On Jan. 6, 1872, the badly beaten body of a 15-year-old Scott County girl, Angeline Moore, was discovered along a road on Huckleberry Ridge. Her tombstone calls her an “orphan girl,” but writings from the day indicate that her mother was very much alive and well, living in Kentucky. Some accounts of the teen girl say that she was indentured to a family in Huntsville.
The finding of the body was sensationalized by newspapers across the region. One called it “a mountain horror.” Another asked, “Murdered or starved, which? Sad fate of a beautiful girl.” The Knoxville Daily Chronicle described the discovery of the body like this: “The body bore evidences of brutality and inhumanity at the contemplation of which a demon might shudder. The affair has caused intense excitement. When found, the body was on a small path near the road. Her collar bone and one rib were broken. The left eye was mashed in, apparently by a severe blow, and the entire body, most horribly mutilated, bore witness to refined cruelty, which is at once sickening and a burning shame to advanced civilization.”
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The complete story can be found in the March 22, 2018 print edition of the Independent Herald.[/s2If]
[s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)]Initially, the body was not identified and was simply buried. Later, when it was exhumed for an inquest, a second degree murder indictment was handed down by a grand jury against a Huntsville woman and her daughter. A jury was unable to convict, however, and a retrial was never held.
Angeline Moore was the first person buried at the Chimney Rock Cemetery in what is today the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, near Station Camp.
These are some of the newspaper accounts.
A SCOTT COUNTY MYSTERY
A short time since, the body of Angeline Moore, a girl of sixteen years of age, was found in the mountains fourteen miles north of Huntsville, near the Huntsville and Monticello (Ky.) roads…The body was interred, but was soon taken up and Justice Terry summoned a jury and an inquest was held. This young lady around whose death a mystery clings that has created unparalleled excitement, about two years since was bound to, and has since, until recently, lived with Mrs. Eliziah (Keziah) Thompson, a widow lady near this place. Some weeks since, it is said, she was driven from Mrs. Thompson’s by harsh treatment, since which time she has been wandering through the mountains homeless, friendless, freezing and starving. Foul play was suspected and suspicion pointed to Mrs. Thompson, she was arrested and at a preliminary investigation she was bound over to the next term of the Circuit Court to answer the charge of “murder.” … A photograph of the girl, found on her person, was shown to your correspondent. The countenance shows evidence of intelligence, and we shudder to think the beautiful and innocent should share a fate so bad.
Knoxville Daily Chronicle
January 28, 1872
A CHARGE OF MURDER
The girl’s name was Angeline Moore, aged 16 years, Angeline had been bound to a woman named Keziah Thompson, who lives near Huntsville. When the body was discovered in a mountain detile, nearly fourteen miles beyond Huntsville, it presented a horrible appearance…
The grand jury found a true bill against Mrs. Thompson and her daughter, Sallie Thompson, for the murder of the girl, and on Tuesday last, the two women were arrested, and admitted to bail in the sum of $10,000 each.
The only motive that is given by the neighbors as the possible reason for the murder of Angeline Moore, by Mrs. Thompson and her daughters, is that some property held by them would in a hsort time have reverted to the girl, and they, perhaps, wished to avoid the necessity of parking with it. It is supposed by the mountaineers that Mrs. Thompson carried the gir’s body, at night fourteen miles into the mountains, in order to avert suspicion from herself. The evidence against the two women, however, is entirely circumstantial.
February 1, 1872
DAYS IN THE DIM PAST
From Ira Lay’s farm west to the Big South Fork River at the mouth of No Business Creek, there is now a good highway known as the Old Monticello Road. In my early days I often had it pointed out to me where the body of a girl was found near this road about three miles west of where Orlena O’Neal now lives. This girl was identified to have been an orphan who had made her home with a widow woman who lived at what is now known as the John Hall Place between Paint Rock and Huntsville, some fifteen miles from where the body was found.
It was never fully explained how she happened to be where she was found or the cause of her death. Tradition says she was not wanted in the widow’s home and that the widow was seen passing the Foster Mill in the night riding her grey horse with the girl. At that time there was a settlement along the river and it is thought that the widow thought she would find her way to the settlement from where she was left. The cause of her death was never solved. At that time the woods was full of wild animals, the widow’s dog was found guarding the girl’s body when she was found.
Scott County News
February 29, 1952
This story is the March 2018 installment of Forgotten Times, presented by United Cumberland Bank on the fourth week of each month as part of the Independent Herald’s Back Page Features series.[/s2If]