What ever happened to William Zantzinger?

William Zantzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll with a cane that he twirled ’round his diamond ringed finger.

Hi readers.    I noticed earlier today I was singing ‘The Lonesome Death of Poor Hattie Carroll” by Bobby Dylan back around 1964.   Surprisingly I seem to remember all the words.

Anyway, I smiled at myself as I sang it, rewarding myself for even noticing I was singing it.    Song ran through my head a while and I remembered a nasty incident sometime in the early 1970s when I played the song for my step-dad, which he had no appreciation for.

But then I began wondering what the hell ever happened to William Zantzinger, the rich tobacco farmer who killed a black woman with eleven children with is cane because she was slow serving him drinks.

Of course, we know he got a six month sentence.   But after that?

After prison, Mr. Zantzinger left the farm and went into real estate. He sold antiques, became an auctioneer and owned a night club.

In 1991, The Maryland Independent disclosed that Mr. Zantzinger had been collecting rent from black families living in shanties that he no longer owned; Charles County, Md., had foreclosed on them for unpaid taxes. The shanties lacked running water, toilets or outhouses. Not only had Mr. Zantzinger collected rent for properties he did not own, he also went to court to demand past-due rent, and won.

He pleaded guilty to 50 misdemeanor counts of deceptive trade practices, paid $62,000 in penalties and, under an 18-month sentence, spent only nights in jail.

Information on Mr. Zantzinger’s survivors was unavailable. Though he long refused interviews, he did speak to the author Howard Sounes for his book “Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan” (2001) , telling him of his scorn for Mr. Dylan.

“I should have sued him and put him in jail,” he said.

Damn!   And he lived such a GOOD life.   Who’d have thought it back in 1963 when he was whacking Hattie Carroll in the head with a cane?

RIP.

Old Jules

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2 responses to “What ever happened to William Zantzinger?

  1. Thanks for the memory. When my older brother left home in 1966 to head to Viet Nam he left me his stack of LPs, and I spent hours listening to Ray Charles, David Brubeck and Bob Dylan. I remember being fixated on this song, even though I was still in lockstep with my parents and society as a racist Southern patriot. I think Dylan, and this song, had a lot to do with preparing me for the total conversion I would have to a radical anti-war pro-civil rights hippie in college a few years later.

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