Without a doubt I'd have to say that the murder of William K. Glover is Douglas County's longest standing unsolved cold case going all the way back to May 1893. Scanning the headlines during the days following the murder the words "diabolical, cowardly, and revolting" stand out describing the crime. At the time of his murder, Glover was a member of a prominent old Campbell/Douglas County family and a former town marshal for Salt Springs as well as a former postmaster. Today, Salt Springs is known as Lithia Springs.
The preface to his bloody, cold-blooded death is this -- Glover was waylaid between 11 p.m. and midnight on May 1st on a public highway (the 1893 version of today's Bankhead Highway) just inside the city limits of Salt Springs. He was decoyed into the depths of a dark, black grove of trees and shot down like a dog.
Glover was found the next morning lying on his back with his hat still in his hand.
As Henry Ward, the sheriff of Douglas County, began to piece together Glover's last few hours on earth, an autopsy was held. It was discovered the buckshot had penetrated Glover's left side, breaking his arm, and entered his head, killing him instantly.
Someone found the tracks of two men behind a tree near the body. One of the men had large feet, and the other much smaller. Every one quickly agreed the assassins had secreted themselves behind that tree and that the shot had been fired from there.
It had been raining the night of the murder and the tracks were easily followed. They led through a fresh plowed field, and it was soon found where the two men had jumped a ditch, both of them falling in doing so. One of them left the print of his knee in the fresh dirt, while the other left a handprint in the mud. Further on in the chase an old red handkerchief was found and that handkerchief was believed to be the property of a young man known in the county and about town.
The investigation was continued with the coroner's inquest.
A double-barreled shotgun was found in a home with one barrel loaded. The barrel was thought to correspond with the charge with which Glover was killed. These and other things caused suspicion to fall upon Bud Moody, Ed Humphries, Merrill M. Humphries, W. Richardson, Dick Hollis, George Harris, and Jack Smith -- the same men who had joined Glover at the Bowden home on today's Bankhead Highway for cards.
Most of them were men of good character, and for that reason the jury for the coroner's Inquest would not indict anyone as responsible for the murder, but on Wednesday, J.H. Glover, brother of the deceased, went before a justice of the peace and swore out warrants for the arrest of the men named. I'll add here that Bud Moody was a known moonshiner and had been acquitted for murder back in 1885 which I discussed in a column last June when the body of a moonshine snitch was found in Cold Lake in old Campbell County.
The Bowden home where the night of card playing occurred still stands today. It is one of Douglas County's oldest historic homes. It's the two-story yellow home that stands on the right side of Bankhead Highway before you get to the Thornton Road intersection heading toward Austell. Today, it's the home of a business, The Plumber.
I'm not sure of the direction Glover was walking along the road that night, but somewhere through there is where the murder occurred. Newspaper accounts mention the body was found within a "few yards" of the Bowden home.
All of the men lawyered-up very quickly, and a preliminary hearing was held the following day. Many interesting details were uncovered at the trial, but the result was all of the men were set free, and they and their friends were indignant and declared they would even up with those who prosecuted them.
It appeared that a life-long feud and bitter strife was started with the preliminary trial's outcome, and Douglas County citizens were certain the crime would never be uncovered, and the guilty parties would forever remain unknown to law enforcement.
One hundred and twenty-four years later I would have to say they were right, but tune in next week for more regarding the Glover murder mystery. The preliminary hearing did uncover more details, and another prominent citizen of Douglas County was charged with the crime.
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.