Life and Times in
Hamilton County, Tennessee

Marriages, Murders, Deaths, Obituaries, Courts, Robberies, Fires,

and Other Bizarre Occurrences taken from the

Newspapers of Hamilton County, Tennessee 1872 – 1900

Transcribed by Dennis C. Wilson


© 2014  by Dennis C. Wilson.  All rights reserved.


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A Learned African Doctor Poisons a Woman with Morphine.


Coroner ALLISON held an inquest on the body of Adeline DONALSON, who died Sunday at her husband’s house, on James street, about 11 o’clock. One Reuben DONALSON, the husband of the deceased, was the first witness examined. He testified that his wife was in great bodily pain Sunday morning at about 5 o’clock. He started for a doctor and met Clem VENABLE. Asked Clem to give his wife something to ease her pain. They went to Donalson’s house together, and Clem administered a teaspoon of Morphine, which he dissolved in some liquid taken from another bottle, and repeated the dose in about ten minutes.

            Another witness, Sarah THOMAS, who sleeps at the house, testified to the administering of two doses of Morphine by Clem, and that the deceased sat up pretty much all night, and was rather lively otherwise just before the doses were given.

            Malinda BROWN, testified that she found the deceased in a speechless and unconscious condition at 9 o’clock. She never spoke from that time until she died, about twelve.

            The foregoing testimony was corroborated by Tom BROWN. When he saw the deceased about 9 o’clock she was speechless and foaming at the mouth. She was unconscious until a quarter of twelve, when she died.

            Dr. NORRIS was examined, and testified that he was called upon about a quarter to nine in the morning to go and see the deceased. He went and found her in a profound stupor, with the pulse at 60, and breathing about once a minute. He immediately suspected she was suffering from opium poison. Ascertained she had taken morphine and applied the usual restoratives without avail. The breathing gradually slacked, and the pulse fell until 15 minutes to twelve, when artificial respiration was resorted to and by this means he kept the heart beating for a half hour, when it ceased entirely. He was fully satisfied that the patient died from the effects of poison in some form of opium. He discovered no smell of opium, and should therefore conclude that the dose administered was morphine.

            Dr. PAINTER who made a post mortem examination and removed the brain, exhibited it to the jury, and testified that the condition of the organ was such as is always found in cases of poisoning by opium or its products. The arterial vessels were much congested and greatly enlarged, an almost positive proof that the patient had died of opium poison, though the same phenomenon might have been caused by sun stroke or apoplexy. A teaspoonful of morphine would kill three men under ordinary circumstances.

            He was very certain from hearing the testimony that death did not ensue in the case from sun stroke or apoplexy.

            Dr. GOODWIN after hearing the testimony, and examining the brain, fully concurred with Dr. PAINTER.

            The jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to her death from the effect of a poisonous dose of morphine administered by Clem VENABLE.

            The following are the jury: A. HULSE, Gabe COOPER, Milo B. COULTER, L. D. LOUNT, J. D. BLACKFORD, B. W. WILSON, A. HANDMAN.

            Immediately on the rendering of the verdict, Coroner ALLISON issued a warrant, and the sable son of Paracelsus was taken into custody by Marshal WILBUR and officer BOISEAU. Arrived on Market street, he proceeded to tell a small party of gentlemen at Van DEMAN & NORRIS’ office what he knew about medicine. Fearing that this lecture would deter all who heard it from trusting their lives in any hands but Clem’s, and knowing that that medical light would be eclipsed for a few days by four narrow prison walls, the minions of the law hurried the Doctor away, and he now languishes in the county bastile.

The Daily Times, Tuesday, May 27, 1873



Homicide In a Saloon

            Last night about ten o’clock, a Negro man named Jo HAYES, was in John LOVEL’S Saloon. He called on John WALKER, the bartender, to bring him a drink of water, and was told by the latter to go to the hydrant and get a drink if he wanted it. HAYES retorted that he (Walker) was kept there to wait on people, and he had better not put on airs. One word brought on another, until WALKER went behind the bar and seized a glass, with which to hit HAYES, threatening to knock his head off, and all the time ordering him out of the house. HAYES dodged behind another man when WALER took up the glass and the quarrel of words went on for a few moments, when WALKER drew a navy pistol, moved down the counter until HAYES was uncovered by the man in front of him, and fired.

