I will be posting some of my old family stories here. What I really want is to post some of your old family stories! If you have relatives and stories that you would like to share, please let me know! I will go and try and photograph different things or locations for the stories when possible!
This will be an ongoing story as Mom and I and several relatives look into the details of it. This story made the crime magazines of the day. Seventy years later the people of Washington County Alabama are still well familiar with the story. I will go ahead and print the basics based on what we know and have heard.
Abe Baxter is a distant cousin of mine. Abe lived in the community of Epworth Alabama in Washington County. Washington County is about 40 miles from Mobile and is on the border of Mississippi and Alabama. Abe was a barber and owned a shop just down the road in Fruitdale, Alabama. He also drove a school bus, that is why I included a picture of Fruitdale High School, We are pretty sure it was on his rounds. Abe was married and had four children. He seemed to be well liked by the community. Most of it anyway.
in 1932 Abe along with his nephew Gene Mizell, left and spent two weeks in Arkansas. The plan was Abe was moving but his family was not. Story goes Abe was leaving his family for his teenage mistress. Abe had been warned about his improper behavior with this girl. On the night of his leaving town, Abe, along with Gene Mizelle met with some friends for one last deer hunt or card game. We have heard two versions of this. The men were Joe Scumro, Wash Daily, who was Abe's Brother in law, his wife's brother, actually. Also included were Wes Berry,who was the young girls daddy, and a man named (K)Nollie Mizell.
Abe had sold his barber shop and school bus and was carrying the money to start a new life in Arkansas. The men met up with Abe and Gene on the road that runs from Vinegar Bend to Deer Park. Daily, the Brother in law asked Abe for some money and at first Abe did not want to give it to him, saying he needed it to start his new life. He grudingly decided to loan Daily a small amount. Gene, the nephew, was ordered by Scumro to shoot Abe. Gene did this, but did not kill Abe. Abe was then beaten to death. The body was moved to a barn or shed like structure on some land owned by a man of the name of Strimmich who just happened to be Gene's step Dad, and left there. Scumro returned days later to check on things and saw that someone was attracted to the building because of the large amont of Buzzards that were hanging around. Scumro saw that the person did not see Abe and quickly gathered the others to tell them they had to move and get rid of the body in another way. The body was then moved to an area known as the cross roads very close to the Mississippi state line. It was then decided that the body would be boiled down. Abe was then cut up and boiled, his bones wrapped in some kind of cloth tied into a sack and hung from a tree limb. We have not found this in any written or official form, but the word from relatives and other locals familiar with the story has been that Abe smelled so good while cooking that several of the men had to taste him!
Most of the men involved, had motives or reasons for their participation in Abe's murder. Gene seemed to love his Uncle so his was probably fear of the other men, Scumro especially. Scumro probably was in it for the money. Berry was probably not pleased with Abe's relationship with his teenaged daughter and Daily was probably upset for his Sister. We think Nollie might have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Abe's disappearance was not a major concern since it was known he was leaving town. After a while, maybe close to a year, Gene cracked and let it slip that Abe was guarding the crossing. This was revealed at a party attended by several young people. One young man decided to go and check the crossing and found Abe's bones scattered on the ground, the sack had dry rotted. Abe was positively identified by a steel pin in his leg.
Gene Mizell served no time for his participation in this crime. Neither did Nollie Mizell. Scumro,Daily and Berry served prison terms at Kilby prison. Not very long terms either!
For many years Abe's bones remained in the Police Department in Chatham, Alabama. In around 1942 Abe was finally laid to rest in the Cemetery at Epworth Church.
OUR UNCOMFORTABLE NIGHT AT THE COMFORT INN
This is not an old story, it happened the weekend we were investigating Abe. But, it is something Mom and I will never forget! The Comfort Inn in Saraland Alabama is a nice place. Our "discomfort" was in no way caused by them. Early Sunday morning, around 2:30 or so, we were awakened by a loud noise. We had no idea what had happened. Before evacuating I looked through the window just to make sure We were not running out into a gunfight or something. When I looked out there was a truck sitting in the parking lot with people surrounding it. It turned out a drunk driver came across the grass hit a parked car spinning it sideways into the truck parked next to it. He then hit the stairway support. Thank God Jesus and The Holy Spirit he did not crash through one of the rooms. This moron could have really hurt or even killed someone! As usual, he walked away from it. The accident brought out the guests and the permanent resident, the hotel kitty.
A MESSAGE FROM MOM
Mom, wants to share some of our exciting adventures. They will one day be old family stories. Chasing down info for this site is not always as easy as it mught seem, but it is always fun, well, most of the time. I have truly learned some important lessons along the way. One of the most important being, never assume going on a road running beside an empty house is not considered trespassing. I found out some people do not think private property should be posted! Some think any road in a county not paved is private, posted or not!
