FORGOTTEN TRAGEDY AT WYNN'S HILL
When I started this site one year ago I had 2 main purposes. The first was to have a virtual scrapbook of all the things I remembered growing up, the Places I had been to and the things I had heard. I knew so much was slipping away and had already slipped away. With all the years to come, I knew it would only get worse. The second purpose was to find out and put down what took place on the very places we pass every day. I know that some things are better left forgotten, but if that was totally true there would be no such thing as history. As painful as history can be, it is even more painful if it is forgotten. The story below is sad, and may stir up some bad memories, but the two boys involved in this story did exsist and if the story is not told then they are gone and forgotten. They will never be remembered or thought of again.
I first heard of this story in an article written by Bill Winn almost 16 years ago. It appeared in the Columbus Ledger Enquirer and ran for almost a week. The article was quite lengthy and in depth . It ran for almost a week. I will only touch on the highlights of the story here.
Cedron Land was a 12 year old white boy. T Z Cotton was a 14 year old black boy. Cedron was the son of well known cattleman Will Land, T Z lived with his Step Dad whose last name was McElheny. There are different variations on T Z's name and age. Cedron lived on Whitesville Road and T Z lived in a cabin on Double Churches Road. It was later to be known as Red Cabin because of the blood stain on the floor.
On the Saturday afternoon of June 29th Cedron left his home to take a mule to the pasture to graze. Later that evening the mule returned home without Cedron. A search was started and Cedton's body was found in a ditch with leaves and brush over it. It was discovered he had been shot in the left eye. Tracks led to the McElheny cabin. At first T Z denied any knowledge of the shooting. He claimed his gun had not been fired. Upon examination it was discovered that the gun had been fired.
T Z was taken into custody and confessed he had been present when Cedron was shot. At some point he tried to say a friend of his was involved. T Z's cabin was searched and bloody clothes and sacks were found. TZ admitted he and Cedron were playing around with the gun when it went off killing Cedron. He said he went down to see if Mr Land was home. He then returned to the cabin and carried the body to a ditch and covered it. He said he did all of this alone. He then returned to his cabin and tried to clean the blood off the floor. He said he did not say anything before because he was scared. The two had, had some differences in the past. He claimed the shooting was accidental.
T Z was held in the old Muscogee County jail under heavy protection. A trial was started on August 13, 1912 at the Muscogee County Courthouse. Many well known local citizens were on the jury. During the trial T Z stated he and Cedron were having a friendly scuffle when the gun went off and killed Cedron, He also stated he hid the body because he knew Mr land would kill him if he found out.The Prosecution stated Cedron was murdered and the defense argued that it was involuntaru manslaughter brought own by children playing with the gun.It took the jury 1 hour and 15 minutes to deliberate . T Z was found guilty of Involuntary manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act. The sentence was three years hard labor in the State Penitentiary. Two unarmed Bailiffs tried to take T Z to the Sheriff's office and were surrounded by a mob made up mostly of friends and relatives of Cedron. The bailiff's refused to give up T Z and were attacked by members of this mob. A fight broke out at the court house but T Z was taken by the mob to the corner of 10th street and 2nd Avenue. One of the streetcars were stopped at gun point and the car was ordere to go to the city limits. At that time the city limits would have been 10th Avenue, near the R C plant. Passengers other than the mob were orderd off. The street car then continued towards Wynn's hill. The hill was too steep for the steetcar. The switch was located at the base of Wynns hill, where Bradley drive is today. This is the road that runs in front of the Library. This is where the street car stopped and the mob and T Z got off. The street car was then told to go. T Z was shot there at the Wynnton Switch. There were between 25 and 50 holes in his body. He was left there in a small ditch . Word of the lyching spread like crazy and many people came out to see the body.
Condemnation for this act came from papers from all over the state. Four men were tried for the lynching of T Z. They were Will Land, Brewster Land a Cousin of Will Land and R E L or Ed Land, Will's Brother. Lee Lynn was the fourth. All four were tried and found not guilty in the murder of T Z. No one would or could identify them as the ones who did the actual shooting. Not much is known about Lynn. But, all the Land men went on to live into their 80's. They remain a prominent family today.
Two of the pictures below show the site of the pool on the Old Bradley estate. It is located right across the road that runs in front of the Bradley Library. This was the old Wynnton sitch on the street car line and was the area where T Z was shot and left. His body was retrieved bt Alex Toles a local undertaker. T Z is buried in a Paupers grave at Porterdale Cemetery off Victory Drive. Cedron is buried next to his mother who died less than a year before he did. They are in the cemetery behind Mt Moriah Church on Double Churches Road.
