Henry Clay Beattie (I)

DESCRIPTION: Beattie is convicted of murdering a girl, but denies his guilt. His family tries to get him to confess, lest he "go to [his] doom with a lie." At last he confesses. On a Friday morning he is executed in the electric chair
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Kelly Harrell)
KEYWORDS: death homicide prison punishment execution Hell
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Nov 24, 1911 - Execution of Henry Clay Beattie
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Bronner-Eskin1 25, "Henry Clay Beattie" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Roud #13147
RECORDINGS:
Kelly Harrell, "Henry Clay Beattie" (Victor 20797, 1927; on KHarrell02)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Henry Clay Beattie (II)" (subject)
NOTES: The use of the electric chair as a means of execution obviously dates this song to the few decades before Harrell's recording. This would seem to imply that it is based on actual events. But I found no references to Beattie until Paul Stamler found an online auction of a publication entitled The Great Beattie Murder Case: Henry C. Beattie Jr., Life and Crime. Sensational story of the life of Beulah Binford, 'the woman in the case.'"
How far one can trust anything with a title like that is an open question, but Lyle Lofgren has found supporting evidence. He reports, "Henry Clay Beattie, Jr. (1884 - 1911), of Richmond, VA, married Louise Owen in 1910. In 1911, a few months after their first child was born, Henry and Louise went for a late-night drive. It ended with Louise dead, shot at close range with a shotgun. Henry reported that they were accosted by highwaymen - he had miraculously escaped. But lots of people knew that Henry was also involved in a long-term liaison with Beulah Binford, described as a woman of 'questionable reputation.' [I've also read a claim that she didn't know he was married.] He was indicted for murder."
A newspaper report of the testimony in the case can be found at http://tinyurl.com/tbdx-HCBeattie.
Lyle suggests that this was originally published as a newspaper poem or broadside.
Norm Cohen found out much more information in researching the case; see "Henry Clay Beattie (II)." - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: RcHCB

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.