Sarah Jane Ward Said To Have Murdered Sallie Simpson While She Slept. [1902]-

Prisoner brought to Atlanta last Night.


When Deputy Sheriff H. B. Henderson, of Banks county, Georgia, walked into police barracks at 12 o’clock accompanied with a handsome woman and said to the station sergeant, “I wish you would hold this prisoner for murder.” the attaches at the station thought at first the man was joking.


The alleged murderess was Sarah Jane Ward, aged 23, a fair-haired, blue-eyed girl with a bright, rosy complexion. This gentle maiden was charged with committing a most foul murder. She is said to have crept into a room where another young woman was asleep and with a pistol blew out her brains. She smiles and denies the charge. After the murder she disappeared and was caught at Louisville, Arkansas.


Her husband, Charles Ward, is serving a sentence in the penitentiary and she says he was convicted of trying to cut a out a child’s tongue.


The story as told at the barracks last night sent a thrill of horror through those who heard it and it was hard for them to believe that so young and so gentle looking a woman could have nerved herself to commit such a brutal deed as is charged against her.


Sarah Jane Ward is the daughter of James Hicks, of Gainesville. Last summer she and Miss Sallie Simpson quarreled. They both lived in Banks county, near the Gillsville postoffice. On the night of the 12th of last September, Sallie Simpson was murdered in her bed at night, the murderer or murderess having gone into her room while she slept and shot her in the head with a pistol. Witnesses said they had seen Sarah Jane Ward enter the house and afterwards leave it. The report of the pistol was heard about the time she was in the house. Before the officers had time to fully investigate the case Sarah Jane Ward disappeared. The grand jury investigated the murder and indicted her.


A letter written to Banks county by Mrs. Ward caused the officers to locate and her arrest occurred a few days ago.


While the prisoner appeared to be a quiet, well-mannered girl, there was a glitter about her eyes when she talked that gave evidence of temper. When questioned about the charge against her she said, “I did not kill Sallie Simpson. I don’t know who killed her. The reason I left home was because my friends advised me to do so. I can’t tell you how Sallie Simpson was killed. My husband is in the penitentiary for trying to cut a child’s tongue out. He has been there five years and was there when Sallie Simpson was killed. That is all I can tell you about it.”


The deputy sheriff says there is strong circumstantial evidence against the prisoner and he believes there will be no trouble about convicting her of the murder. The prisoner will be taken to Banks county this morning for trial. There is a $200 reward for her.


The Constitution, Atlanta, Ga. Issue date Thursday, February 20, 1902

Note: Sallie Simpson was killed at the home of her mother, Elizabeth Gibbs. Elizabeth Gibbs, Grover Gibbs and Jerry Hix [Hicks] were witnesses for the State against Sarah Jane Ward. The verdict of not guilty was found by the jury in March, 1902.


Transcribed 2005 by Jacqueline King

Copyright 2006 Vicky Chambers & Jacqueline King