McAllister was MURDERED – January 15, 1925


The Savannah Press – January 15, 1925

M’Allister was MURDERED,
     says Coroner’s Jury

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Inquest was held today; Witnesses tell of Discovery

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Brother of dead man on way to Savannah

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Arrest Probable in M’Allister Case

It is understood that investigations of the county police into the McAllister murder are coming to a focus, and an arrest may be made before midnight. There is no official announcement of this, but it is gathered the police believe the evidence in their possession may lead to the issuance of a warrant. The county police, under the direction of Chief Chapman, have worked night and day on the case. tracing every clue to its ultimate conclusion.

After hearing all the testimony submitted to it, the jury in the coroner’s inquest, at Sipple Brothers’ held over the body of Edward L. McAllister at noon today, found the following verdict:

“We the jury find that Edward L McAllister came to his death from wounds inflicted with a sharp instrument. In the hands of an unknown party or parties. and we consider it murder, the wounds being on the top of his head.”
The members of the coroner’s jury were Frank W. Williams, foreman; Dave L. Christian, Robert Beytagh, C. P. Abrams, Joseph Alexander, and Pratt Wright.

Besides Dr. George H. Johnson, the coroner, who, as a physician and witness, gave his testimony, there – were five Witnesses heard by the jury.

First Witness
The first Witness was H. B. Brown, Bee road and Victory drive.

Mr. Brown said: “Monday, Mr. Smith, the man that worked with Mr. McAllister, asked me to go and see what was the matter with him, as he had not come to work.

“Mr.Smith told me Tuesday morning that be had looked through the window and saw the bed torn up, as if he (Mr. McAllister) had gotten up and gone out.

“He suggested that I go over and see what I could find out. I went over and looked through the bedroom window and saw the bed torn up.  I, with another man, Tom Carr, looked around and saw that his car was in the garage.

“I looked .through the kitchen window and saw Mr. McAllister’s feet. I then got a chair and looked down through the window and said: ‘Tom, look there, McAllister is dead.’

“I then called 88 and reported the case to the officers. The officers came and raised the window.

“I don’t remember whether I last saw Mr. McAllister last Thursday or Friday. I did not work on the same shift as Mr. McAllister. We worked at different hours.

“Mr. McAllister was a man who had very little company.

Was Well Liked.
The only time I went there was when his wife died. He was well liked and as good-hearted a man as ever saw In my life. He was a ‘lead man’ for a while and we worked together. It seems all the men thought the world and all of him. A negro woman worked for him a few days after his wife died. He was a man. that never did visit much. He had some good neighbors. He came around to see me once in a while, sometimes once a week.”

Mrs. H. B. Brown, the next witness, said: “My husband came in that morning and said to me, ‘I want you and me to take a walk over to the old place.  I asked why he wanted to go over. He said, ‘Mack hasn’t been to work in several days and we ought to go, and see about him.  We went over and looked around. We saw his chickens and his car in the garage. W e looked through the bedroom window and saw the clock had stopped, I saw his cap hanging on the back of a chair. My husband stepped over to the kitchen window and looked in.  Mr. Carr was there, and my husband said, ‘My God, Tom, the man is dead!’ One at a time, my husband, Mr. Carr and I looked in and saw him, with the upper part of his body leaning against the kitchen partition.

Saw Him Christmas Eve.

“The last time I saw Mr. McAllister was Christmas Eve. Mr. Carr saw us at Mr: McAllister’s house and came over and joined us.”

William T. Carr, 1415 East Thirty-eighth street, said: “The first I knew of it was when Mr. Smith and Mr. Anderson came out Monday afternoon and said they were looking for Mr. McAllister

“They said, ‘come on and go with us. I went with them to the corner of Ash and Thirty-ninth street.
We went up on the piazza, looked through the window and saw the bed. It looked, as if a man had
gotten up after having slept in it.

Monday Evening
“I saw his car in the garage. Mr. Smith went to the hack of the house and looked through the kitchen window. We couldn’t have seen Mr. McAllister at the point where we found him later.  It was about 6 o’clock and too dark to see very much in the kitchen. I went back to my house and lit my light. The thing kept me worried.

