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The Semi-weekly leader. (Brookhaven, Miss.) 1905-1941, November 29, 1905, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86074065/1905-11-29/ed-1/seq-1/

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the Semi-Weekly leader, n^ri
[too BU5Y
This week to
write ads.
1 * •
Keep in touch with
our store and keep
! A. C. Seavey &
* • ^ -v ** ♦ <r ^

■- ...... <»
< >
I have just received a car-load of the fa* ;;
mous “ETNA” Blacksmith Shop Coal, which “
we are selling at $1.25 per sack of 200 pounds
Wagon and Buggy Material j
I ”T~ “ ii
We have a big stock on hand and are buy* ;;.j
\\ ing direct from the manufacturers, thereby ;;
II saving the jobber’s profit***fhis we give to
II you. Come in and get .our prices. II
Roofing Material 1
| Have a big stock of Black Diamond Felt
Roofing. Anyone can
| not leak or burn.
[Three Papers 1 year for $2.25—280 Issues
The Leader, The Memphis News-Scimitar and The Home and Farm

Judge Wilkinson Delivers a Strong
Charge to the Grand Jury.
Says Lincoln Is Making Progress Along
Law and Order Lines.
Judge Wilkinson apened court
promptly Monday morning and
proceeded to draw the grand jury'.
Several persons whose names
were drawn from the box were
excused for one cause and anoth
er. The grand jury as finally em
paneled and sworn in was as fol
lows: II. D. Bullock, W. A.
Brewer, W. B. Allen, J. S.
Reeves, W. J. Ellzey, I. W. Ma
son, Jesse Hoggatt, James Hux,
Virgil Brister, H. F. Morgan, J.
B. Greer, S. S. Applewhite,
Clowe Gill, W. J. D, Hart, N. b.
Grice, N. M. Nevils, E. b• Scott,
-Eewis, AH of the jurors are
farmers except W, A. Brewer,
who is a railroad engineer.
W. J. Ellzey was appointed
foreman and Sam Dunn bailiff.
After the usual introductory
remarks, the judge charged the
jury to present no person in a
spirit of revenge, and to spare np
one through fear, favor Or affec
tion. He congratulated the jury
the county on the progress
made along law aqd order ljnes
singe he was first called to the
bench here, but admonished them
that there is still much important
work to be done in this direction.'
There are some things yet that
need to be straightened out, and
if the jury will do its duty and
bring the offenders to the bar of
this court, the court will endeav
or to see that theyr are taught the
needed lesson.
It will be the first duty of the
vrand jury to investigate the
seises pf persons in jail, chayged
with crifne, The ye have ligsp
thyee oy four homicides commit
ted in the county since the last
sourt, and three men are in jail
charged with murder. Xo person
has a right under the law to take
human life except in negessayy
self-defense, the jury must
investigate all killings reported
to it and see if murder has bee^
/^i i ■ • _
MuuiM-^g was reterred to as
one of the most demoralizing apd
corrupting vices with which so
ciety is alfiicted, and the jury was
charged to investigate and indict
the whole fraternity, if the evi
dence cquid be secured, fyom the
gambler in cofton futqres in thw
Bjroo.khavep (dotton Exchange
down to the niggey crap shooter.
Uon’t begin on the insignificant
negro yrap shooter first, but go
after the big game, the business
man who gambles or the card
players around Brookhaven, who
wear standing collars and red
neckties, and if they are indicted
and convicted the court wifi see
that they are put behind jail bars
like ordinary crap shooters. Cot
ton exchanges are all right and
serve the farmer and merchant a
good purpose when they furnish
the latest market quotations, but
the gambling feature is against
the law and should be broken up.
The cotton future gambler sooner
or later comes to grief. The
game is foo big and tempting.
Look at tlie fate of SuHyi the
great cotton byll, and Theodore
Price, tbe big New York bear.
When men like these fail, what
can the small-fry fellow in the
country markets expect when he
gambles in futures? It will be a
good thing for the future gam
blers themselves for the jury to
indict them.
Another thing, the clems cm
ployed in the' merchants stores
can’t live on the salaries they re
ceive and gamble at the same time
without lobbing their employers.
There is no such thing as an hon
est gambler in this day and time.