            The ball entered HAYES’ head just above and square between the eyes, and lodged in the base of the brain near the back of the head. He fell dead. The parties were not more than six feet apart when the shot was fired.

            Officer KEITH took WALKER into custody and he was locked up.

            An officer competent to hold an inquest was found in the person of A. J. FLOWERS, Esq., who summoned the following jury about 1 o’clock this morning: R.F. McCROCKLIN, L. ANDERSON, Milo McMILLAN, Chris SMITH, T. H. H. RICHARDSON, who rendered a verdict that the deceased came to his death from a pistol shot wound inflicted by a pistol in the hand of John WALKER.

            Drs. WIGHT and BURNS made an examination of the head of the deceased in the presence of the jury, and found the ball in the brain as before stated.

The Daily Times, Wednesday, May 28, 1873




            On Wednesday morning about 3 o’clock, a fire broke out in STONE & MITCHELL’S store on King street, about eighty rods North of the post office, and before it was checked, destroyed the two-story building occupied by STONE & MITCHELL, and four adjoining dwellings. The principal sufferers are STONE & MITCHELL $1,200 on stock and $2,000 in notes and accounts, most of the latter will be collected. Mr. John CAIN, one small house, $300; J. D. BLACKFORD, two houses, about $600; Jo GADSDEN, (colored,) small house, $200. Mr. D. H. MURPHY, who lived in the second story of the store, lost about $300 in household goods. Rufus HALL, living in one of BLACKFORD’S houses, lost a portion of his household goods. The store house belonged to J. W. ROGERS, and cost about $2,000. So far as we were able to learn, there was no insurance on any of the property.

            The fire company were promptly on the ground, but the nearest fire-plug being at the post-office about 1,500 feet from the fire, they of course, could not use their hose. They rendered efficient service in saving property and preventing the spread of the fire to adjoining property by tearing down the partly burned structures.

The Daily Times, Friday, May 30, 1873


City Council

            The City Council met last night in special session, present the Mayor and Aldermen RAWLINGS, RICHARDS, CARLILE, SHAW, HULSE, MARSH, EVANS, DeLONG.

            A communication was read from WILTSE & PRATT, declining to pay their privilege tax, but enclosing a check for $25.00, for the use of public schools. Referred to the Recorder and ordered placed on file.

            A communication was received from A. M. JOHNSON, President Lookout Water Company, withdrawing the proposition heretofore made by the company to sell the works to the city, as the company intend enlarging and extending their works during the present season.

            Alderman CARLILE, of the street committee said he had a number of estimates, but moved that they lie over until some means were devised for paying for he work.

            Alderman EVANS introduced an ordinance creating a Market-house at the Vulcan Works, which was referred to the Market-house committee.

            Alderman HULSE introduced a petition signed by 190 citizens, asking the city to pay policeman CARVER’S physician’s bill for medical services while suffering from wounds received in the line of duty. Referred to Finance committee.

            Petition of R. M. HOOKE in relation to ditch through his lot, referred to street committee.

            On motion of Alderman CARLILE, the Mayor was instructed to notify all contractors to stop work, and to discharge all employees of the city, except the police, until some means are devised to pay for the work.

            Alderman CARLILE offered a resolution which passed first reading, instructing the City Attorney to inquire into the legality of the 10 per cent scrip, and the amount of liability the city is under on that account.

            Alderman RAWLINGS introduced the heading of a wharf ordinance, which passed first reading.

            The Board then adjourned to the next regular meeting.

The Daily Times, Saturday, May 31, 1873





Twenty-five Thousand Dollars worth

of City and County Real Estate

to be sold Monday, June

2nd, on long credit.

