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The Wild Okefenokee : A True Murder Tale Of The Great Georgia Swamp

Updated on July 5, 2013

The Law vs. The Wild Wetlands


The Brothers

The two brothers were at home, just sitting down to enjoy an evening meal, when they heard the horses approaching. The house was located on the banks of the Suwanee River, along the edge of the great Okefenokee Swamp. They were glad for a bit of rest after chasing down a man named William P. Caraway. Their quarry was charged with beating his wife almost to death in a domestic dispute.

One of the brothers, Robert N Brady, was the sheriff of Clinch County Georgia. The other brother, Lewis Jackson Brady, had acted as his deputy as they had pursued and eventually captured Caraway after being handed a warrant signed by the governor of Florida. Since the crime had taken place just across the border between the two states, and the suspect had fled into Georgia, the task fell to Robert and Jackson to make the arrest.

After finally catching their prey, the brothers had returned him to Live Oak, Florida, the county seat of Suwannee county where the crime had occurred. At Caraway’s request, the sheriff had taken possession of the arrested man’s horse, rifle, and pistol to hold for him until justice had been served. The Florida officials also requested that Robert hold onto the man's possessions until notified otherwise

Like other settlers in the area, the brothers had not been born in the great swamp. The Bradys had originally lived near present day Atlanta but when Robert bought a wagon with two mules and two horses to pull it, he decided to try his hand at being a traveling vendor. It was this trade which eventually brought him down to the lower part of the state and into contact with the great swamp..

De Soto and the Great Swamp

De Soto's expedition unloading from the ships at Tampa Bay  1539.
De Soto's expedition unloading from the ships at Tampa Bay 1539.

De Soto's scouts encounter Lake Oconi

Hernando De Soto used his scouts to comb the countryside on either side of his intended direction and garnered knowledge about the Okefenokee from eyewitness reports and from native tribes--in this case, the Oconi, members of the Muskogee Indians--to decide the swamp offered no treasure to be found.

For this reason De Soto didn't waste much time exploring the forbidding wilderness, skirting the edge of it instead.

On early maps the area was considered to be merely a shallow inland sea or ancient cypress covered lake. It was originally listed on the maps as Lake Oconi by early Spanish cartographers.

They also heard tales of giant people living on islands in the deepest part of the wetlands. Some of the tales were found to be very close to the truth as islands were indeed found during the second Seminole War in the 19th century.

Lake Oconi

When the first Spanish explorers encountered what we now know as the Okefenokee Swamp in the 16th century they considered it a dense cypress laden lake, filled with giant alligators, venomous reptiles, and also hostile natives. On their early maps it was referred to as Lake Oconi, so called because of an Indian tribe by that name living on its perimeter.

These earliest European explorers avoided the mysterious wetlands, not just because they were so difficult to travel through without becoming hopelessly lost, but because they held no treasure the explorers could see. And treasure--namely gold-- was what the Spaniards had come for.

This vast, almost impenetrable morass, the largest peat-based blackwater swamp in the United States and one of the largest in the world, seemed to beckon the hardiest and toughest of men to its confines as lesser individuals had no chance of surviving in its daunting environment.

For thousands of years man had hunted wild game on the high ground and fished the black waters of the wetlands. There was plenty of food and building materials there, but only if one had the courage to enter the mysterious forests and the skill to come back out alive again. And certainly, some never did.

Getting lost in over 700 square miles of confusing waterways and thick primeval woodlands was no picnic. But the appeal of freedom and solitude the great swamp offered was almost irresistible to some adventurous souls, and so they came.

Settling in the Okefenokee Environs

A habitation on Chessar's island in the Okefenokee Swamp.
A habitation on Chessar's island in the Okefenokee Swamp.
Georgia swampers were also referred to as "Crackers" on occasion.  1873
Georgia swampers were also referred to as "Crackers" on occasion. 1873 | Source
Just across the Ga./Fla. border they were referred to as Florida Crackers.
Just across the Ga./Fla. border they were referred to as Florida Crackers. | Source

Brothers In Law

Robert had apparently fallen under the spell of the Okefenokee Swamp during his travels to the area as he eventually married a young lady from nearby Berrien county. Around 1859 he convinced his parents to move the rest of the family down to DuPont, a small settlement near Homerville in Clinch County, Georgia.

He opened a store in the small town, successfully operating it until being elected to the office of sheriff of Clinch county. He was commissioned to the office in January 1873. His brother Jackson was there to lend him support and aid in his capacity as a deputy when the need arose. And it often did in this country of harsh realities.

