Eldorado Cafe Owner shot by brother in law

Eldorado Cafe Owner shot by brother in law

The Eldorado Cafe & Motel shown here in later years  was located on Hwy 27 south of Spring City.

Brothers-in-law twenty year feud ends in shooting

A twenty yearlong feud between brothers-in-law came to an end on December 21, 1957, when one shot and killed the other, leaving the sister of the victim injured and her husband as the accused.

William “Bill” Spears owned, and operated Spears’ Café & Motel located along U.S. Hwy 27 just a few miles south of Spring City.

Just a short distance further down Hwy 27 was the Eldorado Café & Motel owned, and operated by Edwin McCabe, the brother-in-law to Spears. McCabe’s sister, Nell McCabe Spears, was married to Bill Spears.

Both were extremely popular spots for tourists and locals, drawing in large crowds. Spears Café often featured singers, bands, and even small orchestras at times.



On the evening of December 21, 1957, around 11pm in a rear room of the Spears’ Café, an argument ensued between McCabe and Spears. During the argument witnesses stated that McCabe, dared Spears to pull a gun on him.

Spears then pulled an old army type 32 caliber automatic pistol and fired four rounds. Edwin McCabe was shot through the heart by Bill Spears. His sister, Nell McCabe Spears, jumped between her husband and brother during the altercation and was grazed on the arm when one of the bullets fired by her husband struck her.

According to then Tennessee Highway Patrol officer Jack Carothers, who along with local law enforcement investigated the tragedy were seeking a Jasper, Alabama man for questioning. The man had been present at the time of the shooting. “It is possible that the man started the argument between the brothers-in-law, which lead to the shooting”, Carothers stated.


Spears cafe
Spears Cafe

Edwin McCabe was dead on arrival at Broyles Hospital in Dayton. Bill Spears was arrested and charged with murder.

The Spears’ Café and Motel burned to the ground some years later. Another business known as “The Underground” was later built on the same location.

The Eldorado was sold 5 years after the shooting occurred. It changed hands and names a few times over the years. We last knew it as the “Old VFW Club” when it was torn down during the Hwy 27 Four Lane widening project.

The Eldorado Cafe can be seen in the distance along this strip of Hwy 27 just south of Spring City.
The Eldorado Cafe can be seen in the distance along this strip of Hwy 27 just south of Spring City.

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Published byDean

Born and raised in Dayton Tennessee, I have served in various public service positions in the past. I have a great interest in the History of our town. This site is a way for me to share some of the great history of the area.

1 Comment

  • Karen Reed

    May 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I love seeing these photo’s takes me back. Thank you

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