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October 10, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part XLII


Letters from Buckingham Court House

During August and September of 1904, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times continued to print regular letters from Quiot and articles about the Forbes case while the Richmond newspapers focused on other, more pressing, news.

On August 17th, Quoit clarified an earlier correspondence and sent news from Buckingham Court House.


It seems that my letter, in reference to the application for bail before the Bail Commissioner, made by E. C. Wooldridge, and just after the adjournment of the last term of the Circuit Court here, and which was intercepted by the attorney for the Commonwealth, was misinterpreted by some. It seems that some have understood me as saying that now no more application can be made for bail at all. I did not so mean to say, I thought I made it plain that Judge Hundley stated to counsel for the defense, that he had held himself ready to hear application for bail at any time. I meant to say that no application for bail could be made to the Bail Commissioner ‘till the question of application for writ of prohibition, made by the Commonwealth’s Attorney before the circuit judge, was disposed of in Farmville on September 1, the day set for the hearing of the question of the writ of prohibition.

We regret to report that Charlie Forbes, jointly charged with E. C. Wooldridge with the burning of the Forbes property, is very ill in the county jail with a dangerous type of typhoid fever. That faithful and heroic sister, Miss Janie Forbes, is by his bedside, to render him all the service that lies in her power. It would be grievous indeed if such self-sacrifice, and sisterly devotion as this, exhibited under such discouraging and adverse circumstances, is not finally rewarded, even in this world. While the clouds are heavy and the way now seems dark and threatening, may we not hope that at not a very far distant day the “mist may be cleared away” and there will dawn in the history of this model of womanly Christian devotion, a day of cloudless sky, and the character and reputation of him for whom she is sacrificing her means and physical powers may be cleared of that peace-destroying breath of suspicion? For her sake especially, but it would be so.

Quiot’s interesting ramble about Christian womanly virtues was followed on August 24th by the news that he had spoken to E. C. Wooldridge who was waiting out the hot summer in the Buckingham County jail:

Mr. E. C. Wooldridge, who rests under the same awful charge as Charlie Forbes, who is confined in one of the lower cells of the jail, was visited by your correspondent yesterday. I was glad to find him as well as he was. I had heard that he was in a very nervous and rundown condition. Mr. Woolridge talked calmly and I must say dispassionately about himself and his case. He stoutly maintains that he is innocent, and says that he is praying the Father to give him grace to find in his heart true forgiveness for those who apparently are persecuting him.

Quoit also reported that Charlie Forbes was somewhat improved and his sister, Janie, continued to nurse him and, on August 31st, Quoit added that Charlie was “right much better this morning.” He wrote:

. . . Dr. Morriss, the jail physician, attending him seems in good spirits concerning his case this morning. His sister, Miss Janie, remains with him and will doubtless do so ‘till he is entirely out of danger. . . .

Dr. Morriss was called up into the neighborhood of Manteo to inspect a suspected case of scarlet fever last week. We are glad, however, to add that the cases examined, turned out not to be scarlet fever.

Dr. Morriss, like most country doctors, was always busy.

Coming soon: Has Forbes Confessed?

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

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