Besides Robert and Jackson there were four other brothers who, along with them, all served on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Three of them reportedly died as result of a measles epidemic while the war raged on.

Robert, Jackson, and their other surviving brother, Thomas Asa, later returned home to the swamps, apparently even tougher and war hardened than they were before the conflict.

Robert was regarded well by the locals as was apparent by his being elected to the office of sheriff in Clinch County two years before the Caraway incident. He relied on Jackson to help him serve his term and Jackson fulfilled his trust as only a brother could.

Both had reared sizable families near the swamp and were in the prime of their lives with Robert being only 34 years of age and Jackson about 36 years old at this time. From all indications both seemed satisfied with their lives and looked forward to a long peaceful future.

Little did they know their peaceful afternoon would not long remain that way for the 6 horsemen were not coming on a cordial visit. Members of the captured man's family made up the group of riders bearing down on the lonely dwelling.

A cane grinding always drew fiddlers from quite a distance away to show their expertise in the particular art.
A cane grinding always drew fiddlers from quite a distance away to show their expertise in the particular art. | Source

The Cane Grinding

The reason the two lawmen were alone at this time of day was because a very important social event was taking place at a distant neighbor’s residence. Jackson’s family, along with Robert’s, were attending a cane grinding at a neighbors farm quite a distance from Jackson’s home on the Suwanee River in the southern part of Clinch County.

A cane grinding was one of the few social events in this part of the country, one the young folks especially looked forward to because of the other eligible members of the opposite sex usually in attendance. There would be music and dancing, and of course, good food and drink.

Many families spent the night at the scene because of the long distance traveled to attend the festive event. The areas best fiddle players would often travel quite a distance to compete with and to learn new tunes from their peers. A demi-john of locally made whiskey never failed to appear on the darkened outskirts of the festivities

"A Cane Grinding" - Making Cane Syrup

Horse or mule drawn cane mill.
Horse or mule drawn cane mill. | Source
An old cane mill, or press.  Used to extract the sweet cane juice from the stalks for boiling down into cane syrup.  An important staple of many southern states.
An old cane mill, or press. Used to extract the sweet cane juice from the stalks for boiling down into cane syrup. An important staple of many southern states. | Source
A  wood-fired syrup kettle used to evaporate water from the cane juice in the syrup making process.
A wood-fired syrup kettle used to evaporate water from the cane juice in the syrup making process. | Source

Syrup Making

As the mule turned the great sweep--usually a log with the bark still attached--of the massive cane press, the stalks of green sugarcane were slowly fed between the 2 steel drums and the sweet green juice would flow from a trough into a drum. This juice would then be poured into a great cast iron vat with a hot fire of heart pine burning in the brick surround holding the vat.

The water was evaporated from the juice and any impurities skimmed from the top of the hot liquid until it was ready to be cooled enough to be stored in glass jars for the winter. Cane syrup comprised most of the sugar these folks consumed as white sugar was an expensive and rare commodity to these self-sufficient people.

Perhaps because of the recent arrest of Caraway and the bad feelings invoked among the families and friends of the accused, both Robert and Jackson Brady did not attend the cane grinding with their families. Blood feuds were nothing new to the area as many of the scattered settlers were related to each other by marriage all around the great swamp.

Did the riders know the brothers were at home alone or did it matter to them at the time? There is no way of knowing this for sure at this late date. Besides, it doesn’t make any difference now. Not when almost 140 years has passed by.


Denizens of the Swamp


Secret Islands In The Great Okefenokee

The mysterious Okefenokee had long harbored those seeking to escape notice as it did the Indians when they were forced to give up their lands during the dreaded Trail Of Tears. It took quite a force of men to roust the remnants of the once mighty tribal nation from the depths of the dark and mysterious woodlands.

It was only during this time the islands hidden deep in the heart of the swamp were discovered quite by accident. Those searching for the renegade natives often wondered just how the natives survived in the water filled areas when they themselves had such difficulty traversing it.

But the lucky find of a herd of cows led them to the discovery of what is now called Floyd’s Island, a sizable piece of high ground where the Indians lived high and dry until their secluded island sanctuaries were found.

There are other islands in the swamp, Billy’s Island--named for an Indian Chief, Billy Bowlegs--became the site of a town of over 600 residents in the 1920’s during the great logging days of the Okefenokee. It had a theater, saloon, stores, and even a church, but is a ghost town only visited by tourists today.

