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August 4, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part XXVI



Day Three: Thursday, July 21, 1904

Nancy Morgan’s testimony was a high point in the trial against Cliff Wooldridge and a front-page story in The Times-Dispatch noted that the following day was a bit of a letdown. Clearly, it was much less dramatic.

Court opened with a “rigid and close” cross examination of James P. Forbes, Jr., who had testified the day before. J. H. O’Brien supported the testimony about Wooldridge interfering with John S. Forbes’ medicine bottles. R. D. Forbes elaborated about the tracks around the Forbes property. A large, detailed map was produced and now it was believed that the tracks were made by three men: “one of them wearing coarse shoes and the other two shoes of a somewhat better grade.” The old and worn shoes were believed to be Wooldridge’s brogans.

Next, Appomattox County was heard from with three new and seemingly very credible witnesses: Mr. J. K. Hanna, superintendent of schools in Appomattox; Mr. J. F. Dickerson, school trustee in Appomattox; and a Mr. W. J. Covington, also of Appomattox. Hannah stated that he ate dinner with Wooldridge and his daughter at a hotel in West Appomattox one day early in March. He recalled that Wooldridge had accurately described the extent of the fire at John S. Forbes, contradicting Wooldridge’s statement at that time that he thought only the dwelling house was destroyed. Dickerson informed the court that Woodridge had gone to Appomattox to get John S. Forbes’ coffin. He recalled that Wooldridge stated that Charlie Forbes was not involved in the burning and that Janie Forbes had written to her brother, who was away and would return in a few days. Covington related another conversation with Wooldridge about the fire.

All this testimony indicated that Cliff Wooldridge talked too much – and not much else!

Edloe Spencer, who had been outspoken in the preliminary trial and had been instrumental in the arrest of both Wooldridge and Charlie Forbes, was next to take the stand.

Coming Next: Edloe Spencer Testifies

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

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