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Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 15
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

Every once in awhile, there’s a story in an old Moultrie Observer that is so charming…well, charming maybe doesn’t describe this one, but a story that simply must be saved.

This one is headlined, "Mysterious killer – Fowl play in community."

And the story reads: Mystery shrouded the deaths of more than 100 in Moultrie back in 1947.

Police went on the search for a "long low black animal" believed responsible for the mass slaughter. The victims were all hens.

The Observer reported the mysterious death of the fowls in this way:

Approximately 100 hens, together valued by their various owners at over $125, were mysteriously killed in north Moultrie over the weekend, according to Police Captain, Jim Lee.

"The hens, all revealing a sharp wound on the neck or back, were not eaten by their assailant," Captain Lee reported.

"J.G. Culpepper, who lives on North Main Street, said 18 of his hens were found dead around 3 AM Sunday when a noise in the chick yard aroused members of the family. Culpepper told Captain Lee that he saw what he thought to be a "big, black dog" leaving his premises.

"Mrs. E.D. Barnwell, who has reported 33 hens killed at her residence on First Street, Northwest, said Mr. Barnwell "waited up to see what was killing them and saw a long, low, black animal run from the yard." Mrs. Barnwell’s hens were slain during the night Sunday.

"Among other hens killed were 15 belonging to "Bunk" Bridges and "a number" raised by Mrs. L.B. Knox. Both the Bridges and the Knoxes live within a block and a half Mrs. Barnwell.

"Even though none of the fowl was reported devoured several were minus their heads," Captain Lee said.

"Dog tracks found in several chicken yards where the hens were killed lead police to believe a canine is responsible for at least some of the destruction," an officer said.

Owners who have lost chickens in the north Moultrie section recently advanced the theory that "maybe a weasel is responsible."

A later story in The Observer reported that most of the persons in the north Moultrie area who had lost chickens to the mysterious marauder were selling out their flocks.

Apparently the chick owners feared that the strange animal would return.

Police Chief Floyd Addison theorized that stray dogs or varmints driven from the swamps by high water were responsible for the wholesale slaughter.

Night-long vigils at several chicken houses failed, Chief Addison said.

Jasper McLemore, Colquitt County youth, won a free trip to Washington in 1911 with a record-producing yield of 152 bushels of corn on one acre of land.

The corn was produced on the family farm five miles east of Moultrie and was nearly double the yield on the second place winner’s acre plot.

The contest was staged under sponsorship of the Boys’ Corn Club, a forerunner of the present day 4-H and FFA organizations.

Poultry shows used to be a popular event in the county, according to post World War I reports.

The Colquitt County Poultry Association staged a number of exhibits, attracting entries of breeds which are becoming scarcer through the years.

A 1915 report lists such "featherduster" types as Langshans, Brahmas and Cochins, Wyandottes, giant Buff Orpingtons, Black Minorcas.

Among the prominent exhibitors were Benjamin and Everett Daniel, G.W. Milligan, Dr. Cleveland Millsap, F.R. Pidcock, J. Frank Norman and Harley Williams.

Does anyone else remember the "Chicken Auctions" that used to be held near Moultrie? They were fun!

By the way, if you’d like to travel to Scotland us next summer, visit and go to The Family Tree page. The trip information is right at the top of our page! My life-long best friend, Marti Van Horne (who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina) is a Scots Travel Specialist. She and I plan trips each summer. About half of the folks who go with us each year have been with us before! We do have a good time!

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