Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia’

Married the Man Who Killed Her Husband and Then…

June 4, 2012

A STALWART, booted mountaineer was kneeling at the feet of the prettiest widow in the West Virginia hills. As he knelt they looked steadily into each other’s eyes. Each seemed to be challenging the other.

The woman was the widow of Sid Hatfield, famous feudist and gun-fighter in the Mingo mine wars. And the man was Sylvester Petry, State trooper and member of the “Law and Order” clan that had slain Hatfield.

It was the man who broke the silence with a startling question.

“Will you marry me?” he asked.

“Oh, how can you dare to think of such a thing?” the young widow gasped.

“I dare because you did it once before,” replied her suitor — and she lowered her eyes, for it was true.

Less than two years earlier, according to court testimony, which is of official record, she had “married the man who killed her husband.”

On this former occasion she had been the eighteen-year-old girl-bride of C.C. Testaman, Mayor of the little town of Matewan. Testaman was shot dead in the famous “Matewan massacrre” — a battle between strike sympathizers and detectives. And a State witness swore that the shot was fired by Hatfield, who was then acting as Mayor Testaman’s own chief of police.

Two weeks later, Hatfield married Mrs. Testaman.

And now that Sid Hatfield, in his turn, had been laid in the grave, making his wife a “gun widow” for the second time, Sylvester Petry was asking her hand in a third marriage.

He must have read surrender in her lowered eyes, for they were wedded within a week, and the lovely girl of the feud country found herself a bride  for the third time within the brief period of less than eighteen months.

Three times the matrimonial wheel has spun for her. Three times she has been lifted for a brief time into the sunlight of love on the apex of its upward swing, and twice she has been dropped suddenly into the shadows of widowhood when flashing guns set the wheel revolving again.

Though scarcely twenty years of age, she has already lived long, if life can bee measured by tragedy, romance and the mysterious play of fate. She was born in the mountains of West Virginia, and the grim setting of her life has never changed. She was herself of the “mountain people” — a daughter of the mysterious ragged hills whose richness in coal has brought about feuds, and massacres and strife and civil warfare.

Here, particularly during the past three years, intermittent guerrilla warfare has raged. Her first marriage occurred in the midst of one of these clashes. Her first husband, C.C. Testaman, was Mayor of the little mining town of Matewan, friend and sympathizer of the miners in their industrial struggles. Sid Hatfield, Testaman’s boy chief of police, was on the same side. Throughout that entire section, he was regarded as one of the most dangerous “killers” allied with the striking miners against the private detectives, the “Cossacks,” State troopers and strike breakers who were fighting the battles of the “coal barons.”

There was no known feud between Testaman and Hatfield, but prior to the street battle in which Testaman was slain, according to whispers which were repeated openly in court and became part of the official record, Hatfield, the chief of police, had noted the beauty of Testaman’s girl bride, by far the most attractive woman in the little mountain town.

Then came the fatal morning of the “Matewan massacre,” on May 19, 1920. A band of coal mine detectives, clothed with State authority, had entered Matewan and evicted a number of families of striking miners, whose houses were wanted for imported strike breakers.

Though the Mayor, the chief of police and practically the whole population of the town were their bitter enemies, the detectives were allowed to complete their work, while the residents watched in sullen silence.

The detectives, nearly a score of them, were assembled on the platform of the railroad station, in the sunshine, waiting for a train that was due within an hour. Mayor Testaman and a few citizens were standing near. Hatfield was nowhere in sight.

Suddenly a single shot rang out. Almost immediately a fusillade followed. The quiet scene was instantaneously changed to bloody confusion. Testaman lay writhing on the platform, mortally wounded. Several of the detectives were down, clutching at their breasts. And from doorways, from behind trees, from behind corners of houses, rifles and pistols were spitting fire.

The detectives who had not been hit darted for shelter, returning the fire as they ran. More than a hundred shots were discharged.

Ten men lay dead or dying in the streets of Matewan. Seven were detectives, two were miners and the tenth was Mayor Testaman.

It occurred to no one at the time that Sid Hatfield could have had anything to do with the slaying of Testaman, for they were friends and were both on the same side in the mining feud. Or if it did occur to any one, he kept silent.

When the news of the battle was flashed to Charleston, a force of State police rushed to the scene. Nineteen persons were arrested and put on trial at Williamson, the county seat of “Bloody Mingo.”

The principal defendant was the rugged, youthful smiling Sid Hatfield — now a bride-groom. But he wasn’t on trial for killing Testaman. He and the others were on trial for the battle with the detectives, and “Smiling Sid” surrounded by his friends in the heart of Mingo County, was confident of a general acquittal.His confidence was in a way justified. Though still a young man he was a feared and famous character. He was a cousin of the noted “Devil Anse” Hatfield, and a member of the noted Hatfield clan, known throughout all America in connection with the Hatfield-McCoy feud that raged for many years along the West Virginia-Kentucky border.

Witness after witness was examined, and “Smiling Sid” still smiled. Beside him sat his bride, the “gun-widow” of a few weeks.Suddenly the name of Testaman was heard from the witness stand — and just as suddenly Sid Hatfield ceased to smile.

“_____ the shot that killed C.C. Testaman was fired from inside the door of a hardware store,” the witness was saying, “and the shot was fired by his own chief of police, Sid Hatfield.”

A silence like death filled the courthouse. A hundred pairs of eyes stared at Hatfield, whose jaw was set in grim defiance, and at the woman who was flushing crimson by his side.

Captain S.B. Avis, attorney associated with the prosecution, lifted an accusing arm and pointed dramatically to the pair.

“And the fact remains,” he said slowly, “that within ten days the widow of Testaman became the bride of Sid Hatfield.”

For a tense moment anything might have happened. What actually did happen, however, was that Sid Hatfield and the other defendants were acquitted, and

“Smiling Sid” and his bride resumed their honeymoon at Matewan.

A jewelry store which Mayor Testaman had owned was converted by Hatfield into a hardware store, which sold among other things, arms and ammunition.

This store, it was said, became a popular meeting place for the striking miners, who recognized in his a leader. His sympathies were all on the side of the miners as opposed to the coal operators and the “Cossacks,” who were now in complete control of the district and were keeping a watchful eye on “Smiling Sid” and his companions. Sid was known as a dangerous character and a “two-gun” man.

One night the little town of Mohawk, where old miners had gone on strike and outsiders had been brought in to take their places, was “shot up.”

Hatfield, his boon companion, Ed Chambers, and several others later were arrested charged with participation in the shooting.

On the day of the trial Mrs. Hatfield and Mrs. Chambers decided to accompany their husbands to Welch.

*   *   *   *   *

It has never been proven in court exactly how Hatfield was slain. Just as he and Chambers, with their wives on their arms, approached the court house a shot rang out, followed by a fusillade. Hatfield and Chambers both fell dead, riddled with bullets. A group of “Cossacks” — detectives, the “law and order” men — stood on the staircase, holding smoking pistols.

According to their story, they fired when they saw Sid reach toward his pocket. A pistol was picked up from beside the body of the slain “Two-gun man.” Reports were conflicting. Mrs. Hatfield declared that her husband was unarmed.

Hatfield’s body was carried back to Matewan by his widow. The largest crowd of mountaineers ever seen in that section gathered for the funeral. Mrs. Hatfield clad in deep mourning, stood at the head of the coffin as the long line of mountain folk filed by for a last look at the face of their dead friend and hero. As the coffin was being closed the black-garbed widow fell across it and sobbed:

“I’ll never forget you, my sweetheart.”

But fate stood at her side.

Six months later, almost to a day, she became Mrs. Sylvester Petry, wife of a member of the law-and-order armed force that embraced the man or men who had slain her second husband.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Mar 5, 1922

In a Careless Moment Devil Anse Allowed It to Be Taken

June 3, 2012


In a Careless Moment Devil Anse Allowed It to Be Taken. — The Hatfields Wrecked the Photographer’s Establishment.