Billy's Island had a reputation for rough and ready action because of the loggers who toiled in the vast forests of pine and giant cypress trees. Life was dangerous in the swamp with death always a possibility, as many found out during those harsh times. Any chance for fun and recreation was never overlooked after the long hard days in the swamp. Trouble was never far away.


The Law and the Fugitives

Clinch County courthouse in Homerville, Georgia.
Clinch County courthouse in Homerville, Georgia. | Source
The original suit index from the courthouse files at Homerville, county seat of Clinch County Georgia.
The original suit index from the courthouse files at Homerville, county seat of Clinch County Georgia. | Source
Clinch county Criminal Index showing the names of 2 of the Padgett brothers accused of the murders.
Clinch county Criminal Index showing the names of 2 of the Padgett brothers accused of the murders. | Source
List of those charged with murdering the two lawmen.  Notice the word "Murder" to the right.
List of those charged with murdering the two lawmen. Notice the word "Murder" to the right. | Source
The last entry in the courthouse books concerning the Brady murders case.  Nothing further has been found to this date.
The last entry in the courthouse books concerning the Brady murders case. Nothing further has been found to this date. | Source

The Murders

The six men approaching the home of Jackson Brady were all related by marriage in some way or another. Blood ties in the great swamp were of major importance, both as to pride and political aspirations. One of men was James Thomas Padgett, son of James “Tip” Padgett-- recently elected as a state representative and a resident of Echols County Georgia.

His brother Allen Padgett, had also been implicated along with Caraway, in the beating of Caraway’s wife. Another brother accompanying the group was William Lee, according to a Homerville newspaper printed at the time. Although the state representative "Tip" Padgett was with the men at his residence shortly before the murders occurred, he was not reported to be with them at the time the crimes was committed

The other men were Tip’s son-in-law, George Hunter and George’s brother Wesley,along with William Blount, all of them from roughly the same area and related in some manner. On the way to the Brady residence the riders encountered several local settlers and stated they were going to get Caraway’s horse and guns. Later on they returned and indeed had Caraway’s property as well as threatened going to Live Oak to shoot up the place and release Caraway from the jail.

At this point a young nephew of the Bradys, along with a neighbor, went to the Brady home and found both of the brothers shot multiple times and mangled horribly. Jackson was dead, shot through the heart. Robert Brady was shot 7 times and at first appeared to have his throat cut for good measure, but he was still alive.

It was finally determined that the two victims were not attacked with knives but were severely beaten with pistols instead. One of the bullets which had struck Robert's breast had exited through his throat giving the appearance of a knife slash which caused the erronious reports of knives being used on the two brothers

Robert lived almost 2 months before finally succumbing to his wounds, never again speaking above a whisper, but able to identify both his and Jackson's assailants before his death.

Author's Note

Ever since I was a small child I had heard this story about my great-great-grandfather, Jackson Brady being murdered in the Okefenokee. As family legends often are, some of it was true while other parts were apparently added on as the years passed.

One of the false parts of the family story was that Asa chased down the murderers and killed them one by one. Romantic, but apparently not true. Only after doing much research through newspaper archives and other historical records did I finally get the true story of the horrendous crime.

So far, I have found nothing to show the riders were ever arrested nor convicted of the crime as most appear in later census records and obituaries. Some, however did not live a full and happy life. Tip Padgett was shot dead by his son-in-law George Hunter when he shot Hunter’s dog in 1883 .

George was then allegedly waylaid and killed by Tip’s son Thomas a year later in 1884. Thomas himself was shot with buckshot by another sheriff when attempting to escape custody because of the same family blood fued in 1887, but lived a few years longer. A Tough end for rough men.

I will update this article if I find out anything new about this episode in my continuing research and if the court files on the aftermath of the murders can be discovered.--Randy Godwin

UPDATE : More info on the case

According to information I've recently discovered, it appears the gunmen were a group of lawless related men who eventually increased their number by several more members as they terrorized the area of southern Georgia and northern Florida around the great swamp. They used threats, extortion, and-- as we've observed-- violence, to bully the local residents into submission

At this time there is no evidence these murdering scoundrels were ever brought to task for their horrible crimes of murder and robbery in the Okefenokee area. Strong family and political ties apparently had a hand in keeping these renegades from being punished by the law. Instead they tended to murder each other, with most suffering the same fate they had dealt out to other unfortunate residents around the great swamp.

Many of the remaining members of the Brady family apparently decided to leave the area after the murders because their lives were in peril due to the lack of justice meted out to the murders of their kin. More to come if possible.

