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January 08, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-01-08

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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, January 8, 1978-Page 7

Civil War
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) - The Emily C
corded his
way the coroner had it figured, the the battle
murdered man's corpse rested atop others of
the Confederate colonel's cast-iron the front b
coffin for about a year before it was saw.him a
unearthed by trinket-hunting grave with that
The. seemingly bizarre murder THE CH
mystery - filled with more suspense Shy to be
than Williamson County had seen victim bee
since secession - began on Christ- follows lo
mas Eve. That was when Mary Christmas
Griffith, showing a visitor the hritmds
grounds of the antebellum home she sheriff disc
the coro
and her husband bought to restore, Bass, a
noticed that Lt. Col. William Shy's decayed r
grave had been disturbed. decayedr
"THE GRAVE was dug 3% to four "The gi
feet below the ground," she said. "I
thought grave-robbers .. .' his bod
Coroner Clyde Stephens, 40, though balm inA
murder after he and Sheriff Fleming
Williams, 50, investigated the grave Christm
and found the headless torso of a man thropol
wearing what looked like a tuxedo.
Stephens theorized that the grave
was used to conceal a more recent digging res
death, a murder grave-robbers "We w
stumbled on. grave and
But now William M. Bass, 49, the hand in a
state's forensic anthropologist, has "And we f
an explanation for the whole affair was some
that is neither murderous nor espe- "There u
cially mysterious. casket," h
"THE GUY we have may just be before lo
the Civil War colonel," his body knocked a
preserved for more than a century happened
with embalming fluid and moved on skull had
top of its coffin by the Christmas Eve through th
plunderers, Bass said. THE LA
Shy, who died in 1864 during the foot, was
Battle of Nashvill at age 26, was rusty cast
buried in one of two graves on the phens said
property. His was marked with a thing in it
marble headstone. The other is "was so ba
unmarked. ly just fel

Compton, a neighbor, re-
demise in a chronicle of
"His body with many
both armies was laid upon
gallery of our home . . . I
s he lay so peacefully there
cruel hole in his brow."
AIN of events that caused
mistaken for a murder
3 years after his death
ically from Mrs. Griffith's
Eve observation. Once the
covered the headless body,
er sent to Knoxville for
specialist in identifying
emains. When he arrived,

holds mystery

knocked into this casket."
Said Mrs. Griffith, "It looked like
they tried to shove him down in."
There was no trace of Shy. "Just
dust," Stephens said. "I would have
thought there would have been
possibly a belt or buttons but we
didn't find anything."
BASS, examining the remains, con-
cluded the burial was at least two
months old. The sheriff said five
months to a year. Stephens said just
over a year.
Mrs. Griffith said she knew the
grave had not been disturbed from
July, when she and her husband

Griffith said, "like he'd been to a
wedding or was an usher- or some-

uy we have may be

just the Civil War colonel,"

BASS discovered the cause of
death. Reconstructing the skull, he
found a large hole three inches above
the right eye. "Whatever hit the guy
really hit him with a lot of force," he
Last Friday the crime lab called
Bass with the idea that the body
might be Shy's but some questions
need to be answered. Bass didn't
know whether elastic like that in the
shoes was invented by 1864. Refer-
ence works show it was, by 1759.
When Bass sees what apparently is
the colonel's last photo it may
explain the clothes. Shy posed in a
cutaway with tails and a fancy white
shirt. Shy's coffin was the best and
embalming was not unusual. The
hole above the right eye sounds like
"that cruel hole in his brow" Miss
Compton mentioned.
Bass said he would send some
tissue to a Memphis lab this week to
have it checked for embalming fluid.
"Sometimes," he said. "The truth
is stranger than fiction."

y preserved for more than a century with em-
g fluid and moved on top of its coffin by the
ias Eve plunderers, (Tennessee forensic an-
ogist) William Bass said.

