Book Review: Blackmail & Murder In a Small Town
September 20, 2011
Maryville, Missouri, 1899: what was going on in this small town in northwest Missouri? Intrigued by a gap in a diary left to her by her great-aunt, author Linda Ellis Benedetti set out to find the story of Caleb Guthrie (C. G.) Jesse, the great-grandfather that nobody talked about. Using old records and newspaper accounts, the author pieced together a tale of a family man driven not only to commit murder, but to do so in broad daylight on a Saturday morning in downtown Maryville.
In Blackmail & Murder in a Small Town, the story of C. G. Jesse is traced from the time he came to Missouri as a young man in 1874 until the fateful events in 1899. The murder victim, newspaper owner and editor Frank Griffin, was not highly regarded by all in Maryville. Along with his alleged persecution of C. G. Jesse, Griffin was suspected of blackmailing others in town, setting the stage for not just one, but two interesting trials. Photographs of the family provide perfect illustrations for this story, and Benedetti credits the staff of the Midwest Genealogy Center for help in her research.
Midwest Genealogy Center