Another chapter has been added to Conecuh’s already unenviable criminal record, and another good citizen’s life has gone out at the hands of a heartless assassin,” mourned a front-page article in the Evergreen Courier on July 13, 1910.
Two decades after the double murder of St. Clair farmer Jacob Lutes and his second wife, Marcella, rocked northeast Alabama, the case again became front-page news with an alleged deathbed confession. John McLemore, the state's star witness against the three men charged with and later convicted of the horrific crime, admitted in his final hours that he and his father-in-law, Thomas Knight, actually killed the elderly couple, according to several affidavits. Whether three innocent men spent decades in prison for a crime they did not commit and whether McLemore actually confessed on his deathbed are still debated in the hills and hollows of Chandler Mountain.
Some reporters dubbed her “The Giggling Granny.” Others in the media gave her the nickname “The Jolly Widow.” Her given name was Nancy Hazle, and she was probably Alabama's most prolific female serial killer. History knows her as Nannie Doss.
To find Bangor Cave today, you must know where to look in the deep piney woods of Central Alabama. That was not always the case. For a short but exciting time in the late 1930s, Bangor Cave was one of America's most exotic nightspots. A special spur to the cave, built by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, brought thousands of elegantly dressed southerners to the cave's bungalow entrance. There, they waited outside for the chance to enter an underground Shangri-La. And a lucky few, usually with bulging wallets, were allowed into the private casino hidden behind a heavily bolted door.
When a ship filled with several hundred German immigrants landed in colonial Mobile in 1721, the port was little more than a backwater military garrison. The first and former capital of French Louisiana now served primarily as a portal to the colony's interior. Starvation, disease, natural disasters, and the threat of attack by local tribes made daily life for the five hundred or so civilians who resided in the insect-and snake-infested swampland an uphill struggle. The village was hardly the locale to attract a member of European royalty. But among those German immigrants was a young woman claiming to be Princess Charlotte Christina Sophia of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, daughter of a duke, sister-in-law to the Holy Roman Emperor, and wife of Tsarevich Alexis Petrovich, the son of Russia's emperor Peter I.
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