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Mrs. Lilly Gardner Kills the Wife of Her Paramour in 1900 Bibb County – Part I

(Transcribed from The Centreville Press, Centreville, Bibb County, Alabama, April 20, 1899) Mr. Festus Caddell and Miss Mamie Mulky were married at Six Mile on Tuesday. They will reside at Blocton, the home of the groom.

(Transcribed from The Centreville Press, Centreville, Bibb County, Alabama, May 31, 1900)


Mrs. Lilly Gardner Kills the Wife of Her Paramour I

A Fast Life and a Merry One, Is Ended by Resorting to Murder – Festus Caddell the Husband of Dead Woman Implicated


On Wednesday evening about 2 o’clock, Mrs. Lilly Gardner shot and killed Mrs. Mamie Caddell at Blocton with a 38 calible (sic) pistol.

The following report was sent to the morning papers and is as correct an account of the tragedy (sic) as it is possible to get.

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A sensational chain of circumstances led up to the murder. Mrs. Caddell was the wife of Festus Caddell. Little more than a year ago they were married, and after their marriage made their home at Blocton. They had a happy life together until some time last summer, when Mrs. Gardner came to live with the couple. For awhile all went well, but rumors began floating around as to the intimacy of Caddell and Mrs. Gardner. Mrs Caddell left her husband on one or two occasions and returned to the house of her father, but her love for her husband lured her back to her home.

Became the talk of the Town.

In the interim, the relations between Caddell and Mrs. Gardner became more marked and became eventually the talk of the town. Mrs. Caddell told some of her friends that Caddell and Mrs. Gardner even when she was present, occupied the same bed at night and that her appeals had no effect toward changing that state of affairs.

About two months ago the dead woman left her home and husband to the Gardner woman. When the grand jury convened it found a true bill against Festus Caddell and Mrs. Gardner, charging them with adultery. Both were arrested and placed under bond, but instead of their intimacy ceasing, just as they were out on bail, they returned to their old haunts and to all appearances resumed their illicit connections. Mutual friends remonstrated but to no avail. Led on by a blind fascination, they continued to occupy the same house until the day of the shooting when Caddell refused to give his injured wife her personal effects, and in order to obtain them, she had a search warrant issued and accompanied by Constable Willis Jones went to the house of Caddell to get them.

Caddell Curses His Wife

Deputy Jones called Pomp Peyton to go with him and search, Caddell ordered his wife to leave his house and at the same time cursing her. She told him she would kill him if he repeated the vile epithet. The officers quieted the disturbance at once and proceeded to execute the search warrant. Mrs. Gardner made her appearance upon the scene about that time and began to laugh and talk to Mrs. Caddell. Mrs. Caddell had a pistol placed under her belt, which she carried to the house for protection. Mrs. Gardner finally snatched the pistol from Mrs. Caddell’s belt and fired upon her. The first shot took effect on the right side of the head. The murderess continued to fire upon the fallen woman, but no other shot took effect, owing to the fact that constable Jones caught the hand of Mrs. Gardner, caused the bullet to go wild of its mark.

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Caddell stood idly by looking at his lawful wife being murdered, but made no effort to prevent it.

Dr. Peacock was summoned at once, but life was was fast and being away, and the woman died within thirty minutes after being shot.

Deputy Jones arrested Caddell and Mrs. Gardner, and soon had them on the way to the Blocton jail.

Mutterings were heard from the bystanders; it seemed that a mine was about to explode, and the full fury of a mob turned loose upon the prisoners. They were carried to the jail, but it was decided by the officers that it was best to carry them to the Centreville jail.

Within a few minutes Pomp Peyton was whirling along the road in a buggy towards Centreville with Mrs. Gardener, and Constable Jones was fast following with Caddell. Deputy Sheriff — Suttle brought up the rear and acted as a guard to frustrate any attempt at lynching.

Caddell held a position with H. C. & W. B. Reynolds, and is about 28 years old.

Mrs. Caddell was the daughter of Mr. Mulky of Six Mile.

Mrs. Gardner was the wife of Mr. Hugh Gardner of Jacksonville, Fla.

Festus Caddell and Mrs. Gardner occupy separate cells at the county jail. Caddell has threatened the lives of a number of men who he had reason to think had been intimate with Mrs. Gardner, and several men have left town to avoid difficulty.

(Story Continued in PATRON + Mrs. Lilly Gardner Kills the Wife of Her Paramour in 1900 Bibb County – Part II)

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