When the famous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families, which cost many lives in the mountain country of West Virginia and Kentucky, was declared at an end in April, 1897, the families of old Randolph McCoy and the descendants of old Deacon Ellison Hatfield, led by the notorious Devil Anse, gathered on the banks of the Big Sandy river to sanction the wedding of Mary McCoy and young Aaron Hatfield. There are rumors now that this peace protocol is over and talk of a fresh outbreak. Whether there is any ground for the belief that the feud is to be reopened it is hard to tell, for fighting, not talking, is what both families engage in when the ill-feeling comes to the top and there are scores to be settled.

Four times the Hatfields and the McCoys gathered to declare off the feud that has been passed down through three generations, and three times out of the four blood was shed before the negotiations were concluded. Moonshine whisky, which both families make and drink in large quantities, has been responsible mainly for the breaking of these compacts; and if the families go at each other again it will probably be because of the bad effects of the product of the illicit distilleries in the West Virginia mountains. It is almost incredible that such a feud could start up again and continue with the same freedom that it did twenty years ago, but it is possible, for the authorities of that state are as powerless to stop it today as they were years ago, when Parish and Sam McCoy shot and killed young Bill Stayton from ambush, thereby shedding the first blood of the feud.

The picture that accompanies this story is particularly interesting for two reasons. First, it is the only group picture ever taken of the Hatfields and the only picture ever taken of any of the leaders of that family with their consent. Secondly, having been taken in times of peace, it illustrates the caution with which these outlays are observing the truce. There are four revolvers and four rifles in sight. How many small weapons there are in concealment it is impossible to tell, but the reader can be pretty certain that Mrs. Devil Anse and Mrs. Cap, in the background, and the two youngsters in the foreground, are well prepared for emergencies as their relatives. It was only a short time after this picture was taken that one of these youngsters tried to murder a deputy sheriff who had cornered his father, Cap Hatfield, who was a fugitive from justice, having escaped from jail at Williamson. The youngster came pretty near succeeding in his purpose.

After Cap Hatfield escaped from jail in July, 1897, he made for Devil Anse’s old home on Tug river, near the mouth of Peter Creek, where he was joined by the others who are shown in the picture. Some fifteen miles away, at a small settlement, a photographer had set up an establishment, and he drove out to the Tug river cabin to get a picture of the Hatfields. The Hatfields received him decently enough, but refused to allow him to take a picture at first. Cap was particularly vehement in his objections, but Devil Anse was good natured about the matter. He knew that he and Cap and other members of the family had had cameras snapped at them during visits to West Virginia towns time and again, and he finally got the whole crowd together and told the photographer to fire away.

The result was the picture here shown. The photographer took the plate away, promising to send back a set of the pictures. The next day Cap Hatfield was in an ugly mood. He cursed Devil Anse, himself, and everybody else for sitting for a photograph, particularly at a time when officers were on his track, and, armed to the teeth, he set out for the settlement to do things to the photographer and his outfit. Now, of all the Hatfields, Cap is the most reckless and murderous. He, more than any other member of the family, with the possible exception of Ellison Mounts, is responsible for the killing and maltreating of women in the feud now supposed to be closed, and he is a scoundrel without morals or mercy. Killing is his pleasure, and there is no doubt in the world that he would have murdered that photographer if he’d ever caught him.

But Devil Anse looked out for that. With Elias, Tray and Joe he headed Cap off, and sent him back to the cabin. All Hatfields have a way of doing what Devil Anse tells them to do, and,  even the bloodthirsty Cap is subservient to him. The old man told Cap that he’d see that none of the pictures were printed, and with his three younger sons he set out to keep his word.

The photographer declared on his solemn oath that he had sent the plate away to be developed. He was lying with he said it, and it was a good thing for him that it was Devil Anse and not Cap that he tried to fool. Anse and his boys found the plate and destroyed it. Then, as a lesson to the photographer, they smashed his camera and wrecked his entire establishment. Then they went back to the cabin on Tug river.

But, the photographer had struck off a proof before Devil Anse arrived. He toned this proof and made the picture shown here. It fell into the hands of the McCoys and one of htem gave it to a traveling man who went through that region a short time ago. The cabin which is the background of the picture is deserted now and was practically deserted then. It was being used when the picture was taken as a hiding place for the fugitive Cap. It is over the fireplace in this cabin that the following, done in gaudy colors, has hung for years:

Under this motto some wag wrote some years ago:

“Leastwise, not this side of hell.”

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Feb 8, 1899

Marshall Wright: Aged War Veteran Tells of Experience

November 12, 2010

140th Pennsylvania - Officers

Image from the History of Co. K,  140th Penna Volunteers – 1862 – “65

Aged War Veteran Tells Of Experience

Marshall Wright, 85 years of age, of Croton avenue, clear of vision and mind, and still able to go about without a staff tells of his early days in the Panhandle of West Virginia, relates thrilling experiences of how he suffered for the flag and endured hardness for his country. The whole story is an inspiration to the faltering ones of today, who are losing their nerve.

“I was born in “old Virginny” September 10, 1837, on a large 400-acre Brooke’s county farm, just across the Ohio river from Steubenville, O. Brooke county has always been in that narrow strip of land called the Panhandle lying between the state of Pennsylvania and the Ohio river. Up to 1861 it was a part of Virginia; but when Virginia seceded from the Union, representatives from 47 counties of the northwestern part of the state organized a state government, and in 1863 were admitted to the Union as West Virginia. That part of the country was a hotbed of secession. Families were arrayed against each other, friend was against friend. Seven of my schoolmates favored the southern cause.

“My father was Jacob Wright and my mother was Margaret Davis Wright. There were 11 of we children. We did not have free schools but the parents paid tuition of abut $2 for each child for a term of three months a year.

Lived In Log House

“When I was 12 years old I was doing all kinds of farm work and working the same number of hours as father. We lived in a log house. I can still see the big fireplace, the spinning wheel, the long barreled rifle on pegs above the mantle, the flickering tallow candle or the piece of wicking burning on the edge of a saucer of grease. Then that gun. The barrel was as heavy as a crow bar, but oh boy, how it would shoot. One day father gave me a dozen lead bullets as I was preparing to go hunting with the old relic on the pegs. I came back with 13 squirrels. The thirteenth squirrel was killed with the ‘neck’ cut from one of the bullets, which had adhered when taking from the moulds. In those early days the wild ducks and geese flying to or from their winter home in the south would sometimes hand and occupy the river. There would be thousands of them in the river at one time. In the winter when the farm work was all done up, I would make trips down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans on a flat boat. I usually went with Bill Householder who was a regular at that kind of seafaring, and had just completed my third trip when the was came on. I was 24 years old and the first act of the seceders was to go down along the Baltimore & Ohio as far as Grafton and burn buildings and bridges. I joined the three-month men as a private in the First Virginia regiment and when we overtook the bridge burners at Phillippi and shelled them, there was nothing further to it. We were paid $11 a month in gold and at the expiration of the term were mustered out at Wheeling.

In 140th Pa. Volunteers

“I then enlisted in Company K, 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry for three years. My captain was William Stockton of Cross Creek and the colonel was Dick Roberts of Beaver, Pa. We assembled and organized at Washington’s fair grounds. Then went to Camp Copeland, Pittsburgh, then moved to Harrisburg where we were equipped and sent out to patrol the Northern Central railway, now the P.R.R., to Parkton, Md. On December 1, 1862, we joined the Army of the Potomac. Our first fight was at Chancellorsville where the famous General Stonewall Jackson was killed. We were defeated, and re-crossed the Rappahannock to go into camp. Next, we followed Lee’s army which was invading Pennsylvania. Our regiment arrived at Gettysburg about 9o’clock on the morning of July 2 and took a position in the famous wheatfield. Our losses were very heavy and among the slain was Colonel Roberts. I was struck on the right elbow and had to retire. Later I was sent to Satterlee hospital, West Philadelphia. My father came and took me home. At the expiration of my furlough I went to the detention camp at Alexandria, Va., and a little later on was given full equipment including a gun and 40 rounds of ammunition, and with others boarded a supply train on the Orange and Alexandria railroad to rejoin the regiment, which was in camp, in the county of Culpeper. That was as rough a road as a man ever rode on! It now appears to me that the engine bell never stopped ringing owing to the low joints. It’s a wonder the water did not splash out of the boiler.
At Cancellorsville.

