Horrible Tragedy - Webb/Choice

We deeply regret to announce to our readers that on Friday last, in Atlanta, Mr. William A. Choice, deliberately shot a Mr. Calvin Webb in the street near to the Atlanta Hotel and Trout House, killing him almost instantly.  Intense excitement prevailed amount the citizens because of the occurrence and but for extraordinary exertions on the part of some of the most influential citizens of that place, another horrible tragedy would have been enacted in the execution of Lynch Law upon the unhappy young man whose ungovernable temper caused the bloody deed.  We rejoice that the friends of law and order succeeded in preventing the contemplated deed, referred to in the following paragraphs, from the Intelligencer of that city.

Our usually peaceful city was wrought up to a state of intense excitement, on yesterday by the murder of Calvin Webb, by Wm. A. Choice.  The facts are briefly as follows:  On Thursday evening, Choice was arrested by Webb, who was a Bailiff of the city, on a bail process for ten dollars.  Choice gave security, and there it was supposed the matter ended.  But it seems that Choice bore malice in his heart, and met Webb near the Trout House, on yesterday (Friday) and shot at him twice, the last shot taking effect, and Webb died in a few minutes.

The deceased was a respectable and peaceful citizen and has left a dependent family consisting of a wife, and several children.  Choice was a citizen of Rome having formerly resided in this city, and was on the eve of removing to New York.  The most intense excitement prevails in our city.  A meeting of the citizens was held yesterday evening at the City Hall, which was largely attended and addressed by Col. Calhoun, Judge Ezzard, Mr. George Daniel.  Mayor Glenn, and Judge Baker in favor of law and order.  But the cry was, "hang him! Hang him" The meeting adjourned to 10 o'clock this morning.  The crowd generally were in favor of summary punishment, but we hope a night's sleep and mature reflection will incline them to milder counsels.

It is due to our fellow citizens, Mr. Fitch, to say that he was most active and efficient in arresting the perpetrator of the foul deed.  Mr. Choice is now in custody and awaits the decision of the proper judicial tribunals of the county.

We learn also that Mr. Choice has been committed for trial and that he has been sent to Milledgeville for safe keeping.  A friend advises us that he met him in Macon in custody of the officers of the law, on his way to prison, and that he was dejected and penitent in the extreme.  "Sir." Said he, "you never thought to see me in this condition, and I now I never thought I would come to it - Oh! It will kill my poor mother."  Alas! For poor human nature!  We knew this young man well.   Well educated, of respectable family and connections, generous, talented, but reckless withal, he was in a mistaken serve of wounded honor, rashly, aye, madly perpetrated an act that not only brings sorrow home to his family and friends, but despair upon his unfortunate victim's widow and her children!  Young men, take warning!  True chivalry seeks not life in the streets of our cities, nor does any written code of law or of mortals, justify a resort to the bowie knife or pistol for real much les do they for supposed injuries.  Bridle well your passions; be obedient to the law; else the 'evil day'" will surely come, and that soon.

Empire State - Spalding County - Week of June 6, 1859

Submitted by Don Bankston.