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  •  This article was taken From the November 29, 1919 Philadelphia Enquirer.    Some questions has come up about was it Abraham Roland VZ’s son and grandson of Abraham Williams VZ.   If any corrections to be found, it will be posted later.



    A Shot Through The Heart!
    November 29, 1919 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inquirer
    Cast of Characters
    Abraham Roland Vanzant, Albert D. Wray, Katherine M. Wray and Mr. Measer.
    Abraham Roland Vanzant committed a horrible crime, Murder in the first degree. A shot through the heart! He then staged a suicide.
    Abraham was 77 years old, a Civil War veteran and a night watchman at the Pennsylvania Sugar Refinery.
    This  begins to play out like a Lifetime Movie made for TV.
    Katherine M. Wray , the newlywed bride of Albert D. Wray. This was Katherine’s second abused marriage.
    Mr. Measer, a family friend who was a boarder at police officer, Sgt. H.P. Mortimer’s home.
    Abraham Vanzant was a boarder in the  Wray home, 955, East Columbia Avenue. It appears according to Abraham’s testimony that Mr. Wray has been abusing Mrs. Wray for some time now. She had previously been talking to Abraham about how Albert had been beating her. Mr. Measer witnessed the shooting. It was his suggestion to stage it to look like a suicide.
    From day one Mrs. Wray has been claiming a stormy marriage. She was a 30 year old divorced woman. She had married Mr. Wray 5 days after her divorce from Mr. Frederick Bender who she also claimed abuse.
    Albert Wray was a 35 year old son of a police officer. Albert’s occupation was listed as a riveter.
    The story begins on Thanksgiving day, November 29, 1919 . The couple was feuding. Albert Wray had been drunk raising hell all day long. At one time Katherine ran to Abraham’s room to seek assistance from the abuse. Katherine’s mother and a friend of the family stopped by the home to visit. Albert had left the residence. Katherine had confessed to her mother that Albert had been beating her. Katherine’s mother and her friend left before Albert returned back home. He came home and started raising hell with Katherine. Abraham asked him to stop and he came after Abraham threatening him with a iron lifter off the stove. Abraham and Mr. Measer then began to fight with Albert.
    The fight was going on and Katherine ran out of the room and out of the house to the steps on the front porch when she heard the shots fired. She ran back in the room to see her husband laying on the floor and a gaping bullet wound over his heart. She screamed out “My God you have shot my husband.”
    The three plotted for Measer to  take Katherine to her mothers and stepfathers home while Abraham left for his nighttime job at the refinery.  Then Mr. Measer was going to return to his boarding house like nothing happened.  After Abraham’s shift was over he was to return to home and discover that Mr. Wray had committed suicide.  Abraham took the revolver he used to Kill Mr. Wray and placed it in Wray’s left hand and the revolver that was in the back pocket of Mr. Wray he hid behind the stove.
    Katherine arrived at her mothers home and after being there a while she blurted out “Albert is dead” and told what happened. Her stepfather went with her to the crime scene in hopes that Albert was not dead but injured.  They arrived back at her home and discovered he definitely was  dead! The stepfather proceeded to Police St. Mortimer’s home to report the murder.
    When police arrived to arrest Abraham Vanzant, he was there and calmly said “I shot him.” He then got up and left was the police. Mr. Measer was asleep when they arrived to arrest him.
    Mrs. Wray gave her statement to the police. She and Mr. Wray had been quarreling. Mr. Vanzant had asked him politely to stop and he threatened Abraham Vanzant, she was afraid to see what was going to take place and she ran out of the room to only hear gunshots. Then she told of the story to plot to make it look like a suicide.
    Abraham Roland Vanzant stood before the magistrate and gave him his personal info but refused to make any sort of statement.
    The men had been arrested for murder and Mrs. Wray an accessory.
    Abraham had known Albert and Katherine a very long time. He even was present at their wedding at Christ Reform Church in Norristown, PA. Abraham and his wife were presently separated at the time of the murder.
    Vanzant’s father was Abraham Willis Vanzant who was once a Methodist Minister and a previous Sheriff of Delaware County, PA.
    Mrs. Wray said when her husband was sober you could not ask for a better man but when he was drinking he was evil and hell to live with. Katherine stated he always “was wanting to kill someone.”
    Mr. Wray’s mother had a different version. Mrs. Louis Wray continually stated that he was a good man and she blamed Katherine. She said “Albert, her son was a good man until he met THAT woman.”
    Vanzant claimed he was only trying to shoot in him the legs, not kill him.
    On March 11, 1920 according to the Pennsylvania Inquirer Abraham Vanzant, age 78 was acquitted of the charge of Homicide in the death of Albert D. Wray along with Mrs. Wray and Mr. Measer.
    Abraham Willis Vanzandt, father of Abraham Roland Vanzant was my 4th great grandfather on my paternal grandmother, Hannah Carroll Vanzant Epps side of the family.


