Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mary Virginia Spight, wife of Thomas Spight

One of the more elaborate tombstones, with multiple decorative elements, in the Ripley Cemetery is that of Mary Virginia Barnett Spight, the wife of Thomas Spight. The monument sits in the Spight family plot next to the monument of her husband. Thomas Spight served in the U.S. Congress from 1898 until 1911 and was a friend of Col. William C. Falkner. Just before Col. Falkner was murdered by his business associate, Richard J. Thurmond, he visited Thomas Spight and told him that he knew that Thurmond planned to kill him and thus wanted to be sure that his estate was taken care of. Spight suggested to Falkner that perhaps he might want to carry a gun to defend himself, but Falkner replied no, he had already killed enough men. Shortly thereafter, Falkner was shot and killed by Thurmond on the streets of Ripley. When Thurmond came to trial for the murder, Thomas Spight was the District Attorney and one of the prosecuting attorneys. Thurmond, however, was acquitted.

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