Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thriller Thursday: William Robert Drake killed

William Robert Drake, the brother of my paternal grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, was killed on June 19, 1927 in Emanuel County, Georgia at age 30.  There are several different accounts of what happened that night.  This is what the Swainsboro Forest-Blade printed on Thursday, June 23.

Click to enlarge.
In the family story I've been told, Robert and a crowd of his buddies went there that Sunday night to run Mr. Aikin away from the area.  Robert actually pulled a knife on the man, and that Mr. Aikin killed Robert in self-defense. 

I am told that the Drake "boys" were a rough and tough group and no one really wanted to mess with them.  You will notice how the article points out that "Mr. Drake is prominently connected at Adrian..." and his relatives "...many of whom are prominent Emanuel county citizens."  Therefore, the story goes that is why Mrs. Aikin was also placed into jail that night... the Sheriff feared for the couple's safety... probably from retaliation from Robert's friends who were with him that night and might wish to avenge his death or community outrage or both.

A couple of weeks later, this article appeared in the Forest-Blade on Thursday, July 7, 1927.

I find it interesting that almost as much is said about Mr. Aikin's "rising young attorney" as about Mr. Aikin himself.

I was unable to locate any further articles about the trial or Mr. Aikin.  Again, family story holds that there never was a trial; that Mr. Aikin served some amount of time and was quietly gotten out of town at the end of his term.

In the same edition of the Forest-Blade was this from the family:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, just two months after this incident, their father, William John Drake, was accidentally shot and killed by another son.

As I will share as time goes on, this is not the first tragedy in the Drake family, nor is it the last for my grandmother.  Her father, my great-grandfather, was a preacher, and I am sure this family had to pull on every ounce of faith and strength they had to get through these unimaginably difficult times.

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