I cannot Thank enough John Mallory Land for his help on this. He sent me photo copies of the articles and answered so many of my questions. I am so grateful for his help. The Bradley Library will be moving to it's new location soon, and There is no telling what will happen to the old pool or the Wynnton switch site. If the building is torn down and something else placed there, then the only marker for this tragedy will be lost forever. That is one of the reasons I wanted to include this on my site. One day it may be under Going Going Gone instead.
JOHN WALLACE AND THE KINGDOM
Many of us have read the book or seen the movie Murder in Coweta County. I knew the incident took place in Georgia, but I figured it was probably closer to Atlanta than Columbus. I did not realize just how close to us the it was. I decided to do some research and find where some of the places were that were part of this story.Before I explain the pictures i will highlight the story.
John Wallace owned land in Meriwether County, just past the town of Pine Mountain. He referred to his area as the Kingdom. He thought of himself as a king. He kept up a good name with the townspeople by Church donations and helping out in the community when there was a need. Many thought highly of him. There were many others that knew his darker side. He was also known to have a violent nature. One of the lines of business in his kingdom was the operation of a moonshine still.
In 1948 Wilson Turner was a sharecropper who lived and farmed on Wallace's land and also took part int the moonshine operations. In time Turner was able to afford some things for his family like storebought clothes medical attention for his baby and a new truck purchased from Lagrange Motor company. Wallace thought Turner was getting too big for his britches and also saw him as taking too many chances. Turner was running shine even when warned not to by Wallace. Wallace paid attention to the tips he was given and did not make deliveries when he was told Revenuers were in the area. He believed no single run was worth bringing down the whole operation. Turner was confident he could outrun the law and made runs anyway. This infuriated Wallace and he ordered Turner off his land. Turner left, and feeling Wallace owed him money returned and stole one of Wallace's prized cows.
Turner was caught in another county but returned to Meriwether county where he sat in the jail in Greenville for several days. He was released. When he left the jail Wallace and his men were waiting for him, the gas had been drained from Turner's truck ensuring that he would not get far. Turner tried to make an escape and headed out of town toward Coweta County. He was chased by Wallace and one man in one car and two other men in a second car. Turner ran out of gas at the Sunset Tourist camp in Coweta County. Witnesses reported seeing Wallace and his men struggle trying to get Turner into one of the cars. Wallace was said to have pulled out a gun and hit Turner over the head with it so hard that the gun discharged. Turner was reported to have gone limp and stuffed into the car.
Turner was taken back to Meriwether County. Sheriff Lamar Potts of Coweta County was called in and took over the investigation. Since there was no body it had to be proved that the murder took place in Coweta County, otherwise jurisdiction would have gone to Meriwether County, almost certainly ensuring a different outcome to the whole affair for Wallace. The trial did take place in Coweta County. It was found out Turner's body had been put into a well on Turners property and later retrieved by Wallace and 2 hired hands. The 2 men helped Wallace burn the body at the still and the ashes were placed in a nearby creek.
Wallace was tried and found guilty of the murder of Wilson Turner. He was executed by electrocution November 2, 1950. An important thing to note about this trial is that the 2 helpers were black. This was one of the first trials where the word or testimony of a black man was used to help convict a white man. His land was sold. His house no longer stands. His widow Josephine went to work for Mansours in Lagrange and rented a room in the house showed below. The three men with him on the day Turner was killed each went to prison but were released in 1955. John Wallace is buried in the Pine Mountain Cemetery in Pine Mountain Georgia. The sunset tourist camp shown below is an empty lot now(surprise,surprise) it is located in Moreland Georgia. Margaret Anne Barnes wrote the book Murder in Coweta County, It is probably the best one source for info on this story. Also, more in depth info can be found through old Ledger enquirer articles and the movie . I owe so many thanks to people in the Pine Mountain area, The visitors center and Kimbrough's. Also to the Moreland EMS dept. We recieved so many emails from people who sent in info, it was all really appreciated.
explanation of pictures
ROW 1: This is what is left of the Sunset Tourist Camp. It once had motel cabins, gas station and restaurant. It is located across from the Tasty Foods store/gas station in Moreland.
ROW 2: The first picture is the Greenville jail where Turner was held. The second picture is the House Josephine, Wallace's widow, lived in while she worked as a sales clerk at Mansour's in Lagrange.
ROW 3: These are pictures of Wallace's Grave in the Pine Mountain Cemetery in Pine Mountain. The small stone reads "I have kept the pleasant memory just rest in peace JLW".
ROW 4: The first is the Coweta County Courthouse in Newnan. The second is the Meriwether County Courthouse in Greenville.
ROW 5: The movie Murder in Coweta County was filmed in Pike County. This is a picture of the Pike County Courthouse that was used in the movie. It is in Zebulon, Georgia.
