The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “Different”. I chose to write about an ancestor who did something different from what I believe I would have done. I do keep in mind, however, that one never truly knows what they might have done given the same circumstances, but with that said, I don’t believe that I would have hit someone in the face with a bullwhip.
Samuel “Aaron Hedrick was born 25 November 1862 in Richland County, Illinois to Edwin and Mary Ann Adamson Hedrick. He was the third of seven children. Samuel was reared on a farm and went to the country schools. He took a 2 year course at Champaign University, then returned home to work with his father in the stock business. It was said that he visited “all the states from Texas to Illinois.”
When Sam was thirty years old he married Miss Nellie E. Stewart on the 8th of March in 1893 in Richland County, Illinois. Nellie was ten years younger than Sam.
In 1900 and 1910, Sam and Nellie were listed as living in Decker Township in Richland County, Illinois. Sam was listed as a farmer. They did not have any children, but in 1910 Sam’s seven year old niece, Elizabeth Carson, was listed as living with them. Elizabeth’s mother (Sam’s sister) was in the Anna State Hospital during the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses, so that may have been why she was living with Sam and Nellie in 1910.
Sam’s father, Edwin Hedrick, died on the 31st of March in 1912.
From his obituary it was stated that “Edwin Hedrick was for many years an extensive dealer in cattle and bore the name of "Cattle King" of Egypt, a reputation which, in a measure, has descended to his son, Sam, who is following practically the same avocation in a manner suited to the changed modern conditions.”
Sadly, just ten days later, Sam was dead.
On the 9th of April of 1912, Sam was out riding with his brother-in-law Charlie Henry. The story from the family was that the two had never gotten along, and they got into an argument. Sam hit Charlie in the face with a bullwhip, so Charlie shot and killed Sam.
From the Cook County Herald, Friday April 12, 1912, page 3:
“STATE HAPPENINGSOlney-Samuel Hedrick, a well-known farmer near here, met his brother-in-law, Charles Henry, a Stockman, on the public highway and was shot five times in the chest and back by Henry, who is in jail on a charge of attempted murder. Members of the family declare there had been no previous trouble between the two men.”
From the Daily Journal-Gazette (Mattoon, Illinois, Friday April 12, 1912, page 5:
"Quarrel Over Estate Results in MurderOlney, Ill., April 12-As a result of a disagreement over the settlement of the estate of Edwin Hedrick, who died last week, Sam Hedrick, executor of the estate, is dead and Charles Henry, His brother-in-law, who shot him, is in the Olney sanitarium in a state of mental collapse. He is guarded by Deputy "Sheriff Wat Bellinger. There were no witnesses to the altercation.
Henry, whose wife is a sister to the slain man, Tuesday met Hedrick in the road about a mile from his home. Shots were heard by a family living near and Hedrick was seen to turn his horse and gallop wildly toward his home, followed by Henry.
On reaching his home Hedrick, though wounded leaped over the fence and ran toward the house. Henry fired again and Hedrick fell. His wife and Neighbors ran to his aid, and Henry rode on to Noble. At Noble he acted deranged and fell from his horse as he reached the door of a drug store."
Sam Hedrick was forty-nine years old at the time of his death. He had been married for nineteen years and had no children, so only his wife was left. She remarried a few years later. His mother was still living, however, so that poor woman was not only dealing with the very recent loss of her husband, but now her son was dead, and killed by her daughter’s husband. It’s hard to imagine how the family dealt with all the turmoil at the time.
On the 5th of June in 1912 Charles Henry was found guilty and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison in Chester, Illinois. He left his wife with six children when he left for prison. He was still in prison in 1918 when his eighteen year old daughter Ruth drowned on her high school graduation night.
Samuel Aaron Hedrick’s Death Certificate lists cause of death as:
"Gunshot wounds inflicted by Mr. Charles Henry.”
Sam is buried in Village of Noble Cemetery, Noble Township, Richland County, Illinois.
This certainly makes one wonder…what about the estate were the two arguing about? More research and questions to work on!