“General Grant now had charge of the army of the Potomac and great activity was going on at every point. Our regiment crossed the Rapidan and slept on the Chancellorsville battlefield. On May 4th, 1864, we went into the battle of the Wilderness and got into action on the second day, just before sundown, at Todd’s Tavern, where Corporal Wright, that’s me, had one bullet put thru the sleeve of his blouse and another right through his cap. Well, they say “a miss is as good as a mile.” We next crossed the Mataponny river in the night. At daybreak a large force of Confederates came out and formed as if to go into battle. We fired one volley into them and they disappeared, while we fell back across the little stream. Spottsylvania came next where Lee had his army behind earthworks. Our regiment was marching in the night to the immediate vicinity of the works. It has been said that we were twenty men deep on the assaulting line. We knew something was going to happen. It rained all night. Just as the first streaks of dawn lifted the darkness of the night the order to charge rang all along the line. The fight was on. The noise of that battle was awful. I was in the first line and went over the top twenty or thirty feet, when a bullet struck me in the neck, passed clear through and came out of my back. We took several thousand prisoners. My injury was of such a nature that I was paralyzed. The battle was at its height and the captured ‘rebs’ were pouring back to our lines and eager they were to get back to a place of safety. As one of them came close to me I held out my hands, and asked him if he wouldn’t take me back. He stopped and helped me to our side of the works and laid me down where the flying bullets would not be so liable to get me, then beat it back into our lines as fast as he could travel.

That was on May 12th. They carried me back to the field hospital with other wounded. The tide of battle changed and the field hospital was left unguarded. The ‘rebs’ came that way and while they wanted nothing to do with anything that looked like I did, they took my boots and every bit of my clothing except my underwear. This little scene had hardly been staged when Sheridan’s cavalry came down and took care of us. I was loaded into an ambulance with another wounded soldier and for 36 hours was bumped and jolted over rough country roads, many miles of the way being corduroy.

Suffer Intensely.

The ride was worse than death. We both suffered intensely. Upon arrival at Acquai creek we were placed on straw or hay that had been scattered on the ground and when the hospital boat arrived we were loaded onto the boat, and put onto cots that seemed so nice and soft to anything we had thus far. Up to this time nothing had been done for me. Not a drop of medicine, nothing to ease the pain, had not been bathed or had my wound dressed. There were 1500 [or 1600] of us in that cargo bearing every conceivable kind of an injury. One of the attendants came to me and said: “Open your mouth.” I did so and he said: “drink all you can,” as he put a bottle to my lips. I immediately went to sleep and when I awoke it was in the Harvard Hospital, Washington, D.C. It had been five days since I was hurt and the only thing that had been done was to give me that medicine out of the bottle.”

Stopping as if to collect his thoughts this old veteran said, “What makes us old Grand Army men love the flag so much is, that we have suffered so much for it and it has done so much for us.” “My wound was an unusual one owing to the way it cut a pathway thru my neck among the arteries and cleared itself without striking a vital spot. The surgeons took a photograph of it. My left arm was paralyzed by the wound. At the end of thirty days my mother went to Washington and took me home on furlough.

After six months treatment at the Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, I was sent back to the regiment which was lying in front of Petersburg. In November 1864, After the final withdrawal from Richmond, the army followed Lee with the 140th Regiment deployed as skirmishers. We overtook them at Appomattox and the surrender followed, April 9th, 1865. I was in the Grand Review at Washington in May, then we proceeded to Pittsburgh turned in our guns and equipment and were mustered out of the service.

I went back to farming and 12 years ago came to New Castle to make my home. In 1880 Miss Margaret Pollock became my wife.

We have two daughters, Mrs. Geo. Richardson of Main street and Mrs. J.H. Fulton of Los Angeles, Calif.

We live in the Dufford Block, Croton avenue.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) 2 Dec 1922

New Castle News (New Castle,  Pennsylvania) Mar 3,  1911

Oak Park Cemetery (Image from Find-A-Grave)

D. Marshall Wright.

D. Marshall Wright, aged 86 years, of 337 1-2 Croton avenue, one of the oldest residents of New Castle and veteran of the Civil War, died Saturday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George Richardson of 601 East Main street after a brief Illness of pneumonia.

Mr. Wright was born in Virginia, September 10, 1837, and had resided in this city for the past 14 years. He was a member of Epworth Methodist church, G.A.R. and I.O.O.F. lodge.

He enlisted at the beginning of the Civil War in Washington county in the Union Army with Company K, 140th Pennsylvania Volunteers and served for four years.

Besides hsi widow, Mrs. Margaret Wright, he leaves two daughters, Mrs. J.H. Fulton of California, and Mrs. George Richardson of this city, and three sisters, Mrs. Thomas Wheeler and Mrs. Alex Ralston of West Virginia, and Mrs. Wesley Crawford, of Brazil, Ind.

Funeral services took place this afternoon at 2:30 from the Richardson home on Main street in charge of Rev. Homer Davis assisted by Rev. C.M. Small. Interment was made in Oak Park Mausoleum.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Feb 11, 1924

Name:      Marshall Wright
Enlistment Date:     9 Apr 1862
Rank at enlistment:     Corporal
State Served:     Pennsylvania
Was Wounded?:     Yes
Survived the War?:     Yes
Service Record:     Enlisted in on 18 May 1861.
Mustered out on 28 Aug 1861.
Enlisted in Company K, Pennsylvania 140th Infantry Regiment on 04 Sep 1862.
Mustered out on 31 May 1865 at Washington, DC.
Sources:     History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865
Research by R. Ross Houston

Marshall Wright‘s daughter, Hattie L. Wright married James Hunter Fulton. They has a son, H. Marshall Fulton:

Name:   Hattie L Fulton
[Hattie L Wright]
Birth Date: 12 Jul 1873
Birthplace: West Virginia
Death Date: 21 Dec 1941
Death Place: Los Angeles
Mother’s Maiden Name: Pollock
Father’s Surname: Wright

Name:  Hattie Fulton
Home in 1900: Ellwood City, Lawrence, Pennsylvania
Age: 26
Birth Date: Jul 1873
Birthplace: West Virginia
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relationship to Head of House: Wife
Father’s Birthplace: West Virginia
Mother’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother: number of living children: 1
Mother: How many children: 1
Spouse’s name:     James H Fulton
Marriage Year: 1893
Marital Status: Married
Years Married:     7
Household Members:
Name     Age
James H Fulton 30 Jul 1869 PA PA PA
Hattie Fulton 26
Marshall Fulton 5 Jun 1894 PA PA WV

Name:  Hattie L Fulton
Age in 1910: 36
Estimated birth year: abt 1874
Birthplace: West Virginia
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Father’s Birth Place: Virginia
Mother’s Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Spouse’s name: James H Fulton
Home in 1910: New Castle Ward 3, Lawrence, Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Female
Household Members:
Name     Age
James H Fulton     40
Hattie L Fulton 36
H Marshall Fulton 15

Name: H Marshall Fulton
Home in 1930: Alhambra, Los Angeles, California
Age: 35
Estimated birth year: abt 1895
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse’s name: Hazel L Fulton
Household Members:
Name     Age
H Marshall Fulton 35 (machinist – can factory)
Hazel L Fulton 33 UT ENG SWE
Jack Fulton 10

Jack Fulton

As I was doing some research on Marshall Wright, I ran across this obituary for his great-grandson, who coincidentally passed away this year.

