JEFFERSON — The Marion County trial of the century, a century ago, began Thursday in downtown Jefferson as actors re-enacted the infamous Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Play at the Jefferson Playhouse.

The show kicked off a weekend long schedule of Jefferson’s 74th annual Pilgrimage event. The play will also continue with shows through today and the weekend.

The annual play, which serves as part of the 74th annual Pilgrimage event in downtown Jefferson, will be shown at the Jefferson Playhouse, located at 1860 North Market Street.

Other show times this week are set for 7:30 p.m. today, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets to the drama can be purchased online at the Pilgrimage website

The play will cover the life, murder and trial of “Diamond Bessie” Moore and her lover and likely killer Abe Rothschild. Moore, a prostitute, and her violent lover Rothschild, a notorious businessman with a bad reputation, traveled to Jefferson for a vacation. The volatile couple who were known for their public fighting, stayed at a local bed and breakfast and reportedly had a lover’s quarrel during their stay.

History records Moore joining Rothschild for a picnic down by the river one afternoon but only he returned from the meet up and she was later found dead. Rothschild quickly hopped a train out of town but authorities tracked him down and dragged him back to East Texas for a trial where he was eventually found not guilty due to a lack of evidence, though he had purchased a gun just days before Moore’s murder.


In addition to the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial this week, the 74th annual Jefferson Pilgrimage event, including the historic tour of homes and plant sale, begins today.

This year’s Pilgrimage is jam packed with events and activities and all follow the unused theme from last year’s canceled event, “Bygone Days on the Bayou.”

Pilgrimage was first created in the spring of 1940 when the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club hosted a three-day Dogwood Trail event to draw visitors to the area in an effort to promote East Texas and all her beauty.

Feedback from the first event showed visitors wanted a chance to see inside historic Jefferson’s old homes, so Pilgrimage was born.

For its 74th annual Pilgrimage event this year, club volunteers are inviting guests to come celebrate historic Jefferson by taking a step back in time to the 1860s with a host of events and activities.

Proceeds from Pilgrimage go to support the historical properties owned by the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club, a 501c3 non-profit.

This year’s event include the historic homes tour, which begin today, tours of the Jay Gould Rail Car, the Heirloom Plant Sale, the Craft Fair and the parade on Saturday.

For a full list of Pilgrimage events and to purchase tickets, visit their website at

Recommended For You