New Hope UMC



The murder of local attorney James U. ‘Red’ Watts, Jr. is a tale that has haunted Darlington, SC for decades.

With a touch of irony that is as mysterious as his death, the timing of the launch of a book about his murder is uncanny. “Oddly enough, I put the book out 63 years to the day from the murder, April the third,” said author M B Spears. “From 1952 to 2015. This is the same time of year that he died.”

Dr. Beverly Spears’ latest book “Unsolved” covers the story of the murder victim, the events leading up to his death, and the trial that shocked this small community.

Dr. Spears, Beverly to us, is well known to the New Hope crowd. She has attended several fellowship dinners, usually with her granddaughter in tow. She has roots in Rowesville through her Boone and Dukes grandparents. Her half brother, Russell Mimms, lives in Charleston and enjoys fellowship dinners with us as well. She covers the family connections extensively in the book. The victim was originally from Branchville.

This is a meticulously researched book and interesting read for anyone but particularly those of us who has some acquaintance with politics in the solid south of the 1950s. Spears lived through these events as a teenager in Darlington and has amazing recall in addition to her considerable writing and research talents.  


The book is available for purchase on Amazon: Unsolved