ent back and redug the
found the skull and the left
glove," the sheriff said.
ound the shoes too. There
bones in them.
was a hole in the top of the
he said. "We don't know
someone dug the grave
oking for souvenirs and
hole in it or whether it
this time or what. But the
sunk down in the casket
e hole."
ARGE hole, down at the
the single breach in the
t-iron casket, which Ste-
d "must have been some-
s day." He said the body
dly decomposed it probab-
1 into the hole that was

bought the house, until Dec. 24.
Bass tried to trace the man's
identity through dental records. The
sheriff pored over missing persons
reports. The clothes went to the state
crime lab in neighboring Nashville.
BUT THE man had no dental work.
No one was missing in Williamson
County. No one missing in Nashville
in 1977 fit the description.
Still there were the clothes. "It
wasn't a tuxedo," the sheriff said,
"but it was a flashy-looking suit of
clothes." The pleated shirt appeared
to be silk. The flared trousers had
laces down the leg. The square-toed
shoes - a century-old style which
enjoyed a resurgence four or five
years ago - had elastic in them.
"They were dinner clothes, even-
ing clothes, they had tails," Mrs.

It all adds
'nt ______


Knievel upset by Carter
trip; stuntman, flees jail

e O
SBirth defects
are forever.
Unless you help.
March of Dimes

P .1)1,) --_- -
E _U
H -4-
"An Amazing Theatrical Creation" - San Francisco Chronicle
"Jack Aranson has done it superbly" - Time Magazine
"An Extraordinary Experience" - Boston Herald American
Advance ticket sale through PTP Ticket Office, Mendelssohn Theatre Lobby,
Monday through Friday, 10a.m. - 1 p.m.; 2 H- 5 Hp.m.
Call 764-0450 for more information. Tickets also available through Hudson's stores.

LOS ANGELES (UPI) - Motorcycle
daredevil Evil Knievel, serving a six-
month sentence for beating his former
press agent with a baseball bat, was
booked yesterday on a new charge of
escaping from the county jail.
Knievel was about five hours late in

Rosenfield, said, "He was very upset
over what he considers to be the break-
down of moral fiber in this country."
KNIEVEL later changed his mind
about fleeing the country and a friend
brought him back to jail at 2:40 a.m. He
was due back at 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Upon his return to the jail, Knievel
said, "You wouldn't believe the
troubles I'm having," according to Lt.
George Corbett, who said Knievel cited
family problems, but did'not go-into
A hearing will be held in Municipal
Court Monday on the escape charge and
a sheriff's spokesman said "it would be
up to the judge" to decide whether
Knievel could resume the work-
He has been spending weekends in
jail since he was sentenced two months
ago for beating his former press agent
with a bat in retaliation for statements
made in a book about his drinking
habits and relations with his mother.
A SHERIFF'S spokesman said: "We
gave him the standard three-hour grace

period, even though by then we had
heard from his probation officer that he
did not intend to return. When he didn't
show up we listed him as an escaped
prisoner and put out an APB on him."
Knievel has attracted attention by his
practice of having a chauffeured car
pick him up each morning from the Hall
of Justice jail and return him at night.
He sought last week to provide the
same limousine service for other pri-
soners on work-furlough programs but
probation officials put a stop to it.
IN THE ASSAULT on author Sheldon
Saltman, now a television executive,
Knievel pleaded guilty against the ad-
vice of his lawyer, saying he wanted to
take responsibility for his actions.
Saltman helped publicize Knievel
during his abortive attempt to rocket
over the Snake River Canyon.
Knievel has filed a defamation suit
against Saltman, alleging he was false-
ly portrayed as an immoral drunk, drug
addict, bigot and "a man who does not
love his mother."



returning to jail under a work-furlough
program and had told his probation of-
ficer he planned to leave the country
because he was disturbed by news
reports of President Carter's trip
"I'M UPSET, MAN," the sheriff's
department quoted him as telling his
probation officer.
"I've been looking at the news on two
channels and I don't dig it. I'm leaving
the country until it straightens itself
out," Knievel wasquoted.
His current publicity man, Stan


Mass Meeting

Tues., Jan. 10-8 p.m.
Wines Field Locker Room
(So. Division 8 Hill)


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