This Week In Sykesville History – December 5, 1929
It’s 1929, Thursday, December 5th to be exact, and all kinds of exciting things are happening in and around Sykesville. First of all, the perplexing mystery of the Handsome Car has been solved. But also, a giant turnip has been weighed and put on display, plans for the corn show have been completed, the Head of the Springfield State Hospital will remain on his job while awaiting embezzlement charges, and there’s a murder.
Shall we begin with the murder? Nah, let’s begin with the handsome car. Here’s the story as it appeared in the Herald-Messenger. (For a brief period in its history, the Sykesville Herald became the Herald-Messenger and covered both Mt. Airy and Sykesville.)
A Handsome Car
The strange looking car that was seen for a few minutes in Sykesville last Saturday morning was a 16 cylinder English Sunbeam, and was on its way to Virginia. Investigation found that the passengers were Mrs. Hal McCormick and Miss Hazel Belmont of New York; Mr. Joseph Royer, of West Friendship; Miss Audrey Pierpont of New York, and Countess A. A. Dearmont, also of New York.
The parties were on their way to the Valley of Virginia to attend the running of the “point to point” races for the Dearmont Gold Cup on the Dearmont estate. This is said to be the most expensive and best looking car that has ever come this way, and attracted considerable notice.
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So there you go, a fancy car with a countess inside made the front page, and there was also this.
Railroad Men’s Magazine
Railroad employees of every class, from coast to coast, were given an unexpected and wholly welcome surprise when the Frank A. Munsey Company, publishers announced that Railroad Man’s Magazine would again appear on the news-stands on next Saturday, and the first of each month thereafter.
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Good news indeed, and wholly welcome. And now on to our big turnip story.
The Largest Turnip
For the past few weeks the farmers of Howard county have been bragging considerably about their largest turnip. Now these gentlemen will have to take a back seat, for Mr. and Mrs. Albert Shipley of Marriottsville, Carroll county brought in a TURNIP that weighed when pulled from the ground and the tops cut off, EIGHT POUNDS. It is now on exhibition at Korb’s Quality Shop in the Arcade building, Sykesville.
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Take that, Howard County. (Imagine bringing a giant turnip to the newspaper. If you have a really big turnip take a picture and email it to Sykesville Online.)
Let’s forget the corn show, which was going to be held for four days in Westminster in a room that “will take care of 250 samples or more,” and let’s even skip over the embezzlement charges against Dr. Bledsoe, the head of Springfield State Hospital (these are federal charges of a suspicious nature and the man may be innocent), and let’s get on to the murder.
It’s a sad story of the trial of a woman who shot down her abusive husband. Here it is in its entirety.
Mrs. Spurrier Acquitted in Murder Trial
Says She Had Been Abused All her Married Life: Testified She Fired After Victim Attacked Her In Front Of Home; Foley Naylor, Visitor, Only Eyewitness
Mrs. Viola M. Spurrier was acquitted in Circuit Court at Westminster Tuesday night on the charge of murdering her husband, Ernest, on July 27. The jury was out 45 minutes.
Mrs. Spurrier, who is 39 and the mother of three children, testified that her husband had abused her for years. Before she was called to the witness stand, the morning had been spent examining one hundred talesmen for jury service. Chief Judge Francis Neal Parke and Associate Judge William Henry Forsyth, Jr., were on the bench.
The State opened its case with testimony intended to show that after a quarrel in front of their home, Mrs. Spurrier, standing three or four feet from her husband, fired two shots from a pistol which she had bought and kept hidden in the house for several months, and that after the shooting she told a State policeman she should have done it long before.
Then Mrs. Spurrier related her story of thirteen years of married life, which, she said, were marked by privation, abuse and threats against her life. She told of the shooting in front of the Spurrier home, near Finksburg, on the night of July 27.
The pistol was bought and carried by her, Mrs. Spurrier said, because her husband had threatened many times in recent years to kill her. On the night of the shooting, she continued, her husband went out to get some whisky after saying he was “going to put her light out.”
After he returned, Mrs. Spurrier testified, he attacked her, ripped her dress from her shoulder, and tried to take the pistol from her. Foley Naylor, a visitor at the Spurrier home, separated them, and she fell to her knees. Her husband started for her again, as she knelt, she related, and then she fired.
Her testimony was followed by that of six neighbors, including Clarence Forrest, stepfather of Spurrier, who said Mrs. Spurrier was abused by her husband, who was twelve years her senior and told of threats against her life.
Naylor, the only eyewitness, told of the quarrel, but said Mrs. Spurrier was standing and her husband was crouching and advancing toward her when the shooting occurred.
Miss Gertrude Spurrier, a niece, said Mrs. Spurrier had hidden the pistol in the house. Testimony of the State policeman who investigated the shooting, the Sheriff, and the doctor who completed the autopsy concluded the State’s case.