Sunday, April 26, 2015

120-year-old news highlights from The Monroe Journal from April 1895

The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of Editor and Proprietor Q. Salter, published four editions 120 years ago during the month of April 1895. Three of those issues (April 4, April 11 and April 25) can be found on microfilm at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville, Ala. The April 18 issue is missing from the microfilm records there. What follows are a few news highlights from the three editions that are available on microfilm. Enjoy.

APRIL 4, 1895

According to the “Meteorological Record” for the month of March 1895 as recorded at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau Station at Claiborne, Ala., 1.10 inches of rain fell on March 2, 2.1 inches on March 8, 1.7 inches on March 11, 1.2 on March 13 and 1.0 on March 14. Total rainfall for the month measured 8.0 inches.

Dr. Yarbrough has erected a commodious new barn and vehicle shed adjoining his livery stables, affording improved facilities for the accommodation of patrons of the City Hotel.

The Bear Creek Mill Company: Messrs. W.H. Louiselle and L.N. Lambert of the Bear Creek Mill Co. were in Monroeville this week and gave this office a pleasant call. The entire interests of the former stockholders in the Bear Creek Company’s property has been recently purchased by Messrs. Louiselle and Zimmerman who having ample capital and extensive timber rights are preparing to make a number of improvements in the near future. The company will within a few months begin the construction of a standard gauge railroad from the mill connecting with the L&N branch road at Repton, giving better access to the northern markets for their manufactured products. The road will pass about four miles south of Monroeville.

Sheriff Harrengton returned from Coalburg a few days ago, having in custody a negro prisoner wanted in this county for housebreaking.

APRIL 11, 1895

The alarm of fire created considerable excitement for a few moments in our quiet village on last Saturday night. One of the large hanging lamps which illume the dining hall of the Watson House fell to the floor and the escaping oil becoming ignited filled the room with smoke and fire and threatened the immediate destruction of the building. A large crowd was soon attracted to the scene and by the vigorous application of water and removal of inflammatory material the fire was soon extinguished.

Hon. E.R. Morrisette, United States Marshal for the Southern District of Alabama, was in Monroeville this week circulating among his many friends.

It is reported that White Caps have been operating recently in the neighborhood of Tekoa, this county. Their attention has thus far been devoted to the colored people of the community, though there is no certainty that it will not be directed to white citizens as well. About two weeks ago, says our informant, an inoffensive negro against whom no crime was charged other than the performance of industrious labor, received written notice to leave the community on pain of death. Failing to heed the warning, he was a few days later fired upon while quietly at work in the field. It is understood that warnings have been served on other negroes in the community. Here is a subject for investigation by the grand jury which will convene on the 22nd inst.

IN MEMORIAM: McMILLAN – At Monroeville, Ala., March 7th, 1895, Dr. W.W. McMillan quietly passed to his reward. He was born near Scotland church, Monroe County, Ala., Nov. 21st, 1895, where his preliminary education was taken, afterwards attending Tulane University, New Orleans, La., graduating there, then spent two years at Mobile Medical College, practiced medicine with remarkable success at Claiborne, Stockton, Mobile and spending his last years in practice at Scotland and Monroeville where his boyhood days were spent.

APRIL 18, 1895

***** This issue of The Monroe Journal is missing from the microfilm files at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville, Ala. *****

APRIL 25, 1895

An Atrocious Murder: From gentlemen living in the northeastern portion of the county, near the Butler line, attending court this week, The Journal learns of the atrocious murder of Mr. Watts Murphy by three negroes on last Wednesday, the 17th inst.
Mr. Murphy had the negroes employed in cutting logs. As he approached them to give some directions concerning the work one of the negroes struck him on the neck or shoulder with an axe, felling him to the ground. They then piled up logs and brush over the body and set the heap on fire. The young man was missed, and search made for him, but no trace could be found. The peculiar action of the negroes excited the suspicions of the neighbors, and they were arrested, and one of them made a full and detailed confession of the horrible crime, implicating five others – four men and two women. Their names were: Cal Johnson, Fred Douglas, Jim Calhoun, Sim Jernigan, Mary Davis and a woman called “Jenny.”
The murderers were arrested and taken in custody by a posse and started for Greenville jail.
LATER – Since the above was written, a special from Greenville to the Montgomery Advertiser says the posse having in custody the murderers of Watts Murphy was met near the Buckalew place Saturday night by an armed mob and the prisoners taken by force and hung and their bodies left dangling from the limbs of trees.
An investigation by Sheriff Bargainer failed to elicit any information as to who composed the mob.

We are requested to announce that there will be a meeting of the Confederate Veterans in the courthouse on next Wednesday immediately after noon adjournment of court.

Jones Mill: The white cap fever is not raging quite so high as for some time past. We have heard of several parties receiving written notice to leave the community. We presume, the grand jury will put a quietus on this kind of business.

The spring term of the Circuit Court convened at 12 o’clock on Mon., April 22, 1895, Judge John C. Anderson presiding and Solicitor Benjamin F. Elmore, representing the state.
The criminal docket, which will not be taken up until next week, is unusually heavy and it is quite likely that the entire week will be consumed. There are two capital cases for trial, one for murder and another for arson.

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