Saturday, August 15, 2009

GoogleNews unearths 88-year-old family scandal

Here's an online research tool that I recently discovered and thought I would share with ye socks.

The next time you go to, click on the "more" option on the toolbar. Then select the last item on the list, "even more." This will take you to a page crowded with icons that will help you narrow your internet searches. If you scroll down to the NEWS icon, click on the hypertext link "archive search." This will let you search thru a bunch of old newspapers whose indexed images are available online.

But, be forewarned. You never know what you're going to uncover when you start rooting around ye olde family tree.

In my case, I uncovered an 88-year-old family scandal surrounding my great-grandfather's cousin Dr. William M. Strother. (The doctor's mother was Roberta Morgan Strother, daughter of my Civil War ancestor James Lorenzo Morgan.)

Anyway, here's a transcript of an article published in the New York Times back on 25 September 1921 that gives the (somewhat cryptic) details of the doctor's murder:

Lynchburg Man Then Helps Own
Wife Carry Body to Veranda.
Special to the New York Times
LYNCHBURG, Va., Sept. 24. -- Dr. William M. Strother was shot and almost instantly killed this morning at his home by Jesse Ford, Lynchburg superintendent for the J.R. Ford Company, contractors, who was living near Dr. Strother's home.
Ford surrendered, and a Coroner's jury, at which his wife testified, held him for the murder. Ford went to Dr. Strother's home, and after talkin with him briefly shot him several times. It is said that Dr. Strother fired twice at Ford as the latter walked away and then fell dead.
Mrs. Ford is said to have come out of Dr. Strother's house, and at her solicitation Ford Assisted her in carrying the body of the physician to the veranda of the house.
Dr. Strother was a native of Lynchburg and a member of one of the most prominent families of the city.

As with any new tidbit of genealogical information, this one leaves yours truly with more questions than it answered. The only question I ever had about Dr. Strother before finding this article was wondering why he died at such a relatively young age (38). Well, now I have THAT answer. But, what about the questions the Times article fails to answer. Like, what was Mrs. Ford doing in the doctor's home to begin with? And, was Ford ever tried for the murder? If so, what was the verdict? And, if found guilty, what was his sentence? I couldn't find any more articles on the subject, so would welcome any light ye socks can shed on the case!

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Blogger GeneaGeek said...

What a fantastic find!
Thanks for the tip.

5:52 AM  
Blogger wsmv said...

You're welcome. Hope you find some "news" on your own family!

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Cody Ford (Lynchburg, VA) said...

Good Find though, and thanks for the tip

6:47 PM  

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