Randy Godwin


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    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      I too love history, Robert. It was fun doing the research for this hub, digging through giant books of files in the old courthouse to find the info. My older brother has been an SCV member for many years and travels all over to re-enact famous battles of the CW. My great-grandpa--the one with the fiddle--came down here from North Carolina to be a overseer on a plantation not far from here. He ended up eloping with the plantation owner's daughter before he entered the war. In fact, the first Rutlands settled on the Albemarle sound around 1700. I'll have to look up Zirconia, NC. Thanks again!

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 10 months ago

      Thanks Randy for sharing. Stories like this handed down are so interesting. When the movie Cold Mountain came out I watched and did not know at the time the story of my own Great great grandfather, Alson Gordon who had moved near the Forks of the Pigeon in Haywood County. At 35 years of age he had joined the Confederate Army, no doubt inspired by all that was happening with bush whachers rogues. He served a year and then joined back with the NC 25 Regiment fighting at Petersburg where he lost a leg when the tunnel was blown. There are local stories of men who were deserters and killed while being captured. I am a bit of a history buff and all this interests me. The same was true when I watched the Patriot. My wife and I both have ancestors who fought at Cowpens.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 11 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello again Stephanie, yes the swamp was a place where people often disappeared--sometimes not of their own volition--but often on purpose as this tale describes. Swamps can be dreary and damp, but the Okefenokee is beautiful with its many animals and foliage on display. Thanks for the time and nice comments, Stephanie. :)

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 11 months ago from USA

      Hi Randy,

      We visited Okefenokee Swamp years ago and camped at a state park smack in the middle of it. We found it to be a fascinating and rather eerie place. I really enjoyed your story and the pieces of history you incorporated into it as I still have so many vivid pictures in my mind of the swamp. It's certainly not hard to believe that it attracted many rough and lawless characters back in the 1800's. When we visited, I remember thinking that the swamp would be a good place for someone to disappear if they needed to do so.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 18 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Bobby, I didn't know if you'd read this piece but thought you might enjoy reading it. I do need to talk to Larry about what he knows of our family history. I do try to write most of it down for the family history. Beth and I had a blast over in Homerville looking through the old county records and going to the fine genealogy place you mentioned.

      Thanks for reading and if you have any other family info I'd be pleased to find out about it, cuz! I recently listened to the tape recording you made of your interview of Abby and Mike's courtship and marriage. Thanks so much for making it as it's a family heirloom now.


    • profile image

      Bobby Godwin 18 months ago

      Randy, like you, I have heard these stories as far back as I can remember. I have even heard the story that Granny Stone used to tell about the bull pawing in the red clay. I read some of this history in the gemology library over at Homerville, but I like the way you put it all together. To bad that our cousin Larry does not have a computer. He knows a lot about our family history. I wonder the Padgetts in this story were related to the Padgetts around Lenox

      Anyway, thanks for putting this together for us.I will keep it with other important papers. I also plan to read some of you other historic stories. Thanks Couze.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 19 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Amy, and thank you for the nice comments about my writing ability. Yes, it is a tough place to live with all of the hardships you mentioned in your post. Being "rough and tough" was certainly a requirement back in the days of this tale. I appreciate your time and interest in this story, and for your memories of your time in the area. :)

    • profile image

      Amy Johnsen 19 months ago

      Your story was fascinating, Randy, and so well written. What a hard life for your ancestors and all those who walked that rugged land. I lived in Live Oak for a year trying to homestead 9 acres of land and did daily battle with suffocating heat, giant insects, and torrential rains that I had never encountered until moving there. They had to be rough and tough to survive in that area, specially back in those days, and then throw in some blood feuds, and you've got one amazing story to recount. Thanks for the good read.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 19 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Peg, and thanks for the kind words about this tale. It was really fascinating to me to research this hub and to find out the real truth about my great-great grandfather's demise in the Okefenokee Swamp. There were many rumors about the murders and I had to find out the truth of the matter.

      I hope you too find out about your ancestors in this wild and wonderful area of Georgia. Good to hear from you again! :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 19 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      This story was truly fascinating and inspiring as well. The research you did to discover these old tales is admirable. I love the parts about the cane grinding and the gatherings surrounding the practice. My family has roots in these same areas with similar stories, of which I'm currently researching. Thanks for listing the books that might help and for an entertaining story about your family roots.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 19 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Hey cousin, this tale was from my grandmother Godwin's side of the family. Her mother was the daughter of Jackson Brady, the brother of the sheriff also murdered in this story. The Okefenokee was a perfect place for villains to hide out from the law, or anyone else for that matter. I wasn't aware you lived in the area before.

