"to love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage." lao-tzu

8.21.2012

Murder, Mayhem, and Moonshine

Okay, folks, I can finally say that my Applegates have finally cooperated in a search.  I wandered over to Arkansas the other weekend with my friend Patti and her daughter along with my daughter. The goal was to try and dig up something on the murder of Harry Applegate, my great-grandfather.  The family story I had always heard was that Harry was a fishing/hunting guide on the rivers, and as such the family (Harry, wife Katherine, daughters Louise and Juanita, and son Harry, Jr) lived on a houseboat. The story goes that one day, Katherine took the children into town for some shopping, and upon returning to the houseboat, she discovered Harry dead. The death certificate states the cause of death as "Homicide- shot gun wound in back & shoulder".

As far as the family knows, the killer was never found, and the story was the murder had something to do with moonshine. According to the death certificate, the murder took place near DeWitt, Arkansas County, Arkansas.

Now for the good stuff - hooray for the Arkansas Historical Commission!!!  While there, I was lucky and found a newspaper article on the murder of Harry Applegate!!!  YAY!!!!

Now, this article states that the murder took place specifically near Benzol, Arkansas County, Arkansas. I am going to go out on a limb and assume since it was an ambush, the moonshine theory holds.  Now, unfortunately, that was all the news I had time to dig up while there.  But I am very happy with this bit of news.
 Us girls then headed down to the courthouse in DeWitt, where thanks to the wonderful help of the Circuit Court Clerk, we discovered even more goodies!!!
Now, for a little bit of background: there was the dude running around that area at that time by the name of Perry Martin. (Yes, you Rosedale, Mississippi, people - THAT Perry Martin).  Now, in the records, we found as early as 1918 some indictments against Perry for two murders, both of which were eventually dismissed. On May 7, 1929, we discover that Perry is once again indicted, this time for the murder of Ed McGrew.  Why do I care? Well, a page back in the record book, there is an indictment for "Accessory before the fact to Murder in the First Degree" for the same murder. The defendants? Ike and Mrs. Sangston, Glenn Sangston, and Harry Applegate.

And if that wasn't enough for Harry, there is another indictment on July 2, 1929 for him, this time for carrying a pistol.

I think that Harry probably had a very good reason to be carrying a pistol, especially when you consider the crowd he was running with.  That will be another blog, after I have time to figure out the time lines of all involved.
Court Orders reveal that both indictments were dismissed, mainly because of the murder of Harry.

The cast of characters I will be trying to sort out for the next blog: Perry Martin, Cicero Spense, Jed Wilsey, Ike and Glenn Sangston, Ed McGrew, and Jack Worls.  There's a few celebs in that list, by the way. These people are tied to Harry in some way, either directly or indirectly, and I am interested in finding out the rest of the story on Harry's murder. I ran out of time, and was not able to continue scrolling through the images of The Arkansas Gazette, were I found the article on his murder.

1 comment:

  1. It is nice to see an article dedicated to this important topic. Thank you for sharing.
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