After our great-grandfather, William McCune, was declared deceased at the local hospital in Griffin, GA, his body was sent to Bass’ Undertaking Parlor and his family was notified. According to a news article in the Columbus Ledger on 2 Oct 1911, William’s family in Girard, AL, was alerted by telephone that he had been killed, but no explanation was given. I can only imagine the grief and confusion the family experienced when they got that call.
His brother, Jesse, and brother-in-law, Joe Prince, traveled by train from Columbus to Griffin to make arrangements for his body to be sent home. William’s immediate surviving family members, besides his wife, Carrie, and three children, Frank, Willie, and Rossie, were his mother, Mrs. Sarah McCune of Girard, AL, three sisters, Mrs. Nettie Prince, Mrs. Emma Hardy, and Mrs. Lucinda Sistrunk, and two brothers, John and Jesse. The funeral took place in the home of his mother, and he was buried in Girard Cemetery. To my knowledge, his grave is unmarked.
So what happened next? A coroner’s jury was empaneled on Sunday afternoon of 1 October 1911 to begin the investigation into the circumstances of his death and to hear eyewitness accounts. As reported in the Atlanta Constitution on 3 October 2011, the coroner’s jury “returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to his death by the violent use of a stick on his head and knife wound in his throat and recommended that Jim H., Jeff T., and Trummy H. be held on a charge of murder in connection with the case. Jeff T. and Trummy H. were arrested by Sheriff Hutson and carried to jail, but Jim H. could not be found on Sunday night.”
Two of the men, Jeff T. and Trummy H., were immediately arrested while the third, Jim H., remained at large. Several newspapers reported that Jim H. was already under bond for the murder of another Georgia man the previous year and was also under a second bond for assault with intent to murder. Jeff T. and Trummy H. gave full statements describing their role in the events and implicated Jim H. in the murder.
The preliminary trial of Jeff T. and Trummy H. took place on 6 October 1911 at the county courthouse in Griffin. Jeff T. was bound over on a charge of murder and returned to jail, while Trummy H. was bound over as an accessory to murder and then released on a $1000 bond. Jim H. had been located, arrested and placed in the county jail, but was denying any connection with the murder.
In early December, Jeff T. and Jim H. were indicted by a grand jury, convicted in Spalding County Superior Court and drew life sentences. The headlines in the Griffin News quoted Solicitor General J. W. Wise, “He who sheds the blood of his fellow man, by man shall his blood be shed.” The two men were witnesses against each other in their trials. Trummy H. was not indicted and was released. On December 10, Jim H. and Jeff T. were sent by train to Monroe County, GA, to begin serving their life sentences.
So the tragic story of William McCune’s death ends. Or so I thought. Read my next post for a surprising turn of events.
Next time: Was justice truly served for our great-grandfather? The story’s not over yet!
 Columbus Ledger, 2 Oct 1911, Vol. XXV, issue 32, p. 6, image copy, Genealogybank.com, (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 1 Dec 2015).
 Atlanta Constitution, 3 Oct 1911, p. 2, image copy, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com: accessed 1 Dec 2015).
 Macon Telegraph, 3 Oct 1911, p.3, image copy, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 2015).
 Griffin News, 6 Oct 1911, microfilm image accessed 1993, Spalding County Public Library, Griffin, GA.
 Griffin News, December 1911, microfilm image accessed 1993, Spalding County Library, Griffin, GA.