|Col. James F. McClellan|
A Reconstruction war broke out in the county when local residents took up arms against Carpetbagger rule and, in essence, issed a silent declaration that they would only answer to such federal and state authority that they considered just and reasonable.
It was a time when almost all local officials of any consequence were appointed by the governor, when whites and freed slaves were trying to adjust to the new order of things, when crop failures and a bleak economy caused hunger and suffering, and when U.S. soldiers often marched the streets and roads of the county, enforcing the will of the appointed officials in control of local affairs.
In the midst of this situation, a tragedy took place that electrified Jackson County residents, both white and black, and ignited a violent outbreak that eventually assumed legendary status in the county's history. On the evening of October 1, 1869, shots rang out from the dark and a young woman named Maggie McClellan was shot and killed while sitting on a boarding house veranda. Her father, who was also wounded in the attack, held his daughter in his own bleeding arms and watched her breath her last.
|Jackson County Courthouse, late 1800s|
Included in that file is a transcript of the testimony of Maggie's father, Colonel James F. McClellan:
|Lafayette Street in Marianna, late 1800s|
|John Q. Dickinson|
Clerk of Court during Dickens Trial
Col. McClellan's testimony was taken on May 21, 1870, and offers a heartbreaking description of the death of his daughter.
Her murder led to a region-wide manhunt for the suspected assassin, a former slave of mixed race named Calvin Rogers. He was the constable of Jackson County at the time of the attack. In coming days, I will post more from the newly discovered case file that includes eyewitness accounts and a wealth of new information on Maggie McClellan's murder and the subsequent manhunt for and killing of Calvin Rogers.
To read an account of Maggie's murder by another eyewitness, please click here: http://twoegg.blogspot.com/2012/02/another-account-of-killing-of-maggie.html.
Be sure to check back regularly!