Held for Murder
Body of Wealthy Farmer is Found in Field on Christmas Day
The Post: January 5, 1921
Harry Lawson, aged 26 years, ex-service man was arrested yesterday at his home near Rye Cove, Virginia, charged with the murder Saturday, of Ira N Taylor, wealthy farmer, age 74 years, after bloodhounds went from the field where the murder was committed to the Lawson’s home, according to advices reaching in Bristol last night.
The body of Mr Taylor and acentric old Bachelor was found in a field near his home about 4:00 o’clock Saturday afternoon. He had been wounded in the face with a shotgun, and his head had been beaten with a heavy blunt instrument. It is believed he had been dead for about 2 hours when the body was found.
Robbery is thought to have been the motive, Mr. Taylor usually carried from $3000 to $4000 and currency on his person and about $1865 was found in his pockets. The deceased is said to have been worth about $100,000, which included one of the largest farms in Scott County. Lawson, who lives about a mile from Mr. Taylor’s home was seen to enter the field where the body was found a short time before the murder took place witnesses say. It is said the body was found with a bundle of fodder clasped under one arm. The killing is thought to have taken place about 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon. The body was found about 2 hours later. He had gone to the field to feed cattle. Lawson, said to be the son of S E Lawson who lives on the Taylor Farm, is now in jail in Gate City.
The bloodhounds were taken to the scene of the murder by TB Crockett of Pulaski, their owner, and Officer JB Bowman of Wytheville. They arrived in Bristol about midnight Saturday and reached the Taylor farm about 8:00 o’clock yesterday morning. The dogs held a straight course to the Lawson home and the young man was arrested by Sheriff Creed Frasier of Scott County.
Mr Taylor was shot with No 5 shot from a gun and a gun belonging to Lawson said to have been found in his home was loaded with No 5 shot. Empty shells found near the scene of the murder corresponded to those in Lawson’s single barrel gun. No money was found on the prisoner. It is declared that Lawson was seen to visit the Taylor home a short time before the aged farmer went to the field, where he was found dead. Lawson is unmarried and saw service with the American forces in France it is reported. The prisoner denied having committed the crime information reaching here last night said. He is said to have one special honors as a marksman while in the Army.
Mr Taylor is survived by two brothers, Samuel and Albert Taylor and one sister Mrs Powers, a widow. He lived with his relatives. – Bristol Herald Courier.
Lawson was released on $1500 bond Saturday.
Transcription and document submitted by Gary Hilton.