            By order of the Chancery Court of James County, the entire landed estate of the late Daniel YARNELL, in Hamilton County, will be sold at auction, on Monday, June 2nd, at the Court House door, in Chattanooga, on long credit, except 10 per cent of the purchase money, which will be required to be paid in cash.

            The property to be sold is as follows:

            The Dallas farm, 1,000 acres.

            The D. N. McGILL farm, 300 acres.

            The undivided 1/3 interest in lot No. 1, Market street, Chattanooga, being the lot and warehouse sold by D. KIRKPATRICK & CO., to YARNELL, HOPE and LEIGH, and now occupied by HOPE, LEIGH & CO.

            The house and lot, corner 3rd and Walnut streets, Chattanooga, being the South-half of lot No. 13, where C. W. COKER now resides.

            All this property will be sold as stated on a long credit.

            The farms are among the most valuable and productive in the county.

            No such opportunity for a safe and renumerative investment in real estate has been offered for many a day.

            The sale will begin at 10 o’clock a.m. on Monday, and will continue until the property is all sold.

The Daily Times, Saturday, May 31, 1873



McCORMICK – Died of cholera infantum yesterday, Miss Lillie, daughter of James and Sue McCORMICK, aged two years, eight months, and sixteen days.

            The friends and acquaintances of the family are invited to attend the funeral this afternoon, at 3 o’clock, at the residence on Boyce street.

The Daily Times, Wednesday, June 6, 1873


A Card.

            I was informed by Alderman CARLILE, that the reason why I was dropped from the Police force was because I had denounced the member of the Board of Aldermen as thieves. I denied that I had done so, and asked his informant. He told me Mayor WHITE. I then called upon Mayor WIGHT, who denied that he had ever said so. I now wish to say that I never made the remark stated, and that any man who has reported it against me, has willfully perverted the facts.

                                                                                                J. O. FARMER

The Daily Times, Tuesday, June 10, 1873


A Nuisance

            A lot of boys are in the habit of bathing in the river, near WINCHESTER & Cos.’ Saw Mill in the evening, and in full view of the swing ferry. Their bathing occurs just about the time several gentlemen have to cross with their families. The boys should choose another place or another time.

            If they persist in bathing at the point mentioned at any time during the day, the police should look after them, and we hope they will.

The Daily Times, Thursday, June 12, 1873


A Horrible Outrage

            On this side of Chickamauga creek, near Shallow Ford, lives an old widow lady named    WILSON. She and her two daughters live on a small farm, which they till themselves. On Monday night she met a man in the road near the house, who asked her some insolent and insulting questions about her daughters. He got no satisfaction, and went away. Tuesday morning, after the girls had gone to the field to work, the old lady started to the well for water. She had got but a few steps from the house when she heard a man call to her to stop. She recognized the human brute she met the evening before, and replied she was going for water, but would be back in a minute. At this he approached her, and upon coming close up to her informed her he would “have his will of her” or he should kill her then and there. Mrs. WILSON screamed for help, when she was knocked down with a rock in the hand of the fiend, who probably fearing he had killed his victim, dragged her about three hundred yards and threw her into the creek. The immersion so far recovered her that she crawled on to the bank, where she was found by her daughters.

            Mrs. WILSON says the man was red headed, but beyond that she can give no description of him. It is to be hoped the miscreant will be hunted down and visited with such punishment as his crime deserves.

The Daily Times, Friday, June 13, 1873



            Tobacco smoke is one of the best disinfectants. It has been known to keep off contagion where persons have been exposed in the most unhealthy localities.

            M. WOLFF, at Clippenger’s Drug Store, has just received a large supply of new brands of Cigars, manufactured from very old and fine tobacco, which we sell very low to private persons, and at lowest wholesale prices to those in the trade.

The Daily Times, Friday, June 13, 1873



OATES – Died at her residence in this city, Wednesday, June 11th, Louise M., wife of John M. OATES, of this city, in the 25th year of her age.

