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October 24, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part XLVI


Citizens of Buckingham County Dissatisfied

The October 28, 1904 issue of The Farmville Herald reprinted an article from Richmond’s The News Leader criticizing the change of venue for the Wooldridge-Forbes case. The correspondent was based in Arvonia:

There is widespread dissatisfaction throughout a large portion of this county on account of the change of venue in the noted Forbes and Wooldridge cases, which was granted by the judge at the last term of court. After some preliminary discussion the court agreed that the cases should be tried in Farmville at the next term of Prince Edward court, the third Monday in November.

Judge Hundley stated that he thought it best under the circumstances to make the change of venue for several reasons. The chief reason was the extreme probability that a jury could not be secured in Buckingham of so unprejudiced a mind as to do justice in the case; and to save the bringing in of a jury from elsewhere with its attendant great expense, he thought best to remove the cases to Farmville, a town convenient to a large number of the lawyers and witnesses in the cases, where a jury could be readily obtained from other parts of Prince Edward county.

However strong the argument for the change of venue, the people of Buckingham are generally dissatisfied with the removal. It is openly claimed by some of the most substantial citizens that it is a reproach to the county and a matter of injustice to remove the case. It is strenuously maintained that a jury could, without any possible trouble, have been enrolled in the county. Indeed it is known that venire called at the last term of court contained a number of excellent man, who were ready and willing to serve on the jury–men whom the prisoners themselves did not object to in any possible way. This venire was not even questioned as to their knowledge of the case or their opinions.

It is claimed by the county authorities that revenue is taken from the county. Also that the majority of the hundred witnesses live twice as far from Farmville as they do from Buckingham courthouse. For this reason, and others, there is much dissatisfaction with the change of venue; and an effort will probably be made to bring the case back to this county before it comes to trial in Farmville. While such a step would please few, if any, of the lawyers in the case, it would satisfy the Buckingham people that justice is being done the county; and a retention of the case here would be eminently satisfactory, so far as is known, to the prisoners, whose lives and liberty are at stake.

Needless to say, considerable funds flowed into Maysville during Wooldridge’s first trial. Just feeding all those spectators and lodging some of them was a boon to local merchants, tavern and hotel keepers.

Coming next: An Interview with Cliff Wooldridge

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


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