Ernest Haywood

The Man Who Got Away With Murder
Birth Name:
Ernest Haywood
Birth Date:
February 1, 1860
Birth Place:
Raleigh, North Carolina
Death Date:
December 14, 1946
Place of Death:
Haywood House, 211 New Bern Place, Raleigh, North Carolina
Cause of Death:
Natural causes
Cemetery Name:
Oakwood Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Crime and their Victims
The Haywood family was a politically and socially influential white family in Raleigh, North Carolina during with 1800s through the early 1900s with plantations dependent on slave labor in North Carolina as well as Alabama. Ernest Haywood was an attorney practicing in Raleigh where he specialized in commercial, insurance, corporation, and real estate law. On February 21, 1903, Saturday afternoon, the young lawyer Haywood met Ludlow Skinner, his mistress's brother-in-law, on the steps of the Fayetteville Street Post Office. After a brief argument Haywood pulled out a pistol and shot at Skinner one time and missed. He then chased Skinner briefly and shot him dead in the street with 100 witness. The murder and subsequent trial achieved nationwide attention and rocked the foundations of turn-of-the-century Raleigh society. As a lawyer and founding member of the Raleigh Bar Association, he was found innocent by a jury of his peers after only 15 minutes of deliberation.

The Rest of the Story

The murder of Ludlow Skinner begins with Mrs. Gertrude Tucker, Skinner’s sister-in-law and one of the most beautiful women in all of North Carolina at the time. Seems while doing work for Mrs. Tucker, Haywood had a thing for the beautiful widow and they began a secret affair (which in 1903, was a very big deal). And while there was ample evidence to their marriage, Haywood refused to acknowledge the legality of their marriage or the bastard son born out of wedlock. Sadly Ernest Eagles Haywood would go to seek his calling as a writer in New York City only to commit suicide at the age of 21.

Ernest Haywood would live another 43 years after the murder and in his obituary and other notices, the murder was never mentioned and he continued his career and his reputation remained unscathed. In fact, his obituary states he was unmarried and without heirs.

Although he was a slight man, Haywood inspired respect during his lifetime. One of the Wachovia Bank secretaries (where Haywood kept his law office his entire life) who often rode the same elevator with him described him as “a sparrow hawk of a man with piercing dark eyes who never smiled.”

When he died he was buried the following day with only the sons of lawyers who were his defense council as pallbearers in attendance. He was buried a stone’s throw from the grave of John Ludlow Skinner, the man he murdered.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Oakwood Cemetery

701 Oakwood Avenue

Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601


North America


Map of Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina
Map of Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina

Grave Location:

Section HECK, Lot 5, Grave 17

Grave Location Description

As you enter through the cemetery gates, stay to the right and drive up through the cemetery to the intersection of Maple Avenue and Chestnut Avenue. Walk up Maple Avenue and look to your left for the sign indicating Miller’s Magnolia Walk that cuts through the middle of the section. Turn left along the path and Ernest Haywood’s simple marker is on your left next to the substantial Haywood monument.

Grave Location GPS

35.7867117, -78.6259098



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