Monday, October 26, 2015

Negro Woman Beaten to Death
Officers Believe
June 1936

Cleo James, 25, negress, who was found in a serious condition on railroad tracks just north of town several days before died yesterday in the King's Daughters hospital from head wounds. At first negress claimed she had been struck by a train but Chief-of-Police Smith learned that she later told friends she had been violently beaten by George Humphreys, a negro with whom she had been going and was thrown on the tracks by him following the beating.

Humphreys is in jail here charged with murder.

Cleo's death certificate lists the cause of death , struck by locomotive at Brookhaven, Miss.

How does Cleo James connect to my family tree?
Cleo's accused murderer is on my tree. George Humphrey's descendant married into my Markham family. There are four George Humphreys on my tree, not sure which one is the accused.

Newspaper article from:
Lincoln County Times
Thursday June 18 1936
Brookhaven, Mississippi
Microfilm Number: 30718
Microfilm found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History


  1. What a drama! Domestic abuse hasn't changed much, but the locomotive story lacks something. Wonder why they used it as cause of death?

  2. The Vital Records Office, likely, only knew what was first reported as the cause of death. Poor Cleo, with a broke neck she was trying to protect her abuser. I don't accept the struck by the locomotive story. The train hit her, threw her back on the train tracks, didn't stop,
    continued rolling without causing additional damage to the body..

  3. This is a sad story. Trying to protect her murderer. That's even sadder.