Skip to main content

Dr. Minor W. Havis Accidentally Shot and Killed

Minor Havis was born 23 April 1829 in South Carolina.  He became a resident of Georgia as a young teenager.

mwhavis-csafileFrom his Confederate service record at Fold3:

"The records show that Minor W. Havis, 2d sergeant, Co. C, 1st (Ramsey's) Georgia Infantry, C.S.A., enlisted March 18, 1861.  He was mustered in as senior 1st lieutenant of Co. A, 14th Battalion Georgia Light Artillery* (Southern Rights Battery), C.S.A., April 26, 1862, and was paroled at Greensboro, N.C., on or about April 27, 1865."

*This Battalion subsequently became Capt. Havis' Battery, Georgia Light Artillery.

After the Civil War, M. W. Havis occupied himself as a physician and farmer in Perry, Houston County, Georgia.  Some time after 1875, he and his wife adopted a nephew, Minor W. Hall, as their son.  Toward the end of November in 1889, Dr. Havis was accidentally shot by a local merchant.  Though it was initially believed he would survive, Dr. Minor W. Havis died a few days after the incident, 27 November 1889.

100_0009Particulars of death and obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
28 November 1889, pg. 3

Death of Dr. Havis.

At about twelve o'clock Tuesday night, November 26th, Dr. M. W. Havis died at his residence in Perry, from the effects of a wound accidentally received last Friday morning.

The interment took place at Evergreen Cemetery yesterday afternoon.  Dr. Havis having been an honorary member of the Perry Rifles, and that command being honorary members of the 1st Ga. Reg. Veterans' Association, of which he was an active and esteemed member, he was buried with military honors.

Six ex-members of the Southern Rights Battery, of which company Dr. Havis was Captain, acted by request as pall-bearers.

At about 11 o'clock last Friday morning, Dr. M. W. Havis was accidentally shot while standing in the front door of Mr. Hugh Lawson's store, on Carroll street, in Perry.  A few moments previous to the accident, Dr. Havis examined a new 38 calibre, hammerless Smith & Wesson pistol belonging to Mr. Lawson.

There were no cartridges in the pistol chambers when it was being examined, but Mr. Lawson replaced them when the pistol was returned to him.  Dr. Havis turned toward the street, still standing in the door, and began talking to Postmaster McD. Felder.  Mr. Lawson stood about five feet from Dr. Havis, and began rubbing off the weapon, then suddenly an accidental revolving of the chambers discharged the pistol, and the bullet entered the person of Dr. Havis, about an inch to the left of the spine, passing through the bone near the hip bone.  Dr. Havis then started to walk home, but stopped at the post office.  There in a short while Drs. J. B. Smith, C. R. Mann, H. M. Holtzclaw, L. A. Felder, of Perry and Dr. Joseph Palmer, of Oak Lawn attended him.  The bullet was probed for, but not extracted, though ascertained to be in the abdomenal [sic] cavit[y].  Afterward, about an hour after the wound was received, he walked about 300 yards to his residence, accompanied by the physicians and several other friends.

At first the wound was recognized as a serious one, though a fatal result was not anticipated.  Dr. Havis contended that the bullet was in his bowels, but he was convinced to the contrary.

At home he was constantly attended by the physicians, with the utmost care and skill, and several of his closest friends were with him during each day.  At night two doctors were with him.

With the deepest solicitude the people asked often about his condition, and at no time, except possibly early Monday night, was death apprehended.  He slept well the latter part of that night, and at noon Tuesday it was believed, and Dr. Havis so expressed himself, that the crisis had passed and that he would recover.  Drs. Smith and Felder were with him Tuesday night, when at 11 o'clock a change occurred, at at 12 he was a corpse.

Dr. Havis was 60 years old last April, had been a resident of Perry about 50 years, and began the practice of medicine about 38 years ago.

He was a man of thorough education, exceptionally able in the knowledge and practice of his profession, and of very strong convictions.  Possessed of indomitable will, he was remarkably well preserved for a man of his age.  He was a man of strict integrity, with an exceeding high regard for justice.  Thoroughly honest in word and deed, he was charitable always, though sometimes apparently harsh.  No man we ever knew possessed the confidence and esteem of his friends in a higher degree, and all who knew him were his friends.

He was consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, a true Christian, a good man in the highest sense.  He leaves of his immediate family a heart-broken widow and a nephew, who is an adopted son.  His other relatives are five sisters and their families.

The profoundest sorrow prevails, for the community loses one of its best citizens, and our people a strong and steadfast friend.  The be reaved [sic] ones have the profoundest sympathy of all our people.

A good man has been called to his reward.

Previously Transcribed Biographical Sketch of Minor W. Havis, M.D.

Source: Georgia and Florida Biographies [database on-line].
Original Data from Biographical Souvenir of the States of Georgia and Florida,
Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and many
Early Settled Families in These States
. F. A. Battey & Company, 1889.
Transcribed by S. Lincecum about 2006.

Minor W. Havis, M.D., was born in Winnsboro, SC, April 23, 1829. His ancestors were of Welsh and English birth, came to America about the middle of the eighteenth century, and settled in South Carolina; both of his grandfathers figured conspicuously in the Revolutionary war. His father, Jesse D. Havis, was born in South Carolina, in 1798. About 1836 he removed to Chambers County, Ala, where he lived until 1843, when he removed to Perry, Houston County, Ga, where he died in 1876. His wife, Sophia C. (Winn) Havis, was born in Winnsboro, SC (the place named for her father, Maj. Winn), in 1806, and died in Perry, Ga, in 1849. Of the eight children born to Jesse D. and Sophia C. Havis, the subject of this sketch is the eldest. He was educated in both Alabama and Georgia and finished his education in Macon in 1846. He then took up the study of medicine with a view of entering the navy, but after graduating in medicine in 1851 from the Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, being an only son, his brother dying in 1850, and his father infirm, he abandoned this idea and commenced the practice of his profession in Perry, and continued the same until April, 1861, when he joined the Confederate army as sergeant in Company C, First Georgia regiment of volunteers and served with that command until 1862, when the regiment disbanded; soon afterwards he joined Palmer's artillery as first lieutenant, and in November, 1862, was promoted to be captain until the close of the war. He then returned to Perry and resumed the practice of his profession and has been constantly and lucratively engaged in the same every since. He has been a member of the State Medical Association since 1852 and is one of the leading practitioners in southwest Georgia. April 5, 1855, he was married to Miss Cornelia Riley, daughter of Jacob Riley, of Houston County. This lady died June 29, 1856, and November 20, 1857, the doctor was married to Mrs. Argenta A. Riley. Dr. Havis is a deacon in the Presbyterian Church. He is a gentleman alive to the interest of church and State, liberal to a fault, the life of the social circle, in politics an uncompromising Bourbon Democrat, a devotee to the old South, and takes Jefferson Davis as the true exponent of pure Democracy and the embodiment of all that is chivalrous and patriotic.


Darla M Sands said…
What a shame. It seems he was an extremely valuable member of the community.
Anonymous said…
“Valuable member of the community” and slave owner of my ancestor.

Popular posts from this blog

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

Why do people put rocks on grave stones? Some time ago, I learned that the rocks signified a visitor. That is true enough, but I decided to learn a little more about the custom and share my findings with you. Putting rocks on tombstones is most often described as a Jewish custom. There are many "Ask a Rabbi" columns out there, but I did not find one that knew for sure where the custom originated. They all agreed, however, that a rock symbolized a visitor and when put on a tombstone said, "I remember you." I also read that some people pick up a rock wherever they are when they think of a person that has passed. Then, the next time they visit the grave, they place the rock to say, "I wish you were here." Rabbi Shraga Simmons offers a deeper meaning: "We are taught that it is an act of ultimate kindness and respect to bury someone and place a marker at the site. After a person is buried, of course, we can no longer participate in burying them. H

Southern Cross of Honor

I'm late to this discussion, but it's one I'd like to join. :-) Terry Thornton at The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country started with Grave Marker Symbols: The Southern Cross of Honor and UCV (link no longer available). Judith Shubert at The Graveyard Rabbit of the Covered Bridges continued with Hood County Texas: C.S.A. Veterans & Southern Cross of Honor Symbol . [UPDATE, 1 June 2009: Judith has moved this post to the blog, Cemeteries with Texas Ties . The link has been corrected to reflect this move. You may also link to her article via her nice comment on this post.] Wikipedia states: The Southern Cross of Honor was a military decoration meant to honor the officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates for their valor in the armed forces of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. It was formally approved by the Congress of the Confederate States on October 13, 1862, and was originally intended to be on par with the Union Arm

Thursday Link Love: EyeWitness To History

Yesterday, a link was added to the Genealogy Research Resources Group at Diigo. The link was to the website titled EyeWitness to History through the eyes of those who lived it . It's a great site, and I encourage all to visit it. Here are several items I found while snooping around. - Inside a Nazi Death Camp, 1944 : "Hitler established the first concentration camp soon after he came to power in 1933. The system grew to include about 100 camps divided into two types: concentration camps for slave labor in nearby factories and death camps for the systematic extermination of "undesirables" including Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally retarded and others." - Crash of the Hindenburg, 1937 : "Radio reporter Herbert Morrison, sent to cover the airship's arrival, watched in horror. His eye witness description of the disaster was the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast and has become a classic piece of audio history." [You ca

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)