The Murder of Bill Chisholm
We're grateful to  Joni Tucker-Nisbeth who submitted this material.

On Monday, December 13, 1899, Bill Chisholm was murdered.  Shortly after this
event, his wife delivered a baby boy, who was dead on arrival.  He was buried in the
coffin with Bill.  Earlier that day, Bill Chisholm had gone to Meadville and traded his
relding horse for two horses that belonged to the Wallace brothers, Horace and
Pearl.  Bill paid two dollars in finishing out the deal.  After William left, the Wallace
brothers took the money and bought some home brew whiskey with it.  Becoming
staggering drunk, they decided that they had been beaten in the deal, and set out to
kill the horse trader.   This is the story of that tragic night.
Information sent by Mavis Cowart Young to Joni Tucker-Nisbeth

 It was at the hour of midnight that the two Wallace brothers, drunk in a mad rage, rode
up to the woods outside William's home.  They hid in the bushes and, by now, William
was in bed asleep.  His wife's parents were there with them, as the wife was expecting a
child at any time.  William lived in a log house way in the hills of Hominy Ridge in Franklin
County, Mississippi.  That night, as he was awakened by a call of his name, he got up
and went to the doorway.  He could see no one as he held the lantern in his hands.  Still
the call came and he walked a little closer to get a better view.  He made it to the old
picket fence that surrounded the house and opened the little picket gate.  The blast of
two double-barreled shotguns ripped through him and he lay with his intestines flowing
outside on the ground, as the two men rode like wild fire through the woods.  The sound
of the gun blast awakened his in-laws and wife, who ran to his side and carried him in the
house, where he was laid on the bed.  He lived only an hour and one of the most
horrifying deaths that one could not even begin to imagine.  His painful screams tore
through the night and his wife fell to the floor beginning labor.  There, as her husband
lay dying, a son was born, and dead on arrival, the sound of her husband's screams
stopped.  They were both dead, the chld and the father.  That night it snowed til the old
porch was covered in blankets of snow and sleet.  William's father-in-law, in the early
morning, made his way to the barn and saddled one of the horses that the killing had
been over.  He slowly made his way to a neighbor some ten miles across the woods,
where help was summoned and the sheriff was notified.   William managed to call one of
the men's names before he died:  Horace Wallace.  The sheriff and some men rode near
Meadville, where they found them both asleep in a drunken slumber in their beds.  They
were taken to the county jail and, as the news got around, men began to gather for a
hanging.  The sheriff slipped the two men out the following night and hid them away for
trial.  It was told that they were taken to Amite County jail until the judge made his rounds.
 Isabel Lewis Chisholm and her husband, Orleander, were living near Mt. Gilead and
that day, a horseman from Meadville made his way to McCall, where another man went
on the the parents' house to tell them the news.  Elder Authur Cass Lewis and his
brothers, William Jack and Elisha Van Buren Lewis, made the trip over that day to be with
their sister and nephew.  Isabel and her husband were taken by Authur and his wife, in
the cold, freezing rain that day.
 William Chisholm married Carey Lillian Rushing.  The infant son who died the night of
the murder was to be named Dewey.  He was laid in William's arms.  They were buried
 A coffin maker brought a wooden coffin to William's home, and he was laid inside it
bound with sheets, as the blood and insides of his stomach were covered.  His body was
held over til the next day, as the weather was not permittable to make it to the church
cemetery some miles from where they lived.  That night, while some of the neighbors and
relatives sat with the body, a snowstorm covered the earth.  When daybreak came it
seemed impossible to have a burial.  So some men went into town and two oxen were
brought back.  There was only a wagon road to the home and it stopped at a creek
where there was no bridge and, only a steep bank, did it begin again.  The casket would
have to be carried on the oxens' backs over the iced over river.  And that was what they
did, strapped the casket on two oxens' backs and broke the ice so that they could carry
him across and up the steep bank.  The family that went were carried across on a raft,
and then, the mules and wagon were brought on behind.  The trip to the church was a
hard one and one of William's little girls well remembers the day her father was buried.  
She told of being wrapped in a quilt, and being held in a lady's lap, to keep her warm.
 She told of the church way up in the hills on the Hominy Ridge, where her father's
funeral was preached, and also of the cemetery that was knee deep in snow, as they
lowered her father into the dark, hollow hole.
 Bill Chisholm's widow sold the homeplace and moved back to her parents' house in
Franklin County, just on the borderline of Lincoln County.  She later remarried, to a man
named Quinn, who was very wealthy.  But Bill's two daughters, Vacie and Icie, never
accepted their stepfather, but said he was good to their mother.
 When World War I broke out, the government accepted prisoners, so Horace and Pearl
Wallace decided to join.  They were put on the front line of fire, to fight for their lives or
die, and if they lived through the war, they would be freed for life for their crime.  Pearl
was killed in action, but Horace survived, to return home, missing one leg.
 It was not far from where [Bill's daughter] Icie and her husband lived that Horace
returned.  And, as Icie would look daily toward the fields, she would see Horace hobbling
down the row with a mule.  The anger in her nearly drove her insane, until she decided to
kill the man herself.  Her father's horrible death had not left her in all those years.  Icie's
husband, seeing that this was about to happen, went over to Horace's and told him to
leave, move away before he was killed.
 A couple of days later, Horace was seen with a wagon full of belongings and his old
mules pulling him down the old wagon road.  A few days later, Horace was found lying
beside it.  It was called a snake bite or a heart attack.  Was it either?  No one really knew.


GO TO  PAGE TWO >   (Letter written by Elisha Lewis and newspaper
accounts of the murder and trial)
Our contributor's g-grandmother (Bill Chisholm's first
cousin), Gelona Laird Sanders Ezelle.  On left, she's
pictured with her second husband, Allen Ezelle.  Gelona's
mother, Susan Elizabeth Chisholm Laird, was a sister of
Bill Chisholm's dad.