The story detailed the search for the murderers of seventy-two-year-old farmer and Civil War veteran "Captain" Jesse Baldwin. On the morning of July 8, the dying planter's beaten and bloody body had been discovered lying under the branches of a peach tree located just steps from his back porch. Employee and former slave Handy McKenzie discovered Baldwin and immediately ran to Wilcox, the nearest community, for assistance. But by the time help arrived at the plantation, it was too late. The captain was dead. His skull was crushed, and his face was pocked with deep cuts.