October 14, 2021
By: Dwayne Page
Smithville has a ghoulish past with stories of devilish deeds that will make your hair stand on end. Learn all about these blood curdling events on a guided journey called “Smithville’s Unquiet Dead: A Haunted History Tour” that will take you to the scenes of these horrific crimes. It’s a pre-Halloween event you don’t want to miss. Come along if you dare Tuesday and Thursday, October 19 & 21 starting at 6:30 p.m. each night. The cost is only $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 years of age and younger and all proceeds raised will be donated to the DeKalb Animal Coalition for the continued operation of the DeKalb Animal Shelter.
The starting point of the tour each night is the law office of Sarah J. Cripps at 201 West Main Street Smithville at 6:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased there beginning at 5:30 p.m. each of those nights. Tickets are available now at various local businesses and establishments including the law offices of Sarah J. Cripps, Tecia Puckett Pryor, the DeKalb Animal Shelter among others.
“We will be talking about some murders both solved and unsolved during the 19th & 20th centuries in the City of Smithville and actually take you to the places where they occurred. We will also have a map for everyone who signs up for the tour ,” said Sarah Cripps, event organizer.
“Among the cases we will be discussing on the tour is the unsolved murder of Henrietta Tramel which occurred on January 31, 1974 in her home,” Cripps continued.
“We will also be covering a much discussed murder of Ms. Cannie Hayes Smith that occurred on May 2, 1929. That one is also unsolved”.
“We will talk about the hanging of young John Presswood. When he was 16 years old in the year 1870 he brutally murdered with an axe Rachel Billings in the presence of her three children. That crime led him to the gallows. On May 24, 1872 at only age 17 he was hanged on the east side of the courthouse between the city hall and courthouse,” said Cripps.
“Another crime we are going to cover is the lynching of Charlie Davis that occurred on August 2,1901. This was a blood thirsty mob that lynched a middle-aged dapper white man for dating a younger and extremely beautiful white woman. The lynching party was led by the family of Katie Hughes whom Charlie was courting at the time. It was a very brutal event involving a lot of townspeople who lived here at the time,” she said.
“We will also cover some more recent murders as well. These murders occurred as the result of all kinds of motives including passion, revenge, greed, financial gain, the use of drugs by the perpetrators, etc. We will cover the gamut with multiple actors telling the stories of these people whose lives were cut short unjustly and prematurely,” added Cripps.