THE OTHER VICTIMS OF THE MARY PHAGAN/LEO FRANK TRAGEDY
The tragedy of Mary Phagan and Leo Frank are widespread on the internet. Many books, articles, a mini series and even a musical have been written about the story. I will tell this story in a nutshell. My main purpose is to tell the story of the other victims of this tragedy. The ones who did not die in a factory or hanging from a tree. The ones who lived out this tragedy until their deaths many years later.
Mary Phagan was a 13 year old girl working at the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta. Leo Frank was a Jewish man born in Texas and raised in New York. He was the manager of the factory. On a Saturday in 1913, Mary left her home and went to pick up her pay at the factory and stay and see a parade. Mary' s body was found hours later in the basement of the factory. She had been murdered and possibly raped. The 2 main suspects were Jim Conley, a black man who also worked at the factory, and Leo Frank the manager. The trial gained quite a bit of noteriety for the fact the trial used the word of a black man to convict a white man. Leo Frank was found guilty and sentenced to be executed. Frank's widow worked as hard as she could to help prove her husband's innocence. Eventually Governor John Slaton read and studied the case and as he was leaving the office of Governor decided to commute Frank's sentence to life in Prison. He was not convinced of Frank's guilt. While in Milledgeville Prison a group of men from Marietta, Mary's home town, stormed the prison, kidnapped Frank , and took him to Frey's Gin in Marietta and hung him. In the 1980's Frank was given a posthumous pardon.
Leo Frank's widow was named Lucille. Lucille was from Atlanta and part of the Selig family. Her parents were Emil and Josephine Selig. Lucille's cousin Simon founded the Selig Chemical Company in Atlanta. This Company was sold to National Service Company which was once National Linen service, and is still around today. Lucille moved from Atlanta after the Lynching and returned about 6 years later, in around 1922. She went to work in the J P Allen Dept store as a sales person. Her Brother In Law was a manager there. When Lucille returned to Atlanta she lived with her Sister and Brother In law. She never remarried. I read where the famous writer, Alfred Uhry remembers Lucille as being one of the older women who was friends with his Grandmother. He is the writer of Driving Miss Daisy and is from Atlanta himself. I doubt Lucille ever got over the violent loss of her husband. She died in 1957. She was cremated and her ashes were carried around in the trunk of a relatives car until 1964. Even at the time of her death in 1957, they were afraid to give her a public funeral. Her ashes are buried in an unmarked space btween her parents headstones in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.
Another victim in this tragedy was Governor John Slaton. After Commuting Leo's sentence he left Georgia in disgrace, never to be in politics again. Gov Slaton died in 1955 and was interred in the Grant Mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery. Even forty years later the safety and security of his final resting place was a concern.
A third victim was Alonzo Mann. He worked in the pencil factory and saw Mary the day she was killed. He also saw Jim Conley carrying Mary's body. Alonzo was about 13 or 14 when this happened. He did not tell anyone what he had seen because Conley had threatened to kill him. He did tell his Mom. In the 1980's Alonzo came forward and told what he had seen on that day many years ago. He took and passed a lie detector test. I consider him a victim too because of the fear and guilt he must have carried for all those years.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
I looked up the addresses of Mary, Leo Frank and Alonzo Mann by using the 1913 Atlanta City Directory. However, in 1927 the Street numbers of many houses were changed, and possibly again after that. In 1913 Leo Frank lived with his inlaws the Seligs at 68 E Georgia Avenue. I cross referenced that adress and found what it was changed to . The above picture shows the lot that has that changed number. I have recently been in contact with the Atlanta History Center and was told that this may not be correct. They looked up the Selig residence in 1913 and found where it was on a map. Not just by the number alone. The map indicated that the Selig residence was on E Georgia Avenue between Washington and Pulliam Streets. This area is now under or in very close vicinity of the I-75/I-85 Connector, in the Turner Field area. The same pretty much applies to Mary's house. Her house was shown on the map to be on Lindsay Street, at the corner of Lindsay and Pelham Streets.
THESE PICTURES ARE OF THE MORE EXACT LOCATION OF WHERE MARY'S HOUSE ONCE WAS
THESE PICTURES ARE OF THE AREA WHERE LEO FRANK ONCE LIVED
MARY PHAGAN'S GRAVE
SERVING UP MURDER IN MACON
Anjette Lyles owned a restaurant in Downtown Macon. It was well known and frequented by many of the prodessional men in Macon. Anjette was a buxom, outgoing woman. Anjette was widowed twice. Anjette was also a murderess!
Anjette started her murder career in 1952 with her first Husband, Ben Lyles Jr. They were married in 1948. Ben and his family ran a restaurant on Mulberry Street. This was near the Courthouse and Many of Macon's Lawyers and other professionals ate there regularly. Julia, Ben's mother was close to the couple and the two daughters, Marcia and Carla. It was not a happy marriage. By 1952 Ben Jr was dead.
