A murderous Christmas Day in Stokes County

WALNUT COVE, N.C., Dec. 25 — Becoming suddenly insane, a Stokes County farmer today slew his wife and six children, and after laying them out for burial went into a patch of woods and killed himself with a shotgun. The body of C. D. Lawson, the 43 years old father and husband, was found about a half mile from his home….”

— From “Insane farmer slays wife, six children, self” by the Associated Press (Dec. 26, 1929) 

This 2008 story in the Winston-Salem Journal offers many details — including the crime-scene tours (at 25 cents a head) arranged by Lawson’s relatives.

The murders also have been recalled with a book,  a ballad and a documentary.

Lawson’s motive remains unknown, but one author blames an agricultural depression for making the 1920s “clearly the decade of the familicide.”