In the days jong past there may
h^ve tteeii, but not jn tips ago and
generation. In my town the mer
chants won’t employ a young man
in their stores who is known as a
gambler, and wlmn you see a
youDg man behind their counters
and desks it is equivalent to a cer
tificate of character on this point.
The court here gave several ex
amples of young men who had
gone to town from the country ti
engage in business and been led
into temptation and ruined by the
gambling element. There is nc
place in Mississippi under the
law’for the gambler or vagranl
except the jail or county farm.
The court referred two or three
times in the course of his charge
to the hoodlumism at Harpiohj
school hou§e in the northern por
tion pf district No. 3, which was
so justly anq severely ponclerauec
by prof. Campbell in last Satur
day’s Reader, That crowd was
just ljke that teacher-describee
them, declared the Court. I reck
on there were no men presenl
when they were making that dis
graceful exhibition in the pies
ence of the women and children
or they would not have got awaj
as they did. If I was at a place
where a slot of drunken hoodlums
acted that way before a lot ol
(Continued on 1th page, column 6.)
She Visits His Office and Shoots Him
Without Warning.
Desperate Woman Committed to Jaii
Without Benefit of Bail.
On last Saturday morning the
town of Monticello was the scene
of one of the most sensational and
startling tragedies which has ever
occurred in South Mississippi,
when Mrs. Dr. Jas. R. Birdsongi
of that place, went to the office of
Dr. Tbos. Butler, and, . without
warning, shot him to death with
a revolver. Naturally enough,
such an extraordinary incident
threw the quiet old town snugly
nestling on the banks of the Bear!
into a fever of the most intense
excitement; all stores and offloes
were closed, and the people did
nothing the rest of the day except
to discuss the details of the blood;
y affair and the probable and pos
sible causes leading up to it.
Dr. Butler was a promineot
physician of Monticello and per
sonally and professionally ope of
the most popular men of that
town and Lawrence county. He
was about 40 years of age, band
some in person, genial and socia
ble in disposition apd counted liis
friends tay'the hundreds. He was
a sop-in-law of Ifon. Samuel
Ilickmap, of F.awrepce county, a
pephew of ex-Gov. Lopgipo, apd
otherwise related to some of the
most prominent families of Law
rence county, and had a wife and
four children.
Mrs. Birdsong, his murderess,
is likewise a member of one of
the oldest and most rU8Peuled
families of ^awrenpe cqupty, be
ing thp daughter of Mr. Geo. \Y.
Fox, of that county. She w«s
married to, her husband, Dr. dasr
R. Birdsong, a dentist, formerly
of Hazlehurst, and a member of
one of the leading families of Co
piah, when she was only 13 or 1$
years of age. and i§ pqw hut 19,
hardly np.°l'P thaq a girl, She is
tlie mother of two small children
the youngest of which »» scarcely
yet two ve»rs old.
Very soon after the first shock
of surprise and excitement over
the shouting had subsided, Mrs.
Birdsong was taken in custody by
Sheriff D. M. Lee and placed in
jail, and later in the day her hus
band was arrested and placed in
jail, charged with being an acces
sory before the fact to the mur
Yesterday was set for the pre
liminary trial before Justice J.
W. Steen at Monticello, and the
court house was packed to. tne
doors with an anxious, curious
crowd to witness the proceedings.
Hon. A. C. McNair, of Broakha
ven, Ex-Gov. Longino, of Jack
son, and L.. E. Grice, of Monti
cello, appeared for the State, and
lions. B. N. Miller, of Hazle
hurst and G. Wood Magee, of
Monticello, for the defense.
After the examination of only a
few of the many witnesses sum
moned on both sides and no little
sparring and argument by coun
sel, Justice Steen announced bis
decision remanding Mrs. Bird
song to jail without the benefit of
bail and discharging Dr. Birdsong
from custody.
