Dastardly Crime Charged to Negro

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: Tuscaloosa Times Gazette
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa
Date of publication: 12/15/1914 0:00
Source URL: View Source

Sub Headline: HE ASSAULTED A WHITE WOMAN NEAR KELLERMAN SATURDAY A WEEK AGO AND WAS LANI ED IN TUSCALOOSA JAIL YESTERDAY. Last Saturday a week ago one o the most dastardly crimes ever committed in Tuscaloosa county occurred a mile or so from Kellerman. J. M. Spergeon, wife and child Iive back in the hills away from the railroad and follows the timber business for a living. He and his wife were as happy as could be and he made a good living for them. On Saturday a week ago he had a day off and went out in the hills to kill a few squirrels and some birds to take home to the wife and little one in the cottage on the hill above the spring. An hour or two after Mr. Spurgeon left home a negro by the name of John Hatcher called at the Spurgeon cottage and asked where Mr. Spurgeon was. Mrs Spurgeon knew the negro well as he had timbered with her husband for a long time and not dreaming of any evil told him that her husband “was out hunting.” When she told the brute this he grabbed her and a terrible struggle ensued. The negro was drinking and Mrs Spurgeon grabbed her little child in her arms and slipping out of a side door tried to escape to the nearest neighbor’s, a half a mile away. Sh had gone a distance of several hundred yards with the drunken brute pursuing her, when her strength failed, the negro gaining on her all the time. He overtook her, as she was running across the branch snatched the child from her arms and accomplished his hellish design in spite of her cries and screams which he stifled by putting his hand over her mouth, Mrs. Spurgeon fought hard for her honor and the brute bit her on the temple, the cheek and the neck, leaving bloody scars which will go with her to her grave. Exhausted from the terrible ordeal Mrs. Spurgeon dragged herself to the neighbor’s house with her little one in her arms more dead than alive and told of the experience that she had gone through. The entire neighborhood was aroused and a wide search was made for the negro. He boarded a freight train that came to Tuscaloosa shortly after the crime was committed and then walked to Cottondale, where he boarded a northbound train and made his escape. He went by his home and told his sisters what he had done before escaping, but did not tarry in the neighborhood where he had committed the crime, and longer than he could pack a grip and light out for a place of safety. The men of the neighborhood tracked him up the railroad and on Sunday afternoon succeeded in arresting him at Trussville. He was at a negro house and was in the act of taking a drink of whiskey out of a flask when Mr. G. O. Willard opened the door where he was stopping and covered him with a pistol. He was so badly frightened that he dropped the flask to the floor and begged that he be not shot. Deputy Sheriff Jack Brown, of Bibb county was with Mr Willard when the arrest was made and guarded the back door while Mr. Willard pushed his ‘way in at the front door. Yesterday morning Mr Willard and Mr. E. E. Hosmer brought the brute, John Hatcher to the Tuscaloosa county jail where he was safely locked up till his trial comes off. But they did not succeed in this without an exciting experience at Searls as the Southbound L. & N train passed that place. There were about a hundred angry citizens who had learned that the negro (brute was on the train and would have dealt with him as he deserved if they could have gotten their hands on him, but Messrs. Willard and Hosmer anticipated their action and locked the negro at one door and one at the other and refused to let anyone enter the train where they had the negro, These gentlemen deserve great credit for running down the scoundrel and placing him behind the bars. The preliminary trial will be held a few days and then all of the