Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - The Hammer July 10th,1920

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

The Hammer July 10th, 1920

William Proctor, a night watchman for the Buick factory number 5, was just about to finish his shift on a Tuesday morning in July 1920 when he was served with a bill of divorce.

William and Carrie Proctor never had the perfect marriage.

The Proctors had adult children, one living in South Carolina and the other two had lived in homes on the same street. They were also the adopted parents of their two grandchildren, ages thirteen and five.

They spent 40 years of their marriage arguing. But this fight was different.

William discovered that his wife had opened a bank account without his knowledge and was hiding money from him. They fought for numerous days about this matter and William demanded she close the account and return his money to him.

When William arrived home after work he was angry. He knew that the divorce bill was coming,  but the blow to his ego combined with being served at work pushed him over the edge.

After a half hour of screaming at each other William picked up his hammer and started hitting Carrie in the head with it.

As she fell to the floor their oldest adopted child was awoke by the noise and came into the room. When he saw what had happened he let out a scream. William heard the scream and started swinging the hammer at the child. Lucky for the boy he was small and quick and avoided being struck by the hammer.

This made William suddenly realized that his anger was out of control.

By this time the neighbors had heard the screams and notified the police. William heard the sirens coming down Nicholas Avenue. He knew his fate was sealed. He pulled a razor knife out of his pocket and slit his throat from ear to ear.

By the time police arrived William Proctor was dead. He had bled to death.

Carrie Proctor was still alive at the time the police arrived. She was rushed to Hurley Hospital but died during surgery.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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