Many thanks to my daughter Janice Leigh Doolittle Page(Mrs. Lee Page) who has been my partner in Crime . Among our many adventures, getting her new SUV stuck in the sand in a corn field. I ended up calling the Police to come and protect us, when we were threatened(The owner of the land had a shot gun in the trunk of her car).The owner of the land now lives on land that used to belong to my gr gr grandpapa Woulard. The same day Jan backed over another lady's trash can and went right down the street to Citronelle, Alabama and bought her a new one just to find out the lady had set the old trash can out for the trash men to pick up. That was also the same day my Jan got out of the car to smoke a cigarette and walked around just to look up and see the SUV rolling down a hill towards a lake, with me sitting there reading my "Washington County Alabama History" Books. Good thing the door was unlocked and the car was rolling slow, so Jan could open the door and jump in. I looked up and saw the lake getting closer. hmmmmmmmmm I thought, I should have learned to swim. This was also the same day Dino ,my Carlton's nurse, (Jan's dad,) laid my over- night bag behind the SUV and my Jan backed over it. Needless to say my cloths smelled good when I open the suit case. Yep, she ran over all the good smelling stuff too. But , Thank God, that wasn't the night we came off the highway about one a.m. in the morning at Opelika , Alabama and came across a dead body covered with a sheet that had just been hit by a big truck. The help at Burger King told us it was a sniper and we were afraid the rest of the way home. Now ask me if I am afraid of Cemeteries and spooks? Nope! I'm more scared of my Jan. I don't know of anyone else I had rather ride shotgun for and warn her of danger. Good times and Good laughing are always present when we are as Rosebud says "two women in a jeep" on a mission , investigating for " Gone and Almost Forgotten Georgia. Mom
CAP'N HARRY BURNS DOWN THE TOWN
My Great Grandaddy James Harry Waldrop was born in 1869 in Esactawpa, Alabama. Cap'n Harry, as he was called, was an Engineer on the M and O Railroad. Cap'n Harry was known to have a drink every now and then. Well one day while Cap'n Harry was off and possibly enjoying himself, a train pulled into the town of Vinegar Bend, which is where he lived. The incoming train pulled into the depot, and threw a spark or two. These sparks landed on the roof of a nearby building, setting the roof on fire. Cap'n Harry found out and came running to the train, knowing that if the train was pulled forward it would have to travel through town endangering the other buildings. Cap'n Harry decided the best thing to do was to back the town of town since that would be a shorter distance and away from the other closer wooden buildings in town. While he was getting the train readied to back up the fire department came running out with the towns only fire hose. Unbeknownst to Cap'n Harry they placed the hose across the tracks behind the train. Cap'n Harry then moved the train destroying the hose. As a result the whole town for the most part burned to the ground! This sounds like something that could happen to me stone cold sober!
MR VIC LOSES HIS MARBLE(s)
Mr Vic just sent me this and I begged him to let me put it here. I loved his story! I'm glad he now has all his marbles, I just wish I had all mine!
THE TALE OF THE MISSING AGATE
Back in 1952 I was eight years old and one of my favorite pastimes was to shoot marbles. I was so good at it that most of the kids in the neighborhood wouldn't shoot marbles with me because I could beat them and take their marbles. They would only play for "funzies" with me.
One morning Moma sent me to the Wynnton Drug Store to pick up something for her. I rode my bike up there. Located on the corner of Wynnton Rd. and Henry Ave. was a boys clothing store. They also carried a small amount of sporting goods too. This store was right next to the Wynnton Drug Store. As I passed the clothing store I spied a sign in the window that said "Agate Marbles For Sale". After going to the drugstore I went in to the other shop to see about the Agates. I had always wanted an Agate Shooter or "Toy" as they were called. I was so disappointed to learn that they were $3.00 apiece which was a goodly sum in 1952 for an eight year old.
When I got home I asked Moma for $3.00 to get an Agate shooter. Needless to say my request was turned down along with some comment about how ridiculous I was to want to spend $3.00 on a marble.
Well, every Friday my Dad would give me 50 Cents as an allowance which was usually squandered on Saturday morning. But I decided that I would save 15 Cents a week to buy me an Agate. So for 20 long weeks I saved to get it and when I had enough I went and bought one.
I was so proud of my Agate shooter. I raced home on my bike, showed it to Moma and then went out into the backyard, drew a circle in the dirt, threw in some glass marbles, got down on my knees and shot the Agate into the circle. Bang!!...the Agate hit a rock and went flying off. I looked and looked for it but could not find it. Moma came out in the yard and looked too. When Dad got home he looked too. In short we looked for that marble for weeks but never did find it....Gone forever!
