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November 7, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part L


More News from the Appomattox and Buckingham Times

On November 30, 1904, Quoit, correspondent from Buckingham Court House for the Appomattox and Buckingham Times, managed to relay some personal information relating to the Wooldridge – Forbes case:

We learn that the family of Mr. Edloe Spencer, the star witness in the Wooldridge – Forbes cases is suffering severely from attacks of those terrible diseases, typhoid fever and pneumonia. One child died a week ago, and two more are still sick, one in Buckingham at the home of Mr. R. T. Morgan and the other at home in Farmville. Mr. Spencer will have many sympathizers among his many relatives, and friends who believe in the guilt of the accused in the now celebrated cases, in which he figured so conspicuously.

[An article from 1894 in the Appomattox and Buckingham Times stated that Mr. and Mrs. Edloe Spencer, of crew, were in Andersonville, Buckingham County, visiting “their father” – Mr. R. T Morgan. Oddly expressed, Eldoe Spencer married Martha Virginia “Mattie” Morgan. Spencer’s mother was Sarah Morgan.]


The December 14th issue of the newspaper contained an interesting column comparing the conditions of jails in Roanoke, which was apparently in a state approaching the “Black Hole of Calcutta,” Farmville, Buckingham, and Appomattox County. The article read in part:

At the last term of Judge Hundley’s Court in Prince Edward county a special committee appointed by the Judge to look into the condition of the jail of that county made such report as is pictured of the Roanoke jail. The Judge said very plainly that he would not incarcerate people in such a place and took steps to improve the condition of things. In the meantime he entered an order removing Wooldridge and Forbes to the Buckingham jail until the date of their trial, January 2ndnext.

It is pleasant for us to be able to say that Sherriff Williams and Jailer Spencer keep the Buckingham jail in a perfect sanitary condition – clean and white as lime can make it. This too is true, that the building is an old brick structure probably 100 years old.

The Appomattox jail is carefully looked after by Sheriff McKinney and Jailer Smith, and while its builders intended that it should be modern they failed to make it so, but its sanitary condition is very good.

What is true of the Buckingham and Appomattox jail may be true of every jail in Virginia, and the Judges are right in enforcing cleanliness and a perfect sanitary condition in every jail in the commonwealth.

Coming next: Trials Begin in Farmville

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

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