Not Murder But Death By Accident

Not Murder But Death By Accident

Note: Amanda Lester was the widow of Thomas Jefferson Lester who died in 1878. She was born 14 August 1825 and died 17 February 1902, she is buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery, Clarke County, GA. She was the daughter of Thomas Samson and America Nunnally. Thomas and Amanda did not have children. I am sorry I do not know which paper this came from. The clipping was sent to me by the late Mr. Henry Lester, Athens, GA.


There, have been few accidental deaths in Georgia, so fraught with tragedy as that of Mrs. Amanda Lester, who was found dead in a swamp, last Monday near Weston. It was thought for some time, that Mrs. Lester had been foully dealt, with; but after a careful investigation it has been found that she died from cold and exposure and exhaustion. The latter was brought on by her efforts to get out of the mire where she had fallen.

The funeral of Mrs. Lester took place yesterday. Relatives who were there to attend the last obsequies over the body and pay a last tribute to the memory of the estimable old lady have returned to the city, and tell an interesting and pathetic story of unfortunate circumstances  which caused Mrs. Lester before death took her from suffering to go through the keenest  mental and physical pain.

It seems that last Friday Mrs. Lester received through the mail a money order for a small amount. She decided on Saturday that she would go to Weston from her sister's. Mrs. Dismuke's, a mile from Weston and get it cashed at the Weston postoffice. She reached the postoffice, secured the money in bills, and began the return Journey afoot. At one point between Weston and Mrs. Dismukes is a fork in the roads. Mrs. Lester, who was, 75 years old, not observing where she was going, took the wrong road. After proceeding for some distance, she lost her way. She asked a little negro boy which was the nearest way to the Dismuke home. The little boy pointed her to a by-path through the woods and across the swamps, which abound in this vicinity, and told her if she would follow such a route, she would reach her destination.

Mrs. Lester plunged into the woods. By tracing her steps through the sofe sand around the little swamps it was found that she wandered considerably, retraced her steps several times and invariably moved in a circle.

When found it was seen that she attempted to walk over a marshy place upon a fallen tree. While upon the 1og she slipped and fe11 into the miry swamp a foot beneath the log. While Mrs. Lester was strong and enjoyed good health for one her age, she seemed unable to extricate herself from her position. Evidences were everywhere of her struggling. Her skirts were torn and the flesh of her legs from the knee down were terribly torn where she had attempted to raise herself. Her hands had grasped frantically at all surrounding objects en an effort to get a hold upon some solid substance.

The weather on Saturday night and Sunday was bitter cold, and it is thought that Mrs. Lester must have felt the exposure keenly.

The fact that she did not return to the home of the Dismukes on Saturday afternoon was not regarded as unusual, since she had been accustomed to go to Weston and stay at Mrs. West's another sister.

On Sunday afternoon the Dismukes decided they would call upon Mrs. West. When they arrived some one asked where "Aunt Amanda" was. It was not known until that time that Mrs. Lester had been lost, each family presuming that she was visiting the other. Searching parties were immediately sent, almost 24 hours after Mrs. Lester had fallen in the swamp. The search was kept up until midnight Sunday night. It was then resumed early Monday morning, when her footsteps were traced and she was found dead.

Mrs. Lester fell into the swamp only a few hundred feet from the Dismuke home. Groans were heard at the house on Saturday night and Sunday, but no significance was attached to them because those who heard them thought they were some of the negroes on the place. It is thought that Mrs. Lester lived 36 hours in the swamp after her fall.

The theory of foul play which was first attached to her disappearance has been thoroughly dissipated. When found Mrs. Lester had upon her all the money she had obtained from the postoffice, her watch and other little things that she carried on her person.

She was visiting Weston with her relatives and spending only a short time. She was a woman of considerable property.

The body of Mrs. Amanda Lester passed through Atlanta last night to Athens. The funeral and interment will take place there.

Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Mayfield, of Atlanta who went to Weston early yesterday morning and Steve Purnell, a nephew of the deceased accompanied the body.

Contributed by Judy Gresham.