By Georgia Charles
Murder is traumatic and affects the lives of every family member, manifesting feelings of loss, sorrow, grief, anger, and gradual acceptance of the event. “Murder in the Mountains: The Justus and Meadows Family Massacre” is the true story of the murders of a mother, daughter, son-in-law, and three small grandsons. Even though the murders occurred over 100 years ago, the event still evokes an emotional response today, especially from the ancestors of Elizabeth Baker Justus (known in the community as Aunt Betty).
Aunt Betty was a midwife and widow living in the small, rural community of Hurley in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Her youngest daughter, Lydia, Lydia’s husband, George, and their three children lived in the home with Aunt Betty. They lived a quiet and simple life until one fall evening when murder entered the small log cabin and forever altered the lives of an entire family and community. The motive for this unspeakable tragedy is as old as time – money. Aunt Betty sold a large tract of timberland to the W. M. Ritter Lumber Company, a thriving business in the community.
The person convicted of these murders was the Purchasing Agent for this company. Providing factual documentation, as well as the family history handed down through the generations, Georgia Charles presents the gripping and compelling story, detailing the tragic events that led to the murder of her ancestors. “Murder in the Mountains: The Justus and Meadows Family Massacre” is a thrilling page-turner readers will not discard until finished.