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  • George Wiliam Epps

    This was my Grandfather Samuel Huey Epps, brother. George was the son of Hiriam Thomas Epps and Martha Annie Chesser. He was born 3 February 1898 in Petersburg, Lincoln County, Tennessee and he died 1954 Delta , Clay County, Alabama.

    When we would get in trouble at home Mother would call us George Epps. I found out later why. George had been in some serious trouble with the law. Here are clippings from the Annistonstar newspaper, Anniston, Alabama.

    Anniston Star

    March 17, 1936

    Ernest Love of Maxwellborn, slain after argument with neighbor over money.


    George Epps is sought by county officers


    Told wife he was coming to Anniston to surrender – Wife tells deputies.

    Ernest Love, farmer of the Maxwellborn Community in North Calhoun County was instantly killed at noon today by a charge from a shotgun at the home of George Epps, another farmer of the same community who is being sought by sheriff’s deputies.

    The shooting climaxed an argument, according to information gained by investigating officers that arose over a money transaction.

    The shotgun charge struck Love in the heart and death was instantaneous, it was reported.

    Mrs. Epps and Paul Livingston were in the Epps home at the time of the shooting, but neither saw the gunfire, officers learned.

    Livingston quoted Epps as saying “I’ve killed the best friend I have. I’m going to Anniston and give up.”

    Deputies Arlan Williamson and J. Adkinson were summoned shortly after the shooting and could not find Epps.  Epps had not given himself up when the Star went to press this afternoon.

    The Epps home is located about a quarter of a mile south of Senator M.B. Wellborn’s home at Maxwellborn, and Love resided about a quarter of a mile North of the Wellborn place.

    March 19, 1936 George Epps, charged with shooting Ernest Love at the formers home Tuesday.


    Anniston Star

    June 14, 1936

    Murder trial of George Epps set for Monday.


    June 14, 1936

    Murder Trial of George Epps Set For Monday

    Anniston Star

    Former Anniston mill worker charged with killing Ernest love.

    George Epps, of near Piedmont, former Anniston cotton mil worker, will go on trial in Calhoun County Circuit Court Monday on charges of murder in connection with the shotgun slaying of Ernest Love near Piedmont several weeks ago.

    The shooting occurred at Epps home at Maxwellborn on the Piedmont Highway.

    Love was instantly killed. Persons in the Epps home told investigating offiers that Epps exclaimed after the shot was fired, “I’ve killed my best friend.”

    Epps was taken in custody by Deputy Arlan Williamson several hours after the shooting. He was located by the deputy at a negro’s house a mile or more from his home.

    Epps refused to make a statement to arresting officers regarding the shooting, saying, “There is plenty of time to talk.”


    June 15, 1936

    Murder Trial of George Epps Speeds To End.


    Maxwellborn Man Charged With Fatal Shooting.


    Vanderford Is First Witness For State.


    Defendant’s Neighbors Take Stand In Effort To Save Man’s Life


     The prosecution, moving rapidly, rested after introducing only six witnesses in the murder trial of George Epps, former Anniston mill worker, in Calhoun Circuit Court early Monday afternoon. Epps if charged with the shotgun slaying of Ernest Love at the Epps home at Maxwellborn, March 17th.

    First degree murder was charged in the indictment returned by the grand jury, a crime that carries the death penalty.

    Y.B. Vanderford of Piedmont, deputy sheriff, was the first witness in the case. He testified about his findings at the Epps home in his investigation following the shooting.

    Solicitor J.B. Sanford of Talladega was being assisted by Merrill, Jones and Whiteside in presecution of the case.

    Epps was being defended by Charles Thomason, young Anniston Attorney.

    Following Vanderford to the stand, was Charles Livingston, Chief of Jacksonville Police who was one of the investigating officers. Both the officers described the finding in the house when they were summoned following the shooting.

    Three negroes and a physician concluded the states side of the case. George Keith, negro, testified that Epps offered to exchange clothes with him after the tine fixed for the shooting. LuLu and Joe Green testified that Epps came to their home and they fed him supper.

