From the Aug. 20, 1925 issue of The Landmark, Statesville, N.C.
Business Houses Close for Funeral—300 Automobiles Follow Body to Grave—Dead Man’s Minister Father Requests No Hymns and No Eulogies
Rockingham, Aug. 18—Tributes paid to William W. Ormond, young man of Raleigh who was shot and killed here as the aftermath of a love affair that was denied, citizens of Rockingham turned their eyes today toward the October term of Superior court when W.B. Cole, wealthy mill executive, is scheduled to go on trial on a charge of murder in connection with the slaying.
Counsel for the defense already includes certain leading attorneys in North Carolina. Conferences were held by them with the defendant at which it was apparently decided not to press for the release of Cole under bail. The solicitor will be assisted by private counsel.
Rockingham, Aug. 17—The tremendous and far-reaching interest in the homicide of last Saturday wherein W.B. Cole, wealthy textile manufacturer, shot and killed W.W. (Bill) Ormond, son of a Methodist minister, as he sat quietly in his Ford roadster, unarmed, was manifested here this afternoon by the attendance at the funeral of the slain man. It was held at 4 o’clock from the Methodist church, of which is father, Rev. A.L. Ormond, had been pastor for four years.
The stores and places of business of the city were closed for an hour, from 4 to 5 o’clock, during the time of the funeral out of respect to the dead young man and his parents.
Scores of friends from adjacent towns, among them President E.C. Brooks of State College, were here. The parents of the young man wished t have a simple service in a private home but bowed to the insistence of friends that it be held in the Methodist church. However, Rev. Mr. Ormond requested that no hymns be sung, and no eulogy be uttered. He simply wished to have his dead put away as quietly as possible.
But despite this, the funeral became the largest attended of any private citizen ever held in Richmond county. The church building was packed, the side aisles crowed, the ante-rooms full and several hundred on the law unable to get within. The service was extremely simple.
Dr. C.M. Hawkins, Major A. McCullen and Presiding Elder C.L. Read conducted the service, after which the hundreds of people proceeded to Eastside cemetery, final resting place of Bill Ormond.
In the procession, which had to pass by the residence of W.B. Cole, were over 300 automobiles, by actual count. The church is about three blocks from the county jail wherein is Mr. Cole.
One basic fact is locally conceded to have existed, that Bill Ormond had no worldly goods and that he and Miss Elizabeth Cole, 24, and a splendid young daughter of W.B. Cole had been going together for many months, and were generally supposed to be in love with each other. Their going together was an accepted town fact. But it appears that in more recent months Mr. Cole had objected to young Ormond keeping company with his daughter, and so sometime last winter rumor has it that Mr. Cole forbade Ormond going with her. Ormond moved to Raleigh last September, to State College. During the winter considerable feeling developed between the two men, and it is said that letters threatening physical violence had been exchanged between them. Finally, about 1st of April or May, Mr. Cole in company with his attorney, Fred W. Bynum, are said to have gone to Raleigh to see Ormond, but found that he was in Nashville, N.C., at his father’s home.
Mr. Bynum thereupon is said to have gone alone to Nashville, and to have submitted to Bill Ormond and to his father, Rev. A.L. Ormond, a paper for signing therein Ormond agreed to relinquish his friendship for Miss Cole and agreed not to further communicate with her, make any remarks (if any had been made) about her, and to stay clear of the Cole family.
Upon signing this agreement, Mr. Bynum is said to have remarked to Rev. Mr. Ormond that “this now ends the matter, everything is settled and there is nothing more to it.” The friends of Ormond insist that since that time he has not communicate din any way with the Cole family, has stuck steadfastly to his job in Raleigh and had been to Rockingham but twice, once July 4, when the Cole family were in the mountains, and again last Saturday when he brought his younger brother Allison here to visit a young lady. He and his brother left Raleigh Saturday morning, in his Ford roadster, getting to Rockingham about 1:40 o’clock. His brother went calling whle he went to Ledbetter’s pond with some friends.
Returning to town about 5 o’clock, he at 5:10 ‘phoned Miss Laura Page Steele and made a date to call in a few minutes. He then got into his car, parked it in front of the Page garage against the curb headed east, and 50 feet east of the Manufacturers building, and was seated in his car smoking when Mr. Cole, who was on the Manufacturers building steps, saw him. Immediately Mr. cole walked eastward until he reached the car, and then getting abreast of Ormond at the car door began firing, the three bullets taking effect and Ormond expiring in a few moments.
On the other hand, friends of Mr. Cole assert that he is too conservative and level-headed a citizen ever t act hastily or ill-thoughtedly. No one ascribes any idea of temporary insanity or Harry K. Thaw derangement.
He bears the highest reputation both as a business man and churchman; his character is above reproach, and he has an intellect of the events, in so far as the public business successes would indicate as much. Friends further assert that he is obliged to have had some good cause for action, and that it will be developed in due time.