Preparing for a presentation about using newspapers to enhance genealogy research, I searched for my husband’s great grandfather, Martin Luther Jones who lived in Decatur County, Georgia. One of the first hits I found for him was a classified ad offering a $500 reward for the capture of a Walter Williams.To say the least, that tidbit piqued my curiosity and the hunt was on. Who was Walter Williams? Who were the other four people listed with Jones in offering the reward? What were their relationships to Jones and Williams?
Fortunately, there is an excellent (and free!) website with digital newspapers for Georgia at https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu. Scouring the digital images and records, I found a story that has led me to begin writing a book. Because I am in the process of writing, I don’t want to give details, but I will tease you with some of the events. See if you agree with me that this is a story for the big screen.
- Stealing from a family member
- Murder for hire
- Confession and turning state’s evidence
- $6000 bond posted for murder suspect
- Accused skipped bail and fled from town before trial
- Two fugitives on the run
- $500 reward offered for the capture of one of the fugitives
- Pursued by sheriff for ten years
- Alias used for at least five years
- Mole in sheriff’s department
- Suspects finally located and captured in Arkansas
- Extradition back to Georgia
- Prison break attempt resulting in death
- Finally tried in Georgia
But I can’t tell the end of the story because I want to save that for my book!