A representative of The Leader
spent yesterday in Monticello at
tending the trial, talking with
many of the witnesses in the case
and examining the scene of the
terrible tragedy, and a condensed
summary of what was learned is
given below:
for a goon long time ur. cut
ler Lad been the physician of the
Biidsong family. He had lately
built a new office on fhe main
street of the town running from
the new railroad depot to the
court house, and situated on an
air line about 75 or 80 yards from
the Bjrdsong residence, and in
full view of the front of the resi
dence. The doctor's office was on
the north side of the street and
fronted south, and the Birdsong
residence is situated on a differ
ent street and fronts west, the
nearest course between them-be
ing diagonally across the street
and a small enclosure. The doc
tor’s office is about 24 feet long
by 16 wide,* divided into two
rooms, with a gallery covering the
front end 6 feet wide, railed up
except at the corner, w here the
steps lead up from the side walk
three feet from the gallery floor,
The front dpor apa steps are lo
cated on fhe east corner, and front
south, Immediately in line with
the front door is a partition door
that opens ipto the rear room- A
back door tp the rear room opens
on a garden lot. The rear room
has two windows, one on the east
and one on the west side. The
front room has two windows, one
in front, opening on the south,
like the front door, the other on
the east side between the front
door and the partition door. All
of the windows are of extra thick
glass and have shutters. At the
time of the shooting all of the
| window shutters and all of the
doors, except the back door, were
thrown wide open. Two of the
saying SIIU wauicu mm ID give
her ’ something else, the doctor
blandly answering that hedidr’t
know what else to do, but would
try to find ber something and
about this time Williamson de
parted and hadn’t gotten but
about 25 or 30 yards when he
heard the pistol shots.
Messrs. Cowart, Williams and
Welborne, who were still in front
of the bank building when the
shooting took place, testified in
substance that they heard three
shots tired inside of the offlee,
loud exclamations of pain, got a
glimpse of somebody on the in
side through the side window of
the front room, then saw Dr.
Butler emerge through the front
door in a stooped position with
his hands clasped to his breast
and stagger down the steps,
quickly followed by Mrs. Bird
song with her smoking revolver
in her hand. Dr. Butler turned
to the right as soon as he got on
the side walk, got to the west end
of the gallery, turned and fell in
a little V shaped space between
the west end of the gallery and a
picket fence that jutted up against
the office building. 'After follow
ing him down the steps and
fumbling with the cylinder of her
revolver, as if it wouldn’t work,
Mrs. B. 6eerped to fire ofi one
chamher accidentally, then turned
and fired the two remaining cham
bers at the prostrate form of her
victim as he lay on the ground,
coolly placed her smoking pistol,
which was a 32 silver mounted
Smith & Wesson Special, back in
her satchel,and started back toward
home. When the excited eye
witnesses reached Dr. Butler a
few seconds after the last shot, he
was gasping his last breath and
never uttered a syllable.
Nearly half way home from the
office, she met Dr. Birdsong with
a double barreled shot gun, in his
shirt sleeves and bare-headed,
who exclaimed on meeting her,
“AJy God, Angie, what have you
done?” Her only answer was,
‘‘I know what 1 have done,” and
they walked on to the house to
State Witness Bryant testified
that on the way to the house, after
the meeting, Birdsong was heard
to ask his wife why didn’t she
wait and let him shoot him. This
witness also testified that after
Dr. Birdsong got on his gallery
he took the pistol used by his
wife, broke it and emptied the
exploded shells out of the cylin
The physical signs showed that
Dr. Butler was struck by two of
the shots fired in his office, the
range being so close that his
clothing was powder burnt. One
bullet entered just above the left
nipple and passed out his back
just under tne snoulder made. A
second entered the back and came
out where the other entered, pass
ing through the heart. The third
missed him and struck the floor
of the office gallery as he was go
ing out, and the three fired on the
outside missed him. It is the
theory of the State that he was
stooping down to get an empty
bottle put of one of the boxes in
the rear1 room when he received
the first shot, A broken bottle
was found lying by the box, and
one witness saw him through the
window right by this box imme
diately after the first shot was fir
The real cause which incited the
woman to commit the desperate
act may never be known. The
theory advanced by the defense
was that she was wrought up to
a state of desperation over re
ports she had heard that her vie
tim circulated reflecting on her
virtue. The testimony which it
was sought to be introduced to
prove this was ruled out by the
court. There is a well authenti
cated report that she sent for Dr,
Butler to come to see her last
Wednesday and that he did not
go. At the same time a rumor,
gained currency that she bad tak
en %o overdose of morphine with
suicidal intent. Dr. Alford, who
was sent for after Dr. Butler fail
ed to respond, found that she
was not under the influence of
the poisonous drug. The most
generally accepted theory is that
she had become strangely infatuat
ed with her family physician,
and, feeling that she had been re
pulsed or mistreated by him in
some way, resolved on a desperate
revenge. She displayed remark
able nerve after the killing up to
yesterday morning when, she was
brought into court. Then she
showed signs of weakening, and
several times during the proceed
ings displayed extreme agitation.
