To Sell a live Babe. Negro on His way to Medical College with It, when He Was Intercepted by a kind old Negress – Story of a Horrible Nature Reported
Tuesday evening one of the most horrible crimes was attempted in this city that is of record. Cold blood murder nothing less, is thought to have been the object an [sic] the only cause was the paltry sum of twelve dollars. What can be more horrifying than the wilful [sic] smothering to death a little child.
Tuesday as the story was obtained a man called at the Tennessee Medical College and told the authorities that he had a dead child which he was not able to bury and asked what would be paid for it to be used in the dissecting rooms. He was told that for children they were accustomed to pay from ten to twelve dollars and he finally agreed to deliver to them a child for the sum of twelve dollars. The most horrifying part of the transaction is that the child was not dead but was only weak from sickness.
The child was about a year old but was not a child of the man who had offered it for sale, but was the little son of his sister who lived near him. The fact that the child was not dead was well known to him but it is thought his intention was to smother the child in carrying it from its home to the medical college. He accordingly stuffed the body in a sack and swung it over his shoulder and started to the medical college with it. On his way he was accosted by an old negro woman who was suspicious of his having stolen something and asked him what he had in his sack, but the negro only answered:
“O, nuthin,” and attempted to pass but she was not to be trifled with in this way, and knowing him very well she demanded that he tell her what he had in the sack. At the same time she noticed the sack moving and heard a muffled sound. This the man knew had given him away, and he emptied the sack on the ground and there was the naked child of his sister. He tried to make the old woman believed [sic] that he thought the child dead and was only ding [sic] an act of charity for his sister. A reporter vivited [sic] that part of the town yesterday visited that part of the town yesterday [duplicated] and tried to find out the name of the parties but received conflicting statements as to who the man was.
The old woman took the child to her home and it was soon all right. The man, however, who had the child has not been seen since the discovery.
It is expected that the matter will be ferreted out in a few days and the guilty party brought to account. It is also rumored that there were others connected and that it was a concocted plan to get rid of the child.
Source: Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, February 28, 1896, page 8