    Dr. J.H. Woolf of Piedmont testified about the wound that caused Love’s death.

    First witnesses for the defense were Joe & Early Livingston, Epps’ neighbors. They testified that Epps and Love were at the Livingston home a short time before the killing and that they apparently were on friendly terms.

    Mrs. Orilla Mullins, half sister of Mrs. Epps testified that she was in the pasture at the time of the shooting and that she knew nothing about the occurrances before the shot was fired. Her tistimony dealt primarily with occurrances after the shooting.

    Epps hearing was being conducted in Judge Lamar Fields section of the court.


    June 16, 1936

    Jury Gets Epps Murder Case In Circuit Court.


    State Does Not Ask Death Penalty In Maxwellborn Shooting.


    Self Defense Claimed In Ernest Love Death.


    Witness Differs On Points In Testimony In Final Stage Of  Trial.


    George Epps today was convicted of First Degree Manslaughter in the death of Earnest Love and his sentence fixed at five years in the penitentiary. The jury was out for hours.

    “Punishment that is just to the testimony” today was asked of the jury by prosecuting attorneys in the murder trial of George Epps in Calhoun Circuit Court shortly before the case was given over in the jury for deliveration.

    Epps is charged with the shotgun slaying in Ernest Love at the Epps Home at the Maxwellborn last March. The case was opened Monday and the testimony was completed late in the afternoon. Arguments of Counsel were completed this morning and the jury took up the case after the charge by Judge Lamar Field.

    Epps took the stand in his own defense and testified that he shot in self defense after Love came upon him with a knife.. He testified that Love started on him with a knife after an argument over a $14 debt Love sought to collect. Epps said Love started on him and that he backed away to a door over which was resting a shotgun. He said he got the gun and fired it once.

    Argument preceded shooting Tall Livingston, neighbor, who was in the room at the time of the shooting, testified that an argument preeceded the final shot.  Mrs. Epps also gave similiar testimony.

    Mrs. Orilla Mullins, a defense witness, testified that she had seen Wallace Chapman close Love’s knife and that she also saw him look into Love’s purse. She is Mrs. Epps’ half sister and was near the house at the time of the shooting.

    However, Lennie Herd, another defense witness, testified he was not at the Epps home when Chapman was there.

    Refutes Testimony

    In rebuttal testmony the prosecutions first witness was Wallace Chapman who said he did not touch Love’s purse or knife.  Herd was a rebuttal witness for the prosecution and testified on that examination that he did not see Chapman bother the purse or knife. Testimony of investigating officers had shown that Love’s purse was empty when and examination of the body was made.

    The prosecution contended that Love was seated in a chair when he was shot and that the charge from the shotgun ranged downward in his chest. Coke Love, a brother, testified that the deceased was six feet, one and half inches tall. Defense witnesses said that Love was standing up when the shot was fired.

    It was brought out in the testimony that Epps owed $14 to Love for about three years; that the debt was contracted when they lived in the same house and farmed together.


    December 21, 1938

    Parole Notice

    Notice is hereby given that George Epps, who was convicted of first degree manslaughter in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County, Alabama on June 20, 1936, and sentenced to the state penitentiary for a term of five years, will make application for pardon or parole.


    Anniston Star

    November 17, 1954

    William G. Epps, 57, painter who had lived in Clay County for the last two years, died last night in a Clay County hospital following a lengthy illiness.

    Funeral services will be held at the First Baptist Church of Piedmont with the Reverand Holland Thomas officiating; burial will be held in the Highland cemetery of Piedmont. The date and time of service will be announced by Owens Funeral Home of Piedmont.

    Mr. Epps is survived by his wife, Mrs. Jessie Epps of Delta, Route 2. One daughter, Mrs. Ernest Knight of Miami, FL: two brothers, J.T. Epps of Anniston,and Sam Epps of Piedmont. One sister Mrs. May Armstrong of Gainesville, Florida.

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    Published on October 21, 2010 · Filed under: George William Epps, Uncategorized;
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