"At It Again" National Police Gazette (1878)

Transcribed from pages 11-12 of the May 21, 1878 issue of the National Police Gazette.


A Reverend Scoundrel, Driven in Disgrace from Columbus, Georgia, for Seducing


Turns up in Covington, Kentucky and attempts to Contract a Bigamous Marriage


COLUMBUS, Ga., May 13. Many of the readers of the Gazette will no doubt remember the deposition of the Rev. G. A. Kendrick from the ministry of the First Baptist Church of this city, some time ago, for seducing Miss Fanny Bush, a very young lady member of the Sunday School of that church. This scandal created intense excitement here, and came near leading to serious consequences. The Rev. Kendrick was regarded as one of the most promising preachers in the South, and was pastor of one of the most wealthy and fashionable churches in this city. He was married to an estimable voting lady about a year prior to his disgrace and exposure, and the entire Community regarded him as one of the most upright and honorable men in the state. He was trusted and esteemed as a man and as pastor, and was a welcome guest in every family he chose to visit. Two months ago, however, several young men of the city were passing near the First Baptist Church, and saw Miss Bush coming out of the rear door of the church alone. This door was the entrance to Rev. Kendrick's study, but as young ladies constantly visited him there during the week, nothing was thought strange of the fact, but her conduct led to suspicion. Instead of coming out boldly and entering the street the usual way, she dodged behind the door when the young men passed near by on the street, and went out the rear way. This caused the young men to suspect that something was wrong, and they pledged each other to keep up a watch thereafter upon the movements of Rev. Kendrick and Miss Bush. One of the young men was an admirer of the young lady, and he felt outraged at the idea that the pastor of the church was leading her astray.

The movements of the pastor and Miss Bush were watched with argus eyes for three months before any criminal conduct was discovered. Rev. Kendrick purchased a pair or valuable bracelets for Miss Bush and the jeweler who sold the goods seeing the lady afterwards wearing the bracelets had his suspicions aroused also. One day in March one of the young men above referred to, saw the young lady going towards the Baptist Church, and hiding himself behind a building nearby watched her movements. She looked about her to see if any one was watching her, and when she thought she was not seen she quickly entered the door to Rev. Kendrick's study and shut it with a bang.

The young man who ha watched her movemonts hurried to inform the others who had agreed to watch for developments, and the three went at once to the front door of the church. As they were nearing the church they saw Kendrick walking hastily to the rear door and when he entered they cautiously walked along the wall near the church until they reached a window of the study. The blinds were closed and the curtain down, but the window was up. Quick as lightning the blinds were turned and pulled aside and in the study, on a sofa, they saw Rev. Kendrick and Miss Fannie Bush in positions which left no doubt of their guilt. The young lady was nude from her hips to her feet, and Rev. Kendrick had on nothing but his shirt.

The young men remained about one minute looking at the guilty parties, and then went away to consult as to what course they should pursue. They determined to expose the matter, and the deacons of the church were sought and acquainted with the facts. The father of Miss Bush was informed of the affair, and a mob was soon hunting Kendrick to lynch him. Kendrick was, however, arrested and jailed, and a judicial examination of the case was had, of which trial the Columbus Enquirer-Sun at that time gave the following report:

Yesterday commenced in the superior court room before Justices McCabey, Chappell and General Phillips, the preliminary examination of Rev.(?) G. A. Kendrick, pastor of the Baptist Church, charged with the seduction of Miss Fannie Bush, a thirteen-year-old girl, daughter of Mr. Joseph Bush, a respected grocery merchant on Broad street. To render the crime of greater enormity the girl was a pupil in our public schools and of Kendrick's Sunday School.

He had recently baptized her sister, and while they were violating the laws he was endeavoring to induce the victim also to unite with that church. He, too, was visiting her father's family.

