The City of Jefferson Sharing Details About the Story of Diamond Bessie
I'm one of those people that has to see it to believe it, or I want to have proof about something before I truly believe. But when the city of Jefferson decided to share details about the story of Diamond Bessie Moore, I became a believer in this incredible strange and spooky story. Here is the unusual and mesmerizing story of Diamond Bessie Moore.
The story is about a murder that turned into the trial of the century, the craziness began on Friday, January 19th 1877. There was a couple that stepped off the train in Jefferson and caught a lot of attention because of how well dressed they were before checking into the Brooks House Hotel on Vail street. Over the next few days the couple was seen all over eating, drinking, and having a good time. Saturday night others at the hotel said they heard the couple fighting.
On Sunday, January 21st they bought a picnic basket, they were seen going across a bridge together, hours later the man returned alone. Later at their hotel the man was asked about his wife, he said she was having dinner at a local restaurant. Later he changed his story saying she stayed across the river with friends.
The Huge Question is What Happened to Diamond Bessie?
The man left town with his luggage, his wife's luggage, and some of the jewelry she was seen wearing when they got off the train upon arrival in Jefferson. Then on Wednesday, February 5th, 1877 on a cold day a woman named Sarah Keen was picking up fire wood and found the dead body of a woman. She reported it to authorities where they decided her cause of death was a gunshot wound. There was items from a picnic found nearby. The town collected $150 to bury the woman, and a manhunt began for the husband (A. Monroe). He was eventually found and stood trial for the death of his wife who was found to be a prostitute.
What Happened at the Trial of Diamond Bessie
The husband hired a great lawyer, and after a change of location, the trial began in Marshall on December 17, 1878. A week later the man was found guilty, with a mandatory death sentence. The verdict was appealed and overturned on two technicalities. There was another trial, and he was then found not guilty of the crime. There were rumors of bribery and jury tampering.
In the 1890's, there was a man that returned to her gravesite and prayed there. He then gave the gravedigger $10, some say it was the husband paying his final respects. Years later there was a headstone that appeared in 1933, but the date of death was wrong. Eight years later there was a local man who admitted to creating the headstone because it wasn't right that she had an unmarked grave. To this day there are always roses on Diamond Bessie's grave.
In 1955, there was a play that was created based on this story which gets reenacted each year in Jefferson during their May Historic Pilgrimage. You can learn more about the whole story by watching the video below: