The Murder of Lucinda McNew

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Lucinda McNew was born August 20, 1854, and was murdered June 7, 1902, in Roane County. She had been married first to P.N. Swicegood. Swicegood divorced her in 1891 and on August 6, 1893, in Roane County she married Jack C. Bailey, which turned out to be a big mistake.

Jack Bailey, her husband, hired George Roberts to murder her in exchange for a white mule. Roberts took a hame (a wooden or metal piece of a harness that forms a collar around an animal) and hit her on the head five times. He thought she was dead. However, later when Jack Bailey returned home, he discovered she was still alive. Jack then took the dog irons of the fireplace and crushed her skull killing her. Jack Bailey and George Roberts were put on trial for murder.

Originally Jack Bailey’s brother Arthur was also charged, but he was acquitted. Jack Bailey was given a 99-year sentence. He was released early because of illness and died on October 15, 1930, and is buried in the Swan Pond Methodist Church Cemetery where Lucinda is also buried. George Roberts was given a sentence of a term of his natural life.

Her son, Mat Swicegood, who was also murdered is buried beside her. It is not known why Jack Bailey murdered his wife. He charged her with adultery with John Taylor. So the true reason for the murder is left up to speculation.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, May and September 2018.