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This Day in Georgia History

August 06, 1887

Woolfolk Family Murders

In what is considered to be the first mass murder in Georgia history, the Woolfolk family murders occurred in Bibb County. At four in the morning Captain Richard Woolfolk, his wife Mattie, other son 20 year old Dick Woolfolk his brother 5 year old Charlie Woolfolk, 17 year old Pearl Woolfolk, Mattie’s Great Aunt Temperance West down for a visit, 10 year old Annie Woolfolk, 7 year old Rosebud Woolfolk and the baby of the family 18 month old Mattie Woolfolk were all murdered with an axe in the Hazzard District of North Bibb County. The Captain’s oldest son Tom escaped by jumping out of a window and running down to the bottom of the hill where the former slaves now share croppers lived. They refused to return with him to help the family so Tom went on his own. By daybreak on August 6th word had gotten out to all of Bibb County and people began showing up at the house. The mood was that Tom was guilty and he was arrested on the spot more so for his safety than anything else at that time. Also at that time a coroner’s jury was put together and after examining the bodies and listening to witness testimony they decided that all the members had died of axe wounds and that Tom Woolfolk had committed the murders. He would go through five trials and numerous appeals before finally being convicted of the murders and hanged on October 29, 1890. [Information submitted by Cal Rogers]