Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

More Christmas Books

Another nice present I got this year was from my mom, in the form of two family histories for her side of the family. One was for the Gilberts, her dad, and the other covers the Tuggles, her mom. Super interesting stuff. Both sides lived in Walker County, which is where Miss Reba’s daddy’s family is from.

Which means…yep, you guessed it--we’uns is related!

It’s not real close--a couple over and two or three back--although it is through both my grandfather and my grandmother’s branches. We had great fun figuring it all out, and there was much naughty talk about being kissing cousins, which just scandalized the kids, although they weren’t quite sure why they were being scandalized.

Anyway, both books are the product of a nice lady named Gladys Gilbert Mahlmeister out in Oceanside, California, who has done lots of genealogical digging around and hunting and gathering to come up with information on both the Gilberts and the Tuggles. Lots of old photos of grim, hollow-cheeked folks stiffly posed in front of mules or corn, or later in uniforms, with automobiles. Along about the ‘40s, folks start cracking a smile, and by the time the end of the 20th Century rolls around, there is quite a selection of very happy guys in ball caps with no shirts on. You know, I’m not trying to be uppity, but I think if I knew my picture was going to be in a family history book, I would at least put on a tee-shirt. And take my hat off inside the house.

The Tuggle book is particularly interesting--there are two newspaper articles reprinted in it detailing the death of one of the relatives--I’m not quite sure of the relationship, but it looks like he is a second or third cousin of my great grandfather. Anyway, the articles are interesting, and I hope I’m not stepping on any family copyrights here by copying them.
The Cordova Herald Thursday, April 4, 1912

Terrible Tragedy Last Saturday Afternoon in Knight’s Mill
Preliminary Hearing Next Friday:

A most deplorable tragedy occurred in Cordova last Saturday when W.E. Tuggle was shot and instantly killed by Ransom Underwood. The killing occurred in the grinding room of Pulaski Knight’s mill, shortly after one o’clock. A large number of people were in the streets when a fusillade of pistol shots rang out in the direction of Knight’s mill. Underwood ran out of the mill and ran a few yards, then turned and retraced his steps, and met Officer Brown, who was approaching on a run. Scores of people hurried to the scene. Those who first entered found Tuggle lying in a crumpled heap on his left side, upon the floor. He was dead. A hasty examination revealed a bullet hole in the center of one breast, one in the left side and in the right groin. Later when he was stripped, three more bullet holes were found. Underwood, when questioned at the city jail, a few minutes after the shooting, stated that he himself had not been in any trouble with Tuggle, but that his father had. When asked whether he expected trouble when he entered the mill, he stated no, and admitted that he was armed.

The gun used by Underwood was a .32-20 Smith and Wesson and was a new gun. Tuggle’s gun was of the same caliber but was an old gun. Both were young men and were farmers. They lived about seven miles south of Cordova, and were near neighbors. Both were married and had families. It is alleged that Underwood’s father and Tuggle had a quarrel an hour or two previous to the killing at the Frisco depot, and Tuggle called Constable J.R. Davison, who was standing near, and he asked him to arrest the elder Underwood. Later the killing occurred. Underwood’s wife was near the scene and heard the shots and her grief and terror were pitiable. Pulaski Knight was in the grinding room when the shooting began, and sprang behind a mill hopper. He states that he did not know anything was going to happen until the firing began. All the shots were fired in a few seconds. Bill Tuggle, as he was familiarly known, was a son of Edward Tuggle, who is a minister of the gospel. Young Tuggle had many friends in this community and was considered a good citizen. He was carried down to his home Saturday night, and buried near here Sunday. The funeral was conducted by Rev. W.Y. Browning of Cordova. Underwood was carried to Jasper Saturday evening by Deputy Sheriff Alvin Baker and placed in jail, pending a preliminary trial. The tragedy is the first homicide in Cordova for four years and is greatly deplored by everyone.
Whew! They don’t write ‘em like that anymore. The other article comes by way of the Mountain Eagle (now called the Daily Mountain Eagle):

Cordova was the scene of a pistol duel to the death Saturday afternoon about 3 o’clock.

The principals were Ransom Underwood and William Tuggle. The former is said to have fired five shots and the latter four and Tuggle was killed almost instantly, death resulting in less than five minutes, while Underwood escaped un-hurt. It occurred at Pulaski F. Knight’s mill and gin at Cordova. It was regular grinding day at the mill and both men had carried grist to the mill. After transacting some business in town, both men returned to the mill after their grinding. Mr. Tuggle arrived there first, and was sitting upon some full sacks when young Underwood entered the door. Mr. Knight, the miller, had his back turned engaged at his duties and was startled by the reports of pistols in rapid succession behind him. And when he faced about the two men were engaged in the deadly duel and he cannot say who fired first or who brought on the difficulty.

That young Tuggle fired four times is evidenced by that many bullet holes in the wall, but that he fired aimlessly is quite as evident, because some of his bullets ranged too high to strike his antagonist. The friends of the dead man advance the theory that Tuggle must have been shot while yet sitting on the sack and that he drew his pistol and fired the four bullets after being mortally wounded. On the other hand young Underwood’s friends and he himself claim that he fired in self-defense. He fired five times and every shot, so it is said, took effect in Tuggle’s body.

Underwood surrendered to the authorities and was brought to Jasper and lodged in jail to await a preliminary hearing. Both men were neighbors, residing about six miles below Cordova and both have families. Underwood has a wife and two children and Tuggle a wife and three children.

Tuggle was the youngest son of Rev. E.H. Tuggle, a highly respected Baptist Minister, who since the death of his wife, about a year ago, has resided with his son.

Both the dead man and his slayer stood high in the community and the tragedy is deeply deplored by their friends.
If anyone ever gets the idea that eyewitness stories will always agree in every detail, just read both of those accounts. Likewise, the idea that “spin” is a new concept.


Not to leave things unsolved, the following is the result of the trial…
The Cordova Herald Thursday, November 7, 1912


The jury in the case of Ransom Underwood charged with the killing of Will Tuggle here last March, rendered a verdict of murder in the first degree and he was given a sentence of 35 years.

It will be remembered that Tuggle was shot and killed by Underwood here last spring at Knight’s mill. Both men were prominent farmers living in the same community a few miles below Cordova. The trial of Underwood was hard fought by both the defense and the state. It was completed Thursday night and turned over to the jury about 8 o’clock. The jury rendered their verdict before noon Friday morning. It has not been authoritatively learned that the defense will take an appeal but that is the general opinion. It is stated that Underwood took the verdict of the jury with as much composure as could be expected of him and that during the process of the trial he frequently showed signs of grief and shed tears.
A note in the book states that Underwood appealed but the verdict and sentence was allowed to stand.

Family history sure is something, eh?

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