He Goes Down Into a Watery Grave in Elmore

Source Type: Newspaper
Author: n.a.
Publisher: The Montgomery Advertiser
Place of publication: Montgomery, AL
Date of publication: 2/28/1894

He Goes Down Into A Watery Grave In Elmore.
To Avoid Arrest by His Pursuers-The Rapist and Murderer Ends His Own Life to Evade the Rope

News reached the city yesterday morning from Wetumpka, of the drowning in the back waters of the Coosa, of the fugitive Lewis Hendricks, while attempting to escape from pursuers. Hendricks was one of the negroes who assaulted and murdered Mrs. Rucker at her home near Stanton, in Chilton County, about two weeks ago.
Sunday forenoon, Messrs. West Stewart, James McDaniel, and John Barber , who we’re old residents of Chilton County, but who now live in Elmore, having heard of the presence of a suspicious negro in the neighborhood, concluded to search for him in the hope that it might be the negro who was wanted so badly.
Reasoning that the bevel would be likely to cross the Coosa River, and that he would avoid all public ferries, and search for some private ferry to cross or try to find a bateau in which to cross, they went to the private ferry of Judge John A. Lancaster, on the Coosa River, about four and a half miles below Wetumpka. This ferry is located on the plantation of John A. Fitzpatrick and about a quarter of a mile above the moth of Calloway’s Creek, which empties into the Coosa.
They had reached that point but a short while before a negro made his appearance and when hailed, responded, you don’t know me, I have done nothing.”
One of the gentlemen replied, “if you have done nothing, come here,” but the negro moved off at once and the party commenced pursuit. He fled across the field towards the bushes and came out about 300 yards distant, behind which the backwater from the river had overflown the creek. When one of the pursuers was within ten feet of him, he plunged into the creek, or back water, and attempted to swim to the other shore. The pursuer, with great presence of mind, hallooed, apparently to a confederate on the other side of the creek, crying out, “Run down the creek: he is swimming across the water.”
This apparently paralyzed the fugitive, and as though it was a matter of life or death, he seemed to prefer a watery grave than to be captured. He made no further exertions to save his life, though exhorted to do so by his pursuers, who promised him he should not be hurt.
A few hours afterwards, his body was recovered and carried to Evelyn, where it was viewed by a great many persons, both black and white. The coroner was summoned on Monday morning, and also the sheriff of Chilton County. The wounds on the body fully identified the man as the “third negro” engaged in the murder of Ms. Rucker near her home in Chilton County.
The left hand of the dead negro was shot through, and had beside a gash or cut on it. On his right thigh he carried a gunshot wound, and he was shot slanting through the right shoulder, the wound having apparently being inflicted while the negro was running or in a stooping position, the bullet going in at the base of the shoulder blade and coming out at the collar bone.
He was poorly clad. It is remarkable that he should have lived through all the scenes which he has passed during the past two weeks, as well as the extreme bitter weather which has been experienced.


“He Goes Down Into a Watery Grave in Elmore.” The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL), February 28, 1894.