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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thriller Thursday - The Murder Of Starling Ricker

Thriller Thursday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers on Geneabloggers.com to help them post content on their sites. Are there murders, bizarre accidents or other thrilling stories among your family history? Tell us about them through words and pictures during Thriller Thursday.

Johann Peter Ricker (1751-1814) married Margaret Peggy ? (1749-1814). They had 11 children. One was my direct ancestor, John K. Ricker, Sr. (1799-1885). Another son was James Frederick Ricker (1785-1855), brother of John K. Ricker, Sr.

James Frederick Ricker married Elizabeth Hawk (1785-1835). They had 8 children, one of whom was Daniel Ricker (1851-1924).

Daniel Ricker married Nancy Rollins (1829-1862) and they had William Andrew Ricker (1850-Bef. 1900).

William Andrew Ricker married Mary A. Maggie Lamb. They had Nathaniel Asberry Ricker who married Margaret Maggie Waddle.

Starling William Ricker was born 1/6/1906 in Greene County, TN to Nathaniel Asberry Ricker (DOB 3/2/1873 in TN; DOD 7/23/1962 in ? ) and Margaret Maggie Waddle (DOB Abt 1868 in TN; DOD ? in ? ). He was their only child. Both parents were married to others, as well, so Starling had half brothers and half sisters. Maggie Waddle was first married to Marmaduke "Duke" Fulton Lamb and had Marion and Pearl Lamb. Berry Ricker married Necie Catherine Lamb and they had 11 children.

1910 U.S. Census of Civil District 8, Knox, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1508; Page: 36B; Enumeration District: 0119; FHL microfilm: 1375521, Family 680, Lines 84-88, "Berry Ricker"
Berry Ricker, Head, M(ale), W(hite), 34 yrs old (DOB 1876), 1st marriage, Married 3 yrs (DOM 1907), Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Laborer in R.R. Shops (Railroad Shops), Cannot read or write, Rented home
Maggie Ricker, Wife, F, W, 39 yrs old (DOB 1871), 2nd marriage, Married 3 yrs, 4 children with 3 still living, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Cannot read or write
Marion Lamb, Stepson, M, W, 17 yrs old (DOB 1893), Single, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Miner in coal field, Can read and write
Pearl Lamb, Stepdaughter, F, W, 13 yrs old (DOB 1897), Single, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Spinner in cotton mill, Can read and write, Attends school

1920 U.S. Census of Civil District 18, Greene County, Tennessee; Roll: T625_1741; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 87; Image: 1093, Family 175, Lines 58-62, "Berry Ricker"
Berry Ricker, Head, Rented farm, M(ale), W(hite), 43 yrs old (DOB 1877), Single (sic ?), Cannot read or write, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Farmer
Nesie Ricker (sic), Wife, F, W, 25 yrs old (DOB 1895), Single (sic, ?), Can read and write, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN
Starling Ricker, Son, M, W, 14 yrs old (DOB 1907), Single, Attends school, Can read and write, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN
Grady Ricker, Son, M, W, 4 yrs old (DOB 1916), Single, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN
Pearl Ricker, Daughter, F, W, 3 yrs old (DOB 1907), Single, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, 12/25/1923, Pg 3
Boy Topples Schoolhouse Over And Is Arrested
Greeneville, Tenn., Dec. 24 - Starling Ricker, 17 years old, was run down by bloodhounds and brought to Greeneville and lodged in jail, charged with prying props from under a schoolhouse in Greene County and causing the building to topple over.

Starling Ricker married Celia Mae Wills on 2/8/1928 in Cocke County, TN.

Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002
Name Starling Ricker
Gender Male
Marriage Date 8 Feb 1928
Marriage Place Cocke, Tennessee, USA
Spouse Celia Wills
Household Members
Starling Ricker
Celia Wills

Celia Mae Wills was born 7/14/1910 in Madison County, NC to Benjamin Franklin Wills and Barbara Catherine Church.

1930 U.S. Census of District 2, Greene County, Tennessee; Roll: 2249; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0004; Image: 82.0; FHL microfilm: 2341983, Family 2, Lines 6-7, "William W. Ricker" (sic, Starling William Ricker)
William W. Ricker, Head, Owns farm, M(ale), W(hite), 23 yrs old (DOB 1907), Married at age 21 yrs old (DOM 1905), Cannot read or write, Born in TN, Both parents born in TN, Farmer
Celia Ricker, Wife, F, W, 18 yrs old (DOB 1912), Married at age 16 yrs old, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC

Starling Ricker and Celia Wills had three children:

1) Ruby Pauline Ricker (DOB 12/22/1930 in TN; DOD 11/23/2000 in Henderson County, NC) married to Walter Franklin Parks

2) Roy Nathaniel Ricker (DOB Abt. 1938 in TN; DOD ? in ? ) married Sarah Nana Bales.

