It's 1910 and we are on The Hill in the beautiful and tranquil village of Summerville. It is early February and Dr. Hickman has said his last good-bye to his baby brother. As we sit in 1910, remember this is before electric lights and paved streets found their way to our fair village. 1910, two years after the first Model T Ford came off the assembly line in Michigan and when pneumonia and influenza were the second leading cause of death in the 46 states that comprised the U.S.
As the officials started piling on the scene, George Heckle- marshall for the Village of Summerville- immediately suggested calling in the local blood hounds. The dogs at camp were young and, most likely, not ready. Upon hearing this information, Mr. Berckmans [county commissioner] came in telephone communication with Chairman F B Pope and arranged for an automobile to be dispatched to McBean where the county had well trained dogs.
McBean in about 20 miles away and this is 1910. Google maps tells me that it would take half an hour today if I were to leave Milledge Road right now and head that way. Mr. Pope made the arrangements and the dogs would be in Augusta in three hours' time. Mr. Stringer, Detective Gay and the city detectives let the younger dogs on the scene to try and get the process started.
Was this a horrible mistake? I don't know. What I do know was that at 1:30am, the dogs from McBean arrived but failed to take the scent and the attempt to track the murderer was abandoned around 4am.
Scattered around Dr. Hickman were his silver thermometer and a pill case. Dr. Hickman's vest pockets were turned out as was his right pants pocket. Missing from his person was his gold watch, with the monogram "C.W.H" engraved on the side. The safety pin attaching the chain to his vest was ripped away. His jacket, with the pockets turned out, was picked up by Mr. Denny some fifty yards away in the middle of the vacant lot and handed over to Chief Elliott. Where the jacket was found, so were the footprints of the murderer, providing proof that he was running, of medium height, and average weight.
Those footprints ran to the back of the lot, to the fence at the back of Mr. T.I. Hickman's 'oat-patch.' The murderer jumped the fenced and the tracks showed plainly that he went through the oat patch continuing on to Mr. Burum's place and out to the street where they continue down the hill.
About 12 feet from the fence at the back of the vacant lot were a package of letters which had been taken from Dr. Hickman's pocket. A few feet beyond that another bunch of letters, also of Dr. Hickman's pocket. With this second batch of letters was a manuscript in Dr. Hickman's handwriting of some historical subject.
Did you just say T.I. Hickman? As in.... the brother? The baby brother he said good-bye to just a few minutes before he died?
Yes. Yes, I did.
Nap time is coming to a close in this house, so I have to put a pin in this murder for now. Needless to say, there's much more to discuss and many ancient people will be brought into the spotlight.
I have a few phone calls ahead of me to local historians and 90-something relatives who grew up in Augusta. My little two have school starting next week and am hoping to make my way down to the warehouse of Augusta archives and see what kind of dirt I can find.
Thank you for all the interest!! It's nice to know that I am not a complete nerd on my own, we all carry a little secret nerd in us all.