James Hugh Moss
Jim Moss was a former Negro league player with the Chicago Giants. He was said to be a extremely tall.
He could be the one identified as just “Moss” in James A. Riley’s The Biographical Encyclopedia of Negro Baseball Leagues – pitcher (without a decision) for the Chicago American Giants in 1918.
On August 5, 1927, 21-year-old Clifford Thompson (Caucasion), his 22-year-old wife Eula (Caucasion) and James Hugh Moss (African American) left their hometown near Etowah, Tennessee. They were transporting whisky.
In the evening they ran out of gas near a store belonging to Coleman Osborne in Chatsworth, Georgia. Thompson and Moss went to the store but it was after hours. Osborne was called to the store from his bedroom and arrived to help the two.
Soon after Osborne arrived, shots were heard. Osborne was killed. Thompson and Moss returned to the car and the trio fled back to Tennessee. They were arrested several days later and convicted of first degree murder.
On August 3, 1928, Thompson and Moss were executed by electrocution at Georgia State Prison in Milledgeville. Mrs. Thompson’s was to be executed as well; however, Georgia Governor L.G. Hardman later commuted it to a life sentence.
At execution, Moss was said to be chanting a prayer. The case was later studied of as a possible miscarriage of justice:
Miscarriages of Justice in Potentially Capital Cases
Hugo Adam Bedau, Michael L. Radelet
Stanford Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Nov., 1987), pp. 21-179
The most famous store at Center Hill was Coleman Osborn’s. Located just east of the present church on the left, the store received statewide attention in 1927 when Mr. Osbom was murdered there. The three suspects-Cliff Thompson, Jim Hugh Moss, and Eula Thompson were found guilty in a speedy trial at Chatsworth and sentenced to the electric chair. The men were executed, but Eula Thompson’s sentence was changed to imprisonment. She was later released.
From The Atlanta Constitution, August 28, 1928:
EULA THOMPSON TELLS NEW STORY
Latest “Confession” Says Negro, Executed With Husband,
Alone Killed Storekeeper.
Making still another “confession,” in which she alleges that Jim Hugh Moss, a “negro who talked like a white man,” was the slayer of Coleman Osborne, Eula Mae Thompson, in Fulton Tower under death sentence in connection with the murder, declared that she and her husband, Clifford Thompson, who already has been executed on the same charge, were innocent. Moss also was put to death.
This latest “confession” by the Thompson woman is totally at variance with one made a few hours prior to the execution of her husband and the negro Moss. It makes no mention of a prominent citizen of Murray county who, in the first “confession,” was said by the woman to have plotted the killing of Osborne to cover up an illicit relationship which, she said, existed between her and this man.
She mentioned only herself, her husband and the negro in the new “confession,” and declared that she and Thompson were waiting several yards away while Moss went to Osborne’s house for some gasoline.
Sounds of Argument.
She said that she and her husband heard sounds of argument between the two, and then heard two shots, followed by “about five more shots.” Moss then came running back to them and told them Osborne had refused to give him change, and had shot at him twice, whereupon he (moss) shot at Osborne, the confession sets out.
In a previous “confession,” made on the eve of her husband’s execution, the Thompson woman implicated herself and another man and vehemently declared that her husband and the negro were innocent. She failed to save her husband and the negro from their sentence by this confession.
The text of her latest “confession” follows:
“In person before me came Eula Mae Thompson, who after having been duly sworn, deposes and says:
“I, Eula Mae Thompson, do swear that on Wednesday night before Coleman Osborne was killed on Friday, Cliff Thompson and myself bought 100 gallons of whisky about two or three miles below Coleman Osborne’s house, and we could not carry the 100 gallons together with, the three of us, (we had Jim Hugh Moss hired to help us haul whisky), and we decided to hide 50 gallons and go on with 50, and we hid 50 gallons below Coleman Osborne’s, near Berry Bennett’s and went on to Etowah, Tenn., that night. We did not stop at Coleman Osborne’s and ask for gas or anything else, we did not stop at all on Wednesday night; on Friday night we went back down in Georgia after the 50 gallons of whisky we had hid, and my father had an apple orchard close to Mont Howell’s and Cliff Thompson and myself went out in the orchard hunting fruit and left Jim Hugh Moss in the car. When we returned he said he had been over to that house, pointing to Mont Howell’s house, to get something to eat. We did not intend to rob Mont Howell or anyone else, and Cliff Thompson and myself did not know about Jim Hugh Moss going to Mont Howell’s. Jim Hugh Moss was about two-thirds drunk and he uses English like a white man without the slightest negro dialect.
Jim Hugh Moss robbed those boys of their guitars at the railroad crossing, and we tried to get him not to do it, but we could not do anything with him. We then went on after our shisky, and loaded it at the place where we had it hid, and while we were there we looked at our supply of gas and it was real low, and I told them that Coleman Osborne sold gas a short distance up the road, and we could get some up there. Then we decided if we stopped in the road at Coleman Osborne’s house he would see the car loaded with whisky and, too, he would recognize me. So we all decided to drive on past his house to the schoolhouse and let Jim Hugh Moss go back after the gas, and Cliff Thompson and myself waiting in the car for him to go after the gas, and it was Jim Hugh Moss, a negro who talks like a white man, who called at Osborne’s house and got Mr. Osborne up for the gas. We could hear them talking and we heard two shots and then about five shots in rapid succession, and Jim Hugh Moss came running up the road to our car, saying the man tried to keep his change, and when told about it by him, tried to kill him, and that after Osborne had shot at him twice he shot five times at Osborne, and he thinks he killed him. We went on up the road and stopped at Ocoee, Tenn., and got some gas for the car. We did not go there to rob Coleman Osborne and did not rob him or anyone else. Jim Hugh Moss was drunk and showing off, and robbed those boys of their guitars, and could not help it.
“We talked a whole lot about going ahead and telling the truth about these matter. Jim Hugh Moss would not consent to this and we just did not know what to do, but Cliff Thompson and myself certainly were not guilty, and did not have anything to do with it, and I hope this will straighten out the whole affair.
“Mr. A. S. Johnson, my recently acquired attorney, has persuaded me to tell the whole truth.
“EULA MAE THOMPSON”
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this the 27th day of August, 1928. LUCY McMANUS, N. P., State of Georgia at Large.
The day before her husband’s execution she made up another story whereby she and another man had killed Osborne – supposedly clearing her husband and Moss.