Fast forward now to Feb. 28, 2003.......This morning Moma and I are sitting at the table in the kitchen having coffee. Moma is now 95 years old but still sharp as a tack. We are talking about my childhood as she likes to reminisce...."You know", she says, "We never did find that Agate marble did we?" "No Moma", I said, "We didn't, but one day someone will and wonder what it is." We both laugh and go on to another subject. Later that day Moma suffered a stroke and never spoke again. She passed away on Mar. 11, 2003.
Fast forward now to Aug. 3, 2004 @ 7:30AM.....For the last several months I have been cleaning out the backyard, prepping it for new grass sod. I get up early and work for a few hours each morning before it gets too hot. I'm at the stage of tilling and raking it out. I pick up the rake, make one stroke with it and see a shiny brown something in the dirt. I reach down, pick it up and LO AND BEHOLD!!....ITS THE AGATE MARBLE THAT HAS BEEN MISSING FOR 52 YEARS!!!!!
BUT HERE IS THE BEST PART OF ALL.....I'M STANDING THERE, WITH MY MOUTH HANGING OPEN, LOOKING AT THE MARBLE IN MY HAND AND I HEAR MY MOMA'S VOICE!....SHE SAYS, "SON, I'M ALRIGHT AND NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR MARBLE BACK THING'S WILL BE OK FOR YOU TOO"
MR VIC'S DEADBEAT COUSIN HENRY
As far as I can remember our family has never held but one family reunion which took place in Richmond, VA in 1958. We've all just been so scattered that reunions just didn't work out.
Now on my Mother's side of the family there was a "branch of the tree" with the family name of Angle. Yep, just like in triangle. Everyone thought that the Angle's had all died out but my Auntie, Mary Simpson, who loved tracing the family, located one Henry Angle (Cousin Henry) living in New York City. After some correspondence with him it was determined that he was of the linage of the Angle family that was related to my Mother and Auntie. So, when the reunion was planned an invitation was dispatched to Cousin Henry.
Now no one knew anything about Cousin Henry other than he lived in New York City. But, he answered the invitation to the reunion saying that he would be thrilled to attend but that he would have to bring with him one of his "men" to drive for him as he did not drive.
My Uncle Richard Simpson was the United States Marshall in Richmond, VA and was quite the prankster. There was nothing he liked better than pulling off a prank or joke. So, he told his wife, my Auntie Mary, that he had used his connections with the FBI to check out Cousin Henry and had determined that Cousin Henry was a Mafia Don in New York City. Needless to say, the word spread throughout the family that Cousin Henry was coming to the reunion and the he was a big man in the "Mob".
Well, the day of the reunion arrived, no one could talked about anything but Cousin Henry's pending arrival. Questions flew around like pidgeons.....was he a killer?...a bootlegger?...had he been in prison? and on and on.
At about 11AM a long black Cadillac limo pulls into my Auntie's driveway....."Oh My God!...Its Cousin Henry!!"...The driver gets out....he's wearing a pin stipe suit and a white tie...."Good Heavens!...Its one of his hit men!"....The driver walks to the right side of the limo and opens the door...a gentleman dressed in a black suit, black shirt and white tie gets out...he walks to the door using a silver topped cane...."Holy Smokes!....HE IS IN THE MAFIA!!"
This gentleman enters the house and introduces himself to my Auntie as Henry Angle....With reservation Auntie welcomes him in. He then proceeds to introduce himself to the other family members and passes out his business card......
TURNS OUT THAT COUSIN HENRY IS AN UNDERTAKER ! ! !
MYSTERY HEAD STONE AT WILD ROSE
Billy Rose and his wife Suzanne are Columbus natives who left Georgia and lived for about 16 years in Texas. They are also two of the warmest and nicest people you will ever want to meet! They returned to Georgia and looked for an old house in a peaceful area to move into. They found just what they were looking for in a 100 year old, or more farm house located in Warm Springs, Georgia. They named the house Wild Rose. One day while Billy was clearing a piece of land near the house he discovered an old headstone lying under the 1920 something trailer he was removing . It did not appear to have any grave or other graves around it. Just the one marker shown below. It had stones around it. The Roses asked around, but no one seems to know who this man was and why his marker is located at that farmhouse. If anyone has any info on who this person was the Roses's would love to know. They have moved the marker to a spot at the end of a paved walkway closer to the house. The former owners of the farm were the Smiths. Pleas contact us if you have any info at all as to who this person might have been. Maybe someone will know if it was an actual burial site and if so are there other graves with no markers or markers that might have been destroyed over the years.
PAGES ON MY SITE
GOING GOING GONE
JUST PLAIN INTERESTING
ODDS AND ENDS
DO YOU REMEMBER
BEAUTIFUL OLD HOMES
THE WAY WE WOOFED
DID YOU KNOW
OTHER AREAS AND COMMUNITIES
OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
GALLERY OF ASSORTED PICTURES
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
MURDER SOUTHERN STYLE