Saturday, July 1, 2017

On the Hickman Scene

Augusta, 1910- before the stock market crashed and ten years before my grandfather was born.

Mr. William Johnson, rector of the Episcopal Church {I assume Good Shepherd Episcopal Church}, is walking towards his home on Milledge as he passes Dr. Hickman on the sidewalk in front of Dr. Harison's home about 9pm. Mr. Johnson remembers that Dr. Hickman was in possession of his overcoat, but it was draped over his arm. Dr. Hickman was walking from the direction of Monte Sano toward the Summerville carline. Not thinking anything of this, Mr. Johnson enters his home and continues with his evening. 

Just after 10pm, Frank Fraser, son of Reverend B. F. Fraser got off the street car at the corner of Milledge Street, walking home on the left side of the street. Halfway down the block, he passed the the Cochrane home and noticed a man lying on the sidewalk. His immediate thought was that this was a man in a drunken stupor. Frank leaned down to arouse the stupored man. Placing his hand on the still man's shoulder, he shook him.

Nothing.

Another shake, nothing.

Frank got down on his knees, took off his hat and put his ear to the man's chest. He found silence in the man's chest and noticed the the body was cold. Looking up, he saw two men coming toward him. Frank stood up and rushed towards what would be Mr. Estes Doremus and Mr. Hamilton Phinizy. Frank told them what was ahead and the three rushed toward the very dead Dr. Hickman. Striking a match, Mr. Doremus quickly identified the victim as Dr. Hickman.

Hamilton stayed with the body as Frank ran immediately to his father's house on the opposite edge of the oak grove to telephone the Augusta police barracks. The Reverend did not hear the gunshots, as he was reading to his children, however the family staying upstairs did hear the three shots. Hoping that medical attention could save him, Estes ran to Dr. W.H. Harison's house, where the good doctor was playing the piano for his family. Dr. Harison ran to the site and saw the body lying toward the edge of the sidewalk. 

Dr. Harison checked first for his pulse and finding none, saw the position of the gun shot wound and knew that there was nothing medical attention could have done to save Dr. Hickman. 

Within an hour the following people were on the scene: 

Acting Coroner Nurnberger
Mr. George Heckle, marshall of Summerville
Solicitor Joseph S. Reynolds
Dr. W.H. Harison
Mr. B.F. Fraser
Mr. A.D. Cochrane
Mr. Landon Thomas
Mr. Paul D. Langdon
Judge William F. Eve
County Commissioner Berckmans

It is in this moment that I feel compelled to share a generalization a friend who drives an ambulance told me about when driving through certain parts of town, "The Terry" if you will. [What's The Terry? We'll get there.] Funnily enough, my friends that are police officers have said the same thing. When there is a gun shot victim in this area, the cops and ambulance are called and you can set your watch to it- all witnesses are either reading the Bible, cooking food for the homeless, or praying with their children. Same with the victim. Nobody is ever doing anything nefarious. Ever.

If you notice some of these names and look back at the wedding announcement, there are a few repeats. 

After Dr. Harison confirmed complete loss of life, Tracy was finally notified. 

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Let's put a pin in this for a few, maybe a week?I really hope that is not anymore than that. I hate leaving you hanging, because I am leaving myself hanging. I am so excited, but I need to make sure that I give the most accurate information and need to go to some serious warehouse archives to see if I can find some necessary files. 107 years old... don't hold your breath.

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