A delicate paper in the basement of Butler County, Alabama courthouse revealed the truth

A delicate paper revealed the truth


Lawanna McLeod Walthall

Throughout our McLeod family history, we were told that our Grandfather that came from Scotland thought his wife went back to Ireland and was dying.  He supposedly took his horse and buggy to the train station and was hit by a train.  The only true fact is he was in deed hit by a train. While looking in the basement of the courthouse in Greenville, Butler County, Alabama, I came across an old newspaper.  Going through the delicate pages that made March of 1881 come to life, I found an article that mention’s my grandfather, Angus McLeod.

Greenville, Butler County, Alabama courthouse

Butler County Courthouse

I became angry and sad

As I read this article, I became sad and angry for what it had said about my grandfather.  I became sad because he was hit by a train in Greenville, AL and he was left there at the depot and died because of the injuries.  The article said Mr. McLeod said he was a doctor; the writer of the article added his opinion that he doubt that Mr. McLeod has even seen the inside of a college.  I can prove them wrong.  I have a copy of transcripts proving that my grandfather went to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland studying medicine.

I am glad now that I found this piece of history and able to share with my McLeod “cousins”.  I now am hoping that I can find where he is buried.


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  1. This is sad!! Why did people act like this? I wish one of my ancestors had been in town that day and had been able to help him.

    1. I descend from WJRW McCoy.
      email me please.

  2. Who wrote this article?

    1. Lawanna McLeod Walthall wrote the article as it says in the byline. Thank you for asking.

  3. Oh my!! I’m sure my Butler County ancestors would have helped!!

  4. This was neat to find! I’m not sure but these could be my family too!!!

  5. So cool Michelle Willis McLeod, was this Jack’s great great grandfather?

  6. I also have an Angus McLeod in my family. Would love to find more info!!

  7. What about the wife? What did it say about her?

  8. This article leaves you hanging! What the led the towns people to believe that this man was a fraud. Did he murder his wife?

  9. http://algw.org/butler/cem.htm. these are the AlaGenWeb cemeteries. You can click on each one and search for mcleod. Volunteers enumerate them. My mom has done a bunch in Coffee Co.

  10. Something was obviously left out of this article…like the reason for printing it in the first place.

  11. I understand. Because of his Scottish or Southern accent, they assumed he was illiterate. We moved from Alabama to Wisconsin 25+ years ago and I had a neighbor who told me my Masters degree from UA didn’t count because it was from a Southern college. I think you have every reason to be proud of your ancestor, for being a doctor, for being a college graduate, and for caring so deeply for his wife – he had a good heart.

  12. What’s interesting is clear evidence of fake news all the way back then.

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