MOLLIE S. WATERS | The Greenville Standard
One might think that people are engaging in more unlawful activities now than ever before. That simply is not the case in Butler County. In the late 1800s, this county had more than its fair share of theft, domestic abuse and even murder.
Some of the most heinous crimes in the county’s history occurred in 1891-1892. Known now as the Hipp and Kelley murders, two men (John Hipp and Charles Kelley) were accused of committing several murders over the course of more than a year in the southern part of the county. They were eventually caught and lynched for their supposed crimes.
The story of the Hipp and Kelley murders has now become the backdrop for a fictional novel titled “Murder in Butler County” by John Hipp, a descendant of one of the accused men.
The book was released in April 2016 and its author will be the guest speaker for the Oct. 30 meeting of the Butler County Historical Society.
Speaking about his new book, John Hipp said what led him to write it was personal research about his great-grandfather, the accused murderer by the same name.
“I began by searching for my great-grandfather’s burial place to no avail,” said Hipp. “I spent many years researching his life in Georgia before coming to north Alabama where he married and had two sons. Over some 30 plus years, I uncovered his life from beginning to end.”
Hipp said that the story he discovered was one he felt he needed to share with others.
“I was the obvious one to tell the story,” said Hipp. He also explained that the true story is about love and forgiveness.
The book, which is available for purchase on Amazon, has had good sales thus far.
“I have been pleased,” stated Hipp. “I have used social media primarily to get the word out about the book.”
Hipp said that he hopes area residents will purchase and read his book about one of the county’s most infamous crimes before his upcoming speaking engagement.
“I hope to be able to honestly speak about the life of John Hipp, and what both led him to Butler County and his time spent there,” said Hipp.