She is a blonde of medium size,
and far from being a handsome
DI. Birdsong took the stand
and testified in his own behalf.
He said he reached Monticello
Friday evening after several days
absence, and before going home
heard the report about his wife
having attempted suicide. After
getting home he informed her
what he had heard and they dis
cussed the subject some. He no
ticed she appeared despondent,
but having satisfied himself that
she had not tried to kill herself,
as reported, he did not care to
hear anything more on the sub
ject and dismissed it. That, night
he drank quite heavily from a
bottle of whisky he had in the
house, getting up and taking a
drink several times during the
night, and had not dressed to go
out next morning when the trage
dy occurred. When he heard the"
hrst shot he inquired of his
mother “Where is Angie?” and
being answered that she bad gone
to Dr. Butler’s office, be looked
out in that direction and hearing
other shots and getting a glimpse
of his wife through Dr. Butler’s
office window, he instinctively
suspected that she was in trouble
over there and might be killed,
and grabbed his shot gun, which
was standing behind the-door, and
hurried in that direction without
coat or hat. He denied having
an}r previous knowledge of her
intentions or making the state
ment about shooting Dr. Butler
ascribed to him by Witness Brv
The shocking and lamentable
affair continues to be the all
absorbing topic among the people
of Monti cello and all the surround
ing country. Pending further
legal proceedings, Mrs. Birdsong
will be made as comfortable as
possible by Sheriff Lee in the new
Monticello jail.
Tomorrow will be the biggest
day of all at the Mississippi Ex
position now in progress at Jack
son. A great many people from
other towns will'spend Thanks
giving at the Capital taking in
the sights. The I. C. is selling
round trip tickets for one fare,
bee schedule of daily excursion
train iu this paper.
See The Leader about your Job
Hartman & Co. vs. Butterfield.
Washington, Nov. 27.—The de
cision of the Supreme Court of
the State of Mississippi in the
case of F. H. Hartman & Compa
ny vs. The Butterfield Lumber
Co., was today affirmed bv the
Supreme Court of the -United
States, the opinion being by Jus
tice Brewer. In the case of Esau
Harness, while seeking to secure
land in Lincoln county, Missis
sippi, under the preemption laws
of the United States, made a con
tract with a lumber company to
convey to it the pine timber on
the land and a right of way one
hundred feet wide for roads,
trams and railroads. After he
had obtained a patent on the land
he made a conveyance to the lum
ber company of the timber and
right of way and then sold the
land itself to Hartman. The court
held that, although, the contract
made before Harness’ title to the
land was complete, was void un
der the statutes of the United
States in respect to pre-emption
and could not have been enforced
by the lumber company against
him, yet by the patents he ac
quired legal title and could sell or
give the land away to whomso
ever he pleased and that by bis
conveyances to the lumber com
pany it sustained a title which
could be defeated only by the
United States and could not be
challenged by one acquiring an
interest, on the land through a
conveyance from Harness after
his deed to it.
Justice White dissented.
An Old Newspaper Man.
Mr. J. T. Ballance is one of the
notable visitors to Jackson this
week. Mr. Ballance is an old
newspaper man aud “picked up
his stick” in 1846, and in 1852
was editor of the Whig-Intelligen
cer at Paulding, where the Clarion
was then published. He worked
on the Clarion in this city in the
early ’70s. He dow edits and
publishes the Centreville Jefferso
nian,. owned by Mr. H. M. Quin,
of this city. Mr. Ballance cele
brated his 76tb birthday on the
4th of last July and is now hale
and hearty and evinces a great
interest in public matters.—Clar
Thanksgiving Service.
There will be a union Thanks
giving service at the Presbyterian
church tomorrow at 11 a. m. The
sermon will be preached by the
pastor, Rev. W.. E. Phifer and
special music will be furnished by
a select choir. The public is cor
dially invited to attend.
