A nearly two-hundred-year-old Mobile murder mystery

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile author Mary S. Palmer’s latest book is called ‘Boyington Oak, A Grave Injustice.’ Back in 1834, Charles Boyington was hanged over the murder of his friend and roommate Nathaniel Frost at the Church Street Cemetery. He proclaimed his innocence until the end.

“He said sooner or later, I’ll be vindicated, I am innocent.  And he said this tree will grow from my grave to prove that I’m innocent. The tree did grow, but that’s not unusual, there are a million oaks out here,” Palmer said.

But the tree has not been part of Mobile history for almost two centuries, and so many have questions about Boyington’s guilt or innocence.

“This is a different case because there was so much evidence that was used that wasn’t worthy of note,” Palmer said.

Some of the factual record that supports Boyington’s innocence is a jury tainted by one person who was convinced Boyington was guilty, and another who wasn’t a U.S. citizen.

But now the author hopes to write another chapter about Boyington.  An effort is underway to try and get him granted a posthumous pardon.

“You have to go to the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. and I went to the bureau here, and I wrote to the governor, and we had a petition with 55 names,” said Palmer.

The appeal is now in legal review with the Bureau. Palmer is also hoping to get another plaque or marker so that people know the significance and story of the oak and Charles Boyington.

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