      Thanks as always for your input on my writing. :)

    • profile image

      Susie (Rutland) & Don Harris 19 months ago

      Randy, having lived in Clinch County for nearly 6 years, reading this account of history there was especially interesting....and more so because it was a tale from your side of our family roots, too! Was this grandfather Brady on the paternal side, or the maternal side of the Godwin roots? The reason so many people went "Missing" as it may have appeared is most likely because they became alligator bait. Convenient, you know. Great story, cousin! Don't know how I missed it!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Bonnie, and thanks so much for telling me about the dream. Many folks back then strongly believed in premonitions from dreams, as well as, odd events and everyday occurrences, foretelling both good and bad fortune. Anything else you can tell me about this tragedy would be most helpful when I edit this article again.

      I appreciate your time and am trying to figure out if I know of you or your family. I'm very bad at remembering names. :)


    • profile image

      Bonnie overman 2 years ago

      Hi Randy. Enjoyed reading this. Grandma Stone used to tell mama stories about this. Grandma stone said that either Bob or Jack one, said he dreamed about a bull pawing in red clay all night before this happened. I guess it was a premonition.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Thank you for your nice comments on this tale, Besarien. I really enjoyed researching and writing this one because of the family history it involved. I really appreciate your time and input. :)


    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 3 years ago

      What an awesome taste of history and culture of the Florida/Georgia swamplands! Your family connect made it all the more personal and compelling. Great Hub!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I thought the place we visited was named after the Popes, but I couldn't remember the name, thinking it was Popeville or some such place. lol!

      I remember the stories about Jackson's wife telling the kids she wasn't hungry when the meager meals were served to the children after fleeing from the Okefenokee, Kathryn. They did have a very hard time after the murders and the move from the swamp.

      I'll try to see what I've got on the Bradys, other than what's in this article, Kathryn. Researching this hub was fascinating as well as enlightening as to our history. :)

      Feel free to drop back by this hub if you find out anything else about the Bradys. :)

    • profile image

      Kathryn Clough 3 years ago

      Lol, I attended that same celebration at her farm in Pope City( between Pineview and Rochelle). I think they had a very hard life after her father's death. She talked about having to take the steps up so animals couldn't get in the house.I am just starting my family tree, I know a little about the Mulkey, Land and Mann families but little about the Bradys . If you know the names of Jackson's parents and gparents please let me know at Thanks, Kat

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Kathryn, or should I refer to you as cousin Kate? lol! I'm very pleased to hear from another branch of the Brady clan. I remember as a young child going to Aunt Fanny's 100th birthday celebration near Hawkinsville or in that area.

      My great-grandmother was Fanny's younger sister and she was too young to remember the murders very well. I think there are a few redheads in this family line as there are so many ancestors of the Bradys now.

      Glad to hear from you and let me know if you have anything to add to the tale. :)


    • profile image

      Kathryn Clough 3 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this Randy. Lewis Jackson Brady was my 3-great grandfather. His daughter, Frances Jane Brady Pope was my great, great grandmother.My family had heard the stories too. Fanny lived to be over 100 ,she was a tall redhead. Just buried my grandmother, Viola Talley Wilson, in March. She was over 105 and a redhead too.Do you have any redheads in your family?

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Phyllis, this article filled in a few voids in the family history and cleared up some of the myths which grew out of the infamous murders. It was rather fun doing the research and seeing the actual accounts of the murders in some of the old newspapers. I had a hub describing my research for this hub and how I went around it but unpublished it back when HP unfeatured so many hubs at one time. Perhaps I'll put it back on HP as most of those unfeatured are now featured again.

      Thanks for your kind words and great input on this article, I surely do appreciate your time reading and commenting. :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      My gosh, Randy, what a horrendous story of the murder and those men who killed and terrorized the swamp people. The murderers were obviously above the law due to the political relative. Such a sad story about the Brady Brothers. This must still be a haunting story for the descendants. I so admire the research you are doing on your gg-Grandfather and his brother and incident. How horrible it is how those men killed the brothers.

      You are such a fantastic writer and your history of the great swamp from the perspective of the swamp people side is awesome. You could write a great book about all this. I am really amazed reading all the information you provide. My hub on the Okefenokee is for a tourist view. To delve into the lives of the people who actually lived there and their way of life is great work, and probably not very easy, for I imagine the swampers prefer the privacy of their own world.