In 1955 Anjette bought the family restaurant and changed the name from Lyle's Restaurant to Anjette's restaurant. She met her second husband Buddy Gabbert the day the restaurant was opened. Within two or three months Buddy also was dead. He had gone into the hospital for surgery on his wrist and ended up with a "weeping rash". Buddy died shortly after. In 1957 Julia Lyles, Anjette's former Mother in law also died. Forged papers said Anjette and her Daughters were the beneficiaries of the majority of Julia's life insurance policy.
In 1958 Anjette's older Daughter was admitted to the hospital with a fever and bad vomiting. At one point the child, Marcia, appeared to be getting better but took a turn for the wosrse and died in April of 1958. An employee sent a letter to a family member saying they believed the child was poisoned. An employee also stated they saw Anjette taking drinks to Julia and Marcia while they were in the hospital. These drinks would be carried into the bathroom by Anjette and shortly carried out of the batroom and taken to the hospital and given to Julia and Marcia. Terro ant poison was found at the home and in the pocketbook of Anjette. After the note was shown to the proper authorities an autopsy was performed on Marcia and it was discovered she had Arsenic poisoning.
Anjette was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to die in 1959. Instead of death row Anjette ended up in a state institution and died there in 1972.
Much more detailed information on this tragedy can be found on the internet. An episode of City Confidential on the A&E channel also tells this story. There is also a book out about this. I cannot figure out for the life of me why no one has done a movie on it! It is certainly as sensational as Murder In Coweta County and The Mary Phagan story.
Picture 1: The Donovan house on Vineville. This house was owned or occupied by Anjette's parents. She often lived there after her marriages.
Picture 2: Where Anjette lived at the time of Marcia's death. Might have been bought with Julia's insurance money.
Picture 3: Apartment or the site of the apartment where Anjette lived with her first Husband Ben Jr.
Pictures 4 and 5: The site of Anjettes' Restaurant on Mulberry street.
Picture 6: Julia's house
Picture 7: In 1958 this building was Parkview Hospital. Anjette was hospitalized here with Phlebitis when she was arrested. This may have been the same hospital her victims were at too.
THE WOOLFOLK MURDERS
The Woolfolk murders took place in Macon, Ga. In 1887 Tom Woolfolk took an axe and killed 9 members of his own family. He killed his Daddy, StepMom, their 6 children and the StepMom's Aunt. He was tried twice and eventually executed for the crime. He claimed he was innocent all the way up to the end. When I was in Macon May of 2005, I heard that the family has done quite a bit of research and there is a chance he may have been right! It was one of the worst murders in Georgia!
THE LAST HANGING IN MUSCOGEE COUNTY
THE LAST HANGING IN MUSCOGEE COUNTY
Howard Underwood was as salesman for McNess products. He lived in the small community of Pottersville, Georgia. Pottersville is near Butler, in Taylor County. Howard Underwood was married and had nine children. On Decemnber 3, 1923 Howard Underwood was murdered by Gervis Bloodworth and Willie Jones who were cousins.
Mr. Underwood picked up Bloodworth and Jones near the town of Ideal, Georgia. They needed a ride and money. They were running away to Florida along with two women. One of the women happened to be Willie's Brother's wife.Mr. Underwood was shot in the head while driving. Willie and Gervis left the truck along with Mr. Underwood's body along a road near the Flint River.
The Trial was moved from Taylor County to Muscogee County. On January 20, 1926 Gervis and Willie were hung in the Muscogee County Prison. But not before they became Christians and begged fo their lives, saying they could help others in prison. You can't help but wonder where their compassion and mercy were when it came to the life of Howard Underwood. The two are buried in Girrard Cemetery in Alabama. There are two separate caskets, but only one grave. It is in the plot of Fullerton. That was Gervis's Mom's second husband's last name. The odd thing is the marker is in the name of Willie Jones.
By 1926 Electrocution was the means of execution in Georgia. Willie and Gervis were hung because in 1923 the time of the murder and first trial the means of execution was hanging.
MARION STEMBRIDGE/PARIS TROUT
Several years ago I saw the movie Paris Trout with Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey. I was surprised to find out later that not only did the story take place in Georgia, but it was based on a real life incident. Paris Trout was in reality Marion Stembridge, a Milledgeville store owner and loan shark.
Marion made a great deal of money loaning money to poor people and charging them extremely high interest on the loans. John Cooper, a black man bought a car from Stembridge in 1949. He later returned the car and told Stembridge he could have it back in exchange for the note. Stembridge took a man named Sam Terry to Cooper's house with him. They beat Cooper. Two black women rushed in to intervene. Stembridge shot at them wounding them both. One of the women Emma Johnekin died. Although no weapon was found on either woman Stembridge tried to claim it was self defense.
