The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of Horace Hood and Q. Salter, published five editions 130 years ago during the month of October 1885. Those issues, which were dated Oct. 2, Oct. 9, Oct. 16, Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, can be found on microfilm at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville, Ala. What follows are a few news highlights from those four editions. Enjoy.
OCT. 2, 1885
Pineville – Capt. Jno. Burns, who returned Tuesday from a visit to his family at Pineville, relates to The Journal the following which shows that horse thieves are on the rampage as it were: A negro who gave his name as Harry went to Pineville a few days ago, riding a very good looking horse, which he swapped to Mr. John Stallworth for a pony. A day or two afterwards, a Mr. Linum from just over the county line in Butler, came to Pineville in search of a stolen horse which proved to be the one Mr. S had got from the negro. Mr. Stallworth, then in company with Mr. Linum, started out on the trail of the negro and came up with him at Pine Apple where he had secured work on the railroad and also rented a pasture at $3 a month for his horse.
They arrested him and Mr. S returned home and Mr. L started to Greenville with the negro.
“I learn however” continued Capt. Burns “that he never reached the Butler jail with the negro. He died before they reached there from the effects of a severe whipping he received en route.”
Mr. F. Metts, our true and worthy citizen who lost a leg in the late civil war, sometime called the “rebellion” by Mr. Sherman of Ohio, has secured the agency of a very valuable book, called the “World’s Wonders,” which should be in every household because it contains such information as every family ought to possess, and he is also agent for the National Copying Company at Atlanta, and if you have any pictures of friends or dead relatives, or relatives not dead, you should give him your order to have them enlarged.
OCT. 9, 1885
Pineville – Mr. John Stallworth of Pineville was in Monroeville last week and stated to a Journal reporter that the negro horse thief reported in the last issue of this paper to have died from the effects of the alleged severe whipping he had received, after being caught with the stolen property, is not dead, but is alive and still kicking in the custody of a Butler County officer.
Mt. Pleasant – A negro man charged with being an accomplice of Ogborn in the murder of the negro Spencer at Mt. Pleasant was brought to Monroeville last Monday and had a preliminary hearing before Judge Sowell and was discharged. It seems that the negro held the light while Ogborn either shot, or was threatening to shoot Spencer. The negro claims that he was forced by Ogborn to do all that he did in the matter. Ogborne is still at large, and it is said by his friends that he has left the county.
Mr. Middleton has erected a steam gin about 10 miles south of Monroeville on the Mt. Pleasant Road, and we hear others in contemplation.
Mr. T.W. Daugette met with a serious accident at Pineville a few days since, which came near proving fatal. He was standing in a wagon, cutting beef, when the oxen attached to the wagon started off, and Mr. W. fell backward on his knife, the point penetrating his thigh several inches, but fortunately severed no arteries. He is now at home.
Mr. W.B. Jones of the White House is now with the popular firm of Messrs. H.J. Savage & Co. of Perdue Hill.
OCT. 16, 1885
Let a Reward be Offered – We note from The Monroe Journal that the murderer Ogborn has got out of the county without being arrested. A reward should be offered for his apprehension. A man guilty of so heinous a crime should not be allowed to escape the punishment he deserves.
Watson – Messrs. Baggett & Smith will have a fine school house completed shortly and we hope to have a good school here soon.
Monroeville Institute – The many friends of this school will be gratified to learn that it was never in a more flourishing condition than now. Prof. George has secured the valuable services of Miss Lucy Frye, an accomplished and highly educated young lady, as an assistant and the number of pupils is constantly increasing.
Claiborne – Ensign Pelham Agee, brother of our popular young townsman Clarence Agee, has located in Montgomery with the intention of reading law. – Montgomery Dispatch.
Died – Near Monroeville Thursday last, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Manning.
Pineville – We had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Wm. Buroughs of Pineville in our city on Monday night. Dr. Buroughs was en route to Marion, accompanied by his accomplished daughter, Miss Mary, who will enter the Judson Institute. – Pineapple Enterprise.
For Opera Puff Cigarettes go to Clarence Daugette’s.
