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May 30, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part IX

Arson_9_Buckingham Column


On May 25, 1904, following Quoit’s letter, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times continued its coverage of the arrests of E. C. Wooldridge and Charlie Forbes. It also offered a full explanation of the arrest of E. C. Wooldridge’s son, Daniel, which differs from the report in The Times-Dispatch. Additionally, this part of the story expands on the previous burglary at the home of John S. Forbes, something The Times-Dispatch tended to downplay. According to the Appomattox and Buckingham Times:

Several years ago a decoy fire was started in the woods on Forbes property, and while the family was fighting the fire the residence was entered and $370 was stolen. Three parties were arrested and received terms in the penitentiary ranging up to ten years. Soon after the incarceration of these prisoners, one of them wrote a letter to the [illegible] of the Baptist church in this county protesting his innocence, and implicating if not directly charging Wooldridge with the robbery. It is said the letter was read from the pulpit of Hollywood [Baptist] church [in Appomattox County]. It is hard for the human mind to contemplate so dastardly and bold a scheme to convict innocent people of so heinous a crime, but it is said there are many people in the community who now believe in the innocence of the convicted prisoners and guilt of Wooldridge – not that there is any convicting evidence, but it seems that strong suspicion and the circumstances surrounding this late horror, and his arrest, confirm that he and Charlie Forbes are guilty of both burnings and that the Fergusons who are now serving time in the penitentiary ought to be pardoned. It was reported here [in Buckingham County?] that Wooldridge had confessed, but this is positively denied.

Daniel Wooldridge, the son of the accused, was arrested and lodged in jail at Buckingham Court House Thursday charged with threatening to take the life of the gallant young Annis Forbes, who is diligently at work aiding the Commonwealth in running down and bringing to justice the thieves and murderers who are implicated in this awful tragedy. No good citizen who desires to be safe in his property rights and the walks of life, should hesitate to arrest and hold any parties making threats or bulldozing. This is the oldest and rankest piece of intimidation that was ever perpetrated upon a decent community, and cannot possibly do the cause of his father, who is in jail charged with a serious crime, any good. The people are greatly excited, but are disposed to await the action of the authorities who seem bent on bringing the guilty culprits to justice. But, from what we know of these people, they are in no frame of mind now to even tolerate a suggestion of bulldozing. Young Wooldridge is not thought to be connected the burning.

It is expected that all parties will be taken to Buckingham Tuesday for hearing, when the public will have some sworn evidence in this now celebrated case.

This will not be the last time the crimes against John S. Forbes and his property are elevated to murder, though no murder took place.

Coming Next: Awaiting Trial

Need to catch up? Click here for The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part I

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