03 August 2011

Was Mary Bagwell Murdered By Her Family?

This story came to my attention while researching Acklin heirs in a Franklin County, Tennessee, deed.

 Mary Bagwell went missing about 1865 in Carroll County, Georgia.  Apparently she was the "black sheep" of the family and was purportedly pregnant by a black farm hand.  Years later (about 1882) she and her unborn infant were found buried under rubble in a defunct mine shaft.  Mary's body was identified by some unique items that were found with her remains.

Skelton of Mary Bagwell found

We, the jury, find the remains to be those of a female, also that they are the remains of Mary Bagwell and her unborn infant, and further find that she came to her death by being thrown in what is known as the Hill copper shaft by Barney Hargroves and some other unknown parties. 

We further find that Willis Bagwell, Wiley Bagwell and Charley* Bagwell were cognizant of the fact and kept it concealed from the officers of the law.  According to this article dated August 3, 1883, in the case of the State versus Willis Bagwell and his two sons, it was found that there was no evidence to support their guilt.  The defendants were ready for trial and confident of an acquittal in January of 1883.

Charles* Bagwell married Sarah F. Acklin on December 24, 1872.  In 1850 he was living with his parents, Willis, age 36, and Emily, age 35, in Carroll County, Georgia. His siblings were Eliza, 13, Mary, 12, Wiley, 10, Margaret, 8, Amanda, 6, (Charles was age 4), Clara, 2, and unnamed infant 6 months old.

The Bagwell family in the 1860 census (the last one on which Mary would be found).


Susan Clark (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Horrifyingly close to what we read about "honor" killings today. Frankly, nothing that happened in that part of the world during and after the Civil War would surprise me any longer. Very, very dark times.

PalmsRV said...

This episode is still haunting me. You're right, Susan, it is similar to the "honor" killings of today.