“Tuesday morning I was out in my yard when I saw Mr. and Mrs. Brown over at Mr. McAllister’s. I whistled and asked what they were looking for and told them Mr. Anderson and Mr. Smith were there Monday afternoon looking for Mr. McAllister.

Looked in Window.
“I went over and we went on,  the stoop.  Mr. Brown looked in the kitchen window and said: ‘he’s in there. ‘

He then got a chair and looked in again. Mrs. Brown looked in and said, ‘he is down on the door.’ I then looked in and said, ‘My *God: the man is dead.’ Mr. Brown wanted to go in the house but I said ‘let’s get an officer, don’t go in that house.  Mr. Brown then said ‘lets get a phone,’ and we went over 

to a house and waited, until Mr. Brown telephoned the barracks. I didn’t want to wait as I had left my house open. I was standing at 40th street when Lieutenant Hallford came. I directed him to McAllister’s house. It seems to me the gentleman with Lieutenant Hanford opened the door with a skeleton key. The last time I saw Mr. McAllister was Saturday night.

“On Tuesday morning I saw the hatchet, there was also a dish of rice on the table. I am not a married man.”

Sketch of Room

The witness showed the Jury a sketch or diagram showing the location of the dead body and the outline of the kitchen. “I looked through the southeast window,” The witness said.  “A’ man standing by the stove could have struck Mr. McAllister from that point.” 

When asked by the coroner if he could recognize the hatchet used by the murderer, he hesitated and said there were so many hatchets that he did not like to say. When shown the bloody weapon, however, he promptly identified it.

H. B. Brown, recalled, said in answer to questions of the coroner, that Foreman Carter at the Atlantic Coast Line did not ask him to look for Mr. McAllister. “It did not see Mr. Carter,” he said.

Shown the hatchet found on the table at the McAllister residence, Mr. Brown said it was the kind used sometimes, by carpenters—it was called a chop hatchet, he said.

Saw Him Monday. 
C. F. Smith, carpenter, 308 West State street, said he caught a car at Broughton and Habersham streets Monday morning. “When I got out to the canal, near Thirty-ninth street and Waters road, Mr. McAllister came along, going west toward town. He had on a khaki suit, raincoat and gloves. He had been passing along nearly every day and I knew him in that way.  He talked to Mr. Coleman usually when coming by every day.

Ask for Cigarette

R. L. Coleman, basement, 222 East Taylor street, said: “I saw Mr. McAllister, Monday morning. He was going west on Thirty-ninth street. He asked me for a cigarette.  He looked as well as usual. 
He said the street is too muddy, ‘I won’t come cross the street.’ I did not work that day. I stayed
around until akoue 8:30 and went home.”

The coroner showed the watch found on the dead man’s person and said it wasrunning at 1:30 P. M. Tuesday night. The watch ran until 8:45 Tuesday night. “I timed the watch and found it runs about 36 hours, he said. The coroner said he found the dead man with his head against the kitchen partition.  There were four wounds on his head. There was a lathing hatchet laying on the table. There was $1.50 in small change and a Waltham watch on his person. 

Sipple Brothers, morticians, received a telegram yesterday afternoon from Joseph McAllister a brother of the dead man, asking that the body he held until his arrival in Savannah, He is coming from Pittsburg.

Man Investigated 

The county police yesterday afternoon temporarily detained a man for the purpose of clearing up what was believed to be a clue, but the man was released when it was found that he was in no way connected  with the affair.

Important Fact.
That McAllister’s watch was running at the time when the murder occurred and that it continued to run until 9 o’clock on the night when the man was found murdered at his home is an important factor in determining the time of the murder.  The watch, when fully wound and allowed to run its full time, was found have stopped about 36 hours after it was wound. This experiment was performed by Dr. Johnson, the coroner, yesterday. McAllister must have wound his watch according to this reasoning about 9 o’clock Monday morning.

Another important find at the house was that the back door key I was wrung off in the lock.

