I know very little about my biological grandfather, Louis McFatter, as he died back in the 1960s, only what little my biological father told my mother. She had some vague idea that he’d spent time in prison, something I was never able to verify – until tonight.
I was browsing Footnote.com, and got the idea to search his name. His wife, parents, and young daughter are easily found in the 1930 Mississippi census, but Louis himself is MIA. I assumed, but once again never knew for sure, that he was in prison or off riding the rails somewhere. Previous census searchs were for naught. But Footnote.com happened to have his record – in Oakley State Farm and Hospital in Hinds co. MS. A prison farm.
I found (frustratingly partial) mention of his case on Google Books, namely in the Southern Reporter, Volume 113. I was able to piece together that in 1927, my grandfather was convicted of manslaughter. He had shot and killed a Mr. Sandifer, aged about 17, at a boxed supper social being held at a local schoolhouse.
At that, Louis shot and killed him. :eek: :eek: :eek:
Louis came from a family with a tragic history. His aunt, his father’s sister, killed five of her children by shooting them in the barn, burned down the house with the sixth child inside, and then drowned herself in the Mississippi river. One cousin spent her entire adult life in an asylum, and another cousin committed suicide. I think something, perhaps mental illness, was afflicting this family. Both my grandfather and father were known to be violently unstable, as young Mr. Sandifer discovered too late.