George Wright

The Cartersville Express
Cartersville, Georgia
January 23, 1879, Page 3
Transcribed by:  

Full particulars of the Rateree-Wright Affair—Arrest of the Murderer.

Dalton, January 21

Editor Express:-- At your request I furnish a few points of interest in connection with the recent murder in this county.

On the night of the 14th of January, a Mr. George Wright and a friend called at a house of “ill fame” to see certain inmates. On demanding admittance he was received by one of the “girls,” and by the way the only girl in the house at the time.  On being refused, the said G. W. threatened to burst open the door, but he did not attempt to execute his threat.  He simply knocked gently at the door again.

A Mr. Alex Ratteree and three other men were in the house at the same time.  Ratteree, on hearing the wrapping at the door, got up and said: “I’ll settle this matter mighty quick.”  He then opened the door, walked out in the yard, picked up a chestnut stick of wood about 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter, and about 2 feet long.  With this, according to testimony, he struck Wright over the left eye, fracturing the skull and cutting the left nostril.  He then struck Wright’s friend on the left temple, and then ordered both to leave, or else he would shoot them.  He went back in the house, and remarked that there had been a fight, and that somebody was hurt, but he didn’t know who did it.  The stick of wood was taken from his hand, and in a moment of excitement was mechanically placed on the fire by the “girl,” and was burnt up.

Wright and his friend left on foot for home, some 2 or 3 miles in the country,  Wright complained a little of his head, and remarked that his nose was bleeding.  After reaching  home he went to bed; next morning ate a little breakfast, knocked about the house and yard a little through the forenoon; called for a little dinner; kept up until middle of afternoon.  In the meantime he complained of his head, and the family sent for their physician, Dr. Folsom.  About 6 o’clock his physician called and found no external evidence of fracture (as the skin of the forehead was protected from the blow by a hat), but found other evidences.  His pulse had gone down to forty, and there were signs of rapid dissolution.  Wright died between 9 and 10 o’clock on the night of the 15th.

A post mortem examination, under direction of a Coroner’s Jury, was made on the 16th, by Dr. Wright, of Dalton, assisted by Drs. McAfee and Folsom.  This revealed an extensive fracture on the left side of the forehead, near the eye, and under the fracture was a large clot of blood, compressing the brain.  But for the late hour at which a physician was called, an operation to remove the pressure might have availed something, though this is doubtful.

Ratteree having remained at his “girls,” for several hours, went off and the next day resumed his duties as brakeman on the W. & A. R. R.  He was arrested while on his train at Kingston.  From this it would seem that he had no idea of having killed a man, or else he was very indifferent as to his deeds and their consequences.

He was brought to Dalton and committed to jail.  Up to this time he is a prisoner, and it is doubtful as to whether he will be permitted to give bond.

These are all the facts yet developed by investigation.



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