            It is less than a year since the happy marriage of Mr. OATES and Miss ACRET was announced in these columns, and now it is our mournful duty to chronicle the sad death of the happy bride of a year ago. In the morning of her life, in the bloom of youth, with the brightest of prospects open before her, loving and beloved by all who knew her, she has passed away, leaving her husband bowed down with grief, and two helpless infants who will never know a mother’s loving care.

            Funeral services according to the affecting ritual of the Episcopal Church, were held yesterday evening, by Rev. H. H. SNEED, and Mr. OATES left last night for New York, taking with him the corpse for interment in Greenwood Cemetery.

            Mrs. OATES was one of the loveliest women we have ever met. Thoroughly unselfish, charitable, and sympathetic, she never murmured in all her afflictions, but her only care was for others. Though a resident of this city for scarcely six months, she had so won the hearts of all who knew her, that the shock of her sudden death wrung all hearts.

The Daily Times, Friday June 13, 1873.


A Jolly Tumble

            There arrived at the Burns House on Friday morning, a man with red eyes and the usual marks of dissipation. He came from the Nashville train. He took a room and it would seem, filled himself to overflowing with the pure juice of corn. At all events he became very drunk, and yesterday morning by some mishap, tumbled head foremost out of a second-story window. He landed head foremost in a mud-hole, in which his entire head and neck were buried by the force of the fall. Dr. George CLARK, saw the fellow taking his tumble. In fact he noticed him just as he cleared the window sill of his room. The Dr. ran into the back yard and pulled the poor fellow from his slough of despond, to find his head bleeding from an ugly cut received by coming in contact with some hard substance in the mud-hole in which his head was inserted so forcibly.

            The extraordinary tumbler was carried to his room, and signified a desire to be enveloped in clean linen, which he informed the bystanders was snugly stowed away in his bag. On opening the said bag a lot of “medicine bottles” were found, together with a bunch of cards, but nary clean shirts. The card reads as follows: “Dr. AKINS makes a speciality of cancers and chronic diseases, P. O. box 36, Evenston, Cooke County, Ill.

            And this is all we know of this most extraordinary acrobat.

The Daily Times Sunday, June 15, 1873




Chattanooga Fair Grounds


            The racing yesterday in spite of the bad weather, was pretty nearly a success. The rains ceased about noon, and although the mud on the track was fet-lock deep, neither of the parties in the first race seemed disposed to pay the forfeit. This race was for $400, single dash of a mile.

A. J. WISDOM enters Grey John - - - - - - -              1

J. S. A. CRAWFORD enters Mogul - - - - -              2

            Time not announced.

            The horses got a fine send off, with Mogul slightly in the lead, which he maintained till the turn after the first half mile, when Gray John put his claim to supremacy, which he maintained to the end. In this race Mogul was the favorite in pools.

            In the second race there were four entries.

Mile dash – catch weight – purse $100, entries added:

J. S. A. CRAWFORD enters Rooster - - - - - - - - -   1.

A. J. WISDOM enters Grey John - - - - - - - - - - -     3.

Capt. HINES enters Red Fox - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   2.

A. J. WISDOM enters Mollie Divine - - - - - - - - -    4.

            Red Fox led off in fine style, followed by Rooster and Grey John, Mollie Divine flying the track. In spite of himself, Red Fox yielded the palm to Rooster, who passed him about half way the home stretch, and came home with a length of 10 spans.

            After the regular races were over, the boys got up a half mile dash, with two entries:

WORMLEIGHTON enters sorrel horse - - - - 1.

EAVES enters bay colt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  2.

            There was very little difference among those present as to favoritism. Boney, who rode the sorrel horse, did well, and redeemed himself from his mishap at the last meeting, when he rode the same horse.

            The attendance on the track was slim, owing of course to the weather.

            The proprietors of the grounds deserve great credit for the condition things are in there, in spite of a very favorable spring, and should have encouragement by liberal attendance on the part of our citizens.

The Daily Times, Sunday June 15, 1873

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