A series that honors history

Published 7:42 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

Who killed Grac Jones?

For all the interest in the question around Suffolk lately, one would think the question was one of recent vintage, not one that’s been festering for more than 100 years.

But such is the power of history well told that the question of who killed Tiberius “Grac” Jones on the evening of Oct. 26, 1908, in the village of Holland has captivated readers of the Suffolk News-Herald since July 25, when we announced the historical series that addresses the question.


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Grac Jones was shot five times at the gate to his house on an unseasonably warm fall night, and on his deathbed, he suggested his shooting had been connected to the controversy over disbursement of the unexpectedly large estate of a man whose will had mysteriously disappeared following his death earlier that year.

Including the introduction to the series, there will have been 19 installments by the time Suffolk historian and retired businessman Kermit Hobbs Jr. is done telling the story.

Since starting the daily series, we have been flooded with phone calls, letters, emails and website comments asking for us to provide extra copies of various editions (we’re all out of papers from one or two days), to put folks in touch with the author, to organize the articles on our website so they can be found more easily (we’re working on it) and to compile the articles into a book.

Considering the popularity of the series Hobbs wrote for this newspaper marking the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Suffolk, we should not have been surprised at the interest in this series.

Many people, unfortunately, remember history lessons as dull and boring, with long lists of dates and names to memorize and very little in the way of details to bring the names to life and imbue the dates with importance.

Hobbs’ treatment of the Grac Jones murder case has been the very antithesis of that kind of history. It has been full of life, full of intrigue and full of well-researched and interesting details that make the reader feel he or she is familiar with the characters involved.

We’re especially proud to be able to run the series in our newspaper, as doing so gives us a tangible link to the history of our craft, to the days when serialized features were regularly seen in printed newspapers, and when readers wouldn’t miss an edition for fear of losing the account. Today’s readers can catch up online (www.suffolknewsherald.com) if they miss a day or two, but we’ve still sensed a feeling of urgency among some readers to have the daily printed edition of the paper in their hands.

Thanks to Kermit Hobbs for his excellent research, for his engaging historical account and for his patience in watching the project unfold. And thanks to our readers for their interest. Feel free to share your thoughts about the series and about the mystery by email at news@suffolknewsherald.com.