Samuel Cleage was the owner of my 2 X great grandfather, Frank Cleage. In July of 1850, Samuel Cleage was killed by Ambrose Griffith. Unfortunately the only information that I have is a very splochy xerox copy of an article from (I think) a 1850 Athenian Post. I do not have the previous article that talks about the reason for the argument that led to the murder. I looked for Ambrose Griffith in the 1840 and 1850 and 1860 census. The only person by that name was a young man born in 1842 (too young to have been the murderer.) In 1860 he was overseer for Samuel Cleage’s son, David.
After Samuel’s death, my great grandfather, Frank ended up with Samuel’s other son, Alexander. He was mentioned in these three documents: A letter to the overseer from Samuel Cleage in 1834, Bill of sale from David to Alexander Cleage in 1852, The Will of Alexander Cleage in 1860.
“In the last issue of our paper appeared an account of a difficulty between Samuel Cleage and Ambrose Griffith in which the former was cut and stabbed by the latter. This occurred on the morning of the 17th June. Sam Cleage died of his wounds the following Saturday night. The funeral sermon was preached on the succeeding Monday by the Rev. J.H. Martin at Mars Hill Presbyterian Church, Athens of which the deceased was a member. His friends who were with him in his last hours state that he was conscious of his dying condition and full of hope – even forgiving(?) the miserable man who’s fatal act was depriving a stricken wife and _____ children of their natural protector. We are __________ with him ___ and_____ was regarded him as ________ Since his connection with the church which occurred seven years ago, his walk had been consistent with _____ actions. The widow and the ______ children ___ the ___ this afternoon that was___upon them.
It is said that Griffith remained secreted in the neighborhood until he learned that Cleage was dying and then fled the country. We are not advised whether any steps are being taken to have him captured and brought to ______ for his crime. This is the fourth murder committed within the last two or three years – two in this town and two in the immediate vicinity- and in neither case has any vigorous or well directed effort been made to bring the murderer to the seat (?) of justice. Here as elsewhere the community is horrified at such things for a day or two and then drops into stolid indifference until startled(?) by the announcement of another bloody tragedy. It is so all over the United States. Punishment for crime of the higher grade is the exception and immunity the rule and the fault rests not with the officers of the law, but a demoralized and degenerate public sentiment which hunts down and sends a petty thief to the penitentiary and lets the red handed murderer escape without an effort.”