Franklin County

Franklin County, founded in 1809, is a very rural county made up of several small communities including the county seat, Meadville.  It made civil rights history in 1964.  In May of that year, two black men, 20-year-old Charles Edward Moore and 19-year-old Henry Hezekiah Dee, went missing from Meadville.  The two men would have been forgotten if it had not been for the disappearance of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County later that summer.  Hundreds of people in Mississippi were searching for the bodies of the James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, whose disappearance had attracted national attention because two of them were white men.  On July 12, 1964, two bodies were pulled from a river and were initially thought to be the bodies of two of the civil rights workers.  However, when it was proven that the corpses belonged to two black men, they were instead identified as those of Moore and Dee.  The FBI then conducted an investigation in Franklin County.  It was discovered that a group of Klansmen abducted and beat Moore and Dee before Jack and James Seale weighted the men with an engine block and train rails and dumped them into a river, still alive.  Despite the investigation, no one was charged until 2007, when James Seale was convicted of the murders.  The story of the 40-year-long investigation is told by Moore’s brother in the film, “Mississippi Cold Case.”