Jack Marshall Fulton 06/02/1919 ~ 03/28/2010

ESCONDIDO — Jack Marshall  Fulton  was born June 2, 1919 in Ogden, Utah, the son of Hazel and Marshall  Fulton. He passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 28, 2010. Jack graduated from Alhambra High School, Alhambra, Calif. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. After being discharged, he returned to school graduating from Pierce College and then the Agricultural Teacher Program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he received his Bachelors and Masters of Ed.

He began his teaching career at Escondido High School in 1957 and served until he retired in 1980. He then married the love of his life, Martha Moen on January 15, 1983 and enjoyed 14 years of marriage that included many travels and cruises. Jack became a Master Mason in 1949. He served his community with the Masons and also the Lions Club throughout his life. He leaves his loving family, Cary and Cheryl Moen, Norman and Carol Peet; and grandchildren, Dana and Wendy Moen, Deric and Amber Moen, Darin Moen, Andrew and Erin Peet, Aaron and Amanda Peet, Josh and April Peet; and five great grandchildren with one on the way!

You are invited to the memorial service on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, at 2 p.m., at the Masonic Center, 1331 S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025, 760-745-4957. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be given to Elizabeth Hospice,

A West Virginia Tragedy: Black Bear Devours Three Children

July 20, 2010


Bear Seizes and Devours Three Children Who Had Become Lost in the Dense Woods.

Three dead bodies — the remains of Willie, Mary and Henry Porterfield, who wandered from their home at Job, W. Va., one Sunday — were discovered Tuesday by a party of searchers who had been out in the mountains looking for the children. Near the bodies, which were found in a dense thicket, was discovered a large black bear. A shot ended its existence. The bodies of the little children, aged respectively three, five and seven, had been mutilated by the bear, which is said to be one of the largest specimens ever seen in the locality. News of their disappearance spread among the mountaineers and a large searching party of volunteers was hurriedly formed. The members spread out in all directions and covered the territory thoroughly. Sunday night the search was kept up, and Monday and Monday night, without finding the slightest trace of the missing children.

Tuesday new searchers started in, and all redoubled their efforts. Several women had volunteered their services to help find the three babes in the woods.

John Weldon, a Maryland hunter who happened to be in the neighborhood, tendered his services and made a point of examining thoroughly the thickets and spots where underbrush was most dense. In one of these secluded spots he discovered a hat, and also noticed what appeared to be evidence of a body having been dragged over the ground. Following the tracks, he and his companion saw the dead children, or what was left of them, and also saw the bear which had killed the three little ones. The killing of the bear followed instantly, and then the remains of the babies were taken up and carried to their home, where a grief-crazed mother awaited their coming.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jun 18, 1901


Their Mangled Bodies Found on the Mountain Side in West Virginia.

The three little children of Edward P. Porterfield, of near Job, W. Va., were killed by a black bear in the mountains twelve miles southeast of that town. The bodies were found on Tuesday on the mountain side where the children apparently lost themselves before falling into the clutches of the bear.

The children left home Monday, and as they did not return, searching parties were organized to scour the country. The last seen of the little ones was when they started into the country for a few hours’ frolic to rig ramps. One searching party came upon the torn and mangled bodies half way up the mountain.

The children had been fearfully mangled by the bear. Their ribs were crushed and their flesh torn. There was some evidence that Henry Porterfield, aged seven years, the eldest of the three, had made a struggle to defend the two smaller children — Mary, aged three, and William, aged five.

After the bodies were found, John Weldon, a Maryland hunter, started on the trail of the bear, hunted him down and killed him in a hand-to-hand encounter, in which Weldon escaped without injury. Before starting out on the trail Weldon vowed to bring in the pelt of the bear, and he did. A bullet and some knife thrust settled the brute. The bear was a monster of his kind, the largest ever killed in those mountains.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 25, 1901

Children Eaten by Bear.

Pittsburgh, Pa., May 23. — A Job (W. Va.) special says: To be crushed to death in the embrace of a monstrous black bear and their little bodies afterward mangled and partly devoured, was the frightful fate that befell the three young children of E.P. Porterfield, a mountaineer residing about 12 miles southeast of this place. The remains were found Tuesday by a searching party which has been out since Sunday evening.

Marble Rock Journal (Marble Rock, Iowa) May 30, 1901

No Headline, first paragraph the same as above:

Job, W. VA., May 22…..

The party included John Weldon, a Maryland hunter, who, within a few minutes after the discovery of the bodies, shot and killed the bear in a neighboring thicket. The children were Mary, aged 3; Willie, aged 5, and Henry, aged 7. Shortly after noon Sunday they left home to gather flowers in a clearing near the house. Nothing more is known, but it is supposed that they wandered into the woods and, becoming lost, continued on their way until they were overtaken by the bear, three miles distant from their parents’ home. The bear feasted on all three of the bodies. The bones of the children had been crushed like straws and the flesh stripped off with teeth and claws. The party divided and began a search. Within a few minutes Weldon discovered it in a thick clump of hemlock saplings near a small stream. A single shot ended its life. It was declared to be the largest bear ever seen in this neighborhood. The bodies of the children which presented a sickening sight, were carried home in sacks. The parents of the children are almost crazed with grief, their bereavement leaving them childless.

New Oxford Item (New Oxford, Pennsylvania) May 31, 1901


Mangled Remains Found in Woods In Wyoming.*

JOB, Wyo., May 22. — The three children of E.P. Porterfield, a mountaineer residing about twelve miles southwest of this place, while gathering flowers in the woods near their home, were killed and partially devoured by a bear. The remains were found by a searching party which had been out since Sunday evening.

The bear was discovered later and killed. The children were Mary, aged three; Willie, aged five, and Henry, aged seven. The parents are almost crazed with grief, the bereavement leaving them childless.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) May 23, 1901

*Not Wyoming

NOTE: Job, West Virginia is in the Monongahela National Forest North-West of Harrisonburg, West Virginia.


Bear Images: cropped from postcards on

An Old-Time Murder: The Jury Disagrees With the Ghost

March 1, 2010


How a Ghost’s Appearance Led to Some Important Discoveries — The Jury Disagrees With the Ghost.

The death of Lem Mercer, a farmer who for many years had been a resident of Pleasants county, Va., has had the effect of reviving, in a most decided manner, local interest in a most horrid and unprovoked murder, which, some thirty-five years ago, produced a tremendous sensation all along the upper Ohio valley, from Wheeling to Parkersburg, a distance of nearly 100 miles.

The crime in question was committed in Wetzel county, and the victim was John Gamble, a prosperous citizen, who resided with his family a few miles from the town of New Martinsville, then, as now, the county seat. Gamble was of a speculative turn of mind, and frequently visited New Martinsville to dispose of live stock or whatever else he had to realize upon. At such times, after finding a customer, Gamble would have several hundred dollars in his possession, and there were frequent predictions, from the careless manner in which he displayed his money when under the influence of liquor, that some day there would be a tragedy and that he would be the victim.

NOTE: This map shows the general area where this murder/death might have taken place, approximate location of John Gamble’s residence (across from Sardis) and the town of New Martinsville, based on the information provided in this story.

One day late in the summer of 1853, Gamble, who lived on the river shore almost directly opposite the little town of Sardis, came up to New Martinsville with some portable property of some sort or other, which he disposed of, realizing therefrom about $200. Mercer was in town that day, and the two men, being well known to each other, soon got to drinking together. Toward dark Gamble concluded that he would start for home, and as Mercer’s route also lay along the river for a mile or so before he turned off to go through the hills, he told Gamble he would accompany him thus far on his journey. The two men took one more drink together, and then started off along the river road, Gamble being more under the influence of liquor than his companion. Gamble was never seen alive afterward. He not arriving at his home that night, his family and friends the next day caused an extended search to be made, but all to no purpose. No trace of the missing man could be found. Mercer was questioned, but he insisted that he left his companion at the point their paths diverged, and that he had no knowledge whatever of his fate.