OCT. 23, 1885
Vacant – His term of office having expired, Mr. T.J. Emmons, county superintendent of education for Monroe, declines for private reasons, to accept a reappointment and the office is now vacant.
The Maimed ex-Confederate Soldiers – In Monroe, who are entitled to the benefits of the appropriation made for their benefit by the last legislature, are: J.M. Dumas, Kempville; J.E. Fore, Bursonville; J.S. Gray, Simpkinsville; T.T. Langham, Simpkinsville; F. Metts, Monroeville; Philip Owen, Simpkinsville; Jno. D. Smith, Kempville; R.F. Wallace, Monroeville; Jno. N. Watts, Monroeville; J.E. Witherington, Mt. Pleasant. The amount to which each is entitled under the act is $11.47.
A slight frost was visible in this section yesterday morning.
Mr. John McDuffie of River Ridge was in town Tuesday.
Sheriff Burns is now at his home at Pineville, where he went to attend at the bedside of a very sick child, which we are pained to learn, died Tuesday evening. Capt. Burns and his family have the sincerest sympathy of this community in their bereavement.
Mt. Pleasant – Dr. G.G. Scott of Mt. Pleasant has gone to Philadelphia to attend a course of lectures at a medical college in that city.
Dr. H.T. Fountain of Burnt Corn was in town Saturday.
OCT. 30, 1885
Mt. Pleasant – The following version of the recent unfortunate difficulty at Mt. Pleasant, resulting in the death of the negro man Tom Spencer is furnished The Journal by Mr. N.A. Ogborne, the father, we learn, of Bill Ogborne, who is charged with having caused the negro’s death.
To the Editor of The Journal:
As you have published on side of what you term a cowardly and brutal murder, which I think is calculated to create a prejudice against Bill Ogborne, I hope you will be kind enough to publish some of the facts on the other side.
You say that it is said that Ogbourne was drunk, the public must judge who was the offending party.
The negro Tom Spencer went into Mr. Ferrell’s dwelling house and stole whiskey from Ogbourne’s jug, and it is said was drunk too.
Who was Tom Spencer? He was a negro from Jamica, who said he had killed a man before he came to this country. Mr. Ferrell found him in Mobile last spring, brought him up to his place, and put him to work on his farm with Wesley Edwards. Spencer quarreled with Edwards. Spencer left the field, walked out to Mr. F’s dwelling house, three miles, procured a case knife, sharpened it with a file, went back to the field, cut Edwards and run him out of the field.
Tom Spencer had made threats of what he could do with Ogbourne. Ogbourne knowing something of the character of the negro, where right had he to know the negro would not cut him? On the day of the affray, Spencer borrowed a gun and had it secreted on Mr. Ferrell’s place. When the row commenced, he got his gun and went back to Mr. Ferrell’s with it in his hands. The gun was taken away from him by Mr. Ferrell, who told him to get off the place and keep out of the way. He said he would run from no man. He then went into the horse lot where he had no business at the time, but where it was Ogbourne’s business to be attending to a team. It was then dark. Ogbourne and Spencer met behind the crib. They were next seen in a scuffle and when they were separated, Spencer said he was cut and Ogbourne said Spencer struck him.
Ogbourne’s annoyances to Dr. Scott were those of a drunken man, crazed with whiskey. The doctor says “not with the surpose of hitting him, but to frighten him from the negro” it certainly was more an insult than fright to the doctor. The negro was removed the same night of the affray three-quarters of a mile from where Ogbourne was, and the doctor could have attended him if he had seen proper to do so. You quote Dr. Scott as saying that while the negro was under the influence of chloroform that Ogbourne stabbed him several times about the arms and legs and shot his nose off. I examined the negro on Sunday after the affray on Friday night, and I saw the arms naked and saw no star except the one on his abdomen. His not was not shot off, neither was he shot in any portion of his person.
Bill Ogbourne was born and raised in this immediate neighborhood, and I never heard of him having a fight with white or black before this occurrence. The only charge ever brought against him was that he would drink too much whiskey.
- N.A. Ogbroune