Believe it or not, there’s an update about the 1903 murder of James Patterson – several, in fact! These updates don’t solve this case, mind you, but they certainly created an interesting new dimension. Here’s a link to the original post that describe the murder and the subsequent conviction of Charley Hall. Update #1 concerns the time just before the murder.

First, Charles Hall and James Patterson appear in the 1903 Columbia city directory, as does Robert Moorman, the magistrate who secured Annie Laurie’s agreement to testify at the trial (by threatening her with a $200 fine if she didn’t do it).

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March 25, 1911. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was nearly ready to end work for the day. The Triangle Waist Company factory occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of the 10-story Asch Building on the northwest corner of Greene Street and Washington Place, in Manhattan.

factory
The Asch building in 1911

 That afternoon, the atmosphere was placid: it was Saturday, a short workday of just seven hours, and spring was in the air. At 4:45 p.m., a shout of “Fire!” caused a ripple of excitement among the Triangle workers, and they hastily pushed their chairs back from the long wooden tables where they worked, and mechanically headed toward the Greene Street doors.

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The year was 1902; the place Columbia, South Carolina. Annie Laurie was fed up with a pesky suitor named Charley Hall. She didn’t care if it was Christmas Eve. She told him she didn’t want to see him anymore.
Charley didn’t take it so well. He flew into a rage, storming, swearing, and threatening to kill Annie Laurie. And yet, even this display of affection failed to move her at all, and Hall was shown the door.

Columbia
Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1903

For many weeks afterward, Hall talked incessantly of his love for Annie Laurie. He shadowed her day and night and his friends said he threatened to murder any man he saw with her. In February, Hall heard Annie Laurie had been seen with a man named James Patterson. He was wild with jealousy, and told everyone he would kill Patterson if he saw them together.

It isn’t known if Patterson and Laurie were actually an item, but on the evening of February 27, they walked into town together on an errand. They thought nothing of the footsteps following them but as they neared the corner of Laurel Street, Annie glanced backward and saw Charley Hall, just a few paces behind them.

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