Slobot About Town LXVI:

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Halloween Special!

This lot sits along West Main Street near Cohen's Closeouts. The site was once home to the J. W. Bell Mill.

Today the lot seems tranquil but on August 1, 1929 it was anything but as a maniac stalked the grounds with a murderous hand ax.

T. Earle Robertson, 55, was a heretofore quiet and dependable shipping clerk at the J. W. Bell Mill.

A little after noon on Thursday August 1, 1929, however, Robertson snapped and began to stalk the J. W. Bell Mill and the adjacent C. and W. C. railway with a hand ax.

Robertson's first victims were J. W. Bell employees R. H. Day, 30, and J. L. Bussey, 58. Day, a sales manager, was struck dead as he was weighing a sack of grain and Bussey, a bookkeeper, was dealt a fatal blow as he worked at his desk. Bussey would die instantly and Day would die on his way to the hospital.

Robertson would also deal a grazing blow to Bell Mill employee Dan Dunlap's head, but Dunlap managed to survive the attack.

After striking Dunlap, Robertson made his way to the rail yard between the Bell mill and the C. and W. C. railway. There he found two C. and W. C. employees eating their lunch.

Robertson would catch M. B. Davis, 36, and Thad Sherbert, 47, unawares and deal them both fatal blows. They would both die later that day at the Mary Black clinic.

Robertson was eventually captured by C. and W. C. foreman of car repairs, S. J. Lanier. Lanier grabbed Robertson about the waist and held him until Constable Frank Johnson could take Robertson into custody. Lanier reported that T. Earle Robertson told him, " I don't know what made me do it" and that Robertson repeated, "just crazy, just crazy."

Robertson would later tell authorities that he had tried to kill himself two or three Sundays prior by throwing a chain over a high voltage wire. He also reported that he had thought of putting his head into a revolving wheel at the Bell mill. Robertson, judged medically insane, would spend the remainder of his life at the state penitentiary in Columbia.

Another high-profile Spartanburg murder took place on September 27, 1891. The victim in this case was Spartanburg's own mayor, John Adam Henneman.

Henneman had been born in Kronach, Bavaria (now Germany) in 1835. Henneman came to Norfolk, Virginia in 1854 and to Spartanburg in 1859.

Henneman would enlist in the Confederate Army and fight in battles such as Second Manassas, where he would be wounded. At the conclusion of the war Henneman returned home and went back to the business of selling jewelry. Henneman would later be elected Mayor of Spartanburg. On Sunday September 27, 1891 Henneman attempted to break up a domestic dispute involving John Williams. In the ensuing row Henneman would be shot and mortally wounded by John Williams. John Williams would be found guilty and hanged for his crime on October 7, 1892.

Williams would meet his end upon the gallows within the enclosure of the old county jail, which resided at what is now the intersection of West Broad and Wall Streets.

Wall Street was then known as Jail Street because it led directly to the county jail, which sat where City Hall now stands.

It was here, at the site of the former jail, that John Williams (and others) would be hanged.

Thomas White, 28, was among those hanged at the old jail. White was executed on May 14, 1880 for the murder of Peter Hawkins, 18. White's last words warned of the dangers of whisky and bad company and noted that, "...had it not been for these I would not now die on a gibbet." Shortly after speaking these words White was dropped 4 1/2 feet to his death.

On August 7, 1886 Edward Bundy was also hanged at the old jail. Bundy was of mixed European/African ancestry but passed as white in a segregated Spartanburg. Bundy's white mistress, Annie Hickman, discovered Bundy's secret ancestry and refused to see him any longer. Bundy would later shoot Hickman 5 times, killing her instantly. An inebriated Bundy would brag about his crime and so was soon arrested. Bundy would meet his death at the end of a rope in Spartanburg on August 7, 1886 at 10:45 am.

One of the strangest hangings at the old county jail would take place on the same day as the hanging of John Williams, October 7, 1892. It was on that same day and on that same scaffold that a teenage girl would be hanged. Milbry Brown, 15, had been found guilty of killing the 1 year old infant W. C. Carpenter of Gaffney City.

As much as Slobot loves ghost stories, he got so spooked by all this scary Spartanburg history that he ran...

ran to the comforting arms of the Ghostbusters!

Slobot, unfortunately, did not realize that Ghostbusters is just a movie and that Ghostbusters HQ is, in reality, New York City's 8 Hook & Ladder!

Happy Halloween, Everyone!