Stembridge was sentenced to serve 1 to 3 years in prison, he appealed and was freed on bond. Marion Ennis, Frank Evans and Jimmy Watts were his attorneys. Ennis was unhappy with the case and dropped out. Stembridge was later found guilty of manslaughter, he appealed again and was released because it was said he was accused on prejudiced testimony.
Ennis was becoming even more unhappy knowing Stembridge would not serve time. Ennis could not get a retrial because of Stembridge's political connections. He sought help from another Lawyer by the name of Pete Bivins. The IRS discovered Stembridge had not paid his Federal taxes in more than 10 years.
Stembridge tried to offer money to two fedeal agents and was convicted of bribery on April 28th, 1953. He was to be sentenced in one week. Local gossip said that Bivins was the one to turn Stembridge in to the IRS. On May 2, 1953 during the 150th anniversary of the founding of Milledgeville as the State Capitol Marion Stembridge went on a killing spree.
He entered the office of Marion Ennis at the Palace Theater and shot him with a .38 caliber revolver killing him. He then went to the Sanford building and shot and killed Pete Bivins. Stembridge then killed himself.
Many things have been written or said about Marion Stembridge, that he was mentally unstable and had spent time in an institution also that he was very good with numbers. He was seperated from his wife. He lived at the Baldwin Hotel while she lived in the house he owned, that was said to have been a boarding house. It is even said that his bedroom in the boarding house he once owned is haunted by him.
MURDER OR MANSLAUGHTER IN MANCHESTER: THE DEATH OF NOOKIE KENDRICK
I ran across this story a while back. A woman named Tracy was asking for info about the death of Nookie Kendrick. Nookie was 14 years old when he was shot and killed. His adopted mother Alice Kendrick stood trial for the murder in 1944. I could not contact Tracy by the old email address, I finally posted a query and was answered by Mr. John Smenner of Manchester. He put me in touch with Tracy and also showed me and Mom and Ron around the property where the incident took place. I owe him a ton of thanks. Tracy sent the story below, she is a relative. The story is tragic and fascinating at the same time. I also owe a ton of thanks to Tracy.
Alice Josephine Siegert was born in New York City in 1889. In 1900 she is sent to live at The Sheltering Arms Orphanage along with an older sister, Josephine, and a younger brother, William. Their mother died in the consumptive ward at St. Luke's Hospital in 1901. Their father moved to New Jersey. Alice was released from the orphanage in 1904. She went to live with her sister, Josephine, in Jamaica, Long Island. Family members report that Alice lived a troubled young life that led to prostitution. A friend of hers named George Allen introduced her to a wealthy gentleman named Walter Dannenberg. He was a married man from Macon, Georgia who made frequent business trips to New York City. He owned a department store in Macon, Georgia. He eventually employed Alice as a buyer for his company. She was also his mistress. Beginning in 1914 they made frequent trips to France together. He bought her nice homes and provided a chauffeur and car for her. She wore fur coats and diamond rings. She owned many pieces of real estate throughout New York. In 1923 Alice answered an ad about adopting a child. She took possession of this child (Edna) in 1923 but did not legally adopt her until 1930. She kept her in catholic girls school while they were living in NYC. Alice married Jim Kendrick, a chauffeur from Manchester, Georgia, in 1928. In 1929 Alice and Jim found another child to adopt. His birth name was Edward. It is not known if they ever legally adopted this child but they did change his name to James Christian Kendrick Jr. His nickname was "Nookie". Alice sometimes called him "Little". Alice and Jim built a log cabin at Greenwood Lake in upstate New York. It was a vacation home that they took the children to often. Around 1931 Alice and Jim moved their family to Manchester, Georgia, while still maintaining a residence in the Burrough of Queens in NYC. They first lived in a small brick house on Broad Street in Manchester. While living there Alice and Jim found another child in NYC to adopt. A little girl named Bernice Ruby Hines. She was about 3 months old. They changed her name to Dorothy Denyse Kendrick. Alice and Jim never legally adopted Denyse. Around this time the log cabin they owned in New York burned to the ground. Family members say that Alice did it to get the insurance money. But I have no proof to support that claim. Alice purchased the land on Broad Street next to the home they were living in. Jim Kendrick built a small white house which they eventually moved into. Sometime around 1941 or 1942 Alice purchased a rock house in Chalybeate Springs. Jim Kendrick added a boat house to the lower lake. This property was very close to the farm of his mother and father. Jim and the son, Nookie often worked at the farm. The oldest daughter, Edna, was sent away to Brenau Academy to attend school. She was later sent to Brenau College for a short period. Nookie was sent to Atlanta to attend school at the Georgia Military Academy. Denyse attended school locally. During the years that Alice lived in Georgia she became quite the drinker. Local people say that she carried a rifle around with her while at home. She was afraid of something but no one knew what. Her nephew Billy Rogers is still living and says that the reason she left NYC is because she got into some trouble with some gangsters and speculated that her carrying the gun around with her was because she was in fear of these people. During arguments between her and Jim she would often fire the gun leaving bullet holes in the walls and doors of the rock home. Some of the boys that were friends of Nookie's say they were very afraid of Alice. Whenever they would sleep over with Nookie, they always stayed in the boat house. In July of 1943, Edna married