Colonel Thomas Hardeman, Jr
Georgia UDC Chapter 2170 Macon

Woolfolk Family Memorial and Dedication

Capt Richard Franklin Woolfolk, Sr

May 16, 2008

Susan Powell and Millie Stewart
Woolfolk descendants

Woolfolk Murders

1887 In what is considered to be the first mass murder in Georgia history, the Woolfolk family murders occurred in Bibb County. At four in the morning Captain Richard Woolfolk, his wife Mattie, ther son 20 year old Dick Woolfolk his brother 5 year old Charlie Woolfolk, 17 year old Pearl Woolfolk, Mattie's Great Aunt Temperance West down for a visit, 10 year old Annie Woolfolk, 7 year old Rosebud Woolfolk and the baby of the family 18 month old Mattie Woolfolk were all murdered with an axe in the Hazzard District of North Bibb County. The Captain's oldest son Tom escaped by jumping out of a window and running down to the bottom of the hill where the former slaves now share croppers lived. They refused to return with him to help the family so Tom went on his own. By daybreak on August 6th word had gotten out to all of Bibb County and people began showing up at the house. The mood was that Tom was guilty and he was arrested on the spot more so for his safety than anything else at that time. Also at that time a coroner's jury was put together and after examining the bodies and listening to witness testimony they decided that all the members had died of axe wounds and that Tom Woolfolk had committed the murders. He would go through five trials and numerous appeals before finally being convicted of the murders and hung on October 29, 1890. [Information submitted by Cal Rogers]



Shadow Chasers: The Woolfolk Tragedy Revisited, will be the program presented by the author, Carolyn DeLoach. Ms. DeLoach, with 30 years of knowledge about this case, will bring to this program her historical artifacts, photographs, and visual aids. In addition, forensic and historical research techniques will be discussed. This tragedy has been called" The Murder of the Century"

In the early morning hours of August 6, 1887, in rural Bibb County, Georgia, Captain Richard Woolfolk and eight members of his family died at the hands of an axe murderer. A single member of the household survived the attack, Torn Woolfolk, the Captainís eldest son, escaped the slaughter and sounded the alarm, only to be arrested for the crime. On October 29, 1890, after languishing in jail, chained to the wall of his cell for three years, enduring countless trials, he calmly climbed the steps to the gallows, proclaimed his innocence for one last time, and forgave those who were about to kill him.

After extensive research and in vivid descriptions, Carolyn DeLoach has been able to capture the emotions of the period. It is a factual account of one of the most horrendous crimes in the history of the State of Georgia, as told by some of the actual participants, in their own words. Ms. DeLoach guides the reader through the tangled web of tragic events and subtly presents haunting new evidence that reveals the actual mass murderers were protected by the political forces of the State and an innocent man was sacrificed. The killers of the Woolfolk family went on to kill again because authorities ignored evidence that would have brought the real killers to justice.



This site last updated 05/19/2008                                      Col. Thomas Hardeman, Jr.  UDC Chapter 2170 Macon, Ga. Home Page


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