Thus matters rested for a week or two, when the body of the missing man was found lodged against some rocks, in the channel of the river, twenty miles or more below the point where Mercer claimed to have left him. No one could account for his death, and it was urged by some that, being intoxicated, he had simply fallen over the precipitous bank of the stream, and that death by drowning had resulted. Others, however, insisted that a crime had been committed, basing their claim mainly upon the fact that the remains were partially disrobed and had been stripped of everything of value.

Thus matters went on for two or three months, when events of a rather unusual and sensational nature transpired. After the custom of the country, there was a great corn husking bee given, about the first of November, at the barn of John Travis, a few miles from New Martinsville, and the boys and girls from all the surrounding farms were there, together with not a few of elder years. Among others a crowd of fifteen or twenty young men went out from New Martinsville, and after a night spent in mingled work, kissing and cider drinking the town boys started to return home. The party kept together until they came to the brow of the immense hill which bounds the town on the east, where a halt was called. The hillside was very steep, and as there were two paths leading down to the river bottom, one direct, but difficult and dangerous, and the other, while a little longer, comparatively easy, a dispute arose as to which should be taken. The dispute waxed warm, and finally the party separated into two rival factions, each agreeing to take one of the routes, and a wager being made conditioned that the party last arriving on the court house square should buy a gallon of whisky.


The party which took the longest but less precipitous route came out on the river bottom about a mile below the town, and just south of the location of a swampy piece of land. The owner of this land had cut a deep ditch through the high bank of the river to drain the hollow behind, and the depression thus formed had assumed the shape of a small ravine, full of brush and small trees. A path ran along the river bank, parallel with the stream, and thus crossed this ravine at right angles. This path was the one taken by Mercer and Gamble on the night when the latter met his death, and the spot about the little ravine was an extremely lonely one at the hour when the belated party of corn huskers arrived upon the scene. The young men had been traveling at their utmost speed to avoid having to buy the jug of whisky, and by the time they came to the ravine one of their number, John Hineman, who was the proprietor of a tavern and saloon in town, was so badly blown that he could no longer keep up. He told his companions not to risk losing the wager on his account, but to hurry on to the appointed rendezvous and thus win the bet, and he would follow after he had become rested a bit, and help to drain the jug the others would have to fill.

Hineman sat down upon the edge of the little ravine to rest, and the remainder of the party hurried on to town. They had barely got beyond hearing when Hineman was startled by a slight noise behind him, and on looking around he was horrified at seeing a tall figure, robed from the neck to heels in white, standing within a few feet of him. The frightened man managed to call out, “Who’s there?” to hwich a muffled voice made answer that it was the spirit of John Gamble who had been murdered close by.

Hineman managed to screw up courage enough to ask who committed the crime, when the “spirit” replied: “Lem Mercer.” The white-clad figure then stole slowly and softly away, and Hineman lost no time in getting upon his legs and hurrying to town. He made his appearance on the public square more dead than alive, but after a pull or two at the jug, managed to relate to his companions what had occurred. The next morning a party visited the ravine, and after a thorough search of the locality succeeded in discovering some articles which were recognized as belonging to the murdered man.


The day following this Mercer came up to New Martinsville, and it was agreed that Hineman should be given an opportunity to talk to him alone. Hineman accordingly called Mercer into the little back parlor of his house and was proceeding to question him, when Mrs. Hineman, who was cognizant of her husband’s aim, broke open the door of the apartment and brought the inquisition to an abrupt termination.

Mercer was arrested and brought to trial, he being defended by the present Judge Alpheus F. Haymond, while the venerable Judge G.W. Thompson, of Ohio county, now eighty-two years of age, sat upon the bench. The prosecuting attorney was the father of Sep Hall, of New Martinsville, now deceased. A long and closely contested legal battle was fought, but, despite the utmost endeavors of the state, it was impossible to obtain a direct proof of the guilt of the accused, and a verdict of “not guilty” was returned by the jury.

Alpheus F. Haymond - 1850 Census

George W. Thompson - 1850 Census

NOTE: “Sep” Septimius Hall served as  a state legislator.

Leonard Stout Hall - 1850 Census

Mercer continued to live in the vicinity of New Martinsville for many years, but led a blasted life, with no friends. The little ravine wher John Hineman saw the “ghost” is known to this day as Gamble Hollow, from the belongings of murdered man so peculiarly revealed therein.

The Saint Paul Daily Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) Nov 6, 1887


NOTE: This story was also published in a New Zealand newspaper. The story appears to be true,  except probably the part about the ghost. Please leave a comment if you know more about this incident. I am particularly interested in knowing more about the John Hineman mentioned in the story, as I am researching the Hineman families who lived in Western PA, Eastern OH and Hancock Co. WV during this time period.

Elizabeth Zane: Pioneer Heroine

September 29, 2009

This story was actually part of the the article with the Squatter Life story in my previous post, but since it was a completely separate incident, I broke it into separate posts.

Who has not heard of the heroic Miss Elizabeth Zane, at Fort Henry, in 1777, where the city of Wheeling now stands?

When a large army of savages had been collected under the infamous Girty, and had attacked the fort, having killed in an outside skirmish several officers and men,  fearful crisis had arrived. The fort was reduced to eleven men and boys. The houses of villages were occupied by the savage foe, who for the moment had ceased hostilities, and had withdrawn to the base of the hill, which rose abruptly and precipitously from the narrow valley.

The ammunition of the fort was nearly exhausted; and the stock must be replenished, or all would fall — men, women and children — a prey to the merciless savage. About sixty yards distant, at the house of Ebenezer Zane, there was a keg of powder. If that could be procured they would be enabled successfully to defend the fort, and keep the Indians at bay. Not a man or boy, for they were almost equally good marksmen, could be spared; and yet, some one must hazard his life in the undertaking. It was the forlorn hope of that little band, and on it their fate was to turn.

The commander, Col. Shepherd, called for a volunteer in this perilous undertaking. Several promptly offered their services, both men and boys; but they were the bravest of the band, and could least be spared. The difficulty seemed to be not so much in finding the heart stout enough for the fearful undertaking, but in making the selection. Just then, up stepped a slender, delicate girl. With the spirit of her father, she said to the commander,

“I will bring the powder. If I die in the attempt, my loss will not be felt.”

In vain they strove to dissuade her, she would most certainly be shot; besides she could not run with the fleetness of a man. All entreaties were vain, and she heroically exclaimed,

“Open the gates, and let me go!”

With tearful eyes the gates were opened, and the intrepid girl bounded toward the house. The moment she emerged from the fort she was seen by the Indians, who, instead of firing at her, seemed to be taken by surprise, and astonishment that for a moment suspended their murderous purpose. She reached the house, entered it, secured the desired keg, and started back to the fort. The soul of the heroic girl was in the effort, and bravely it sustained her. As she sped across the space with her burden, a dozen rifles were raised, and their sharp, simultaneous crack, seemed to announce her doom; but she neither fell nor faltered. On with accelerated speed she urged her way; and, passing the gates, she entered the fort in safety.

Elizabeth Zane (Image from

Elizabeth Zane (Image from

The deed of that brave girl saved the fort; and an advantage was gained over the savage from which they did not recover so as to renew their depredations in future on that frontier outpost. Pioneer life in the West abounds with incidents of female heroism; and the simple story of their deeds possesses a more thrilling interest than can be infused by the most fervent and fruitful imagination into any scene of fiction.

