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Davis Dairy, Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee on Wildwood.
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, September 28, 2005, Copyright

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Rest of the Story at "Monday Madness"

Blaine Plemons with Grandmother Nancy Parks Shubert and her husband Henry Mitchell Shubert in Civil War Uniform
Blain Plemons
Nancy Ann Weese Parks Shubert & Henry M. "Mitt" Shubert

You remember “Poor Mr. Plemons”? Well, I have the rest of the story!

After last Monday’s post for Monday Madness, the brainchild of Amy Crook of Untangled Family Roots, Cheryle Hoover Davis asked the question: “Whatever happened to L. M. Plemons' wife? Did she get away with it?” That led me to do a little more investigating.

In a Plemons Family Online Newsletter entitled “5 Branches” I discovered a little background to what possibly led up to the poisoning. In the early 1950s, an article appeared in a Knoxville, Tennessee, newspaper that asked some of the same questions that I and my readers asked. The newspaper clipping, cut out and given to Warren Plemons by his mother, was reprinted in the family newsletter and family members added to the details.

A Mr. Gurth Robinson who was interviewed for the newspaper article said, “Who in the world would have an inscription like that cut into a gravestone? This fellow dies when he is 29 years old. And then someone puts up this gravestone saying publicly that he died from poisons administered by his wife. How did this person know the wife administered poisons? And why did she do it – if she actually did?”

The gravestone which is pictured in my previous post is found in Laurel Bluff Baptist Church Cemetery near the town of Kingston. Warren Plemons said that there was a “family story – or rumor, passed down through generations and probably changed with the re-telling.” The story as reported in the Plemons newsletter is retold here.

“On October 30, 1892, L. Martin Plemons married Cara Parks. Martin is the son of Thomas Jacob Plemons, grandson of Jacob Plemons and Adaline Harden. Cara is the daughter of James Parks and Nancy Ann Weese. They had one child, Blain, in November 1897.

According to the story, it was common knowledge that Cara was seeing the town butcher whenever Martin would leave for work. Martin was an iron ore miner and also worked on a farm for his father. One day, when Martin came to work, he told his father, ‘I think that I will go back home, and if he is there, I will kill the both of them.’

Martin left and returned some time later. His father asked him whether he had found Cara and her suitor together, he replied, ‘Yes – but I couldn’t bring myself to kill them.’

Some short time later, Martin died – under suspicious circumstances. The Plemons family did not make a secret of their dislike for Cara. They believed that she had killed Martin and they hired a doctor to come from Knoxville and perform an autopsy. As they had suspected, poison was discovered in the stomach contents. Cara was subsequently arrested and tried for murder.

At the trial, the doctor was asked whether there was a chance that some of the Plemons family could have tainted the evidence by placing poison in the containers used to collect the stomach contents. The doctor answered that he had left the containers alone in a buggy on his way back to Knoxville while he had gone inside a house to eat. This cast enough doubt on the accusation that the jury found Cara ‘Not guilty’ and released her.

The Plemons family was enraged, but there was nothing that they could do. Their only recourse was to make the incident public by carving the accusation on Martin’s gravestone.

The stone is there today, and sits near the road in a corner away from the church. Martin is buried near his father, mother, and grandmother along with many other relatives.”

Above is a photo of Martin and Cara’s only son, Blain, with his grandmother, Nancy Ann Weese Parks Shubert and her husband at the time, Henry “Mitt” Shubert. Henry M. Shubert is my husband’s great-great-grandfather. Nancy married James Parks in 1856 and began having children in 1857. Her husband, James, was killed in the Battle of Chickamauga on September 22, 1863, but Nancy continued to have children until 1877. Nancy and Henry M. Shubert were not married until April 4, 1881.

  • 5 Branches, s.v. "A Newsletter of the Plemons/Plemmons/Plemone/Plemon/Plemens Family – Winter 2002" (accessed March 2009).
  • “5 Branches” Helen Parker, editor
  • Photograph original belonging to Loma Schubert Rodgers, descendant of Jacob Pearson Shubert and Dialthia H. Parks who was a daughter of Nancy Ann Weese.

The above is my second contribution to "Monday Madness"!

Amy Crook of Untangled Family Roots has started a new meme for those of us researching our ancestors. This will occur each Monday as a recurring meme similar to Tombstone Tuesday and Wordless Wednesday. Check it out. It's great fun!


Becky Jamison said...

What a fascinating story! I missed the first one so am grateful to you for reposting all the details so I could follow this story. That really was qualified for "Monday Madness"!

Greta Koehl said...

I love this story. Given the outcome of the trial, what the family did was kind of clever.

Janice Tracy said...

Judy, thank you for researching, writing and sharing such a fascinating family story with us. As they say, truth is always stranger than fiction (and usually more interesting, too!)

Carol @ iPentimento - Genealogy and History said...

Those Roane County folks are/were an interesting bunch. Hope your kin didn't meet up with any Yateses, Kelseys, Holmes or Registers. ;)

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Thanks to Becky, Greta, Janice and Carol for being such faithful readers of my blogs! I found the Plemons story fascinating and the people of East Tennessee loving, idiosyncratic, and passionate. Oh, yes, and Carol, I was wrong about this taking place in Roane County (even though a lot of our ancestors are from there). This family and gravestone are in Loudon County, next door!

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Judy, loved the story. You left us hanging for a few days but came through with a fascinating ending!

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Thanks Mona! It is a very interesting tale, isn't it?

amyrebba said...

Thanks for letting me know about the follow up. Absolutely wonderful story. I can't wait to read more stories.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Well, Carol, once more I have to correct myself!! A reader and family member just wrote and said that Laurel Bluff is indeed in Roane County! I was right the first time! I must check these things out a little better.

Mary Ann Weakley said...

I have researched your family for I believe your Robert Shubert was a brother to my Charles Shubert. I believe I have found their families, but more research is needed. I wish the early census had names verses a range of dates for it would make it earier. I was happy to come across this.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Hi Mary Ann!
So good to have you stop by and leave your comment. Yes, wouldn't it have been great to have names on those early censuses? My husband (the Shubert descendant) does believe that Charles and Robert were brothers. There was a Christopher, too, I believe that came through South Carolina, wasn't there? I'd love to share information and see if we can fill in some blanks. You can email us at or

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