The accused, who has been in jail ever since his arrest, came into court attended by his two brothers, of Atlanta, and several members of the church, among whom was the venerable Rev T. B. Slade and his son, Captain J. J. Slade. The prisoner, who is a young man of beyond thirty years of age, was neatly dressed. He carried himself boldly and appeared unconcerned. He wore conventional black clothes and side English whiskers of reddish hue, as is also his hair. He seemed cool and quiet, but his gaze to many looked hardened.

John McLeod—I live in Columbus: on the 19th of April I was on Broad street, in the afternoon, and saw Mr. Marcrum before or after four p.m.; Marcrum told all that I knew of the case; Marcrum Garrett, Jack Brooks and John Ivey were at Marcrums; Vandenberg said, "Let's go up the street ;" we went up to Oglethorpe street, and went in the front gate of the Baptist yard, to the south-east corner of the church, and turned the blinds and looked in the study of Kendrick; the window is on the east side of the house we had to get down in a two-by-three feet hole, dig by the window, to get to it; Vandenberg first got down and turned the blinds, and said, "John, look here." I looked, and saw two persons on the floor, "the gentleman * * lady; they were ten feet from the window, and sideways to us. * * * * The gentleman had * * * and lady's hat was upon the table; lady * * * and gentleman * * * * Kendrick and Fannie Bush were the persons I saw; they had a piece of brown cloth upon the floor. This was on Wednesday evening the 19th of April, 1876; we looked at them a while, and saw Mr. Marion Estes, and Ed (Vandenberg) said, "I'll go after Mr. Estes and bring him over." We went to the sidewalk toward Mr. Estes, but did not speak to him; we returned and looked in the window; a brick fell and attracted their attention; Kendrick was * * * * * * girl was on the floor and turned her back to us; Vandenberg asked me if I had a pencil; I told him no; he told me to watch until he got a stick and tapped on the window; Ed (Vandenberg) told Mr. Kendrick his game was up: Mr. Estes' house is a little east of south; I saw Mr. Estes while I was at the church; I did not see Mr. Estes go in direction of the church; I, Vandenberg and a painter had a few words near the church; the painter, a negro, went to the house at which he was at work.

Cross-examined—I will be twenty-two the 20th day of next August; I have been living in Columbus off and on for some time: I don't know Miss Fannie Bush, but I know her sister, having met her once: I have known Vandenberg a good while—used to go to school with him; I met Vandenberg at the Little Bonanza that afternoon; had done so often; don't know that Vandenberg is acquainted with the girl. I went to the church to satisfy my curiosity from what Marcrum told me; I went some time after 4 p.m.; I went into the church yard by the front way, looked in the Sabbath school room; then went down the open way on the east side and looked into the study window; I looked at them, and left for five minutes and returned, and found Kendrick * * * * and the girl on the floor; Kendrick heard a noise, from a brick falling and went under a table; I saw both of them, and knew them to be Kendrick and Miss Bush; I never saw Mr. Estes go into the church, nor did I see him in there; I talked with Marcrum since I saw the affair; don't know how I left without calling witnesses, Marcrum and I are friends; I don't know how I told Mr. Radcliffe that I saw her underclothes; her hat was off; I ought to have some feelings about this matter—don't know that I have; I first saw after leaving church Mr. John Ivey and Henry Everett, who I supposed suspected where we had gone: there was no agreement between us to watch them; Marcrum and Garrett keep the Little Bonanza; Vandenberg said: "John, let's walk up street;" we did so, and went to the church; returning saw Marcrum at the Bonanza; I got into the gutter above the study the first time, and the second time at the lower end; I saw them between four and six.

