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Sue Stidham LOGUE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge - Murder-for-hire
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 17, 1941
Date of arrest: November 16, 1941
Date of birth: 1896
Victim profile: Davis W. Timmerman (the neighbor who killed her husband)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Edgefield, Edgefield County, South Carolina, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on January 26, 1942. Executed by electrocution on January 15, 1943 (the first woman ever electrocuted in South Carolina)

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On January 15, 1943, a South Carolina woman named Sue Logue was executed along with her brother-in-law, George Logue, and a down-on-his-luck plasterer named Clarence Bagwell. The Logues had hired Bagwell to kill their neighbor, who had previously killed Sue Logue's husband over a feud concerning a dead calf.


Sue Stidham Logue

Sue Logue was a teacher and farmer's wife in South Carolina. The neighbor had killed her husband, and urging for revenge she arranged for someone to kill him.

Unfortunately for her, the killer couldn't keep tight.

Police cars mustered outside Sue Logue's farmhouse. It was a standoff until the local judge (and later Governor of South Carolina) Strom Thurmond arrived. He went in unarmed, and persuaded her to give herself up.

It was uncharacteristic for Sue to be submissive and surrender.

Rumors went that Strom had had an affair with Sue when he was a superintendant at the school where Sue worked as a teatcher. The lore includes a tale of her and Strom found flagrante delicto in the superintendent's office.

The 43 years old woman's reputation for sexual prowess was such that men told stories of her reputed vaginal muscular dexterity.

As Sue was driven from the women's penitentiary to the death house at the main penitentiary in Columbia, she was sitting on the back seat with Strom. According to the driver, they were "huggin' and kissin' the whole day".

Probably Sue was the only woman ever to have sex on her way to the chair!

Sue was quite concerned about her appearence, and on the evening before her execution she cried softly as her long black hair was shaven off.

On January 15, 1943 Sue went to the electric chair. She padded across the floor in white socks (according to one report she also had white sports sandals), wearing a white open-necked blouse with a lace handkerchief in the pocket, grey slacks, and a towel arround her shaven head.

The towel was left on while she was strapped in, and only removed just before the copper electrode was attached to her head.

At 6:18 a.m. Sue received her first surge. Her body jerked and was lifted about four inches high. The face mask fell off, revealing facial contortions and bulging eyes - the true face of electrocution.


The Meeting Street Murders

EDGEFIELD – There has been a rather lively discussion in the Wandering Minds Section regarding Sue Logue and the Meeting Street murders. To help sort out some of the details that seem to be disputed, spoke to those who provided a fairly accurate account ofwhat took place. According to them the story began in September of 1940 when Davis Timmerman's mule got into Wallace Logue's field and the mule kicked and killed Logue's calf. Logue demanded that Timmerman pay him $20 for the calf and Timmerman agreed. Logue later went to Timmerman’s rural store and decided he wanted $40 in restitution instead of $20 and Timmerman refused to pay.

Logue became infuriated, grabbed an ax handle, and began beating Timmerman. Timmerman pulled a gun he kept hidden in a drawer, shot twice, and killed Logue. Timmerman was said to have locked the body in store and, despite being seriously injured, drove to Edgefield to report the shooting to then Sheriff L.H. Harling.

Sheriff Harling, Coroner John Hollingsworth, and Solicitor Jeff Griffith drove back to the store. Based on their interpretation of the evidence, Timmerman was held over for trial. After the trial the jury ruled Timmerman acted in self-defense and he was acquitted.

Logue's widow, Sue, and his brother, George, didn't agree with the jury's verdict. They hired Joe Frank Logue, George and Wallace's nephew, giving him $500 to find somebody to kill Timmerman. Joe Frank was an officer with the Spartanburg Police Department and he hired Clarence Bagwell to do the job.

A year after Wallace died; Joe Frank and Bagwell went to Timmerman's store. Joe Frank waited in the car while Bagwell went in and asked for a pack of cigarettes (some say it was a pack of gum).  When Timmerman turned to get the item Bagwell fired five shots at point-blank range with a .38 caliber revolver, killing him instantly.

Joe Frank and Bagwell returned back to Spartanburg and carried on as if nothing happened. Unfortunately for the pair, Bagwell was a heavy drinker and during one of his binges bragged to a young woman that he had made $500 for killing a man.

The woman went to police. When Bagwell was questioned, he learned that he had been seen at Timmerman's store on the day of the murder. Other reports say he was spotted casing the store prior to the murder as well. Either way, feeling trapped, Bagwell confessed and fingered Joe Frank as well.

