Saturday, February 25, 2012

They spelled his name wrong

Luther Marion Wilson was my grandmother Edith's first cousin, however I doubt she ever met or knew about him. He died when she was young and I suspect the family didn't talk much about him.

He died in 1921 and I had a note about him that someone had given me that said he was killed at Green Swamp which was in Pasco County Florida. I didn't know what that meant but decided to find out. Now that I know the story, I think his parents must have been confused and should have named him after Martin Lucifer, rather than Martin Luther.

Several years ago I found small newspaper article about a Luther Wilson being charged with a crime in Pasco County Florida but didn't know it was the same person. Then this year, using the Smather's Library in Gainesville, Florida newspaper collection, I came across another article that confirmed not only the first one was him but also explained how he was killed in Green Swamp!

The Bradford County telegraph from November 11, 1921 has an article on page two titled "Luther Wilson is killed by Officers." It details the account of how he had escaped from state prison where he was serving a life sentence for various crimes that started with the rape of his sister in law! He had escaped from jail and had been hiding in the swamp, probably with assistance from his family for over a year. He shot and killed a deputy sheriff at one point who had come out in the swamp to find him.

So this is one black sheep that everyone would probably just as soon forget about. If however you want to read the entire article it is online.

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