Originally published in the Flagpole on January 23, 2019.


In the second half of the 19th Century, hundreds of murders occurred in Georgia, but only two murder cases electrified the entire state. Both cases were the subject of massive amounts of publicity in Georgia newspapers, and for years both cases were ceaselessly talked about in every part of this state.

One of these two notable murder cases was the Woolfolk murder case, involving Tom Woolfolk, nicknamed Bloody Woolfolk, who in 1887 murdered nine members of his family with an axe in Bibb County and after two trials was hanged in 1890. In 1997, I published a book review in Flagpole of Carolyn DeLoach’s The Woolfolk Tragedy (1996), a book that was the definitive account of that grisly murder case until the publication of Ms. DeLoach’s follow-up book, Shadow Chasers: The Woolfolk Tragedy Revisited (2000).

The other late 19th Century Georgia murder case to transfix the people of this state was that of Susan Eberhart, hanged in 1873. This article discusses the history of this infamous murder case.