her long time love, Wallace Ward, against the wishes of Alice. Throughout their courtship Alice had tried every thing she knew to keep them apart. Her wish was for Edna to continue college and move back to NYC. Edna did not return to college after her marriage. In April 1943 Wallace and Edna's first child was born. Nookie was put in school locally in 1943. He is said to have hated GMA. Alice's drinking caused many problems for her husband and children. She and Nookie's relationship especially suffered. For reasons unknown to others she was very angry with him most of the time. In December 1943 she is reported to have attempted to stab him in the kitchen of the rock house in front of a black man in her employ named Walter Bransford. This same man testified that she also fired a shot at Nookie while he was in the house. Nookie ran from the house that day screaming, "She tried to kill me". He also testified to seeing Alice throw a hammer at Nookie. On December 5, 1943 Alice had been drinking. Jim and Nookie had spent the night at the chicken farm. Around mid morning Jim and Nookie came home and picked up Bertha, the cook and drove her home. His father had left him there to play with Denyse. Denyse says that her mother told Nookie that she did not need anyone to play with and for him to go away. She told Nookie that id he ever stepped foot there again she would kill him. Denyse tells me that her mother called her in for lunch and that Nookie was on the swing. She asked her mother to please let Nookie come eat. Her mother agreed and Denyse called Nookie to come in and eat. There was an altercation in the kitchen between Nookie and Alice that Denyse witnessed. Denyse says her mother was fussing at Nookie and then became angry because she felt he was not listening to her. Alice threw a glass at Nookie. As he ran from the home she fired a shot that Denyse says grazed his arm. He hid in the bushes outside the house. Denyse carried some iodine out to help him with his arm. This injury was not mentioned in the coroner's report. The specifics of the argument between the two are not clear. Denyse says that her mother was always on Nookie about one thing or the other. Nookie is said to have gone back to the chicken farm after the incident. Denyse had friends over and Alice permitted Denyse to fire her gun into the air. This all came about because Denyse was bragging to her friends about going hunting . Nookie was not there at the time that Denyse fired the rifle. Later Denyse went with her friends to their house to play. Denyse's friends older sister Maidee Willingham testified that she was sitting on her front steps and saw Nookie and his dog coming across the dam from the chicken farm. This tells you that when Denyse fired the rifle it did not hit Nookie as Alice had claimed in her statement to the court. Denyse testified that she did not hear a gunshot. But Maidee Willingham did here it shortly after she saw Nookie coming across the dam. There were two other witnesses to the gunshot. Grady Rollins and Jimmy Lewis Carter. They were cutting trees just below the Kendrick home. They heard Alice speaking in a loud voice. They also saw Nookie running and heard the gunshot. They also heard Alice tell Nookie "Get up from there now.....I don't care if I did hit you.....that's what I meant to do". Denyse's friends walked her to the end of her driveway. When she got up to the house Alice asked her did she know what happened. Denyse said "no....what"? Alice told her that she accidentally shot Nookie when she thought he was trying to break in the house. She then told Denyse to go get the chicken feed and feed the chickens. Denyse did as told. On her way back she saw Nookie lying in the bushes. She tried to get him to talk to her. She even put some water in a Royal Crown bottle and sprinkled his face trying to wake him up. All of Nookie's dogs were there with him. Alice told Denyse to bring her Nookie's watch. She also asked Denyse if there were any scratches on Nookies chest. Denyse said that Nookie's body was in a different position than when she first saw him. He had been on his stomach but that Alice had gone over and turned him over. Alice had called the the sheriff prior to Denyse coming home and he arrived and had Denyse taken over to the Willingham's home. The transcript says that when Alice phoned the sheriff she asked him to come because she had shot her son. A jury was summoned to the house prior to the removal of Nookie's body. Alice told many different stories to many different people that day. But kept insisting that he was trying to break in the window and that she did not know who it was. The sheriff and others that were present testified that there was no evidence that anyone had attempted to go through the window. There were no finger prints in the dust and the screen was intact. Jim Kendrick was summoned home and was very upset and visibly angry with his wife. Alice was removed from the property. I suspect she was taken to the jail but don't know that for sure. Shortly there after a commitment hearing was held at the community center in Manchester. From what I understand a commitment hearing is somewhat like an indictment hearing. During Alice's time in jail prior to the trial she asked fro her sister's son, Billy Rogers, to come visit her. Billy was 28 years old at the time. She told Billy that if he would say he shot Nookie that she would compensate him well after he served his time. Billy refused. Alice was convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter in May of 1944. She served less than 18 months in jail. Immediately following her release from jail she petitioned the court for the right to remarry. It was granted and she married Walter Dannenberg of Macon, Georgia. Walter was her long time married lover and business partner. He also paid for her defense in the trial. Alice and Walter lived in Macon, Georgia and also maintained a residence in NYC. Alice died of a heart attack in 1952 in NYC. She is buried at the Rosehill Cemetery/William Wolffe section in Macon, Georgia.
