Friday, January 3, 2014

Four arrested in January 1914 turpentine camp homicide near Jones Mill

Congressman George W. Taylor
Monroe County has changed a lot in the past century and you’ll really notice the big changes if you ever review the pages of old editions of The Monroe Journal newspaper. Earlier today, I took advantage of the archives at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville and looked closely at the four editions of The Journal printed 100 years ago this month, way back in January 1914. Here are some of the news highlights from those papers.

JAN. 8, 1914

“Congressman George W. Taylor was a distinguished visitor to Monroeville the first of the week.”

“Postmaster S.M. Roberts is recovering the use of his arm which was painfully injured by a recent accident.”

“The annual meeting of stockholders of the Monroe County bank was held in Monroeville on Monday and the former officers and directors reelected for the ensuing year.”

“Mr. J.W. Urquhart and family are occupying the home at the corner of Belleville Street and Highland Avenue.”

“Prof. G.A. Harris has purchased the cozy dwelling of Mr. R.J. Hendrix, in which he is comfortably domiciled with his family.”

“Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Lee were guests of the family of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Finch, Finchburg, during the holidays.”

“The county convicts are now being temporarily employed on the public roads adjacent to town.”

JAN. 15, 1914

“Ranny Johnson Killed: Ranny Johnson, a young man well known in the Jones Mill neighborhood was shot and killed on the night of Jan. 7 at the McPhaul turpentine camps, four miles south of Jones Mill. Four young men of the neighborhood, Jim Hall, Willie Hall, --- Moody and Cleve Cobb, were arrested, charged with homicide. All the young men except Jim Hall were discharged on the preliminary hearing before Judge Slaughter. The last named was admitted to bail in the sum of $750 to wait the action of the grand jury.”

“Died at the Masonic Home, Montgomery, on Jan. 5, 1914, Mr. Boykin Brantley, aged about 80 years. The remains were interred at the Rumbley graveyard near Peterman on Tuesday with Masonic honors.”

“Will Organize Easter Star: An enthusiastic meeting of ladies interested in the movement was held on Wednesday afternoon and preliminary steps taken for the organization of a Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, an institution auxiliary to the Masonic fraternity.”

JAN. 22, 1914

“An extension of the Manistee and Repton railroad from Conoly to Excel has been under construction for a week or two and will be ready for the steel within a short time. Excel is one of the liveliest business points in the county, and the facilities that will be thus afforded will add greatly to its importance and prosperity.”

“Miss Jennie Faulk is on her periodical trip to the centers of fashion, making selection of spring millinery.”

“Local physicians report the prevalence of pneumonia to an unusual degree within the scope of their practice. Several deaths have occurred within the last few weeks.”

“Mr. Willie Johnson of Repton entered our school (Monroe County High School) this week, bringing the enrollment up to 99.”

“We are requested to state that the Eastern Star organizer will visit Monroeville on Fri., the 23rd inst., for the purpose of instituting the chapter and all charter members are urged to attend promptly.”

JAN. 29, 1914

“Our sprightly neighboring town of Roy is soon to have a bank, as appears from the formal notice of incorporation appearing elsewhere in this issue. The list of stockholders included both local citizens and Evergreen and Repton parties.”

“We learn through Mr. R.G. Scott that Tom Bradley of Tensaw had the misfortune to lose his barn containing 2,500 bushels of corn, his gin house and an unoccupied dwelling by fire a few nights ago. The fires were evidently of incendiary origin as the buildings were too widely separated for exposure of one to the other.”

“In the list of political announcements this week will be found the card of Mr. A.M. English of Eliska, as a candidate for the office of sheriff. No man perhaps is better known throughout the county then Mr. English and his good qualities recognized by all. He served four years as Deputy United States Marshall for the Southern District of Alabama under Mr. E.R. Morrissette and is familiar with the duties of the office and fully qualified to discharge them in an efficient manner.”

Well, I guess that’s all that space will allow for today. Next month, I’ll take a look at the events of February 1914 in Monroe County. Until then, if you get the urge to research the county’s history yourself, take advantage of the Monroe County Library’s excellent selection of old newspapers on microfilm and other resources. The library’s friendly and courteous staff will be more than happy to get your started.


  1. Lee, The Conoly turpentine camp was owned by M.L. Conoly. His wife, Bettie King, was a sister of my g-g grandmother, Jane King, wife of Edward Stacey and sister-in-law of your Thomas Stacey. The site of his camp is along the Excel/Ollie rd and the sawmill site is on Clifford Manning's property.

  2. Good information. Any idea where the McPhaul turpentine camp was located? Newspaper said four miles south of Jones Mill.