Miss Fannie Bush was the next witness and every eye was fastened on her. She was accompanied by her sister, and was dressed very neatly and simple. She wore a hat with a veil around it. The dress was that of an advanced school girl, and extended to the ankles. Her face is pretty and form well developed. She told her story with the simple, modest air of a school girl who is giving a history of the past, and with an appearance of naiveté that pressed all with its truth. In her face and tones were not conveyed the ides of shame or guilt—and less still of boldness or loudness,

My name is Fannie Bush, aged thirteen years; I was born 28th of November, and was thirteen on my last birthday. I know Mr. Kendrick, and have for the time he has been located here; I attend the Baptist Church; I am a member of the Sunday school, but have not been a regular attendant [Here were shown gold ear-rings and breast-pin and an amber-colored knife and a small pen.] I have seen this jewelry before, also the knife; the jewelry was sent to me from Mr. Kendrick through the post-office on Monday, 30th of November; he told me that he sent it to me: I don't remember at what time exactly; he gave me the knife not long ago, and said afterward that he bought it of Mr. Beach; he told me not to show it to the girls at school, nor tell where I got it, and told me to tell my parents that I found it; I have been going to Mr. Kendrick's study since last July; the first time I went after a book to read, in order to write a composition; I asked him for a book during the revival, and he told me to come to his study for it; he was in the church when I asked him for the book; he never said anything at that time improper to me; I went back a second time, on a Saturday, to return the book; he showed me several other books and maps, and spoke of the composition; another girl was writing upon the same subject, and he told me to carry the book to her, and I did so; when I carried the book back he did nothing improper but invited me to come to get his aid on the composition; he spoke to me about joining the church: something improper passed between him and me in the study, but I don't remember the time: he first asked me if I didn't wish he was a single man; he put his arms around my waist, which was the first liberty; this occurred three or four weeks after I first went to the church; I was then standing by the library, looking at the books, when he embraced me; when I left the study he shook hands with and kissed me; I went back again but don't know how long after; I went back because he asked me, saying, "Any time you may be passing and see me, come in;" the next time I went he asked me to sit in his lap I refused; he took me by the hand and placed me in his lap; other things of a criminal stature passed between us; I was criminally intimate with him; he told me many things to induce me, saying that he loved me, that he wanted me to continue visiting him at the study; he asked me to love and come to see him; he has visited my father's house and spoke to me about joining the church; I was criminally intimate with Mr. Kendrick every time that I went there after the first or second. Yesterday, a week ago, was the last of our criminal intercourse; all of this occurred in the church study; the last time, a little after 3 or 4 p.m., I went by Gammel's stable on to the post-office, and then to the church, through the back gate, into the study; I found there Paris, the sexton; I made an appointment the Tuesday evening previous to meet Mr. Kendrick there; he told me he was going to the convention Thursday morning and was anxious to see me before he left; I went in the study, but in no other part of the church: had been in about fifteen minutes when he came from toward Mr. Swift's; he passed Miss Mira Birdsong on his way from Swift's to the back gate; he said to me, after coming in, "I wish you would..." we were found in the very act, a criminal act; were lying near the library; two men came to the window; we heard them walking upon the brick and rattling the blinds; they said to us "own up, you are caught." Mr. K. was then by that time under the table, and I upon the floor; I knew the voice of Vandenberg, but not the other; Mr. Kendrick told me to pretend to be writing at the table while he went up stairs to conceal himself, and to tell persons not to disturb me, as I was in a private place writing; I said I couldn't sit at the table and tell such a thing; he then left, and said not to allow anyone to come in; I then went under the steps in the study, just after fastening the study door, leading into the audience chamber stayed under the steps until nearly dark; several came to look for me, trying to get in where I was concealed; I had to get out of the window when I started home, as the back door was locked; the gates were locked, and I had to climb the fence; I then saw Mr. Woodsie Markham, who called me, and I went to him; he went home with me; he said that he had been hunting; I did not tell Mr. Markham what Mr. Kendrick and I had been doing; I was in the study on the Sunday evening previous to that day, and we had criminal intimacy; I went to the study two or three times a week; Mr. Kendrick told me that if anything happened to me to let him know and he would give me a prescription which he had prepared for the purpose; I never had criminal intercourse with any other man.

