Fannie McCue

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Fannie McCue
McCue, Fannie Crawford, c. 1900.JPG
Mrs. Fannie Crawford McCue
(1904 publication)

Biographical Information

Date of birth Francis McNutt Crawford
June 1, 1859
Augusta County, Virginia
Date of death September 4, 1904; (aged 45)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Place of death 601 Park Street
(North Downtown)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Spouse J. Samuel McCue (m. 1886)
Children James William "Willie" McCue
Samuel Overton McCue
Ruby Grigsby McCue
Harry Moon McCue
Residence 601 Park Street (1904)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Religion Presbyterian church

Francis McNutt "Fannie" McCue (June 1, 1859 – September 4, 1904; age 45), was the wife of a successful attorney and ex-mayor Sam McCue. Married in 1886, Sam and Fannie became wealthy and influential Charlottesville residents, and parents of four children, three boys and a girl. Her entire married life was spent in Charlottesville, where she was recognized as a woman of fine character. The family home on Park street, was one of the most attractive residences in this city.

On the evening of Sunday, September 4, 1904, Fannie was strangled, clubbed, shot, and drowned in the upstairs bathroom of the family’s posh Park Street home. Fannie was found dead in the bathtub of her family's in fashionable residence —in an era of horse and buggy, when less than 14% of homes in the United States had a bathtub. Based on circumstantial evidence, her husband was later arrested, tried and hanged for the murder. Her death and husband's murder trial received widespread publicity throughout the United States —they remain a topic in Charlottesville's popular culture to the present day.

Like Lizzie Borden’s trial 12 years earlier, and the trial of Alex Murdaugh 119 year later; the Trial of J. Samuel McCue in 1904 centered on acts of shocking violence by the hands of a family member and received almost daily coverage in newspapers throughout the United States.

Early life

Francis McNutt Crawford was born on June 1, 1859, in the Mount Sidney area of Augusta County, the oldest of Dr. William McClung Crawford and Rachel Grigsby McChesney's nine children. Fannie's grandfather, Capt. James McChesney (1795–1842), served in the War of 1812 in McDowell's Virginia Militia; he was murdered by a "lunatic and blacksmith" named "Reed".[citation needed] During the Civil War, three of her uncles, Alexander Gallatin, Robert and James Zechariah McChesney served together in Company H, 14th Virginia Cavalry, then called the Rockbridge Dragoon. While operating as a scout, (CSA) Lieutenant Robert McChesney (aged 28) was killed in a battle near Rowlesburg, West Virginia on June 29, 1861 - 45 days after his enlistment.

Fannie married James Samuel "Sam" McCue on November 4, 1886. They became wealthy and influential Charlottesville residents, and parents of four children: James William "Willie," Samuel Overton, Ruby Grigsby and Harry Moon.

The funeral and burial

The funeral of Mrs. McCue took place from the Presbyterian church of Charlottesville at 1 o’clock on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 6, 1904 and the “sacred edifice was filled with a throng which packed the building to its doors.” The service was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Petrie, the pastor of the deceased, and the following acted as pall-bearers: Daniel Harmon, George Perkins, Judge J. M. White, James B. Wood, T. J. Williams, Captain Micajah Woods, George Mason and Charles H. Moore. [1]

Fannie was buried at Riverview Cemetery on September 6, 1904. The next day, her husband Sam was arrested for her murder.

In 1908, Sam McCue was exhumed from the McCue family burial grounds (near Brooksville, in the western end of Albemarle County) and re-interred in Riverview Cemetery alongside that of his wife, Fannie McCue.[2]

Murder trial and appeals

See main article: Murder trial of J. Samuel McCue

Fannie's husband, 43-year-old Sam McCue, publicly claiming his innocence. He purchased an ad in the Daily Progress, offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer. Officially no other suspect has ever been identified Fannie's murder.

The McCue Murder Trial in 1904, sparked one of the most involving murder trials in the City’s history as chronicled almost daily in the local newspaper, The Daily Progress. A subsequent publication, “The McCue murder: complete story of the crime and the famous trial of the ex-mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia” was published by reporters James H. Lindsay and John S. Patton shortly after the case reached its conclusion in 1905. The original trial records, including a diagram of the murder scene, were available in the records room of the Charlottesville Circuit Court until renovations in 2020.

The case received newspaper coverage throughout the United States, including an article in the New York Times with the heading: "CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Feb. 10. -- J. Samuel McCue, formerly Mayor of this city, was hanged in the county jail here at 7:34 o'clock this morning for the murder of his wife on Sunday, Sept. 4, 1904."

The lengthy trial and appeal impacted many in the city of almost 6,500. The murder has remained a topic in Charlottesville’s popular culture.

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  2. Web. BODY OF J. SAMUEL M’CUE RESTS BY THE SIDE OF HIS WIFE, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, January 1, 1908, retrieved December 3, 2022.

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