A Murder On The Farm...

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Charles Justice Charles Justice

This is the location of an infamous Greene County murder by the previously mentioned Charles Justice.

On September 16, 1910, John Shoup heard a commotion in the chicken house and sent William Shoup into the far end to flush out what he thought was a fox. They encountered a man whose description resembled Justice trying to steal their livestock. The thief fired three shots, one which killed John Shoup. According to testimony at the trial, Justice calmly picked up the bag of chickens and walked away. After many hours they finally caught up with him. Everybody was out looking. He was convicted of first degree murder on November 3, 1910 in the Greene County Court of Common Pleas.

Several hours before his scheduled execution, a long knife was found in Justice’s cell. He stated that he intended to use it on the guard who strapped him into the electric chair. Two other prisoners who were housed with him asked to be moved because they feared that he would kill them as well. His last words were “I am not guilty of the crime for which you are killing me.” Charles Justice was executed at 12:05 AM on October 27, 1911, the 38th person executed by the State of Ohio. No friends or relatives claimed his body and it was given to a medical school in Columbus.

An urban legend exists that the man who invented the electric chair was executed in it. This was attributed to Charles Justice. He was, in fact, incarcerated at the Ohio Penitentiary when “Old Sparky” was built to serve as a more humane form of execution than the gallows. A scrapbook entitled, “The Electrocution Book” was donated to the Ohio Historical Society in 1983 that was compiled by employees of the state’s prison system. In an undated article within called “The Electric Chair”, Richard J. Jemison states that a prisoner named Charles Justice helped build the chair and was later executed in it. Historical accounts state that Charles did not build the electric chair, but he was executed in it. Additional research suggests that while working in the prison’s tin shop, he fabricated metal clamps that replaced the leather straps for better performance. Charles is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

The approaching curve was the location of the Shoemake Dairy Farm. Concrete remnants of the feed house can be seen on the north side of the curve and in the autumn/winter, you can find a silo hidden in the trees.

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Brett Williford

Re-introducing you to the Beavercreek you love... from 1803 to today!


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