Lena Baker was born June 8, 1901 in Randolph County Georgia. She was the daughter of poor black sharcroppers. When she left this world on March 5, 1945, she left with a a sad distinction. She was the only woman to die in the electric chair in Georgia. Lena's life was sad and hard from the start. During her life she chopped cotton did laundry and worked at what amounts to prostitution. Lena was sent to the workhouse because some of her gentlemen friends were white. This was just not allowed at the time. Had her customers been strictly black gentlemen, the law might not have come down so hard on her. Many of the area black people shunned Lena. She became an alcoholic.
In 1941 Lena took up with Ernest Knight. She provided him with sex and he provided her with alcohol. Ernest ran a grist mill and was known to be violent. One of Knights sons tried to persuade Lena to end ties with Ernest as the whole town knew of the afair. At one point Knight moved to Florida to live with one of his sons and Lena followed. They both eventually returned to Cuthbert, in Randolph County.
On the night of April 29, 1944 Knight showed up at Lena's house. He was drunk and wanted her to go with him to the mill. She asked him for money to buy alcohol. He gave her some and she went to a bar on Dawson Street. The bar was closed and Lena went back to her house hoping that Knight would be gone. He was still at her house waiting. she went with him to the mill and later got away. She managed to buy some alcohol and spent the night sleeping in the woods near the convict camp. She awoke the next morning and returned to the mill thinking Knight would be gone by then. He was still there. She was kept by Knight in the mill for hours as a prisoner. Knight left and returned He told Lena that he would kill her if she tried to leave him. A fight or struggle ensued and Knights gun went off shooting him in the head.
Lena then went to the home of J A Cox, the town coroner and told him what happened. He told her to go to the Sheriff and tell him what had happened. Instead Lena went home. She was picked up that night and was not questioned for two days. The sheriff allowed her time to sober up. Lena's trial was August 14, 1944. Lena was found guilty of murder that same day. Lena died in the electric chair on March 5, 1945. she was 43 years old.
For many years Lena rested in an unmarked grave at Mount Vernon Church where she once was a member. In 2005 a pardon was granted to Lena because of the petioning to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles by of some of her family members. A marker has also been placed on her grave. Sometime in 2009 a movie will be out called The Lena Baker Story. I will probably be one of the first in line to see it.
THE ALDAY FAMILY MURDERS
Donalsonville, Georgia is a quiet small town in South West Georgia. It is also the scene of one of the worst mass Mmurders in the state of Georgia. The only thing that comes close is the Woolfolk murders that happened outside of Macon in 1887. Below is a short version of what happened. Much more can be found on the internet and in books. A movie was also mad that is based on the killings, it is called Murder One. It can be ordered on Amazon.
On May 5, 1973 Carl Issacs, his half brother Wayne Coleman, and fellow prisoner George Dungee break out of the Maryland State Prison. They are later joined by Carl's younger brother 15 year old Billy Issacs. They abduct and murder a man named Richard Miller in Maryland. May 14 they find themselves in Georgia. They are out of money and looking for guns. I am not totaly sure how they end up on the rural road the Alday family lived on. I heard that Mary, the wife of Jerry Alday was followed home from a store in Donalsonville. I also heard they spotted the Alday home and thought they saw a gas pump on the property and stopped there thinking they could steal some gas and who knows what else. At any rate robbery was the prime motive.
The Alday family had a farm outside Donalsonville. Jerry and his wife Mary lived in a trailer on this farm. The day of the murders The Men were working the farm. The murdered men were Ned Alday, his son Jerry, Ned's brother Aubrey and two of Ned's other sons, Chester and Jimmy. They were all killed inside the trailer in the two bedtooms. Mary was raped repeatedly. She was taken to a field or clearing near the trailer and killed. All the victims were shot. Mary's body was found one day later.
The funerals were held at Spring Creek Baptist Church outside of Donalsonville on May 17, 1973. On that same day George Dungee is captured by West Virginia police. On May 18, Carl, Wayne and Billy are also captured. After trials in Seminole County Carl. Wayne, and George are convicted and sentenced to death. Billy testifies againt the others and pleads to lesser charges. Billy receives 40 years. In 1985 or 1986 a new trial is held. Coleman and Dungee get life and Carl Issacs death sentence is upheld. Coleman is still in prison. Dungee died in prison. Carl Issacs was executed by lethal injection on May 6, 2003 at Jackson State Prison. Members of the Alday family attended the execution.