James W. Nesom, aged 37, died
at Laurel, leaving a wife and sev
eral small children.
walls of the front room are lined
with shelves and bottles contain
ing drugs and medicines, and the
rear room contained a couple of
boxes filled with empty bottles,
and a number of large bottles sit
ting around on the floor. Being
newly occupied and the painting
not quite finished, the only furni
ture in the office was three chairs
in the front room. Across the
street, immediately in front of the
doctor’s office is Mr. Garrett’s
residence, and 25 or 30 yards east,
and on the same side of the street
with the office, is the new brick
bank building, nearing comple
A little after 10 o’clock Satur
day morning ex-Sheriff VV. W*.
Williams, Postmaster E. O. Cow
art and Bob Welborne were all
sitting on a pile of bricks in front
of the bank building talking,
when Mrs. Birdsong was noticed
to pass them going toward the
doctor’s office, with a little satchel
in her hand. Henry Williamson,
a farmer who lives south of Mon
ticello, but who was not called to
the stand during the preliminary
trial, is quoted as sayiug that he
wa3 in the doctor’s office for the
purpose of getting a prescription
when she appeared, and that Mrs.
Birdsong, who at once noticed his
presence, began by complaining
that some medicine the doctor had
prescribed for one of her children'
had not had the desired effect and
vluju daily 0:ju r. w. CHRISTMAS DAY AND NEW YEAR’S 0
° — ■ ' ‘ 41
4> 44
McGrath’s Handsome Holiday Goods
° Arc rolling in at a lively rate and wil be ready for display early in December. Particulars regarding the many attractive items
<» purchased specially, tor Christmas trade will appear at an early date.
4> *ii i | ^ou cann°f nOord to buy these lines till you get a look at the McGrath stock. Prices will be marked in plain figures and T
.. 'v’‘ J10 low enough to win your favor. Remember, too, that in addition to the special holiday line you will find many items in °
regular stock admirably suited for Xmas presents-useful as well as ornamental.
° at fhe BP0cials in Furs, Ladies’ Wraps, Waists and Skirts, elegant Silks, Dress Goods, Linens, Scarfs, Hand- o
° verchiefs, Ltc., Ltc. ISo trouble to find just the thing wanted ’if you patronize McGrath’s. Special orders promptly and
o effectively executed. Aside from Xmas buying remember the . F J °
o a^stbe mi,lioua of dollars in clean, fresh merchandise offered at a bargain, many items being sold BELOW MANUFACTURERS’ °
■ ^ '\a? a f0 a bnisb between the big St. Louis wholesale merchants and goods were sold regardless as a result of the °
<► keen competition and the wild scramble for trade.
t om f!'ora the MoUnth stores were on band “ready for business,” and John McGrath & Sons, of Brookhaven, were I
♦ * * heayyl buyers of attractive merchandise. Though already equipped with a magnificent stock of goods in all departments
o P"c.e*V™e b& bt Louls saie Wl11 enable the one-price store to SELL THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF MER- °
" .1 .1 ' .A;k aboufc t7ls bargain offerings tliat arc to be found in every department of the Big Store. The lively Fall Campaign ..
0 already instituted will become more vigorous as the season advances, and prices will be extremely lew.
<> will pay you to investigate the claims ot the Big Department Store.
McGrath’s Little Side Show Grows
More lively and interesting as the weeks roll on. Last Saturday the Big Wagon Sale in front of the store was a hummer °
half price 3 °f Shrewd buyers tooIi advantaSe of the bargain offerings that went to the highest bidder-many of them going at o
Vanoiis guesses were made as to the wh}7 and wherefore of the window and wagon sale. One wide-awake customer said
1 he thought McGrath wanted to relieve the annual Xmas Eve rush (when goods are given away from the roof of the store) by doing T
a little of it every Saturday. ’ J ♦
Another thought it must be to relieve the crowded condition of the big store incident to the usual heavy Saturday trade. f
,, Another figured^that perhaps we had too much stock, but while all these guesses were pretty fair, the real reason is—well, ♦
o that’s another story—suffice it to say now that you can look for another I
;; Big Wagon Sale in Front of McGrath’s Store "
Saturday, December 2nd, at 2 P. M. "
' O
Big lot of Merchandise sacrificed—goods sold to the highest bidder. You cannot afford to miss it. It may be the last of
it the season. Bear in mind that the contents of the
♦ Will betaken out at 3 p. m. Saturday and SOLD REGARDLESS Oh COST. You buy at your own price. McGrath pavs the I
o freight. You will always find special attractions at the well-stocked store of
| - John McGrath & Sons ;

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