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A story of murder for money in Mobile, Alabama

Sometimes, incidents like the following story are why we have difficulty tracing certain family members in our ancestry. This transcribed newspaper extract was published in the Jacksonville Republican March 4, 1837 –It was originally published in the Mobile Advertiser. The story tells of the brutal death of Dr. W. W. Charles in Mobile, Alabama.

Killed For Money

On Friday night last, at little past eleven o’clock, W. W. Charles, known here as Dr. Charles, was waylaid near the theatre in this city, as he was passing from his place of business at the New Exchange (where he with others, kept a faro bank and roulette table), knocked down by means of weights secured in a silk handkerchief and shockingly bruised in the head, and then rifled of all the money about him, supposed to be not far from $5000, his watch, fur cap, and a wig which he wore. He was shortly after discovered lying on the ground in a perfectly helpless state, and carried to his house. There he continued to suffer, if he was conscious of suffering– he could not speak—until yesterday morning at about nine o’clock when he died.

Click here to see family research and genealogy books by Donna R. Causey

7 Saint Michael Street Mobile, Alabama, ca. 1960 The funeral took place near this building. (Historical building survey, Library of Congress)

It was for money solely that he was killed – for we understand that he was uniformly a mild, inoffensive man, neither drinking not profane, and who provoked no personal enemies. The deed must have been committed but a very short time after the Theatre was closed—persons were in and about it, at the time –the deceased passed by it, and the building adjoining, at the corner of which he was waylaid – the place was more public at this time of night, perhaps than any yet within ——murder and robbery done, —–perpetrators got off unseen, —- A person was ____up on suspicion, on Saturday, but ___ charged. Two more individuals were arrested yesterday, and placed in prison where they are awaiting their examination, which is to take place this morning.

The murdered man will be buried this day. the funeral will take place from his late residence on St. Joakim street, between St. Louis and St. Michael.

Click here to see family research and genealogy books by Donna R. Causey

Faith and Courage: A Novel of Colonial America Inspired by real people and actual events, the family saga of colonial America continues with Ambrose Dixon’s family. Faith and Courage presents the religious persecution of Quakers in Pre-Revolutionary War days of America intertwined with a love story.

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Faith and Courage: A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love) (Volume 2) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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One comment

  1. I’m confused. Why does an incident such as this, make it difficult to trace an ancestor?

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