Last week I began sharing the story of the murder of William K. Glover in 1893, one of Douglas County's longest unsolved cold cases.
At the time of his death W.K. Glover was 42 years old. He had served a term as the town marshal for the little village of Salt/Lithia Springs, and had also served as the postmaster. Glover's father, John F. Glover (1829-1877) had been the tax receiver back when Douglas County was part of old Campbell County before the Civil War, and served as tax collector for Douglas County from 1873-1877 with an unblemished record. Glover's uncle, Dr. Thomas Coke Glover, was a well-respected doctor in old Campbell County as well as a war hero who had raised a company, fought in over 100 engagements before perishing at Winchester, Virginia. The Glover family was prominent and respected by all who knew them.
Last week I advised a total of seven men were arrested for the murder including Bud Moody, Ed Humphries, Merrill M. Humphries, W. Richardson, Dick Hollis, George Harris and Jack Smith. The preliminary trial was well attended by family, friends, and citizens just wanting to gawk at the proceedings.
Jack Smith was tried first, and it went rather quickly since he had no trouble in showing he had been wrongly accused. All the men being detained had been at the Bowden home playing cards the night of the murder. It was reported the evening passed pleasantly for all. Towards midnight the party broke up and the men started home. Jack Smith lingered behind and was on the porch talking with the Misses Bowden.
Smith was able to prove this, of course, and was quickly acquitted. The same occurred in the cases of Merrill M. Humphries, W. Richardson, Dick Hollis, and George Harris. They were all free to go; however, Ed Humphries and Bud Moody remained charged.
The attorney for the state felt satisfied that he had a strong case against these two. He pushed it hard and brought out some strange, if not strong circumstantial evidence against them including the gun evidence and prints left in a dirt field near where Glover's body was found. But most of the evidence was stranger than strong, and so purely circumstantial that the court would not accept it. Throughout the trial there was much talk of blind tigers (places where illegal liquor and moonshine could be purchased anonymously) and poor reputations against Moody and Humphries. So, conclusive was the evidence against them in that direction that the court, while acquitting them of the murder charge bound them over in the sum of $100 each for running a blind tiger and the bonds were given.
And then it was announced there was one more defendant to be charged with the murder of W.K. Glover. There was audible gasp heard in the courtroom when the name put forth was the very well-known and well respected, John M. James.
The charge and arrest annoyed James considerably, and he certainly didn't mind talking to the press.
"Why," said he, "it's a damnable outrage. If I wanted to accomplish anyone's death I would have the nerve to face him like a man and do so. I have faced death before and my record as a soldier will show that I'm no man to cowardly assassinate a foe, in the dark. I do not blame Glover's brothers for trying to find the assassin, and I shall do as much as they to unearth him, but they ought to be careful how they go about it. Glover never had a better friend than I."
Yes, the arrest of James created a sensation throughout the county, and the court proceedings introduced all sorts of gossip regarding James as well as the murder victim.
Look for my column next week where I'll tell the tale!
Lisa Cooper writes the amazing stories of Douglas County each Sunday. You can find her new book "Every Now and Then: The Amazing Stories of Douglas County" online at Amazon, print and Kindle versions. Locally, her books can be found at the Douglas County Museum of History and Art, The Farmer's Table and Lithia Springs Pharmacy.