Pioneer of the West.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Aug 11, 1857


Interesting book on Google books, which mentions Fort Henry, but not this incident, that I could find:

Frontier defense on the upper Ohio, 1777-1778
By Reuben Gold Thwaites, Louise Phelps Kellogg, State Historical Society
Madison, Wisconsin Historical Society, 1912

LINK to the book

A similar book:

The Revolution on the Upper Ohio, 1775-1777
edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, Louise Phelps Kellogg
Wisconsin historical society, 1908

LINK to book

Both books:compiled from the Draper manuscripts in the library of the Wisconsin historical society and published at the charge of the Wisconsin society of the Sons of the American revolution


You can also read the book, Betty Zane, by Zane Grey (a descendant of Ebenezer Zane,) online HERE.

From the dedication and note:

For a hundred years the stories of Betty and Isaac Zane have been familiar, oft-repeated tales in my family–tales told with that pardonable ancestral pride which seems inherent in every one. My grandmother loved to cluster the children round her and tell them that when she was a little girl she had knelt at the feet of Betty Zane, and listened to the old lady as she told of her brother’s capture by the Indian Princess, of the burning of the Fort, and of her own race for life. I knew these stories by heart when a child.

Two years ago my mother came to me with an old note book which had been discovered in some rubbish that had been placed in the yard to burn. The book had probably been hidden in an old picture frame for many years. It belonged to my great-grandfather, Col. Ebenezer Zane. From its faded and time-worn pages I have taken the main facts of my story. My regret is that a worthier pen than mine has not had this wealth of material.



If you are interested in an account of the torture/death of Colonel Crawford (witnessed by Simon Girty, mentioned in the above article,) after clicking HERE, scroll down about to the sub-heading:


WARNING! It is very gruesome.

“Worldly Girl” Tarred and Feathered

July 7, 2009
Dorothy Grandon - Lloyd Shank - Mary Shank

Dorothy Grandon - Lloyd Shank - Mary Shank

Girl Tarred and Feathered By a Mob of Fifty Men

MIDDLETON, Md., July 25. — Dorothy Grandon, 21, of Martinsburg, Pa., was tarred and feathered last night by a mob of 50 men on the county road between Myersville and Middleton, Md.

Fifty business men, merchants and citizens of Myersville, face arrest on charges of being members of the mob. Sheriff Ingemar of Frederick county after questioning the Grandon girl at the home of James Whip, a farmer announced that warrants would be sworn out during the day.

Whip was threatened with death because of his rescue of the girl from the mob. With J.O. Shepley, a Myersville merchant, Whip was attracted by the girls’ screams. His home is near the scene of the assault. The two men ran up the road fought their way through the mob and found the girl covered with tar.

Whip secured a sheet, wrapped it around the girl and carried her to his home. A doctor found her body covered with bruises as result of the beating she received at the hands of the mob. Mr.and Mrs. Whip succeeded in only partially removing the tar from the girl’s body.

The girl said she had been visiting at the home of Mrs. Viola Kennedy, near the foot of Catossin Mountain on the county road near Myersville. She came here last week with a girl named Mabel Mills, 20, of Hagerstown.

Yesterday, Mrs. Kennedy received a letter from Sheriff Ingomar ordering her to leave the county.

FREDERICK, MD., July 25 — (By the Associated Press) — A young woman whose name was said to be Dorothy Grandon, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was tarred and feathered near Myersville, Frederick county last night by an unmasked mob said to have been led by a young married woman who had objected to alleged attentions paid by her husband to Miss Grandon.

The mob met the woman on the street and took her to the edge of the village where she was stripped of her attire and a coat of tar and feathers was applied.

A woman companion of Miss Grandon also had been ordered to leave Myersville, but she was not molested.

Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 25, 1924

Grandon - Shank - Whipp - Whipp

Grandon - Shank - Whipp - Whipp

Woman Admits Striking Girl And Applying Tar and Feathers Because She Saw Husband Hugging Her

FREDERICK, MD., July 26. — (By the Associated Press.) — It was a woman who applied the coat of tar and feathers to Miss Dorothy Grandon, 20 years old, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, near Myersville, Frederick county, Thursday night.

Mrs. Lloyd Shank, wife of a farmer, admitted this fact at the hearing here last night of herself and eight men accused of being participants in the affair. All were released on bail of $2,000 each for the grand jury on a technical charge of assault and battery. The victim was sent to jail in default of $500 bond as a material witness.

Those arrested were a part of about fifty men alleged to have composed the mob that participated in the tarring and feathering of the Grandon girl who had been accused by Mrs. Shank of receiving the attention of her husband.

The men accused are Calvin Shank, brother-in-law of the avenging wife; Romer Shank, her father-in-law; and Harry Leatherman, all farmers; Alvey and Arthur Rice, brothers, employed in the Myersville garage, and Irving Rice, a third brother, Paul Grossnickle and Grayson Doub, farmers.

Victim Tells Her Story

Telling her story at the hearing last night Miss Grandon said she and another girl had been ordered to leave the place by the sheriff and having no money she started to walk to Martinsburg, hoping to get a lift on the way. She met Lloyd Shank, whom she advised to “go home to his wife like a man,” she said, and directly afterward Mrs. Shank drove up. They had some words and Mrs. Shank went away with her husband and she continued on her way, accompanied by her girl friend.

Soon afterward they were overtaken by three automobiles, from one of which sprang Mrs. Shank. After some words, Mrs. Shank struck her with a club knocking her down with the third blow, her attacker then almost stripped her of her clothing. She could smell the tar she said, and begged them on her knees “not to do such a thing.”

Encouraged by the cries of the men, Miss Grandon declared, Mrs. Shank threw buckets of tar over her and showered her with feathers.

“And in the wild uproar,” the victim went on, “they slandered me like I was a common dog.”

“They’d stop automobiles coming along the road and speak to them to flash their lights on me and look at me. Don’t she look pretty, they’d jeer.

“The only women there were she and I. All the rest were men.”

Says She Struck Her With Club

Meanwhile her girl companion had disappeared. Mrs. Shank admitted in her statement to the magistrate that she struck the Grandon girl twice with a club and tore her clothes from her, all but a flimsy undergarment. She said:

“I wanted to do the job myself. I took the tar from one of the men and poured it over her. Then I grabbed the sack of feathers and threw them on her.”


FREDERICK, MD., July 20. — (By the United Press.) — Shaken by her experiences, her face and body bearing evidence of mistreatment at the hands of an infuriated group of men and at least one woman, 20 year old Dorothy Grandon was sheltered at the home of James Whipp, a farmer living near Middletown today, while her assailants who applied a coat of tar and feathers, were held for the grand jury in bonds of $2,000 each.

Sixteen men and one woman are now accused of having had a share in the tarring.
Eight additional men, all farmers, were named as having participated in the attack during a hearing before Magistrate Brust today.

Mrs. Shank is held in jail awaiting bail. Her male companions have pledged their collateral.

Whipp fought his way through a mob which was attempting to punish Miss Grandon for her alleged attentions to a married man of the county, and despite threats that he would receive “the same dose,” succeeded, with the aid of the man in question in getting the girl away.

Nine persons were arrested, and a hearing was held before Justice of the Peace Storm last night. A large crowd gathered, those unable to get inside, peering through windows.
Those bound over with Mrs. Shank were Homey Shank, her father-in-law; Calvin Shank, a cousin of the husband; Aldey Rice, Irving Rice and Arthur Rice, brothers; Paul Grossnickle, Grayson Dodd and Harry Leatherman all of Middletown.

The girl, the upper part of her body still smeared with tar, was held in $500 bond as a material witness.

The tarring and feathering was attended by a mob estimated to number between 50 and 60 on the main highway near Middletown, Thursday night. The offense charged against the nine assailants, under the laws of Maryland, carries a penalty of imprisonment for not more than 10 years, nor less than 18 months without the alternative of a fine.

