Home Lifestyle DAR Members Hear Piece of Rockingham History from John Hutchinson

DAR Members Hear Piece of Rockingham History from John Hutchinson

John Hutchinson at DAR Meeting
Photo by Amy Guinn

ROCKINGHAM – Murder, intrigue and defending a woman’s honor, all brought to us by John Hutchinson, well known in Richmond County for his historical knowledge of the area. 

The General Henry William Harrington DAR Chapter met at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 2nd at the First Methodist Church in Rockingham. 

Established in 1981, this Chapter’s officers for 2018 are:  Regent Mary Bowles; Vice Regent Frances Thomas; Registrar Linda Pryce; and Chaplain Nancy Robbins.  

The meeting started with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the American’s Creed. 

May’s program, presented by John Hutchinson, will undoubtedly be a familiar one for those of you who have lived in Richmond County for a number of years: The Cole Murder.  A synopsis of the story is that a local successful businessman, W.B. Cole, had a daughter named Elizabeth.  Elizabeth dated a man named Bill Ormond.  Bill developed a reputation for being irresponsible, especially when it came to keeping a job.  W.B.  Cole decided Elizabeth should not continue to date Bill and told her so.  She allegedly discontinued their relationship.  

Out of the blue, W.B. Cole received a letter from Bill stating in no uncertain terms that Elizabeth and Bill had been engaging in “marital relations” for over a year and that they should be allowed to marry.  Bill even went on to say no other man would have Elizabeth if she didn’t marry him because of her compromised state.  This letter enraged W.B. Cole as one can imagine and he sought Elizabeth out to confront her about the information in the letter.  She vehemently denied that she and Bill had had such a relationship and her father believed her.  


On August 15, 1925, Bill was on his way to Myrtle Beach via Rockingham.  He parked his car in front of the office of W.B. Cole.  Mr. Cole saw him out in the car, picked up his pistol, went outside, and shot Bill three times.  Bill did not die immediately, but did succumb to his injuries a short time later.  A sensational trial followed with very well-known and well respected attorneys on both sides of the case.  W.B. Cole was found not guilty of murder in the criminal trial. 

Fascinating history, right here in Richmond County.  

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is “a lineage-based membership service organization for women who are directly descended from a person involved in the United States’ efforts towards independence.  A non-profit group, they work to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism.”  

Upcoming DAR events:  May 3rd, JROTC Awards ceremony at Richmond Senior. 

May 26th, County Memorial Day at Veterans Park in Rockingham to present a DAR wreath.

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