same gold-headed cane."

"When the doctor died Mrs. Marvin was going to bury him just as he is now; but some one told her that the grave would be too big a temptation and the jewelry would be stolen by grave robbers. Then she sent to New Orleans for an undertaker and had the body thoroughly embalmed, placed in a glass coffin and it is now in her parlor. That New Orleans undertaker contracted blood poison and had to have part of his hand amputated."

The Constitution's correspondent at Cordele was asked about the story, so unusual it was, last night, and here is his reply:

The Story From Cordele

Cordele, GA, October 1 -- Special -- Cordele furnishes an instance of wifely devotion unprecedented in the history of Georgia and unsurpassed by the fabled goddess.

This is a broad assertion but the story of Mrs. George W. Marvin, wife of the late mayor of Cordele, will bear me out fully in making it.

On the 10th day of July of this year Dr. Marvin saw the last of this world surrounded by his wife and friend who attended him through a long illness and his crushed and heart-broken wife. Those who witnessed the scene say they have never seen anything more thrilling and touching. Mrs. Marvin lost complete control of her nerves and raved furiously. She refused to be comforted by her friends, and as she had no belief in a hereafter she could gain no relief from the grace of him who giveth all things and taketh all things away.

She made the startling announcement then and there, that she had made a solemn compact with her husband before his death, agreeing that they would both enter oblivion at as near the same time as could be easily arranged by means of suicide. Those who were with Mrs. Marvin at the time thought of course that when the excitement caused by Dr. Marvin's death wore off, she would forget her threats of self-inflicted death and take up the weary cares of life again with peaceful resignation.

It seems now, however, that the assertion that she intended to kill herself, was the announcement of a fixed determination, and she still contemplates taking her own life as soon as she has made some arrangements for the permanent interment of her husband's remains, for the reader must understand that at this moment all that is mortal of Dr. George W. Marvin occupies a place in the late residence of that gentleman and the present residence of his widow.

An embalmer from Macon was telegraphed for immediately, upon the death of Dr. Marvin and his body was prepared for burial.

The funeral and procession was nearly a mile long, and all the business houses in Cordele were closed, showing universal respect for the man who had added so much to the city's prosperity.

But the sensational features of the situation were only begun.

For four days the body lay in the ground and the people were beginning to forget the excitement attending his death and burial.

In the darkness of a quiet night there was another funeral procession, but no carriages followed the hearse and no one on foot accompanied the dead except those who helped to dig the earth from above the coffin and bear the corpse back to the place from which the first procession had started.

In the dead of the night a few trusted friends, whom Mrs. Marvin had requested to act, went to the cemetery and brought back the body.

Next morning Mr. W. D. Alverson, a young embalmer, arrived from New Orleans, and at once began the process of embalming the body so that it could be preserved indefinitely. At the same time an Italian sculptor, who now resides in Augusta, arrived and began preparing plans for an immense mausoleum to be erected in Cordele in memory of Dr. Marvin.

The artist submitted a plan of a monument which would be a pride to any city and if the original idea had been carried out this city would have had the most magnificent tomb in Georgia. The design was of a monument to consist of a room as a base with at each corner a second set of columns of the tomb and capped with a shaft, the whole to tower in the sir sixty-six feet.

It would have cost when completed $32,000.

Mrs. Marvin intended placing Dr. Marvin's body in this tomb and then killing herself, leaving the whole of her wealth, which is estimated at over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, as an endowment to sustain a park around the monument.

But she has given up the idea of building this tomb and substituted the building of a college as a living monument to her husband's memory.

In the meantime, the body is kept in her house on Ninth avenue.

It lies in a handsome metallic casket and on a beautiful silver plate on the lid is inscribed:

"Dr. George W. Marvin, Cordele, Ga. Died July 10, 1892."

The room is darkened and the key is entrusted to Mr. Goodrich, a gentleman who has proven himself as one of Mrs. Marvin's best friends in her hours of trouble.

She now is living with her Miss Mamie Tramnell, a cousin from Meriwether county.

Mrs. Marvin proposes to erect a magnificent college of music and endow it with her total estate. She expresses her full determination to kill herself as soon as these arrangements have been made. It is a most remarkable case in the history of Dooly county and the people from the country never ceased to worry Mrs. Marvin to see the doctor's corpse, which she, of course, refuses indignantly.

06 April 2013

Did Girl Admit Killing Peavy to Shield Two Guilty Friends? (C. C. Peavy Killing, Pt 2)

Yesterday I posted a transcription of a newspaper article about the lurid killing of Charles C. Peavy in 1911 Bibb County, Georgia. (You can read the particulars here.) Though an inquest was conducted, and it was determined no charges would be filed, the story did not end there...

The Atlanta Constitution (Georgia)
1 August 1911
DID GIRL ADMIT KILLING PEAVY TO SHIELD TWO GUILTY FRIENDS

Macon, Ga., July 31 -- (Special) -- Following an investigation of sensational rumors, the police department today began an investigation into the death of Charles C. Peavy, who was killed here Saturday, and for whose death a young woman named Eva Goodwin admitted the responsibility, claiming that she stabbed him after he had severely beaten her.

The police are working on the theory that the woman did not kill Peavy at all, but that he met his death in a fight in the girl's room with two other men, and that the story as to the girl's part was concocted long before the officers were apprised of the occurrence.

Peavy's friends have furnished the police with certain evidence that involve two men, and it is upon these clues that the investigation is being made.

Eva Goodwin is now in Atlanta, but it is likely that an officer will be sent for her.
The ultimate resolution would come several days later...

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
5 August 1911, Pg. 12
NO PROSECUTIONS WILL FOLLOW PEAVY'S DEATH

Brother Here From Cordele Says He Is Satisfied Girl Told Truth.


That no prosecution will follow the killing of Charles C. Peavy, who died at the Macon Hospital several days ago, following a fight with Eva Goodwin, in arow [sic] at 454 Plum street, is assured by Buford C. Peavy, brother of Charles Peavy, who came to Macon yesterday with the express purpose of obtaining the real facts regarding the death of his brother.

Policemen Kirby and Griffin and others who were present at the home of Georgia Raymond shortly after Peavy was stabbed, were consulted by the brother of the deceased and it is said Mr. Peavy returned to his home at Cordele yesterday morning, thoroughly convinced that there was no other parties concerned in the fight except the woman, Eva Goodwin, and C. C. Peavy himself.

Rumors to the effect that two men, who were said to have been in the house, were implicated, led Buford Peavy to come to this city to make a thorough investigation of the affair, with the result that Peavy's relatives are going to take no action whatever, the brother being perfectly satisfied that the circumstances as first brought out were correct.

The statement made to Mr. Peavy yesterday by Policemen Kirby and Griffin was the same as that given by the officers at the coroner's inquest the morning that Charles Peavy died. This was to the effect that Eva Goodwin rushed from the house and informed them that she had cut Charles Peavy because he beat and abused her.

Eva Goodwin is still in the city, not having gone to Atlanta, as reported.
...but was it the right one?

Atlanta Constitution (Georgia)
6 August 1911
Peavy Case Hushed

Macon, Ga., August 5 -- (Special) -- No prosecutions will follow the death of Charles Peavy, who was killed in a disreputable house last week. The brother of the deceased, Buford C. Peavy, of Cordele, Ga., came to Macon today and investigated his brother's death. He afterwards stated that while there were suspicious circumstances and some things he could not understand, he was satisfied that Eva Goodwin, the 19-year-old girl, wielded the knife which killed Peavy. The officers accepted his theory and the investigation has been dropped.

05 April 2013

Stabs Are Fatal To Chas. C. Peavy

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
30 July 1911, Pg. 10
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)

STABS ARE FATAL TO CHAS. C. PEAVY

Eva Goodwin, Young Woman Who Wielded Knife, Is Held Blameless.

ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE

Intoxicated, Peavy Went to Goodwin Woman's Abode, Starting Trouble.


Threatened with death at the hands of Charles C. Peavy, a bartender, Eva Goodwin, a young woman not over 20 years, wrested a knife from Peavy's hand at o'clock Saturday morning and inflicted two ugly wounds on his body, one in the chest and the other in the head, Peavy's death resulting just five minutes after his arrival at the hospital. The fight occurred in a disorderly house at 154 Plum street, conducted by Georgia Raymond.

The Goodwin woman was arrested by Policemen Kirby and Griffin, but at the coroner's inquest Saturday morning she was released from custody, the evidence establishing the fact that she acted in self-defense and did not cut Peavy until after he had beaten her and struck her in the face with a water pitcher, followed by the drawing of a knife with the evident intention of inflicting further harm upon the woman.

Fights between Peavy and the Goodwin woman are said to have been of frequent occurrence. Saturday morning Peavy came to the house in an intoxicated condition. He had heard that the Goodwin woman was going to leave Macon Saturday afternoon to go to her home in Tampa, and the face evidently riled him. He is said to have declared that she should not leave Macon alive. A quarrel followed and after a while Peavy is said to have struck the woman a blow in the face and followed that up with the water pitcher.

The first the other inmates of the house knew of Peavy's injuries was when the girl ran screaming from the house, being stopped at Fourth street by Policemen Kirby and Griffin, who accompanied her back to the house. They found the body of Peavy on the floor where he had fallen when stabbed. An ambulance was quickly summoned and the wounded man was taken to the hospital, where his death came before he could be placed on the operating table.

Dr. Howard, who examined Peavy's body shortly after he died, stated that the wounds inflicted were not in themselves sufficient to cause death and that death probably resulted from an overdose of alcohol or some other poison and several hemorrhages, probably caused from a clouting of blood on the brain.

According to the statement of Eva Goodwin, Peavy went to the house, which he had frequented on previous occasions, about 2 o'clock yesterday morning in an intoxicated condition. She claimed that she told him she had received a letter from her sister informing her that her father, who lives in Tampa, was going blind and that she was going home the following afternoon, and that Peavy threatened to cut her throat and commenced to beat her in the face with his fist. She also claimed that he drew a knife from his pocket, which she wrested from his hand and that when he attempted to take it away from her she stabbed him.

Gertrude Harris, a negro maid, and the only eye-witness to the fight, swore at the coroner's inquest yesterday that when she rushed into the room where the fight was in progress, she saw him throw a pitcher at the Goodwin woman, striking her in the face, and that then Miss Goodwin stabbed and cut him.

The body of Peavy was prepared for burial at Hart's undertaking establishment and was sent to Cordele, the former home of the deceased, accompanied by his father, yesterday afternoon at 4:30 o'clock. The funeral and interment will be held in Cordele today.

Peavy was 28 years old and moved to Macon about two years ago from Cordele, where he was born and raised. He was a bartenedr [sic] at the Office saloon on Cotton avenue.

The coroner's jury which freed the woman was composed of August Meyers, John A. Davis, J. T. Avent, M. C. Dorsett, E. L. Berkerstaff and A. C. Godfrey.