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May 26, 2022 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Murders of 1855, Part III

Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham County Murders of 1855, Part I

On April 16, Richmond’s Daily Dispatch printed more details of the tragic deaths of two young Buckingham County men, Dean and Chenault. The plot thicken, involving four slaves and two white men. This article appeared in the column LATEST MAIL NEWS.

Farmville, Va., April 14th. – I sent you a day or two since, by telegraph, a brief account of the burning of the storehouse of Messrs. Moss & White, at Buckingham C. H., and the supposed murder of Dean and Chenault, two young men who were sleeping there. Since that account, particulars of the affair have been received here which confirm the suspicion entertained from the first, that the store was entered by burglars, and the young men murdered.

The fire occurred on Sunday night last, and on Monday morning an investigation of the circumstances attending it was held. The charred corpse of young Chenault was found lying in the spot where the bed stood, and it is believed that he was murdered without having time to offer any resistance or give the alarm. He was sick at the time of the occurrence. The body of young Dean was found behind the counter, or rather his bones, completely burned up.

Four slaves, and two white men, named Taylor and Garnett, have been arrested and lodged in jail. Two of the slaves have confessed to having participated in the murder and arson—the other two stoutly deny it.

There is strong circumstantial evidence against the white men, who will be brought up for examination.

Yours, C.

The story steadily gained wider interest. Petersburg’s Daily Express quoted the Daily Dispatch under this headline:  HORRID MURDER AT BUCKINGHAM C. H. – ARREST OF THE MURDERERS and it was reprinted in Georgia’s Augusta Chronicle.

Coming Next: Buckingham County Murders of 1855, Part IV

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