3) Wanda Marie Ricker (DOB 8/26/1940 in Hot Springs, Madison County, NC; DOD 10/20/2007 in ? ) married William M. Matthews.

Starling Ricker was murdered. Here are the newspaper articles that I could find. I don't know if they every convicted anyone for his murder. Thank you to Jean Freshour on Ancestry.com who shared this first newspaper article on Ancestry and attracted my interest.

Starling Ricker Is Dead On Paint Mountain
Body of Greene Countian Riddled With Bullets; Inquest Is Held
The body of Starling Ricker of the 18th district was found on Highway No. 70 one-half mile beyond Cevil Davis filling station at the foot of Paint Mountain early last night riddled with bullets fired from either a .38 or .44 revolver. The body was moved to the Kiser Funeral Home, where Mr. J.L. Woody, Greene County coroner, conducted an inquest. At a special meeting of the jury which met this morning in the coroner's office, six witnesses were examined. No information that would lead to the arrest of the guilty party or parties was secured according to Mr. Woody, and the jury adjourned until 4 this afternoon without giving their final verdict, awaiting further investigation.
"There is no question but he was killed and murdered, but so far there is nothing to indicate who did it," said Coroner Woody. The body was removed to town by Esq. L.O. Rollins.
Three bullets had entered the body two of which would have been fatal according to the County Healthy Physician R.S. Cowles, who examined the body. One bullet entered the left side of the throat at the jugular vein and ranged downward under the left shoulder. Another bullet penetrated the abdomen ranging downward through the back. He is survived by his wife and two small children. He was 32 years of age. The body was taken near Hot Springs, N.C., where burial will take place. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

I found a couple of additional newspaper articles.
Kingsport Times, Kingsport, TN, Pg 8, "Mountains Shield Believed Slayer"
Greeneville, TN, 12/28/1937 - A posse searched the mountains of Paint Rock section of Greene county near the North Carolina line today for the slayer of Starling Ricker, 40 year old farmer, whose body was found last night. Coroney (sic) J.L. Woody reported Ricker met "death from an unknown hand". He was shot with pistol, two bullets striking him in the abdomen and chest. Sheriff S.T. Styke said there were few clues but he expected to make an arrest later in the day. The body was found near highway 70, the sheriff said.

Kingsport Times, Kingsport, TN, Pg 4, "Two Men Held While Murder Case Studied"
Greeneville, 12/30/1937 - Sheriff Q.N. Styke said today he was holding two men in jail for investigation in connection with the slaying Monday of Starling Ricker, 40 year old farmer. Ricker's body was found on highway 70 in the Paint Creek section close to the North Carolina border. He had been shot in the abdomen and chest, the sheriff said. The sheriff was told that Ricker was seen quarreling with three men shortly before his body was found.

TN Death Certificate #29808, Registration District #43002, Registered #308, Starling Ricker, DOD 12/27/1937 in Greene County, NC
Male, White, Married to Celia Wills, DOB "exact unknown" in Greene County, TN, 32 yrs old (DOB 1905)
Occupation: Farmer
Father: Berry Ricker, born in TN
Mother: "Unknown"
Informant: Ed Cutshaw, Greeneville, TN
DOD 12/27/1937 at 7:30pm
Cause of death: Died from gun or pistol shots
Homicide on 12/27/1937 on Asheville Highway, manner of injury: pistol shot
Buried: 12/29/1937 in Hot Springs, Madison County, NC

Tennessee, Deaths and Burials Index, 1874-1955
Name Starling Ricker
Birth Date abt 1905
Age 32
Death Date 27 Dec 1937
Death Place Greene, Tennessee
Gender Male
FHL Film Number 944408

Starling W. Ricker
Birth: Jan. 6, 1906
Death: Dec. 27, 1937
Family links:
Ruby Pauline Ricker Parks (1930 - 2000)
Wanda Marie Ricker Matthews (1940 - 2007)
Burial: Antioch Cemetery, Hot Springs, Madison County, North Carolina, USA
Created by: Colleen Sanders Broyles
Record added: Apr 28, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 109669146

Celie Mae Wills Ricker remarried to William Hensley. Celia Hensley died 4/15/1987 in Henderson County, NC.

U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
Name Celia Hensley
SSN 415-**-****
Last Residence Hendersonville, 28739, Henderson, North Carolina, USA
Born 14 Jul 1910
Died Apr 1987
State (Year) SSN issued Tennessee - 1968

Celia Mae Wills Ricker Hensley
Birth: Jul. 14, 1910
Death: Apr. 15, 1987
Family links:
Ruby Pauline Ricker Parks (1930 - 2000)
Wanda Marie Ricker Matthews (1940 - 2007)
Burial: Antioch Cemetery, Hot Springs, Madison County, North Carolina, USA
Created by: North Carolina Roots
Record added: Mar 09, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106424076

If you have any further information or corrections, please contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

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