The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of Editor Horace Hood and Publisher Q. Salter, published four editions 130 years ago during the month of January 1885. Those issues were dated Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26. What follows are a few news highlights from each of those editions. Enjoy.
JAN. 5, 1885
VOLUME NINETEEN: The Journal enters, with this issue, upon the 19th year of its existence. It has been under its present control since 1875 and while it has been more prosperous once during that time than now, and brought in a greater revenue to its proprietor; yet it has never, probably, during the 18 years of its existence, had a brighter future, and entered upon a new year with greater hopes of future success, financially and otherwise. Its circulation is larger than it has ever been at any time, and is still growing, and growing rapidly, if we may be allowed to say it.
As will be seen at the head of this paper, Mr. Q. Salter, who has had charge of the composing room and business department of this paper for the past 12 months, has become one of the publishers and his honesty, integrity and strict attention to business have won for him the respect of the entire community.
Col. T.C. McCorvey, one of the most gifted, learned, elegant and polished writers in the State, is the author of a well and beautifully written essay on “Some Famous Southern Poems” in the Christmas issue of The New Orleans Times-Democrat.
Rev. B.F. Riley, a fluent and graceful writer, is engaged in writing a valuable book to be called the “Immigrants and Capitalist’s Guidebook to Alabama.”
D.R. McMillan, esq., formerly of Monroeville and now a prominent young attorney of Columbiana, paid a brief visit to relatives and friends in Monroe during the holidays.
JAN. 12, 1885
A Cowardly and Brutal Assassination – On the night of the 11th ult. Richard Cunningham, a colored man living at Pine Orchard in this county, was shot and killed by some unknown person. The facts are, so far as related to us, that Rich had just returned from Evergreen, and was sitting in his house with his son on one side of the fire and another negro on the opposite side while Rich sat in front and while warming some villainous person came to the back door, which was open, and fired upon him with a double-barreled shotgun, striking him with 40 buckshot in the back, causing death instantaneously. Rich was a good and inoffensive negro and was liked by nearly all who knew him. There is no clue to the vile perpetrator of the deed. It is to be hoped that the blood thirsty villain will be captured and made to suffer the full penalty of his crime. This is the second assassination that has occurred in this county within the past four months. It is time some measure was adopted to put an end to it.
The Jail Contract – The contract for repairing the old jail which was recently burned, was let out to the lowest bidder by the county commissioners who met in Monroeville last week for that purpose. Mr. Hillary Hudson was awarded the contract, his bid being the lowest, $1,189. The old walls of the jail are thought to be uninjured and the contract is simply to replace the cover and woodwork. Mr. Hudson has done work of this kind before and he is fully capable of putting the work through at the earliest possible day and doing it well and properly. There is no danger but what Mr. Hudson will perform well his part of the contract and the county will of course perform her part.
JAN. 19, 1885
Jail Delivery – George and Charlie Davis, two brothers who were charged with the murder of Mr. D. Morris near Hunter’s mill in this county, made their escape from jail on the 9th inst. together with seven other prisoners. The Davis boys were seen by the Bell’s Landing mail boy on Friday near River Ridge making their way back to their families in South Monroe. The murder with which they are charged is one of the most cowardly and brutal in the criminal annals of Monroe, and if they are captured and are ever brought to trial and found guilty, the severest penalty of the law should be inflicted upon them.
Since the above was put in type when learn through a letter to Sheriff Burns from the sheriff of Wilcox, that the Davis boys have been recaptured, and are now safely lodged again in the Wilcox jail.
At the public sale the other day, the property in the south side of town, known as the Clausell place, sold for $600 and was purchased by Mr. C.T. Simmons. The investment is a good one.
Mr. Horace Hood of The Journal leaves for Montgomery tomorrow to be present at the opening of the legislature Wednesday, the 21st.
Mr. Thomas Nettles, the live man of Long street Kempville, was in to see us a few days ago. He informs us that his Steam saw mill is now in full blast, and he is making lumber and can fill any billon short notice. The grist mill attachment is in fine condition and he is making most excellent meal. Mr. Gilmore Wiggins, a fine mechanic and machinist, is attending to the mill for Mr. Nettles.
JAN. 26, 1885
A Foul Murder: Gosport, Ala., Jan. 8th, 1885 – Dear Sir, Our community was thrown into quite an excitement yesterday by the discovery of the body of unknown white man who had evidently been coldly murdered and mutilated by cutting off both ears and the entire scalp, leaving a little hair around the edges of the back part of the head. Was killed Sunday night or Monday morning beside a campfire along the road, then dragged about 30 paces into the woods, thrown behind a log and hastily covered with leaves and pine straw. He was about five feet, 11 inches in height, brown hair, sandy chin whiskers and mustache, latter thin, aged about 35 or 40 years. Wore a blue flannel coat and vest, faded to a grayish color, striped moleskin pants, also faded, and homeknit socks. The shoes and hat were gone, as well as everything else of vaine or interest except a memorandum book and pencil. In the book are the names of S. Daniels, Henry White, T. Creigler and others. On the flyleaf is written in a feminine hand, Maria E. Daniels. It also contained what purported to be a “way bill” to Butler, Ala. and started, 1st Evergreen, 2d. Monroeville, 3d. Claiborne, 4th Suggsville, etc. Nothing to identify. A negro preacher who crossed the river with him late Sunday evening says that he conversed with him and was informed that he lived in the neighborhood of one Daniel Shepherd (colored minister also) near your place and that he was going to Thompkinsville, Ala. on the Bigbee to haul timber.
The above letter is from a reliable gentleman of Clarke County, and is published to obtain information as to who is missing from the Old Town neighborhood. At this writing no information has been received at this office. Several gentlemen have left that community for Choctaw County recently, nothing definite however, as to the exact time, concurring with the awful tragedy mentioned in Mr. Bixler’s letter sufficient to designate anyone as yet. – Evergreen Star.
Mr. Hillary Hudson will commence work on the jail soon.
Prof. W.R. Smyly, piano tuner, of Selma was in town last week.
Postmaster Seymour a few days ago received a fine hat as a present from a friend in Springfield, Mass.
Capt. Bondurant of Mt. Pleasant was in town last week.
Tax Assessor Jones has again started on the rounds.
Mr. A.J. Holt, formerly of The Camden Home Ruler, was in town last week with a drove of nice horses.
Mr. J.L. Stallworth and Mr. W.G. McCorvey will in a few days leave for San Antonio, Texas to buy stock.
A gentleman from Canada, who has been prospecting in the northern part of our county, with a view to a home in our delightful climate, expresses himself as being very much pleased. Let us give all such a cordial welcome.