Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thriller Thursday: Sid Lampp and Clinton Powell

Sidney (Sid) Lampp was my father's first cousin.  His mother, Tabitha Tapley Lampp, and my father's father, Lusian Keman Tapley, were siblings.  There was a story that my father told about Sid... I heard it my entire life.  Now my cousin, Wesley, Jr., has told me a story, too.  It is similar.  I don't know if we will ever know the entire truth.  However, since when I visited Johnson County recently, I crossed a landmark that plays a big role in the story, I thought I would record the legend here. 

In 1920, Sid is 18 years old and living at home with his parents as indicated in the U.S. Census:

Click on image for a larger view

 In 1930, Sid is listed on the U.S. Census as a convict:

Click on image for a larger view
 So what on earth happened in between?  Well, this is a meshing of the stories I've been told:

 Sidney was dating or was engaged to Mamie Lou Josey.  He took Mamie, his nephew, Don, and his niece, Carolyn, to the fair.  While there, Clinton Powell, a local boy/man, either said something improper about Mamie or he made a pass at her.  Sidney took Mamie and the children home, went back to the bridge between his house (and evidently Clinton's house) and Kite, hid his buggy off the side of the road, and waited.  When Clinton came by on his way home from the fair, Sid stepped out of the trees and shot and killed him.  My father said that Sid served 8 years on the chain gang.  (Presumably he got such a light sentence because his uncle, Jim Tapley, was a sheriff's deputy in Johnson County.)  Sid and Mamie Lou did eventually get married.

Now how much of that story can I verify?  Well, we can see that Sid was on the chain gang in Washington County in 1930.  So he obviously committed a crime.  I have not obtained a copy of Sid and Mamie Lou's marriage record, so I do not know what date they actually wed.  I did, however, acquire a copy of Clinton Powell's death certificate which shows he was "Shot to Death" and died on September 8, 1926. 

However, if this is the date that Sid killed Clinton, then there is no way that he took his nephew and niece to the fair then.  Don was not born until 1931 and Carolyn was born in 1927. 

I also have been unable to locate any newspaper article about the incident.  That is not entirely unheard of for that era - I have tried to research another accidental shooting that occurred around this time, and there were no newspaper articles about it either.  

So what is the true story?  Will we ever know?  I doubt it.  But I will keep looking.  You never know when that one piece of key information will emerge. 

And here, circa 2012, is the bridge over the Little Ohoopee where it all allegedly went down:

(Also, I'm fairly certain that Clinton Powell was related to the Tapleys somehow, if only by marriage.  Thus far, I have been unable to find the link.)

No comments:

Post a Comment