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March 4, 2021 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Crimes: The Murder of Meade Hanes, Part VIII


Need to catch up? Click here to begin the series: Buckingham County Crimes: The Murder of Meade Hanes, Part I


The May 7 article in Richmond’s Times-Dispatch concerning the murder of Meade Hanes reminded readers of the trial of Cliff Wooldridge which had taken place in Buckingham County in 1904-1905.

In 2016, this trial was reported at Slate River Ramblings in a series entitled “The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County.” The opening post began:

During 1904 and 1905, a mysterious case of arson, tried in the Buckingham County and Prince Edward courts, fascinated the citizens of both places for many months. Readers of Richmond’s The Times-Dispatch, The Farmville Herald, and the Appomattox and Buckingham Times reveled in the details of Buckingham’s elite and their handsome sons and pretty daughters. While it apparently did not become national news, readers in Baltimore and Washington D.C. also followed this mysterious crime story.

Unlike the serial crimes committed by “The Buckingham Outlaws,” who terrorized the good people of Arvonia in 1908, or the murders of the reclusive Stewart brothers in 1910, this crime involved prominent Buckingham families, both as victims and as alleged perpetrators.

While the trials of The Buckingham Outlaws and the men charged with the murder of the Stewart brothers suggested possible irregularities in Buckingham County’s justice system, the crime that came to be called “The Famous Forbes Case,” reveals the machinations among men of power. This is no backwoods clan fight. This story suggests white collar enmity, fueled by long-standing grudges among families.

The great legal minds of central Virginia once again take the stage. Buckingham County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Edmund W. Hubard headed the prosecution, aided by Lynchburg’s Aubrey E. Strode. The defense was primarily in the hands of Congressman H. D. Flood.

The story opens on March 9, 1904 when The Times-Dispatch reported two fires in Buckingham County, one at White Hall (Dillwyn) where the burning of the R.M. Anderson Company threatened the town and one at the farm of Mr. John Forbes. . . .

Intrigued? You can find the series in the archives at Slate River Ramblings. Click here to begin the reading story: The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part I

Coming Next: Buckingham County Crimes: The Murder of Meade Hanes, Part IX

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