Sunday, January 18, 2015

Black Sheep Sunday: Charles Frederick Hisey

Today I was looking at a newspaper site for information on a distant Hisey cousin, when I ran into a newspaper account from a newspaper in Moberly, Missouri, of a "Fred Hisey" being arrested in Washington, DC, for murdering Virginia Lyttle, described as a "roomer in his house."

This of course piqued my interest. I love a good scandal.

(As far as I can see, there is no connection between Fred Hisey and Moberley Missouri--so basically this story got distributed by something like AP and picked up by newspapers all over the country.)

Further searching led me to two articles in the Shenandoah Free Press. The first one, from August 22, 1935, read as follows:

"Charles Fred Hisey, 52 year old linotype operator, of Washington, who was arrested charged with the murder of his sister-in-law, Miss Vergie Lyttle and wounding officer Robert T. Talbert of the Washington Police force, was employed as a linotypist in Woodstock in 1925. It was further pointed out that he was born in Edinburg and was the son of the late Homer Hisey. He has a brother, Russell Hisey, employed as a barber in the city of Harrisonburg. According to a Washington newspaper story, Hisey killed his kin following a dispute over a personal loan of $200."

The 2nd article was from April 2, 1936:

"On last Friday Charles F. Hisey, native of Edinburg and former employee of the Herald printing office at Woodstock, was sentenced to life imprisonment in District of Columbia Court following a charge of killing Miss Vergie R. Lyttle last August. The prosecution charged that Hisey had killed the young department store clerk on account of jealousy because of attentions paid by other men. The defense contended that Hisey, age 52, married and with a family, had threatened to commit suicide in the presence of the ultimate victim and that in her effort to prevent the rash act, Miss Lyttle was mortally wounded by the bullet fired in the struggle from the pistol held by Hisey."

Charles Frederick Hisey's Early Life

Charles Frederick Hisey was born to Joseph Homer Hisey and Phoebe Scothern Hisey on December 5, 1882.

When he was 18, he enlisted in the army, and remained in the army for a total of 10 years, until August 1911. He lived on army bases in Virginia and New York.

The next record I could find of Charles or Frederick was his marriage to Grace Christian, in Richmond Virginia, in March of 1916. This record is confirmed because it lists his parents, Joseph and Phoebe, although it lists his middle initial as T. rather than F. Sadly, Grace passed away on September 29, 1916 and is buried in Union Forge Cemetery in Edinburg, Virginia.

His next location was in St. Louis, Missouri. He registered for the draft for WWI in Sept. of 1917 or 1918. He lists his father in Edinburg, Virginia, as his contact person.

I could not find a listing for Charles or Fred Hisey in the 1920 census. The article quotes above say that he worked for a printer in Woodstock in 1925.

In 1930 he appears in a Washington, D.C. census, married to Eunice Reynolds, no children.

After the Murder

Charles Frederick Hisey was incarcerated at the D.C. Reformatory Prison, where he appears on the 1940 census. That prison was actually located in Fairfax County, Virginia.

It is unknown whether he died in prison, or was paroled before his death, but he died in 1952, only 16 years after his sentencing.

His wife Eunice died in 1981 and they are buried under a united headstone in the Old Edinburg Cemetery, Edinburg, Virginia.

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