It turned out Joe Frank wasn't a dutiful nephew after all. He admitted hiring Bagwell, and also told the authorities that the money had come from his aunt and uncle, Sue and George Logue.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, 1941, newly elected Sheriff Wad Allen and Deputy W.L. “Doc” Clark picked up the warrants from magistrate A.L. Kemp and headed for Sue Logue's home.

But someone had warned George Logue that the law was on the way. Logue and a sharecropper, Fred Dorn, ambushed the two officers. Sheriff Allen died after being shot in the head and Deputy Clark was shot in the stomach and arm. Clark was able to wound both men before staggering from the house and making his way to Highway 378 where he was picked up by a passing motorist.

Gov. R.M Jeffries later ordered state patrolmen and deputies from Saluda County to arrest Logue and Dorn.

With dozens of officers surrounding the house, and officials wanting to avert further bloodshed, they appealed to then local Circuit Court Judge Strom Thurmond, a Logue family friend, to try to reason with the Logues. Thurmond walked alone across the yard and into the house. The Logues followed his advice and surrendered a short time later.

Two days later, Deputy Clark died. Logue's friend, Fred Dorn, died the day before.

Four months later, George, Sue and Bagwell were tried for Timmerman's murder. The three-day trial was held in Lexington County with Solicitor Griffith serving as prosecutor.

The jury took only two hours to convict the trio.

On Jan. 15, 1943, Sue Logue was electrocuted. One book reports that Strom Thurmond accompanied Sue on the trip to the “death house” and had relations with her during the trip, according to Thurmond’s driver interviewed for the book. Sue Logue was the first and only woman to die in the electric chair in South Carolina.

Less than an hour after Sue was executed, George and Bagwell took their place in the electric chair.

Joe Frank Logue received the death penalty for his participation in the killing and his execution date was set for Jan. 23, 1944.  He ate his last meal and was prepped for the electric chair. Shortly before midnight, Gov. Olin D. Johnston visited Joe Frank and as a result of that visit, Johnston commuted Joe Frank Logue's sentence to life.

Within 10 years, Joe Frank Logue was given a job with SLED as a bloodhound handler and trainer. In 1960, 37 of the state's 40 sheriffs supported Joe Frank's bid for parole.

When it was all over, nine lives were destroyed.

The story attracted attention across the US and was written up in numerous detective magazines. 

The blood-stained arrest warrant was kept on file at the Edgefield County Courthouse until someone walked off with it, an action that angered current Solicitor Donnie Meyers, who has long collected documents, newspaper accounts and anecdotes on the Logue-Timmerman feud.

There are two books currently available at the Tompkins Library in Edgefield that are well researched and have the complete story. The Guns of Meeting Street, by T. Felder Dorn, a descendant of Fred Dorn, is $25. A more recent book, Wanton Woman, by Anna Flowers, is available for $29.  The store and the Logue home are still standing.

Edgefield County Archivist Tricia Glenn and another author that preferred to remain anonymous contributed to this story.


70 years ago today, Strom Thurmond’s mistress was put to death

January 15, 2013

On this day in 1943, a South Carolina woman named Sue Logue was executed along with her brother-in-law, George Logue, and a down-on-his-luck plasterer named Clarence Bagwell. The Logues had hired Bagwell to kill their neighbor, who had previously killed Sue Logue’s husband over a feud concerning a dead calf.

What makes this story interesting is that before Sue Logue’s arrest, she had been having an affair with an Edgefield County school superintendent named Strom Thurmond. Yes, that Strom Thurmond. Logue was a teacher in Thurmond’s district, and rumor has it that the two had once been “caught in the act” in the future senator’s own office. When police surrounded Logue’s house to arrest her, Thurmond — by now a local judge — even intervened in the standoff to ensure that she came quietly (no pun intended).

What makes the story even more interesting is that before Logue was to be executed, Thurmond rode with her from the Columbia women’s penitentiary to the prison which housed Death Row, and even managed to “get it in” one last time before his mistress was executed.

From “Ol’ Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond“:

Randall Johnson, a black man who supervised “colored help” at the State House and often served as driver and messenger, drove Sue from the women’s penitentiary to the death house at the main penitentiary in Columbia. In the back seat with her, he said many years later, was Thurmond, then an Army officer on active duty. They were “a-huggin’ and a-kissin’ the whole day,” said Johnson, whom Thurmond later as governor considered a trusted driver… In whispered “graveyard talk” — the kind of stories not to be told outsiders — the word around SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) was that Joe Frank said his aunt Sue was the only person seduced on the way to the electric chair.

Ladies and gentlemen, South Carolina politics.



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