Saturday, July 15, 2017

Who's Lt. Stone?

Hindsight is 20/20, right? As I read through the articles, I can only think of those cartoon characters from Bugs Bunny. Bugs would pop up from his rabbit hole (see what I did there?) and all his fans would run to him pulling dust up along the way. He'd drop down and back up again somewhere else and the fans would move thusly. If you're too young for Bugs Bunny, think Whack-A-Mole.

If you're too young to know what Whack-A-Mole is, go away. You're too young to be here. Come back when middle school is complete.


We are at February 12th, 1910 right now. Dr. Hickman is still dead, vagrants have been cleared from the city, and every negro [sic] in town is a hot suspect. Five arrests have been made and then withdrawn. Five African American Men had to find an alibi satisfactory to the witch hunt. Innocent until proven guilty is getting pretty questionable.

But, suddenly- the tides are turning. Things are looking up for the justice that Dr. Hickman is so well-deserved of. After all, he is a ... what was it... right.... ministering angel in physician's guise. The police have a legit suspect.

Like totally legit.

So legit, he is a certified lunatic. Like CER-TEE-FRIED.

Woah. This is Augusta in 1910, not Milledgeville. Ain't no loonies here. The state Asylum is 90 miles up the road.

sidenote: did you know that 2 U.S. Senators tried to abolish the word 'lunatic' from the English language in 2012? No kidding. Lunatic will be replaced by 'mentally insane' in the 1940s as 'lunatic' connotes someone who is spontaneous and dangerous. Also known as any 19 year old in college.

Who is this certified lunatic? What makes him a legit suspect besides the fact he has his papers.

Aiken, 20 miles over the river in South Carolina arrested an insane man suspected for having murdered Dr. Hickman. The warrant was issued by Chief of Police George P. Elliott. FYI: Chief of Police Elliott, seen below is the chief of police of... Augusta... Georgia. Not Aiken... South Carolina.

The warrant was issued as a precaution. [article dated 2/12/1910]

"His actions having been somewhat suspicious and that his retention under the charge of murder upon arrest by warrant is an action to prevent officers from the sanitarium in Maryland from which he escaped taking him out o the reach of the local authorities until he has been actually dismissed as a probably factor in the case. This is not an extraordinary step to have been taken when it is considered that the local authorities, and the special detectives employed in the case, have been working persistently upon ever clue, report and suspect in the neighborhood since the commission of the crime."

Long story short: They heard about a crazy guy who was in town and went ahead and arrested him so that he can't be swooped back to Maryland for a lobotomy.

First Lieutenant William C. Stone was 33 years old at the time of his arrest. Conflicting reports say he was either of the Philippine army while another says he saw service in the Philippines, Cuba, and Alaska. In 1906 he was serving in Alaska and displayed symptoms of paranoia. He was sent to Washington where he was judged to be insane and committed to the Government hospital. He was there until about 1909 and was paroled after showing signs of improvement. Released less than six months, he again showed "symptoms of insanity" and was removed to the Gundry Sanitarium at Catonsville, Maryland [Baltimore county] in August on 1909. Lasting just five months, he escaped on January 23. Dr. Gundry, head physician of the sanitarium, stated that Stone gave him no trouble and does not believe him to be associated with the Hickman murder.

Aiken police arrested poor Lt. Stone but were quoted as saying, "Stone is being held as a dummy." Over the river, ya know, back where the crime was actually committed, the opinion was that he is merely a demented man who happened to be in the neighborhood at the time of the crime.

Pause: Aiken is a forty five minute drive from where I am sitting at this exact moment. That's with the interstate and a nice fancy car with air-conditioned seats. Would you like to guess how many times I have been to Aiken in my life? Three times. Un-Pause.

It would be discovered that Lt. Stone was in Lexington, South Carolina on the night of February 2nd and February 3rd. Chief of Police, Jacob Taylor of Lexington started to place the man under arrest and later regretted not doing so. Stone came into town on foot about 9pm on February 2,1910 . First stop: Kaufmann Drug Co. where he asked where he could buy some rolls. He took this information and did not use it, rather walking in a different direction. His actions were "not right" and Policeman Taylor was thusly notified. Stone was collected by the police and questioned fully. When Stone was asked his name, he said, "That makes no difference, I'm only a friend."

In response to the question of his occupation, Stone stated he was an "organizer from the north and being short of money decided to walk around the country." Taylor asked Stone if there was any kind of money in that line of work. His response?

"Not in this country; the people were too ____ settled."

From an article dated 2/13/1910, it concludes: "He said he walked into town and was invited to walk out as soon as possible. He asked the way to the station and left whistling a soft melody. About an hour later, a freight came along and it is the opinion of the officer that Stone beat it on down the road."

When Chief Elliott was asked about the arrest, he stated that he was holding Stone for reasons best known only to himself.

Working in chorus with the police, but certainly not in conjunction, were the private investigators- the Pinkertons- hired by the family. They did not feel the arrest was of sufficient importance, thus they did not report it to the family.

There went that lead... Onward!

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