Thursday, April 20, 1922
Last week, we reviewed the case of Roy Houchin and the killing that followed a pleasant evening marred by the use of liquor and the killing at the end.
And this week, two days of the court was taken up in the trial of Henley Alberts for killing his brother-in-law, Elza Hinkle, at the end of another such family party with visitors, after an evening of feasting, music, dancing and drinking. The defendant was a rather irregular, sandy haired young man of twenty-eight, who wore spectacles and looked about as harmless as any man in the room. But he had the thick neck, blood in the face, devoid of imagination look, so often observed in murderers. We have known a good many, and we have yet to see one who showed that he had any grasp on future events, or any power to project his mind forward. Murderers do not realize that they are going to be hung until they feel the halter draw.
Alberts was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life imprisonment. It was impossible to tell whether he was glad or sorry. He did not seem to be intrigued.
The verdict was right, in our opinion, but we consider that it was the force of circumstances that got the prisoner into his trouble. There is a famous series of cartoons known as Mutt and Jeff, in which Jeff is ill treated with great regularity. He has died a thousand deaths at the hand of Mutt. And it was apparent that his man, Alberts, had been the underdog for years with a dangerous overbearing brother-in-law. But when Alberts did the killing, he was so inept about it, that he did about everything that could have been done on the spur of the moment to pull off a killing that would make a hanging matter out of it…
And while we know we have the best people in the world, the poor sinful world, yet we have to admit that we have murder trials, sandwiched between moonshine cases. And when the stage was set the other day and the expectant audience had gathered to hear the dramatic story of a horrible killing, a whisper went through the throng like wind through ripened grain, that a few minutes before, there had been a killing by shooting at Cass, and that the killer had been caught, and that in due course there would be another attraction in the way of a murder trial at the courthouse. O why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
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In the Saturday Evening Post of April 8th, there is a story headed “Traveler’s Repose.” It is by a writer whose works are well known to us, so well that we have to be hard up for something to read, to follow him at all, though we usually read the Saturday Evening Post religiously, from kiver to kiver. This writer’s name is Joseph Hergesheimer, and he always has some kind of a lesson to inculcate and that does not suit us, who turn to fiction for surcease from sorrow, and not for instruction. We are thinking about quitting the pursuit of fiction all together for a curious reason. So many of the tale tellers are young and have a cruel way of classing people of our age as old. We hold with the old lady of this county who is ninety-eight, and she has no patience with her daughter who is eighty when she complains of age.
So, while the name, “Traveler’s Repose,” had a familiar sound as that of the famous old tavern in the Upper Tract, we paid no attention to it for some time until we chanced to see that it referred to that identical place now called by the name of Bartow. Then, with a sigh, we sat down to see what the scandal was all about. Knowing the country pretty well, we soon saw that the story was laid on both sides of the Main Alleghany in Highland and Pocahontas counties. Mr. Higskrammer called the county Greenstream, and the nearest city Senton and so forth.
It seems that Mr. Hillsbarker spent some months along the Staunton and Parkersburg turnpike and that the famous motion picture play, “Tol’ble David,” is the result of his visit, and that it was flimflammed in these, our mountains.
And it is with the feeling of keen regret that we recently passed this play in the big city and did not go in to see it. We felt an urge, too, and that was the subconscious knowledge that the play was about our own country, but it is only a matter of time when the play will be given here for these are the days when Birnam wood come to Dunsinane.
Mr. Helhepper is pleased to observe that in Greenstream county, girls and women were ornamental only when they were very young, not more than fifteen or sixteen, and then only in the hours between their duties in the house and dairy. They married at once, after a few dances, a short courtship, and retired definitely to an existence of utility.
That shows that the famous author is either a chicken fancier or that he is going blind, and should see either a preacher or a doctor…
J. B. Alderman, better known as Hoxie Alderman, died at his home on Douthards Creek March 16, 1922, aged 42 years and 27 days. He was first stricken with neuralgia, then with pleurisy, both of which were on the way to recovery when his heart gave way.
Mr. Alderman was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Octave Alderman, both having preceded him to the grave several years.
He leaves to mourn his loss a wife, who was formerly Miss Annie Boggs, of Alvon; three children, Theodore, Mary and Nellie, all at home; five brothers; one sister; and a host of relatives and friends.
In his death, the wife has lost a faithful helpmate, the children a loving father, and the community an upright citizen who was always ready to assist his fellowmen. May our loss be heaven’s gain. He left these blessed words to his family and friends: “Don’t worry about me. I am ready to go.”
The body was borne to the family burying ground and laid away in its final resting place near his three infant children whose spirits were in glory to welcome father to that eternal home of happiness…