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  1. #1
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    GA - Woolfolk family axe murders in Macon, 1887

    I didn't see the Woolfolk family murders anywhere on websleuths, so I made a new thread.
    In Macon, GA on Aug. 6 1887, nine members of the Woolfolk family were hacked to death. The killer's choice of an axe as the murder weapon was odd, considering there were 2 double-barreled shotguns in the home.
    the patriarch victim's son, Thomas Woolfolk, was tried, convicted, and hanged for the murders. There was a whole bunch of circumstantial evidence that Thomas was involved, and many folks today believe he did it. However, there are some people (including Thomas' sister) who believe that Thomas did not commit the murders. Carolyn DeLoach who wrote the book "Shadow Chasers: The Woolfolk Tragedy Revisited," believes that Simon Cooper, who was one of the Woolfolks' farmhands commited the crime. Simon left town right after the family was slaughtered, and fled to South Carolina. In 1897, Cooper axed to death five members of the Wilson family. These murders closely resembled the Woolfolk's. Cooper was later killed by a lynch mob. He was such an awful man, his family refused to claim his body. Cooper's diary was found sometime after, and this notation was in it: "Tom Woolfolk was mighty slick, but I fixed him. I would have killed him w/ the rest of the damn family, but he was not at home."
    Since a person was convicted for the Woolfolk's murder, and another suspect was identified, I'm not sure if it belongs in the cold case forum (please move it if it doesn't belong). But I thought some of y'all might find it interesting. Macon is 20 miles up the road from me, and the Woolfolk's are all buried in unmarked graves in a beautiful historic cemetary called Rose Hill. (Side note: two of the Allman Brothers Band members are also buried there)

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    why are they buried in unmarked graves?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by scriptgirl View Post
    why are they buried in unmarked graves?
    scriptgirl, I haven't visited the Woolfolk plot in a while but I used to do that pretty often, back in the early 1980s. At that time, at least, the plot was marked with a marker reading "Woolfolk", but the graves themselves did not have individual markers. They were brick-covered, as I recall.

  5. #5
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    So sad that the lone survivor was hung and blamed for the crime. That is tragic.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    So sad that the lone survivor was hung and blamed for the crime. That is tragic.
    IMO, there is a good chance that he was the guilty party.

    The book mentioned in posts above spins it another way, I know -- but having spent several years doing in-depth research of this case, I cannot put too much faith in that theory.

    It's possible.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods View Post
    IMO, there is a good chance that he was the guilty party.

    The book mentioned in posts above spins it another way, I know -- but having spent several years doing in-depth research of this case, I cannot put too much faith in that theory.

    It's possible.
    But what are the odds that the Cooper guy would kill another family 10 yrs later, with an axe? And is there any truth in the story about his diary?
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    But what are the odds that the Cooper guy would kill another family 10 yrs later, with an axe? And is there any truth in the story about his diary?
    Back when I was doing my research -- back in the dark ages, before the internet, LOL -- I found a little reference to that story/diary in a privately-printed "memory book" about a small Bibb County (GA) community, so that theory "goes back a ways" -- but I was never able to track down any historical newspaper accounts of Cooper's "other" crime -- it may well be documented, but I was unable to find it. (I was working mostly in microfilm collections at Emory Univ. in Atlanta -- remember, no internet!) I can't recall what sort of documention Ms. DeLoach (author of the book mentioned) used to support her theory -- it's been a while even since I read her book (should say "books", I guess, because there was the first one, which I did read, and then sort of an "updated" version, which I have not read.)

    I was intrigued by the diary story, for sure. But that could have come about in a lot of different ways....

    Also -- axe murders apparently weren't all that uncommon, back in the day. Guess it was often a matter of grabbing up the most easily available lethal weapon...

  9. #9
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    Right. More folks had axes than guns back then. If things hadn't changed the National Ax Association would be lobbying for ax rights and open carry.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by parakeet View Post
    I didn't see the Woolfolk family murders anywhere on websleuths, so I made a new thread.
    In Macon, GA on Aug. 6 1887, nine members of the Woolfolk family were hacked to death. The killer's choice of an axe as the murder weapon was odd, considering there were 2 double-barreled shotguns in the home.
    the patriarch victim's son, Thomas Woolfolk, was tried, convicted, and hanged for the murders. There was a whole bunch of circumstantial evidence that Thomas was involved, and many folks today believe he did it. However, there are some people (including Thomas' sister) who believe that Thomas did not commit the murders. Carolyn DeLoach who wrote the book "Shadow Chasers: The Woolfolk Tragedy Revisited," believes that Simon Cooper, who was one of the Woolfolks' farmhands commited the crime. Simon left town right after the family was slaughtered, and fled to South Carolina. In 1897, Cooper axed to death five members of the Wilson family. These murders closely resembled the Woolfolk's. Cooper was later killed by a lynch mob. He was such an awful man, his family refused to claim his body. Cooper's diary was found sometime after, and this notation was in it: "Tom Woolfolk was mighty slick, but I fixed him. I would have killed him w/ the rest of the damn family, but he was not at home."
    Since a person was convicted for the Woolfolk's murder, and another suspect was identified, I'm not sure if it belongs in the cold case forum (please move it if it doesn't belong). But I thought some of y'all might find it interesting. Macon is 20 miles up the road from me, and the Woolfolk's are all buried in unmarked graves in a beautiful historic cemetary called Rose Hill. (Side note: two of the Allman Brothers Band members are also buried there)
    Same cemetery as In memory of Elizabeth Reed? That's what I named my redbone hound dog.

    There were lots of ax murders following the southern lines of a railroad. There was even the infamous New Orleans Axe Man. There was one in the parish where I live, the only survivor was a deaf child who was playing in the attic of the barn. The railroad runs parallel to highway 90 here. Easy place to step on & off a railroad car.
    Last edited by Donamena; 06-13-2014 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Forgot




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