Billy was released from prison in 1993. He died at age 51 on May 3, 2009. He was married and living in Florida at the time. He was active in volunteer prison Ministry work.
A special Thank You goes out to Betty, Lisa and Michelle of the Big Bend Ghost Trakcers group out of Florida! They met us in Donalsonville and showed us where everything took place. I could not have found all this without y'all!
CAROL JEANNINE GALLOWAY
I never knew Jeannine Galloway. In 1977 Jeannine was 24 years old, I was 16 years old. Jeannine attended Saint Mary's Road Methodist Church, I attended Saint Paul Methodist Church. Jeannine knew how to make music, I only knew how to listen to music. We did not have the same friends or run in the same circles. I never met her. I had never even heard of her until The summer of 1977. That summer almost everyone in Columbus would know of Jeannine Galloway.
On the morning of July 15, 1977 Jeannine was abducted in the driveway of the home she shared with her family on St Mary's Road. William Anthony Brooks got into the car with Jeannine at gun point. Her mother saw Jeannine leave with him from a window in the house. She was raped and murdered, shot in the neck by Brooks. Her body was found in the area of Dawson Elementary School. Her car was found abandoned down the road on Hollywood Court. Brooks claimed the gun went off accidently (after she was abducted and raped at gunpoint). He avoided the death penalty and is probably still alive today.
Jeannine's murder had a deep impact on me. Her death was the beginning of the loss of my own innocence in a way. Her murder showed that you were not safe even in your own driveway with your family only a few feet away. The security I had always known seemed all of a sudden to be not as certain. I know that you cannot live your life in fear, but I learned from that day on to be more aware. To not take anything for granted. Jeannine made me think. I would always keep my car doors locked, even as a teenager in my own driveway. I thought that if I ever were in her position, I would rather ram my car into a telephone pole or brick building than to be lead into a wooded area to face what she faced. It has been 32 years since Jeannine's death, She will never know how she affected or influenced a young girls life. I never knew Jeannine Galloway, but I will never forget her.
GERTRULA "TRULY" JOHNSON
EVELYN ANN STARNES
DELIA'S GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
In 1900 Delia Green was a 14 year old African American girl who lived with her mother at 113 Ann Street in Savannah. On Christmas Eve of that year Delia was shot and killed by her 15 year old boyfriend Mose Houston at vthe nearby home of Willie West. Mose boasted of an improper relationship with Delia, which she denied. An argument erupted. Delia called Mose a son of a bitch and he shot her in the groin. Delia was carried to her home where she died. Mose was sentenced to life in prison he served about 12 years and was pardoned by Governor John Slaton in 1913. Mose was said to have died in 1927 in New York City. Delia is buried in an unmarked grave in Laurel Grove South Cemetery in Savannah. Delia's story is far from over. She lives on in songs that are based on her. The songs have more than one version and have been recorded since at least the 1920's. Pete Seeger, Blind Willie McTell, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash are some of the singers that have recorded this song.
JESSE MCKETHAN, THE BUTCHER OF SAVANNAH
17 year old Luther Aid and 21 year old Jesse Mckethan were best friends. In October of 1945 a severed leg was discovered by George Coursey and his dogs while out for a morning walk. Blood soaked paper bags were found nearby. It was determined that the leg belonged to Luther who had been missing for several days. Jesse confessed that he and Luther had been out drinking in some of the popular Savannah hangouts the evening Jesse went missing. One of those hangouts was the Goldstar Ranch, once an amusement park. Luther drove Jesse home. Jesse saw a picture of a girl in Luther's wallet and accused him of stealing it. A fight broke out. Jesse hit Luther in the head and strangled him. He hid Luther's body under the McKethan house and later decided to dismember it. He cut the body into six pieces and scattered the pieces in various locations in and near their neighborhood. Luther's head was found buried on the small island in the middle of the Daffin Park pond. Jesse was found guilty of Luther's murder and died in the electric chair at Reidsville in 1946. Jesse is buried in an unmarked grave in the family plot at Bonaventure. Luther is also buried in his family's plot, also in Bonaventure. Much, much more of this interesting story can be found in Murray Silver's book Beyond the Moss Curtain. It can be ordered on Amazon. I highly recomend it!
For those of you who have read Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, you might remember reading about a man who was found tied or hanging from the porch of his family's home. His testicles had been cut off and tucked under his lapel or put in his top lapel pocket. The news paper the following day read that he had died from a fall from the porch. His name was Wesley Espy and his Dad was a Judge. It was said that Wesley had been involved with a gangster's girlfriend and this was a mob killing. He died January 5, 1934 and is buried in Bonaventure cemetery in Savannah.
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