City Mail Carrier Fatally Wounded
Judson F. Reel,
born in North Carolina, July 17, 1894, came to
Glendale from Old Fort N. C.
Coming to Spartanburg County, SC, he entered the
postal service before World War 1 and had a large
family connection in the area. Judson married the
local native, Miss. Ellen Belle Morris, born November
18, 1898, the daughter of Gus and Jennie Morris of Glendale.
The 1920 Spartanburg County/Glendale Census
shows that they were living with Ellen’s mother and
father and that she had 3 or more siblings. The
household was listed as;
Gus M. Morris 57, husband/head of household
Wife; Jennie 55
Children; Wilton 27
Lillian L. Morris LeMaster 29
Her children; Earl LeMaster 10 Sara
Ellen B. Morris Reel 22
Judson F. Reel 25
Their child; Susie Mae Reel 1
year, 8 months.
Judson Reel was shot to death by a disgruntled,
confused, drunken woman while delivering mail on his
regular postal route in Spartanburg.
Excerpts from news articles relating to the death of
Judson F. Reel published February 16 & 17, 1932;
Judson F. Reel, 38 year old Sunday School
Superintendent and postman, died in the General
Hospital Monday night after being shot three times by
Mrs. Gussie Fine, 39. She had purchased the gun with
the intent of ending her own life. She had also
attempted to take her own life by drinking poison a
few months before. She was confined to the hospital
for several weeks before being released.
She confessed to the police that the shooting of Mr.
Reel was like a dream to her and asked about the
condition of Reel and expressed hope that he would not
die. When told that Reel was dead, she broke down
sobbing in the jail cell where she was being held. She
told the officers that she would not have been in this
plight had they not interfered with her when she had
taken poison. She questioned if she would be permitted
to go to the Funeral Home and view the body.
The shooting occurred near the corner of Hampton and
Erwin Street in Spartanburg where Mr. Reel was
delivering mail. The woman admitted to the police that
she had drunk part of a pint of whiskey to get up the
nerve to shoot Reel. She told the police how she had
driven to the corner of Irwin and Hampton Ave where
she waited for Mr. Reel who she knew was delivering
mail in that section. When Mr. Reel came up, she said
they exchanged a few words and she shot him in the
back as he passed on up the street. At the first shot
he turned and grabbled with her for the gun after
which she shot him once in the chest and once in the
abdomen. At this point a young man came across the
street and took the gun from her.
A Coroner’s jury returned a verdict “that J. F. Reel
was shot three times and killed by Mrs. Gussie Fine
and recommended that she be held for further
Funeral services were held in the Glendale Baptist Church where
he was a member and Superintendent of Sunday School.
Interment took place in the Glendale
Community Cemetery. Survivors were; his wife,
Ellen Belle Reel; four children, Susie, Jane, James,
Harold and Franklin Reel.
Following the untimely death of her husband, Ellen
Belle Reel married Mr. Boyce Jones, a local native.
She died in 1979.
Excerpts from the Obituary of Ellen Belle Reel Jones
published Friday October 26, 1979;
Ellen Belle Morris Reel Jones, 81, wife of Boyce
Jones, died Thursday in the Spartanburg General
A native of Spartanburg County, she was the daughter
of the late Gus M. and Jane Lockman Morris and was a
member of the Glendale
Baptist Church, a retired textile worker.
Survivors were; sons, James W. Reel, Spartanburg,
Harold J. Reel, Greenville, Franklin M. Reel, Marieta,
Ga. ; daughters, Mrs. Susie Gosnell of the home, Mrs.
Jane Snite Martinson, Asheville, N. C.; nine grand and
nine great grandchildren. Funeral services were held
at M. W. Bobo Funeral Chapel with interment following
in the Glendale Cemetery
alongside of Judson.
Writer’s comments; Obviously Mrs. Fine was a
sorely disturbed woman. She told police that she shot
Reel because “he had wrecked her life”. Just before he
died, Reel made a statement to the police but to my
knowledge what Reel said to the police or how Reel had
wrecked the life of Gussie Fine has never been
released or explained.
The Reels lived in a large two story house on the
corner of Glendale/Whitestone-Glendale/Ben Avon road
and were highly respected and much loved in their
church and community. They had a large family
connection in the area. The whole community was set
aghast and could hardly believe the news of the
untimely death of Mr. Reel.
It has been with great reluctance that I have released
this sad story to the web site. Realizing that it was
a part of Glendale
history which I have been trying to preserve for
future generation, I have come to feel that honesty
demands the heart warming and the sad both, be
All Census and Spartanburg Herald
Obituaries courtesy of Spartanburg County Library.
Clarence E. Crocker,
This web site has been started
as a public service to share the story of Glendale. The
web master and person to contact about putting
information on the web site is Mary McKinney Teaster.
Contact her at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See
more information about Mary and her Glendale connection
at Mary McKinney Teaster.