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HISTORY What happened next, howa mob of vigilantes and a couraever, is beyond dispute. Someone geous woman making a stand to in the second car fired a shot that defend her family. From the Conripped into Mrs. Stewart’s arm, stitution, the story spread along causing her to fall to the ground the news telegraph wires where still gripping the weapon. Then it was published in papers across came another shot that struck the the South. Tiny Draketown was helpless woman in her upper back, suddenly the center of world atshattering her spine and instantly tention. paralyzing her. In the meantime, Sheriff The bootleggers now panRichards and his deputies were icked and struggled to get away in at work. Eventually, the lawtheir vehicles. Stewart broke away men made 10 arrests, but at a from his would-be abductors and preliminary hearing charges ran to his wife’s side, where he were dropped against half the picked up the weapon and fired men, while the other five suswildly at the cars as they roared pects were bound over to a grand away. Those in the vehicles fired jury. The prosecutor, Edward S. two more shots as they disapGriffith, 62, decided to put the peared into the dark. men on trial separately, and in The entire small community early February 1925, citizens and of Draketown had been roused by news reporters crowded into the this time, and folks rushed to the courthouse in Buchanan for the site where Mrs. Stewart lay bleedfirst trial. Ricky Stilley/WGL ing in the moonlight. Dr. William But the trial of Jeff HenHogue, who lived across from the Close up of the detail on the monument notes that Mrs. Stewart derson did not go well. Despite was "assassinated" by "rum-runners." Stewarts, arrived at the scene; so the deathbed statements of Mrs. did Dr. Benjamin Franklin Eaves. Stewart and the key testimony of who she had recognized among the crowd The doctors saw that the only hope for the Rev. Stewart himself, Henderson’s legal of her husband’s would-be abductors. Even paralyzed woman would be found at the team produced evidence that he was not as newspapers across the county picked hands of more experienced surgeons, so involved in the crime; that he was, in fact, up the story of her courageous stand in dethey loaded Mrs. Stewart into a car and at home when Mrs. Stewart was gunned fense of her husband, Alice Stewart began headed out over 60 miles of rough road to down. The defense rested its case at noon to succumb to her injuries. She died the a hospital in Atlanta now known as Emory. on Feb. 4. The next morning, the jury, morning of Nov. 15. By that time, Sheriff George Richafter deliberating 1 hour and 20 minutes, ards had gotten to the site and quickly returned a verdict of not guilty. organized a group of about 40 men as a After this defeat, according to histoNo Justice for Mrs. Stewart posse to go after the assailants. One group rian Wilburn, the prosecutor took his time That same afternoon, The Atlanta went after the bootleggers by car, travelin bringing the other four defendants to ing all the way to Alabama and back again Constitution hit the streets with a banner trial. Eventually, all the charges were distwo-deck headline, using the size of type missed and the accused men walked free. without result. Meanwhile, another group went out by foot and picked up a couple of normally reserved for declarations of No one else was ever tried for the war: “Pastor’s Wife Fatally Shot by Rum suspicious men, one of whom was found murder of Mrs. Stewart. No one was ever Runners Who Made Attempt to Abduct in bed fully clothed. convicted of the crime. Her Husband.” Mrs. Stewart lived for two days after The Reverend Stewart never stopped The event had all the elements for a the shooting – even giving statements to preaching against moonshiners. But he sensational story – a crusading preacher; never went out on another raid. law enforcement about the incident and March/April 2014

West Georgia Living

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WGL March-April 2014  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine.

WGL March-April 2014  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine.