Thursday, January 23, 2014

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #4–Death of a Preacher Man

Luther William Wilson was the sixth son and the eighth of thirteen children of Rev Thomas H Wilson and Elizabeth “Betsy” Gulledge. He was born in Richland County SC 11 August 1868. He married Mary L Medlin daughter of David Hilliard Medlin and Caroline Strickland.
He assumed pastorate of Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church after his father died and was also preaching at the Chain Gang on Chain Gang Road in Eastover SC. 

image                  image 
This is the entire article that was in The State newspaper on 10 June 1940. The article appeared on pages 1 and 8.

 image Excerpt from page 1 of above article


Dash Occurs During Sunday Camp Service

The Rev. Luke Wilson is Accidental Victim; One Prisoner Makes Escape

A 72-year-old white preacher and a Negro prisoner died yesterday as the result of gunshot wounds received when four convicts made a break for freedom from Harmon’s chain gang camp near Eastover during Sunday services.
The dead minister is the Rev Luke W. Wilson, Route 2, Eastover, who was accidentally killed when two shotgun loads lodged in his abdomen during a scuffle between three Negro prisoners and the sole guard on duty in the shack where the services were being held.

               imageExcerpt from page 2 of newspaper article


Mr. Wilson was born in Richland county, the son of Elizabeth Gulledge and Thomas Wilson.
He had been pastor of Oak Grove Baptist church for the last 25 years and for the last five years had been preaching at the chaingang camp.
He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mary Medlin Wilson; three daughters, Mrs. Martha Craft, Mrs. Bessie Drawdy and Mrs. Bernice Anderson, six sons, Jesse Wilson, Luther Wilson, Alonzo Wilson, Walter Wilson, Thomas Wilson and Arnor Wilson; 50 grandchildren and one great-grandchild; one sister, Mrs. Dosia Haithcock; three brothers, I. C. Wilson, Elijah Wilson and R. W. Wilson.
Funeral services will be conducted from Oak Grove Baptist church at 4:30 this afternoon by the Rev. Thomas Shannon. Interment will be in the churchyard.
Pallbearers: Active, Charlie W. Medlin, Ernest Medlin, Roy Medlin, Thomas Wilson, Louis Wilson, James Haithcock; honorary, Bob Davis, Clifford Torrance, John Corder, Bill McCain, Lawrence Harmon and T. Alex Heise.

Source: Paper: State, published as The State; Date: 06-10-1940; Page: 1; Location: Columbia, South Carolina
(article continues on page 8 of same edition)

S. C. Death Certificate dated 9 June 1940

Luther W & Mary E Wilson
 Luther W. Wilson – 11 Aug 1868-9 June 1940
Oak Grove Baptist Church
Eastover SC


  1. I see David Hilliard Medlin in your blogpost. Do you have any information about the incident in 1881 when several people were accused of assault and battery, and with assault with intent to kill Hilliard Medlin?

    1. No, I don't have any information on that. That is very interesting...something else to add to my to do list. Is there anything else you can tell me about the incident?

  2. I don't know much else. Try this link: It gives the basics of the incident. I would think you could request more info from the state. Did David Hilliard Medlin live on the property that became Fort Jackson? I am helping someone with research about the Ft. Jackson families.

    1. I looked at the website and after searching "Medlin" and "indictment" under Criminal Records found several Medlins. I believe David Hilliard Medlin lived on that property, but am not 100% sure. I have sent an email to the Archives to find out how to get the records. I will let you know when I have a reply.

  3. There are a lot of Medlins in the records for Richland County. I am curious what you find. I am sure you are, too.