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The murder of Richard Peacock in 1881
Liberty lore
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People in Liberty County were shocked when they picked up the Hinesville Gazette in February 1881 and read the startling story about Mr. Richard H. Peacock’s apparent murder. I’d like to share the story with you:
“On last Tuesday evening, Feb. 8, 1881, the community of Jones Creek was startled by the announcement that Mr. Richard H. Peacock, a very respectable 74-year-old man who lived on the road from Darien to Reidsville, had been murdered. A coroner’s inquest was held a mile from the residence of the deceased, and the following facts brought to light.
“The deceased was returning from the mill in his buggy when he was fired upon by some unknown party. The whole load, including the wadding, lodged in the body, entering the right side just under the arm. The old man must have fallen out of the buggy and died almost instantly. He was known to have $100 on his person, but his vest was torn open and the money gone.
“The piece of cloth that formed the wadding was identified by a young lady as part of an old dress that she had given to Jasper Price for gun wadding. Price, who is a young man and a nephew of the deceased, was accordingly examined and upon the authority of the inquest, he was arrested and lodged in jail. We forbear all comment as the matter will undergo judicial investigation. Mr. Peacock was a quiet, peaceable citizen.”
Richard H. Peacock was born Aug. 24, 1807, in Liberty County (now Long County). He was the son of Samuel and Mary Peacock. He married first Anna S. Howard, the daughter of George Howard and Christine Platts and the widow of Daniel Francis Sullivan. After her death, he married Martha Lang, born in 1859, the daughter of William and Rebecca Parker Lang.
Martha was 52 years younger than Richard. They had two children.
Mr. Peacock owned 562 acres of land with an estimated value in 1881 of $1,000. He lived and owned land in the area of Baxter’s Bridge across Highway 301.
From information I have heard and gathered from older people, Jasper Price was tried in the Liberty County courts and found not guilty because there was not enough evidence. After that, he took the pretty young 22-year-old widow and went to Florida to live. Everyone has their own opinions.
One of the stories I heard, which has been passed down from people who were kin to Peacock, was that many years before his death, Peacock saw a crippled man walking with a cane coming across his woods. The man stopped by a grape vine and ate some ripe grapes. Mr. Richard Peacock supposedly shot and killed the “grape thief” and buried him in the old cotton field branch. If the man had a family, they never knew what happened to their loved one. It has been said that at the old Peacock house, which no longer exists, one could hear a tap, tap, tap (like a walking cane) coming across the porch at night. Maybe the “grape thief” came back to get Peacock!
Another legend says Peacock was carried home and placed on his porch after he died, leaving a patch of blood on the porch. Whenever it rained, the blood stain could still be seen, no matter how many times it was scrubbed.
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