Says She Saw Husband Hugging Girl

Mrs. Shank admitted inciting the entire proceeding.

“I saw my husband hugging the Grandon girl,” she said. “I went and got help.”

The mob that gathered streamed down the road toward Myersville and captured the girl. Mrs Shank tore the clothes from the girl’s body and struck her with a club, it was charged. Then she applied hot tar, the affair being stopped when her husband and James Whipp fought their way through the mob and carried off the nearly unconscious girl.

Both In Jail, Woman and Her Victim Bury Animosity

FREDERICK, MD., July 20. — (By the United Press) — Both held in jail today unable to raise bond demanded as a result of the tarring and feathering and beating party, 20-year old Dorothy Grandon, the victim, and Mrs. Mary Shank, who admitted inciting the attack and applying the tar and feathers, buried their animosity in the opportunity to discuss their predicament.

The Grandon girl and Mrs. Shank both spent the night in jail. All animosity between the two women seemed to have disappeared after the hearing and they discussed the case amicably in the jail corridor.

Their cells adjoin each other and they were given the freedom of the corridor.

The Grandon girl seemed especially regretful over the turn her affairs have taken.

“If I’d have known that I had to stay in jail,” she said today, “I’d have taken my medicine and not have accused anybody.”

Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 26, 1924


Dorothy Grandon Reported Known in Chambersburg, Pa.

A dispatch from Chambersburg, Pa., says:

“Dorothy Grandon of Hagerstown, who was tarred and feathered last week at Myersville, by a mob led by a woman, last year was under care of the local welfare committee — now defunct — which maintained a venereal ward at the Chambersburg Hospital, local officers said.

“While at the local hospital she was made guard over the other girls in the ward, but one day she connived with a local taxi driver, who later lost his license for this offense, to take her to Hagerstown. She was away from the hospital for several weeks when Police Chief Byers and Constable Klipp went to Hagerstown and returned her to the institution.

“She was picked up here and placed in jail, where she remained some time before being taken to the hospital ward. While here she told Police Chief Byers that she had been in a school or home for girls in West Virginia and had been made a teacher. She gave evidence of being well educated, police say.”

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Aug 1, 1924


Receives Proposals

FREDERICK. — Dorothy Grandon, victim of Myersville tar and feather mob about a week ago, who is confined in the Frederick county jail in default of $500 bond as a State witness, is being deluged with offers of marriage. Letters seeking to ascertain Dorothy’s views of the matrimonial question are said to be coming in from various parts of the country and according to the epistles, which usually start out “My Dear Dorothy,” the girl who was recently tarred and feathered will have no trouble in locating a husband.

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Aug 4, 1924

Examining the Evidence

Examining the Evidence

Mrs. Shank Pleads Guilty In Tar And Feather Case;
Leatherman Goes On Trial Before Jury;
Past Life Of Miss Grandon Not To Be Revealed

Only Inquiry is Whether She Was Tarred and Feathered;
If Leatherman Had Part.


Court Room Crowded When Cases Are Called For Trial.

The “past life” of Dorothy Grandon cannot be made the basis of an inquiry by the defense in the Myersville tarring and feathering cases. Chief Judge Hammond Urner and Associate Judge Robert B. Peter ruled this morning in circuit court. That ruling, court attaches felt, dealt a hard blow to the defense.

Perhaps the outstanding development and surprise of the day was the admission of Mrs. Mary Shank, wife of Lloyd Shank, that she was guilty. Her counsel, Samuel A. Lewis, after being overruled on a demurrer to the indictment, announced that she pleaded guilty generally. There are three counts in the indictment — tarring and feathering, assault and battery, and riot.

At the request of Mrs. Shank’s attorney, the court deferred sentence. It was expected that the remainder of the cases will be heard before sentence is pronounced.

After the Shank case had been disposed of in less than fifteen minutes, State’s Attorney William M. Storm announced he would next try Harry Leatherman. There were nine counts in the indictment against Leatherman, and demurrers were sustained to three of these for the purpose of simplifying the charges and the remaining six allowed to stand.
Leatherman pleaded guilty and asked a jury trial. Judge Urner’s ruling on behalf of the court on the “character” of Miss Grandon came while Reno S. Harp, who with Samuel A. Lewis and H. Kieffer Delauter represents Leatherman, was making his opening statement to the jury.

Jury Selected.

Only six jurymen from the regular panel were acceptable to both the State and the defense. Twelve talismen were also called to the jury box before the jury was secured. The jury follows: John P. Style, foreman; Richard J. Allnutt, Grover C. Trout, William D. Curfman, Charles F. Kreb[h?], C. Harry Cramer, Allan M. Spitzer, Bernard W. Wilson, Clyde W. Smith, Ulysses G. Hooper, Archie W. Ogle and J. Calvin Fox. The last six named are talismen.

[list of all jurymen called and challenged, not transcribed]

Immediately following the selection of the jury, the Court asked for the opening statements.

State’s Attorney William M. Storm then formally turned toward the jury and stated that the State expected to prove that on the night of July 23, Leatherman, in company with a number of others, planned to perform the act which occurred the following evening.

On the evening of July 24, the State asserted, it intended to prove that Leatherman was seen coming out of the Farmer’s Exchange at Myersville with a bag of feathers and that he stopped at the home of James Whipp, a farmer, and asked him if he had seen anything of the girls. (meaning Miss Grandon and Viola Kennedy.)

It was then contended that Leatherman jumped on the running board of an automobile and proceeded down the road toward Middletown until he saw the girls, and that after passing them a short distance, he stopped and came back. The State then added that it would prove that Leatherman urged the Shank woman to beat the girl. (Miss Grandon) and also urged Mrs. Shank to strip Miss Grandon. Leatherman, it was then asserted, handed the Shank woman the tar and feathers and then hurled “filthy and vile epithets” at Miss Grandon following the occurrence.

The Defense.

Reno S. Harp, one of hte attorneys for the defense, began by referring to the “wide notoriety” of the girl and urged the jury to pay no attention to newspaper accounts of the case. Here the Court interrupted the attorney and admonished him not to refer to any specific newspaper which the attorney had done during the course of his talk. Mr. Harp asserted that the State could produce no evidence against Leatherman and further declared that the Shank woman “had committed the whole crime.”

A further insinuation against the character of the Grandon girl was objected to by the State and the objection was sustained.

“We are not here to try the character,” the Court declared, “and the only concern of the jury is to determine the guilt,” of the prisoner at the bar, Mr. Harp was informed.

The defense then contended that it expected to prove that Leatherman did not participate in the affair, and had made no arrangements fr any tar or feathers. Here the attorney for the defense referred to the “prosecuting witness. (Miss Grandon,) seen in the company with a certain woman’s husband,” and the State again objected and was sustained by the Court.

The defense asserted that Leatherman went down the road to the scene where the tarring and feathering occurred as a spectator and did not carry anything but a flashlight, and that he did not participate in the affair at all.

The defense then concluded the opening statement and Miss Grandon was called to the stand, the first witness in the case and the main prosecuting witness.

Miss Grandon began her testimony by stating that she in company with a friend, Viola Kennedy, of near Myersville, was walking along the road toward Middletown. After they had walked about three-quarters of a mile, they met Mabel Mills and Luther Silver.

While together, several automobiles passed the four and after they had passed about ten minutes together, they saw Leatherman and Mary Shank approaching.

Miss Grandon then declared that she was assaulted with a club and after that the Shank woman asked for the tar and feathers and asserted that Leatherman gave them to her. Prior to that, she said she was held by Paul Grossnickle and Calvin Shank, while she was being beaten with the club. Leatherman then handed the Shank woman the bucket of tar and it was applied to her and then Leatherman gave the Shank woman the feathers which she in turn scattered on Miss Grandon.

