Murder of Moses Cox at Gainesville

Paragould Soliphone 1906

Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin

Just after the war Gainesville was the scene of another shocking murder in which William Lindley was one of the principal actors. He was a drinking man, and one day while he was seated in front of a saloon, some what under the influence of strong drink. Moses Cox came up and spoke to, and started to engage in conversation with Lindley. There had been some bad feelings between the men for a long time, but Cox was not drinking at the time, and it was claimed that he used no offensive language towards Lindley who drew a large dirk or bowie knife, sprang upon Cox and cut him to death on the spot.

Moses Cox was the father of George Cox of Paragould, Mrs. Ann Steele of this city, of the late A. P. Cox also of Paragould, of John Cox and of Bud Cox of Malden. Lindley was tried for the murder of Moses Cox but came clear. There was then a noted criminal lawyer at Pocahontas, by the name of E. Y. Mitchell, who was the father-in-law of the great Missouri commoner, Silver Dick Bland, and both parties to the Gainesville tragedy dispatched runners to Pocahontas after the great criminal lawyer. It was over thirty miles across country to Pocahontas, and the race for the noted attorney was a famous one. Lindley's runner reached the goal first and the brilliant attorney was employed to defend the accused as, was also T. J. Ratcliff, who was prosecuting attorney, but resigned to accept a fee from Lindley. Both Mitchell and Ratcliff were given $1000 each for defending Lindley, and both being very fine lawyers, they succeeded in saving him from the gallows. He never seemed like the same man again, his health began to fail and he began to go down financially in every other way until his death.

The wife of Moses Cox was a McFarland, a daughter of Dr. McFarland, and her only brother, John W. McFarland, was County Clerk of Greene County for a long time, and was a Prosecuting Attorney at Gainesville at the time of his death. He was a cripple, but was a good lawyer, and fine business man. Mrs. Cox was a member of the Methodist church, and a lady of rare Christian virtues.

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