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Murder on Maryland's Eastern Shore

"Murder On Maryland's Eastern Shore: Race, politics and the Case of Orphan Jones" has been widely received by critics and scholars as both a fascinating and riveting look into one of the most politically and racially charged incidents ever to take place on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Many newspaper and magazine articles have been written detailing praise for the book since it's 2005 publishing.

To view a cross-section of the press articles, click on the links below:

  • Press Article #1
    The Baltimore Sun May 14, 2006
    "Also from long ago, but something completely different, is former Worcester County prosecutor Joseph E. Moore's book about the Orphan Jones case, one of the most sensational crimes in Eastern Shore history.
    One day in the fall of 1931, a farmer named Green Davis, his wife and their two young daughters were found shot to death in their farmhouse in Taylorville, their house then soaked with kerosene but not set ablaze.
    Euel Lee, a black man who had worked for Davis, was arrested.
    After hours of questioning he confessed to the killings, saying that Davis had taken money from him. Some Eastern shore residents, eager for vengeance, wanted to seize Jones and hang him from the nearest tree. But their efforts were frustrated by a Baltimore lawyer, Bernard Ades. Ades, a communist who belonged to a group active in racial justice issues, maintained that Jones had been bullied into confessing and could not get a fair trial on the Eastern Shore. Jones was eventually convicted of first-degree murder and executed, but only after protracted legal wrangling, the lynchings of two other black men (in Salisbury and Princess Anne) and a lot of other unfavorable national publicity. Moore, a lawyer in Ocean City Maryland for 37 years, dug deep into court records and newspaper files (including the Sun's) to piece together a fascinating if somewhat lawyerly account of a remarkable case." - Harry Merrit, temporary editor of The Sun's Modern Life section.
  • Press Article #2
    Ocean Pines Independent - article March 8, 2006.
    "Murder on the Shore has a place in history."
    Berlin - A former Worcester County State's Attorney has spent more than two decades working on a murder case that occurred 75 years ago. Joe Moore has long been intrigued by the sensational murder of a family of four, killed as they slept. The former prosecutor has spent much time and money researching the trial of a black man who was hanged for the crimes. In 1931, Euel "Orphan Jones" Lee - a 60 year old black farmhand living in Ocean City Maryland - fatally shot each member of the Green Davis family as they slept on their small farm in Taylorville. The bizarre act set the stage for a string of events involving a 27 year old Jewish Communist lawyer defending a black man, an unprecedented action by the Maryland Court of Appeals, pleas to the Governor, the President and an appeal to the US supreme court. What was unthinkable at the time - the murder of a white family by a black man - resulted in two mob lynchings, Jim Crow political struggles and the making of legal history. In the midst of continuous front-page news stories, Baltimore Sun editor Henry "HL" Mencken wrote commentaries about our "kultur" that divides western Maryland denizens from Eastern Shore folk that made him a target of hate here for decades. That story, Moore said, has never been told.
    After 25 years of research, details of the Shore's most infamous case is now recounted in "Murder on Maryland's Eastern Shore" - a 256 page non-fiction paperback." - Brice Stump
  • Press Article #3
    Ocean City Today, Feb 26 2006:
    "Book revisits 1931 murder case." by Stuart Dobson, Editor.
    Attorney's new volume chronicles violent period in Eastern Shore's history.
    "Orphan Jones carried three things with him as he climbed the stairs of a Taylorville home in the early hours of October 11, 1931; a shotgun, a pistol and a whiskey driven desire to get even.
    The man of the house, Green Davis, had cheated him out of money, Jones would later say, and he aimed to do his worst. As he entered the bedroom he found Davis, 55, and his wife Ivy, 38, in bed. He raised his gun and shot each one in the face. In the adjoining room were the Davis daughters, Elizabeth, 15, and Mary Lee, 13. Jones took out a pistol and killed them both. He collected a few pieces of jewelry, a couple of scholastic athletic medals and some cash, and left the way he came, walking back to Ocean City and the house he lived in on the southern end of town.
    The International Labor Defense Organization (ILD), the legal arm of the American Communist party, formed in 1925 to take on legal cases that fit the party's aggressive approach and to raise it's profile among poor workers and the underprivileged classes. Bernard Ades, 27, served that cause from an office in Baltimore, Maryland, and as inexperienced as he was, he had no way of knowing that in October he would soon find himself in the middle of one of the ugliest periods in Maryland's history. He would be a hero, victim and villain some would say, the catalyst for one of the most violent episodes of hatred on the lower Eastern Shore during the days of Jim Crow politics and government. Orphan Jones and Bernard Ades are the central figures in a book by Ocean City attorney Joseph E. Moore, who in 1980, when he was the Worcester County State's attorney stumbled across a cryptic telegram. Going through old files in the office of the then Clerk of the Court Frank Hales, Moore picked up a telegram sent in 1931 by State's Attorney Godfrey Child to authorities in Baltimore. The terse message said only that Child would not allow an ILD (Communist) attorney to represent any defendant in Worcester county. Intrigued by this blunt rebuttal to some unmentioned circumstance, Moore set out to discover it's meaning. "It only took me 25 years to write it," said Moore 63, as he sat in his office...discussing his book."
  • Press Article #4
  • Wesley College Commencement Summer 2006 Magazine
  • Press Article #5
    Chesapeake Life Magazine August 2006 Article page 52
1930's News article Communist laywer
Original front page article.
Orphan Jones' ILD party lawyer, Bernard Ades
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