Queens gone wild: the torrid affairs of reckless royals

Books of the Region

May 14, 2006|By HARRY MERRITT | HARRY MERRITT,SUN REPORTER

Sex With the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers and Passionate Politics

Eleanor Herman

Murder on Maryland's Eastern Shore: Race, Politics and the Case of Orphan Jones

Joseph E. Moore

The History Press / 256 pages / $24.99

Also from long ago, but something completely different, is former Worcester County prosecutor Joseph E. Moore's book about the Orphan Jones case, one of the most sensational crimes in Eastern Shore history.

One day in the fall of 1931, a farmer named Green Davis, his wife, Ivy, and their two young daughters were found shot to death on their farm in Taylorville, their house soaked with kerosene but not set ablaze.

Euel Lee, known as Orphan Jones, a black man who had done field work for Davis, was arrested. After hours of questioning, he confessed to the killings, saying that Davis had taken money from him.

Some Eastern Shore residents, eager for vengeance, wanted to seize Jones and hang him from the nearest tree. But their efforts were frustrated by a Baltimore lawyer named Bernard Ades. Ades, a Communist who belonged to a group active in racial justice issues, maintained that Jones had been bullied into confessing and could not get a fair trial on the Eastern Shore.

Jones eventually was convicted of first-degree murder and executed, but only after protracted legal wrangling, the lynchings of two other black men (in Salisbury and Princess Anne), and a lot of unfavorable national publicity.

Moore, a lawyer in Ocean City for 37 years, dug deep into court records and newspaper files (including The Sun's) to piece together a fascinating if somewhat lawyerly account of a remarkable case.

Harry Merritt, editor of The Sun's Modern Life section, is filling in for Carl Schoettler, who normally reviews books of Maryland interest and is currently on a health leave.

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