Murder in Roanoke County: Race and Justice in the 1891 Susan Watkins Case

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Did her rival for a man’s love get away with murder? It was a story of violence, bigamy, race and a quest for justice. The strange but true story of James and Susan Watkins. A drama played out in the mountains of southwestern Virginia in 1891 that attracted nationwide attention and held the citizens of the Roanoke Valley spellbound. The tale of the trial of Charles Watkins for the murder of his wife was marked by threats of lynching, a fugitive manhunt, a disappearing witness, mistaken identities, claims of insanity and finally a secret letter to break the case wide open. In its day, the story was as closely followed as a modern televised murder trial. Despite the rapt attention of the public then, it has entirely faded from the history books - until now. Historian John Long resurrects the truth of who killed Susan Watkins.
ISBN: 9781467144100
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Virginia
Series: True Crime
Images: 36
Pages: 192
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
John D. Long is the director of education at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. He holds degrees from Roanoke College and the University of Virginia and has taught history at Roanoke College, Radford University and Virginia Western Community College. A contributing columnist for the Roanoke Times, he has also written extensively on local history and the Second World War.
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