Cross-examined—I am thirteen years old, my parents say; I have been going to the public school for a year or two; have known Mr. Kendrick ever since he has been here; I don't remember when we had our first conversation; it was about going to the church; I first went to the study in July, 1875, for a book; Vandenberg sent me two notes, and my sister answered them for me; I have never met him in my life; it was not long after my first visit to the study before my second; Kendrick had knowledge of my person about the second or third time that I met him at the study; he had no knowledge of my person when he first kissed me; he said that he loved me and he asked for mutality. I told him that I would love him; I did love Mr. Kendrick and had some affection for his child; my teacher sent me several times to Mr. Kendrick's to find out the health of his lady; when I passed his house going to the grave yard it was because it was the nearest route; I sometimes played with his child on the sidewalk; I never said anything when he kissed me; I never loved any other man, and him but slightly; he told me that he was going to give me a present, and I afterward received the jewelry; I never told him whether or not I would accept it if he gave it to me; it was about seven or eight weeks after my first visit to the study before we had criminal intercourse; I once got off from the public school to meet him at the study, which he told me to keep a secret; Dr. Terry came to see me after the scandal was lately known and talked to me about this affair; my mother and sister also talked to me about it; Messrs. Little & Crawford came to see me and talked with me about it; I am not acquainted with Vandenberg; I said when I mailed the letter to him at the post-office that he was a flirt; Vandenberg never went to ride with me; he asked me to meet him at the cemetery that he might talk with me; I received two or three notes from him while I was at the public school, begging me to meet him at the upper bridge, the post-office and other places; I sent two of them back to him; I showed them to my sister; the first note had Vandenberg's whole name signed, the others the initials; he addressed me as "Miss Fannie" in one and "My Darling Fannie" in one or two; I have never met him; I've seen him at Miss Carter's, but I never spoke to him. I knew John Bennett; he came to see me occasionally; I was not in love with him; I have walked out to Bull Creek with him; I never took a ride with him; I have been to walk with him several times; I never loved him; I know George Brooks; I don't know that I saw George Brooks while I was out walking to Bull Creek; I know George Smith, he has paid me some attention; I have written Mr. Bennett one letter since he left here, and he one to me; I addressed Mr. B. "My dear friend."

Re-direct—I had no personal acquaintance with Vandenberg; I knew him when I saw him; I received three notes from him; my sister answered two for me, saying that he should come to see me, that I would not meet any one on the street; he wrote me again, begging me to meet him on the streets— "he was known as a flirt, and he couldn't flirt with me," my sister wrote him; my sister and I went out the Wynton Road and saw Mr. Vandenberg one evening by chance.

There were a number of corroborating witnesses. The pastor was found guilty, compromised on a money basis, was deposed from his pulpit, packed his traps and fled from the community in utter disgrace.

After his departure Kendrick's name was seldom mentioned, and his crime gradually passed from public attention. A short time ago, however, a letter was received by a church member here from a citizen of Covington, Ky., asking about Kendrick's antecedents. The gentleman who received the letter, believing Kendrick was trying to do better and to atone for his past crime, refused to "blow" on him, and for several weeks nothing more was heard of it.

Three or four days ago however, the Rev. Kendrick was discovered in a most shameful attempt to ruin an estimable young lady of Cincinnati. It appears that when Kendrick left here he went to Covington, Ky., (opposite Cincinnati) and soon after settling there he applied for the position of teacher of a choir in one of the Methodist churches of Cincinnati. By his winning ways and suave manners he soon ingratiated himself in the good graces of the church, and at once became the idol of the choir he was teaching.

One of the members of the choir was Miss Gracie Smith, a charming and accomplished young lady, loved and respected by every one. Kendrick did not tell any one in Cincinnati that he had a young wife and child in Covington, and he was believed to be an unmarried man. He was soon a suitor of Miss Smith. He pretended to love her devotedly, and the choir thought it was a "good match." After several weeks of courtship, Miss Smith finally accepted Kendrick, and the day for the marriage was fixed for the 22nd of this month. By some mistake a letter front Miss Smith to the base deceiver fell into the hands of his wife in Covington. The wife addressed a note to Miss Smith, asking her for details concerning certain vague points in the intercepted letter. This correspondence led to a full exposure of Kendrick as one of the most consummate libertines that this section has ever produced.