Was Justice Served?

As you now know from my previous posts, our great-grandfather William McCune was murdered at age 36 in Griffin, GA, on 1 Oct 1911. Two of the three men involved were indicted and sentenced to life in prison.

According to an obituary notice in the Columbus Ledger, William’s funeral was held in his mother’s home in Girard, AL, at 10 a.m. on 3 October 1911 with Rev. Charles Kneeland officiating. The pallbearers were J.E. White, J.H. Best, C.H. Latham, John Bockman, W.M. Clark, and J.M. Haywood. The burial was in Girard Cemetery, but to the best of my knowledge, the grave is unmarked.[1]

William’s murderers were sent to Monroe County, GA, to serve their life sentences. Our great-grandmother Carrie and her three children, Frank, Willie, and Rossie, moved back to Columbus, and then, as you may recall from my previous posts on Carrie, she remarried. Life moved on for all concerned.

However, while I was doing further research on our McCune family line using online newspaper databases last year, I came across a news article from the Macon Telegraph dated 14 August 1912 with this headline:


Monroe, Picnic Ground, For White Convicts:

Five Have Escaped and Are Still at Liberty, Two Life Timers Free [2]


Scanning the article, I was shocked to see the names of William’s murderers. The article explained that while on a prison work detail, Jim H. and Jeff T. took advantage of a shortage of prison guards and escaped into some woods nearby. The few guards on duty were not able to chase them immediately due to the large number of prisoners they were supervising. The sheriff used tracking dogs throughout the area later, but the two men were not found. They had served about nine months of their life sentences for the murder of William McCune. Although the headline referred to a ‘picnic ground,’ they didn’t escape from a picnic ground. The writer was being sarcastic about Monroe County having five recent escapees and the county being their ‘picnic ground.’

I then began searching newspapers and other resources online for the recapture of these men or any possible involvement in subsequent crimes up to the year 1920. I’ve continued to search periodically over the past year, but have found nothing. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if these men were ever recaptured and returned to prison. But I’ll continue my search to discover if justice was truly served for William McCune.


[1] Columbus Ledger, 3 Oct 1911, Vol XXV, Issue 33, p. 3, online image, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 2015).

[2] Macon Telegraph, 15 Aug 1912, p. 8, online image, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 2015).

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