Source:

January 14, 1925 – M’Allister was Seen Alive Late as Monday Morning

The Savannah Press – January 14, 1925


The county police who are investigating all circumstances in regard to the murder of Edward L. McAllister at his home on Thirty-ninth street, near Ash, will present their findings at the coroner’s inquest tomorrow morning. This is the time tentatively fixed for the inquiry.

The county police also have direct evidence of the fact that Mr. McAllister was alive as late as early Monday morning. R. L. Coleman who gave his address as 222 Taylor street east, went to the county police headquarters at 10 o’clock this morning and gave out the information that he, a friend, C.F. Smith, and a negro saw Mr. McAllister about 7:30 o’clock Monday morning. He had on his raincoat, a chaki work suit, his gloves and was walking west on Thirty-ninth street, going toward the A.C.L. shuttle train, Coleman said. Mr. McAllister stopped long enough to ask Coleman for a cigarette.

Not Mistaken.

Coleman said he could not be mistaken as to the identity of the murdered man, as he worked with him for two years at the Atlantic Coast Line. He did not see the account of the murder until this morning, when he read it in The Press, he said and decided to tell the officers about it. He first went over and related his stor to Chief of Detectives McCarthy, but finding the county police were handling the case, went to their headquarters. The scene of the crime is about sixty feet beyond the eastern city limits.

Coleman said he lived in the basement at 222 Taylor street east. His friend Smith lives on State street west. On Monday he was working on a bungalow being erected by Charles Voss on Thirty-ninth street, just east of Waters road.

Closer inspection of the body of the dead man at Sipple Brothers’ mortuary disclosed that the murder was probably perpetrated in a cool and deliberate manner by the assailant of the lone man who was seated at his dining table when he was struck with the hatchet, according to the theory of the officers.

Wound in Temple.
A wound on the temple is believed to show that Mr. McAllister was first struck on the side of the head and knocked to the floor. He was then set upon, chopped on the head with the sharp blade and the top of his head then beaten to a pulp with the blunt end.

An examination of the dead man’s stomach is said to have disclosed evidence of decomposition believed to prove that Mr. McAllister had been dead at least forty-eight hours before he was found yesterday Morning.

Drew His Pay.
Other interesting details developed by the offices are that Mr. McAllister worked on last Saturday morning and early in the afternoon drew his wages for two ‘weeks, amounting to $84.75. He is said to have paid out only a small amount for groceries at a local store. When found Mr. McAllister only had 75 cents on his person.

Letter From Mother.
Among the effects of the dead man were found a letter from his mother, who lives in Pittsburgh, Pa., in regard to property there in which Mr. McAllister owned an interest. They also found a will in which proceeds of several insurance policies, amounting to several thousand dollars, and all the other property of the dead man was left to his wife. Mrs. McAllister died several months ago but the beneficiary under the policies had not been changed, it was stated.

Facts believed to be inconsistent with the theory that Mr. McAllister was murdered not later than last Sunday are that his watch taken possession of yesterday at 2 o’clock was still running. Two local jewelers have stated that the large “railroad” watches, the kind that the dead man owned, only run about 30 hours.

Although interesting, we didn’t learn much new about Edward’s life. We learned his mother was probably still alive. We also learned that his will not being changed to reflect his wife’s passing means that it probably went to probate. We also learned that there was several thousands of dollars of insurance policies, however, we know he was born in a pauper’s grave which is a reminder that your burial takes place long before your beneficiaries receive any insurance payments.

