This family tragedy is a reminder that the “good old days” were really not that different from our own time. What has changed is our method of communication- if this happened today anyone and everyone on both coasts would know about it within an hour. In 1912 it might have taken as long as a month for some family members to learn of the death.
The 1910 census lists James Lauderdale, 43, born in Mississippi, his second wife, Lena,22 and his children Pearl, 18, James, 12, and Della, 3 months. Also living in the household were his niece Barbara, 15, his nephew Ephram, 20, and a hired man, Jackson Bosey, 17.
The Caddo Herald
August 30, 1912
Son Kills Father
A most deplorable tragedy occurred Friday morning at the home of Jas. Lauderdale, near Wade, when his son, Pearl, was forced to kill his father to protect his family from the man’s wrath.
The facts in the case are given out as follows: Jas. Lauderdale came home Saturday night in rather a high state of intoxication and with his pistol ran the entire family from the home. He threatened to kill anyone who did not obey his slightest wish, and kept the whole family in a frightened state until they were able to make their escape. After everyone had left the house Lauderdale went off himself and was not seen any more that night. The family returned to the house and did not think of any more trouble as it was thought that he had had time to become sober, but it seems that about noon yesterday he came back to the home and drawing his pistol threatened to kill everyone present. He was still intoxicated. When he started toward his son with this pistol and threatened to kill him, the son grabbed a shot gun and fired point blank at his father, the charge entering the breast. He died in a very short time.
From the reports that have been received in this city the son was justified in the killing of his father. It is said that when he was drinking he was of a quarrelsome disposition and that the son was well aware of the fact and only shot his father when he realized there was no other way out of the difficulty.