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  • I received a letter today from Janet. She is a Lilly researcher. I believe we corresponded a long time ago. It was good to hear from her and made me drag out what little Lilly Family info I have.  I would love to hear from some other Lilly researchers.

    Edward Lilly

    Born 1812 or 1813 in Enniskillen, Ireland.

    Wife was Sarah Ann Smith

    Born 1812 or 1813 . Not sure if South Carolina or Georgia.

    Children of this union

    1.  John Lilly  who married Charity Elizabeth Hughes.

    John was born 22 April 1842 in Clarke County, Georgia

    Married 10 February 1867 in Clarke County Ga, Athens area.

    Died 11 November 1906 and is buried in Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia.

    Charity Elizabeth Hughes his wife died 14 February 1929

    2.  Mariah  Lilly

    Born 1843

    3.  Thomas Lilly     Married to Sarah Elizabeth Youngblood   This is my Gr Gr grandfather and Grandmother

    Born 17 April 1845 in Clarke County, Athens, Georgia

    Children of Thomas Lilly and Sarah Elizabeth Youngblood were

    Zatta Born Ca 1871

    Geneva who was married to Arthur Eugene Fitzpatrick. This was my Gr Grandmother and Grandfather.

    Geneva was born 1879 and died 29 March 1936 in Piedmont, Calhoun County, Alabama

    Emmett who married Ola Gilbert

    February 1887 and died 1945 in Acmar, Alabama

    4.  James C. Lilly    married to Mary Ella MaGill

    Born 1846 in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia

    Died 1886 in Athens, Clarke County, GA

    5.  Minerva Lilly born ca 1848   GA

    6.  Robert Lilly born ca 1851    GA

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  • Tommy Epps, Chris Epps Wheeler

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  • When you leave a comment , if you will click on the comment luv below the box that you write in, when someone replies or leaves a comment it will be sent to you.

    Thank you all for visiting this site.

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  • David Epps, Karen Epps, Terry Studdard in the 60's at Piedmont , Alabama Bicentennial.

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  • Tommy Epps and Chris Epps Wheeler

    Aunt Janice Fitzpatrick Myers and Tommy Epps

    Gary Wheeler and Tommy Epps

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  • Thanks to Lauren for this info.. Goodness I hope I said her name right!

    I,  George R. Vanzant, hereby make this my last will and testament, as follows:-

    First.    I order and direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid by my executor, hereinafter named, as soon as conveniently can be after my decease.

    Item.    I hereby direct my executor to set apart the sum of Fifty Dollars ($50.00), for the purpose of defraying the funeral expenses of my daughter, Anetta Vanzant, if she should survive me.

    Item.    All the rest residue and remainder of my estate I give, devise and bequeath to my daughter, Hannah Cowan, wife of Fred Cowan.

                  I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my friend, Josiah Smith, to be the Executor of this my last will and testament.

    In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of April, 1912.


    Signed, sealed, published and declared by the above-named testator as and for his last will and testament, in our presence, who, in his presence, and in the presence of each other, and at his reuest, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.

    James A. Hodge

    Bella M. Carroll

    July 31, 1914, as a codicil to this my will I hereby give and will to my son Harry Vanzant my gold watch chain and churn. Witness by my hand and seal.


    Signed , sealed, published and recorded as a codicil to my last will and testament in person who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed and names as witensses.

    B.M. Carroll

    (I typed the last two paragraphs as well as I could.. it was very hard to read.)

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