Georgia Virtual Vault & Edward Lamb McAllister

Georgia Virtual Vault 

I’m taking a genealogy course with the Cobb County Genealogical Society, with whom I am a member. Although I’ve done many webinars, but I’ve never taken an official class in genealogy.  I have been asked on a couple of occasions to give classes. I suppose I’ve been reluctant because I’ve not seen classes of this type put on by regular folks, only videos of professionals.  So, I thought I’d take the class mostly because I never had taken one before and because I thought I would pick up a few tidbits.  I am also new to the CCGC, so I thought I’d be a great opportunity to meet some of the people there. This class would be my first activity with the CCGC folks.
The first of two classes yesterday was on Census Records. It was an excellent class.  The instructor reminded me of the mortality schedules and the agriculture schedules.  I never look at them and I was reminded that I really should.  She did a short bit on Soundex codes and how they work. It was helpful and put it together more clearly for me. (See my frustration in a previous posting.) Really helpful was one of her Internet Resources Links that she suggested was the Soundex Calculator on the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter site. I bookmarked the calculator and put the bookmark in my Genealogy Tools folder.  I feel bookmarks are so much easier than trying to remember where I put the paper instructions.  
During the class, I was reminded of the Georgia Virtual Vault and due to funding cuts the Georgia Archives is only open two days a week, the least of any state archive facility.  (Note: Contact your state legislators and ask they improve funding for the State Archives
None of my ancestors are from Georgia nor are my wife’s, so I’ve never done a lot with the Georgia Virtual Vault. I was reminded of it so I thought I’d refresh my memory of some of the things that the site has.  My wife’s great-grand uncle, Ted McAllister died in Georgia.  Family oral history said he had “bedded a married woman and was killed by a jealous husband.”  I wondered if the story was true. A quick search and there was his death certificate.  Cause of Death: Murder.  Wow.  Maybe the story is true. Another part of the story is that Harold, the husband of my wife’s Great-Grand Aunt, went down to take care of business and have his body returned to Pennsylvania for burial.  The death certificate shows who the informant was, not Ted’s brother-in-law as oral tradition would indicate but Ted’s youngest brother.  The death certificate also says he was widowed.  Interesting, I had no information on a wife or other family.  It also indicated he was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah.  I guess they didn’t ship the body back. 
He also worked as a car inspector for the “A. C. L. Ry”.  Not being from Georgia, I didn’t know what that was.  Over to Wikipedia – Oh, of Course, the Atlantic Coast Line Railway (Railroad).  
I did a search of McAllister in Laurel Grove Cemetery on Find-A-Grave (FAG) (one of my favorite sites) and quickly located a memorial for him.  The memorial spoke of his first wife, three children, and a second wife who died and was also buried in the cemetery.
Sadly, the memorial indicated that, “A findagrave volunteer reports that he is buried in an unmarked grave in Strangers Ground…- this is where county-paid burials are located.“  His wife is likewise in Strangers Ground so they must have been extremely poor. 
The FAG memorial It also mentioned his immigrating in 1886 and even mentioned the ship, “British King.”  In genealogy, one bit of information found leads to another and to another. 
British King
I knew he came across with his mother and three siblings in 1886, but I didn’t know the date, port, or ship. I’d give a quick look at Ancestry and see if they had the record.  Sure enough, there he was with his mother “Marg t” (instead of Margaret) and siblings. Arriving 23 June 1886 aboard the steamship “British King” from Liverpool to Philadelphia. Surprisingly, Ancestry didn’t have a photo of the British King but I found several elsewhere.
So hours pass, as I thoroughly document all these findings.  But,  so much more to research.  Can I confirm his two marriages?  What happened to his first wife, divorce or death?  Can I find the names of his three children? Did he have other children?  Can I find a newspaper article that speaks of his murder?  Was he really shot by a jealous husband?  

UPDATE

I did confirm, his wife Violet died in 1910. They had three children, Edward L., Albert W., and Paul Y. McAllister.  The Savannah Press, 13 January 1925 has a multipage article regarding his murder.  The article uses four headlines to really grab your attention.

Headlines:

Edward L. McAllister is Found Murdered in Home

Railroad man had been dead since Saturday

Beaten in head with hatchet; body on kitchen floor

Lived Alone since wife died last year

Edward L. McAllister, employed at the Atlantic Coast Line Railway shops, was discovered murdered at this home, on Thirty-ninth street near Ash by H. B. Brown…..

Now the question is who did it?  Was it a jealous husband as oral history indicated.  Oral history was wrong in that he hadn’t been shot, rather a hatchet to the head.  Much more personal than a shooting.  The article also mentions that his wife, who died the previous November, was under the care of the physician at the jail.  Why???  Always more questions.