      Votes up and shared. Great write, Randy.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Patricia! Yes it was quite a challenge tracking down the real story behind the family myths about my great-grandfather's death, but it was finally a relief to get it out there.

      It was a really rough world back then around the great swamp and it took a certain type of person to deal with it I imagine. I admire their grit!

      Thanks for your time and great comments, Patricia! :)


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      What a story. And then to find out that you told of family made it even more interesting to read. Your persistence in uncovering as much as you have must answer questions for you that you needed to find answers to. Knowing doesn't change what happens but it gives us a window into events.

      I do so find your historical writing engaging and interesting.

      Sending Angels your way this morning :) ps Voted up ++++

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Barbara Kay, it was sad both he and his brother survived Civil War battles so far away and then were murdered in their own home. Thanks for your time and comments. I do appreciate it. :)


    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      This is an interesting story. It is too bad your great grandfather was murdered though.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Thanks for reading and commenting on this one, SG. I had a blast researching it and finally clearing up a bit of misinformation which had filtered down through the last 150 years or so. I do love a mystery!


    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a very interesting hub! I wish I had tales of my past relatives. From what I do remember, they were a pretty rough crew! I guess them killing each other is true justice. Voting this up, interesting and shairng! Have a great day! :)

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      So glad you read this one, Alastar. My great-great grandfather was the same man who was in Lee's honor guard at Appomattox and brought back the cane cut from the tree at the surrender site.

      I found out eventually the murderers were never brought to justice and continued to terrorize the locals around the swamp.

      I remember my great- aunt telling about finding the bodies of both men when they arrived home from the cane-grinding in the afternoon. I'd often heard secondhand information about this event and decided to write it down for the future generations of my family.

      The murderers eventually killed each other off or came to an otherwise bad end, so in a way, justice was finally done. Thanks again for your time and for your comments. They mean a lot to me. :)


    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Good things are worth waiting on so i made sure to have the popcorn and black-cherry lemonade ready for this read. After reading about your great great great grand Brady's cowardly murder it felt like this story was Hatfields McCoys on smaller scale. This is definitely in my top 5 reads on HP. The pictures were perfect and so was how you did the research and laid it out in the story. All the pings but funny- can only read two or three hubs tonight but this one was certainly going to be the first. You took me back in time to those Okefenokee days, desperado's and lawman-- corn grinding and syrup making etc Glad your still on the trial yourself Randy- hope some fresh info is forthcoming soon.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Glad to hear this tale is interesting to folks other than my relatives, Jellygator! I quite enjoyed doing this one! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment as I do enjoy receiving input on my writing efforts!

      Randy SSSSS

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 6 years ago from USA

      Quite a story and full of information. Found this from and voted it up in both places.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I do indeed have quite a bit of history on both sides of my family, like most of us, I imagine, CM! I'd heard this tale all of my life but until I really started researching this family legend I didn't know the whole story.

      I hope to find out more about the aftermath of the murders before long, but even if I don't, it's still something I can pass on to my future relatives. I already live in a paradise compared to most folks with very few neighbors to deal with.

      Thanks as always for your time and comments!

      Randy SSSSS

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      What a fascinating family history you have Randy, and what an interesting hub. It's a shame that the murderers where never brought to justice, but it seems that some of them met their just desserts anyway. If you disappear from HP we'll know where you've gone - you'll have found your own little island paradise in the swamp.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Your comments are greatly appreciated, iguidenetwork! Thanks so much for your time!

      Randy Godwin

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Superb story...Thumbs up!!!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Indeed, PC! But one thing I failed to mention was that Elizabethan English was spoken by many of the isolated swampers well into the 20th century. Some of those words are still used around here today.

      I have other true tales of how violent the folks in the swamps were but most people find them hard to believe.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 6 years ago from SE MA

      I love reading these tales.. Now THERE was a Libertarian society :)

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      You are correct, Bob! I sure did enjoy researching this family history. I hope to add more to it if I can find any new info. It's harder to find the facts in the old newspaper archives than I thought.

      I know what you mean about the characters around Ft. George Island as I've spent time in that area too. Yes the swampers are still a bit wild, even today, and the swamp itself is something to see.

      Thanks as always for your time and interesting comments.

      Randy SSSSS

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Good tale, Randy; you must have had as much fun researching it as you had bringing it to us. As I mentioned commenting on an earlier article, i lived on St George Island, Florida, some years ago and met some of the characters - mainly dealing weed in the State Forest.

      I never got over east to the swamp area. It must be truly fascinating, like a mini-Amazon.

      A really American piece of history!