By Michael Newton

In terms of crime, fact is frequently stranger than fiction. some of the circumstances that experience stumped investigators are one of the strangest on list. This identify offers mysteries that experience remained unsolved regardless of years of research via certified legislations enforcement brokers.

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Reputable estimates of racist murders dedicated in Jackson County in the course of that interval ranged from 153 to 179, exceeding the demise toll for all different Florida counties mixed. A militant Ku Klux Klan unit, led by way of service provider James Coker and his trigger-happy son, vowed to “kill the final damned Republican within the place,” and it proved to be no idle danger. via early 1871 John Dickinson was once the final Republican, hired as courtroom clerk within the county seat at Marianna, placing onto his ideas and his task regardless of years of harassment and threats on his existence. Dickinson’s predecessor, Dr. John Finlayson, were murdered through the Klan in 1869; due to the fact then, any other Republican authentic in Jackson County had both resigned, shifted celebration allegiance, or fallen earlier than KKK weapons. Dickinson defined the neighborhood scenario in a letter of February 23, 1871, addressed to Florida’s secretary of country in Tallahassee. It learn: P. S. —One of the coloured males i discussed died final evening, and i've held an inquest to-day. Verdict, Unknown! each person within the county understands the assassin; he has left for Alabama. I research simply now that the opposite guy is lifeless, and that i additionally pay attention it disputed. I shall instantly examine. In haste, J. Q. Dickinson Sir: Your letter of the 14th immediate, asking for yes details as to outrages dedicated during this county due to the fact reconstruction, as to the spirit of the clicking, &c. , &c. , was once acquired final evening; the excessive water at the Apalachicola River not on time the mails. I remorse the truth that outrages upon loyalty during this county are continually so shiny a fact of the current and so nervous a likelihood of the longer term that we have got didn't examine the prior. i will not, with no substantial time and study, offer you any historical past of the several bad scenes during which i've got handed right here. You intimate that your info has to be rapid, and that i provides you with the simplest perspectives of the location Dickinson’s good fortune ran out at the evening of April three, 1871. whereas strolling domestic from his Marianna workplace at 10:00 p. m. , he was once ambushed and killed inside a couple of yards of the spot the place Dr. Finlayson used to be murdered years prior. neighborhood Democrats celebrated the assassination, whereas their respectable organ—the Marianna Courier—attributed the slaying to an unnamed black husband, allegedly as a result of an interracial love affair. Circuit pass judgement on T. T. lengthy repeated that myth while he testified earlier than congressional investigators in November 1871, blaming the murder on a black fugitive named 109 DIGGS, Frank regardless of the personal quarrel with Eustick, Klansmen have been nonetheless generally suspected of taking part in a few position within the Diggs murder, and the victim’s white alternative, John Coleman, was once accosted by way of evening riders in February 1871, warned to stick east of Sumter County, Alabama, if he valued his existence. (Coleman additionally taught a college for blacks in his spare time, a sore aspect for bigots statewide. ) Edmund Pettus, a favorite Klansman from Selma, took pains to disassociate the KKK from Diggs’s homicide whilst he testified sooner than congressional investigators in October 1871.

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