Job Alford

The Cartersville Express
Cartersville, Georgia
January 15, 1874, Page 3
Transcribed by:  

Homicide in Bartow County.

Saturday, January 3d, closed a protracted investigation of a most lamentable occurrence in Bartow county: the homicide of Job Alford by Thomas Dawson.  Both were young men of good standing and personally friendly up to the fatal evening, and were familiarly together on that very day.

Friday night, the 26th December, was appointed for a social gathering at the house of C. Dodd, Esq., where met the old and the young, the jolly and the gay.  Unfortunately King Alcohol, too, was present, presiding without “calling his house to order,” or disarming his subjects.  Esq. Dodd, a genial gentleman, gave up the mansion to the enjoyment of his guests.  All went swimmingly, when Johnny Carroll, a lad of about 14, began to amuse himself by popping fire-crackers in the room, and at the feet of the young ladies of “the dance,” to which Alford, the fiddler, objected: resulting in a rencounter between the two, in which Johnny came out second best, being thrown to the middle of the room, knocking down a young lady in his fall.  Rising with drawn pistol and curse words, he rushed into the hall calling “Uncle Tom!”  Alford, ready for any emergency, followed to the hall, where he met Thomas Dawson, the threatened uncle, and seizing him by the breast, exclaimed “I’m the man you’re hunting for!”  Johnny still ranting around, with pistol and oaths, gets slapped by Alford again, which rather startles Uncle Tom.  They are separated, when Alford, strikes Dawson several raps over the head with his repeater; they are thrown apart by Dodd at arm’s length, when the crack of Dawson’s derringer sent a ball into the lower bowels of Alford, who turned to the parlor, fired his pistol into the fireplace, and sitting down in a chair exclaimed, “I’m a dead man.”  An examination of the wound indicated a doubtful if not a hopeless case.  Alford was borne the next day to the house of his uncle, Mr. Thomas Jimmerson, where he expired in great agony on the following Sunday night, at 8 o’clock.

Dawson, who manifested no disposition to avoid the consequences, was promptly arrested.

J. C. Branson, for the prosecution and J. W. Wofford for the defense, were promptly on hand and ready for examination, which was to have taken place on the 30th, but a runaway horse had emptied the legal fraternity into the road on the way to the scene, and judging from the corposity of the two, “great must have been the fall thereof.”  Though the former was but slightly hurt, the latter was rendered hors du combat.  He was painfully hurt and Mr. Thomas W. Milner reported himself in readiness to officiate in his stead, and then the tug of war commenced.  The evidence, pro and con, was on hand; the sparring of counsel listened to, patiently and semi-patiently, for an entire week; taking distance; measuring rooms, halls, doors, sash and blinds, counting drinks, dances, fiddles, etc.; weighing the girls; recording the color of their hair, eyes and skin; giving the size, weight, height, age (by guess, only) color and complexion of all present; the prettiest girl, the ugliest boy, little Johnny, popping firecrackers, one and all.  In fact, Squire Dodd’s house, yard, fixtures, surroundings and all, were fully described, daguerreotyped, depicted, painted, stamped, stained, etched and embossed over and over again; wearing out time, patience, common sense and everything else, until at last the agony was over; when counsel, though seemingly out of breath, ranted, ripped, snorted and charged until dark.

The Court then gladly retired for the night, with a huge scroll of written evidence, compared the same with the edicts of the law, and in the morning returned with the following verdict:

“Ordered and adjudged that Thomas Dawson be committed for involuntary manslaughter; and on failure of a $500 bond, that he be committed to jail.  Also, that John Carroll be committed for misdemeanor in carrying a concealed pistol, and in default of a $100 bond, he be committed to jail.”

The bonds were given, the prisoners returned to a home of regret, and Alford was consigned to the cold and silent grave.  And so the curtain partly fell on this lamentable scene.  Oh, when will whiskey and pistols find their grave!  Taproots of the mighty Upas tree of death, spreading its branches far and wide, and scattering its fruits of anguish and woe over the land!  When will the arm of the law become strong enough to dry up whiskey founts, and consign pistols and daggers to their wonted oblivion!  When will Senators in their wisdom, and legislators in their council, take this monster evil by the throat and say, “Thus far shalt thou go, and no further?”  Then, and not till then, shall we see “peace on earth and good will among men.”

“Oh, long expected day begin,
Dawn on these realms of woe and sin.”


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