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"Yellow Gal" Murder - Harbor PA

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In 1920 a group of laborers, mostly poor African-Americans, were working on improving the New Bedford Road west of New Castle. They lived in makeshift camps and moved their quarters as the work progressed along the road. On May 31, 1920, as the workers were bivouacked in tents and cabins on the Patton farm near Harbor, a dispute led to a sensational murder case. 24-year-old laborer William West of Norfolk, Virginia, upon returning to his cabin, found his wife Eva and young baby (shown above) lounging about with another young laborer named George Spradley. Apparently there were rumors in camp that Spradley was the actual biological father of the baby. A dispute arose and Spradley, nicknamed “Yellow Gal,” quickly left. West grabbed his loaded revolver and followed in pursuit. A scuffle ensued and Spradley apparently disarmed and shot West with his own revolver. West fell dead. Spradley fled into hiding and was arrested by detectives a few days later. Yellow Gal was put on trial for murder in New Castle, but was acquitted in late June 1920 on the grounds of self-defense. (1920) Full Size

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