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
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Kelly Harrell)
KEYWORDS: death homicide prison punishment execution Hell
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)
Kelly Harrell, "Henry Clay Beattie" (Victor 20797, 1927; on KHarrell02)
cf. "Henry Clay Beattie (II)" (subject)
NOTES [239 words]: 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
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