Home » A Wasted Life » A Relative Named Frankie?

A Relative Named Frankie?

My FIL was really into the “ancestry” thing and worked on it quite a while before he died.  Loser then took up the cause.

Loser has spent hours and hours, researching his ancestors and he loved to talk about some sixty-ninth cousin, twenty-three times removed.  It was hard for me to sit there and listen to that bullshit about people I didn’t know and certainly didn’t care about but I did.

That’s what he would talk to his children about and I tried to get him to stop doing so much of it when he visited them.  He would sit there and talk about those people and never ask anything about how they were doing.  Daughter #2s’ husband mentioned that it bothered him.  I told Loser and his response was FUCK T**.
It insulted him.  He thought that everybody should be enthralled with his “kinfolk.”

My familys’ history is sparse to say the least.  I know my paternal grandfathers’ mama and daddys’ name but that’s as far back as it goes.  There’s just not much information but Loser was diligent in his search to find out anything he could.

He called me one day and was pretty excited about something he had found about my great-great-great something ( I think maybe a distant aunt.)  Her name was Frankie.

Apparently she was the first woman ever to be hung in the county.  She is quite a legend in my neck of the woods and there was even a movie made about her.

Frankie was apparently a beautiful woman and married an equally beautiful man, who was a womanizer.  He continuously and blatantly cheated on her and it was believed that he beat her.  They had a small child and Frankie was left alone most of the time.

He was constantly coming home late at night, drunk and smelling like other women.  One night, Frankie had enough.  She waited until he passed out on the floor and started chopping him up with a hatchet.
She cut off every body part, including his head.

She put a few parts into the fireplace and burned them.  She buried the other parts out in the yard.

He just became a strange mystery when he “disappeared” after a hunting expedition but as misfortune would have it, a man came to clean the fireplace and noticed not only an oily residue, he noticed bones.

Frankie was charged with his murder.  There was some speculation that she had been helped by her mama and brother because Frankie only weighed ninety pounds and it would have been difficult for her to carry the parts.  Her mama and brother were charged but later released.

In those days, women were not allowed to testify in court.  She wasn’t able to defend herself so the adultery and beating defense was never introduced.
Many of the townsfolk lobbied for her acquittal but to no avail.  At one point, her family broke her out of jail and dressed her as a man.  They almost made it to Tennessee before they were caught and sent back.  Even after the jailbreak, the public still wanted her pardoned.

The presiding judge (who was from my hometown) had a reputation for being lenient.  He was elected Mayor and used Frankies’ case to hone his new image as “stern.”  Even though the outcries for a pardon persisted, he did not grant one.

Frankie was found guilty and hanged.  She was only eighteen years old.  She is buried in a cemetery but the stone marking her grave is almost impossible to find.

There are several different places where Frankies’ husband is buried because he was not buried all at once.  As they found parts of him over the years, they buried each piece and put up new markers.  Some reports say there are seven different sites.

The next to the last time I saw Loser, he brought me a big manila envelope.  He had printed out information about my family and seemed to be so proud of himself.  Most of it I already knew.
He took some of them out and started reading the information.  He printed everything he could find about Frankie and her unfortunate demise.
I returned the envelope to him on the day of the final decree hearing.  I just didn’t want anything from him.

I’m not sure what I think about the Frankie lineage.  All the evidence points to her being a distant relative.  The names make sense.  Geographically, it makes sense and if I am indeed a descendant…

where the Hell is that damn hatchet?



46 thoughts on “A Relative Named Frankie?

  1. What a fabulous blog entry Laurel, how about a pick axe , instead 😉 that is an interesting story, least that one was his usual drivel …..do you knowing what film was called, sounds Lizzie Borden like.
    Well, it is all about him, maybe use that story as reminder to him how even his kinfolk, got fed with the men’s abuse and took matters into their hands. That might quite him a bit …


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