When I found this story I had second thoughts about even copying it. Then I decided that I would post it for three reasons: 1. It is part of Caddo’s history- good, bad, or ugly. 2. Someone from one of these families may have been trying to trace this story for years and come up empty handed because they lack access to the Herald. 3. Sometimes we need a reminder that the “good old days” weren’t always that good.
Caddo Herald, May 9, 1924
Mother and Babe Foully Murdered
"A horribly gruesome and hideous sight met the eye of John Gravitt, Jr., Sunday morning as he entered the home of his cousin, Feildon Gravitt. On the floor weltering in her own blood lay the body of Mrs. Fieldon Gravitt, her head horribly mangled, with brains oozing out, cold and stiff in death. On the bed lay the brained body of their two months old infant, its head horribly crushed, with blood and brains a mingled mass.
He immediately summoned aid, and the neighbors did all they could to make the bodies presentable for burial. The funeral was conducted at the home of Elder Mills, and the remains were buried together in Caddo Cemetery about 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon, Rev. Hardin conducting the ceremony.
Mrs. Gravitt was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gifford, who live about a half mile west of the Gravitt home in the Carroll Chapel Community. She would have been but sixteen years of age in September, having been married a year ago. She was a handsome and amiable young woman who numbered her friends by her acquaintances. The father and mother of the dead woman naturally were prostrated with grief and horror at the manner of the tragedy.
Fieldon Gravitt, husband of the dead woman, aged 21, was found late Sunday afternoon asleep in a thicket some three hundred yards from the house. Officers and neighbors had searched all surrounding country throughout the day without result, until someone happened to go up this little draw. He was placed in jail at Durant, charged with the crimes. Apparently he did not know anything of the cause of his arrest, or that his wife and child were dead. It is stated that at times he was not exactly right mentally, and that perhaps it was during one of these unaccountable lapses that he committed the crime of which he is charged.
Gravitt had worked planting cotton until noon Saturday, when he took his team up to John Gravitt’s barn, fed them and went home. That was the last anyone saw of him until he was found asleep in the thicket. The crime apparently was committed about 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon. The people had eaten dinner, but the dishes had not been cleared away. A heavy iron poker, about two feet long, lay near the body of Mrs. Gravitt. It was with this that both heads had been crushed and mangled. There were no marks on the bodies of the victims of the madman. The bodies had lain so long unattended that it was judged by their condition that many hours had elapsed between the killing and the finding.
The whole community, neighborhood, as well as Caddo and Kenefick, where the parties to the tragedy are known, was grievously shocked upon hearing the news. Numbers of friends of the families so(can’t read) and the funeral was largely attended. The Gravitt and Gifford families were both highly respected people, and everyone was extremely sorry that such a thing could possibly happen."