The witness further declared that Leatherman carried a large flashlight which he flashed upon her after she had been stripped, tarred and feathered, as passing motorists went by. “After the mob drifted away,” Miss Grandon said, “I asked for a machine to go to the Kennedy woman’s house,” and Leatherman replied that I should be tied on the back of a car and dragged through Myersville.

The affair began about 7:30 o’clock in the evening, Miss Grandon said and ended about 12:45 when she reached the home of James Whipp in reply to a question by the State, she stated the tar and feathers were removed with “lard, hot water and soap.” This question was preceded by several similar questions which were objected to by the defense and the court ordered the wording changed.

At this point the clothing that Miss Grandon wore at the time of the far and the feathers were applied, were exhibited to the jury and passed around. Following a few minor questions, the State concluded.

During the cross-examination, it was brought out that Miss Grandon’s real name is Lorraine Pearell and declared that her home is in Martinsburg, W. Va. When asked why she changed her name, the State objected and the Court sustained it.

It was further brought out that Miss Grandon had been living in Hagerstown, but questions as to why she left that place and came to Myersville were objected to by the State and they were sustained by the Court.

Miss Grandon admitted taht she had been convicted in Hagerstown of being drunk and disorderly. She was not convicted in Chambersburg, Pa., she said. State’s Attorney Storm interposed frequent objection to questions asked by Mr. Harp which led Judge Urner to say that the court had indicated the line of its ruling at the outset and would not permit any effort to circumvent it. There was a very specific charge involved, said Judge Urner, and added that the defense must confine its examination along that line. The only inquiry the defense could make, Judge Urner ruled again, was along the line of the tarring and feathering. It was not proper, he said, for counsel to try to get before the jury something that was contrary to the court’s ruling.

Once more when Mr. Harp sought to question the witness along a line that the court thought was not proper, and after he had stated to the court he thought a right to ask such question, Judge Urner said:

“We differ radically from that view and of course it is the responsibility of the court to rule on the questions.”

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 29, 1924

scales of justice


FREDERICK, MD., Oct. 16 — Arthur Rice was found guilty by a jury in circuit court tonight of aiding and abetting in the tarring and feathering of Miss Dorothy Grandon. The verdict carries a penitentiary sentence of from 18 months to 10 years.

Counsel for Rice, who was released on $2,000 bond, immediately filed a motion for a new trial, which will be argued upon completion of the remaining 17 cases growing out of the attack.

Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 16, 1924


Members of Tar and Feather Party Are Sentenced; Woman Must Serve Jail Term

FREDERICK, MD., October 27. — (By the Associated Press) — Condemning in strong terms the conduct of the mob which last July tarred and feathered Dorothy Grandon, 20, Martinsburg, W. Va., Chief Judge Hammond Werner in circuit court here today imposed sentence upon one woman and eleven men, suspended sentence upon two and declared five other men not guilty. The woman sentenced was Mrs. Mary Shank, who pleaded guilty and confessed that in a jealous rage she tore the clothing from Miss Grandon and daubed her with tar and feathers. She was given nine months in the Frederick county jail.

Harry N. Leatherman, of Myersville, where the assault took place, was sentenced to two years in the house of correction. Mrs. Shank testified that Leatherman furnished her with the tar and feathers for the “tar party.” A like sentence was imposed in the case of Arthur Rice.

Both these sentences were for rioting. The men were also convicted of tarring and feathering Miss Grandon, but have asked for a new trial.

Nine other men convicted of rioting were sentenced to one year in the house of correction. They are Roma Shank, father-in-law of Mrs. Shank, Walter and Calvin Shank, her brother-in-laws; Alvin Rice, John Langdon, Grayson Doub, Vernon Summers, William Houpt and Irwin Rice.

Sentence was suspended in the cases of Harold Grossnickel and Frederick Shepley.

The five men found not guilty of the charge are Paul Grossnickel, John Shepley, Chester Shepley, Claude and Howard Toms.

Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 27, 1924


Tar Case Victim Implicated in Auto Case.

Ralph Timmons, alleged deserter from the Marine Corps; Odessa Miller, a young woman of Martinsburg and Lorraine Pearrell or Dorothy Grandon, also of Martinsburg, the latter figuring in the tar-and-feather case at Myersville, are being sought by police of Martinsburg. Timmons being charged with being implicated in the theft of an auto from R.F.A. Bowers, stepfather of the Miller girl, and the others sought as accomplices.

Bowers told officers that Timmons and Miss Miller went to Washington and returned, claiming they were married. When he questioned their story, because they had no papers, they left, he said, taking his car and also picking up Lorraine Pearrell.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 27, 1926

Lick Branch Mine: 2 Explosions in 2 Weeks

March 3, 2009
Group of Coal Miners

Group of Coal Miners


Believed That Fatalities Will Mount That High in West Virginia Explosion


Rescuers Work All Night and Continue Efforts Today to Get at Their Entombed Comrades.

MAYBURY, W. Va., Dec. 30. — The fatalities in the Lick Branch Mine as a result of yesterday’s explosion will probably reach fifty.

At 10 o’clock today mine officials admitted that there are thirty men now buried under the debris. The mine foreman, however, insists that 41 men are still entombed in an old working near the Tug River side of the mine where the explosion occurred. The early morning hours were spent by the rescuers in bracing the walls so as to get to the scene of the accident.

All night rescuing parties, including Mine Inspectors Phillips, Warner, Henry and Brady and scores of the most experienced fire bosses and miners worked tirelessly. At an early hour today 42 men had been removed from the mine, twelve of whom are dead. Only the main part of the mine has been explored as yet.

This mine is the largest in southern West Virginia, employing 400 men.

CINCINNATI. Dec. 30. — Orders were this morning received by a local firm for forty coffins to be sent to Maybury. It is presumed additional coffins have been ordered from other points.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Dec 30, 1908


Scores of Miners Buried in Shafts





Special to the Daily News.

Ennis, W. Va., December 30. — Up to one o’clock today nineteen bodies had been taken from the Lick Branch mine of the Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company. It is feared that all of the fifty-eight men in the mine when the explosion occurred late yesterday are now dead.

Bluefield, W. Va., December 30. — One of the worst mine disasters in this field since the explosion of the Pocahontas mines in 1889, occurred at the Lick Branch Collieries Company’s mine at Maybury yesterday afternoon. The explosion was heard for some distance and people from every point rushed to the drift mouth of the mine, hoping to aid in any way possible. During the day 17 men have been taken from the mines, four of whom were dead and some of the others badly injured.

The dead are James Smith, Charles Little, W. Little and a Russian. It is estimated that there are 25 to 30 yet in the mines, and it is believed that they will not be found alive.

Special trains were run from Pocahontas with officials and rescuing parties. One report states that there were 52 men in the mine at the time of the explosion.

The work of rescue is slow owing to the fact that supplies and bratticing had to be sent from this city to aid in the work.

At a late hour no further definite news as to the loss of life or damage to property could be obtained.

Lick Branch is the name of a coal operation on the Pocahontas division of the Norfolk and Western Railway, and is without commercial telegraph facilities.

Norfolk and Western Railway officers say that owing to the fact that miners are taking a holiday this week in large numbers, it is not likely that more than 50 or 60 men were at work in this particular mine at the time of the explosion. It is stated that the Lick Branch mine has a connection with another mine on the other side of the mountain, and that it is possible this mine has been affected.
The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.

Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio) Dec 30, 1908


More Bodies Recovered from Lick Branch Mine.


Thirty-Six Bodies Recovered Up to Noon Hour.

Mine Official Directing the Work at That Hour Express the Belief that There Are Yet at Least Twenty-One Victims More To Be Located in the Galleries of the Mine.

Switchback, W. Va., Dec. 31. — Another sleepless night was passed by this little town in expectancy of removal of more bodies from the mine at the Lick Branch colliery. Twelve more bodies were removed this morning, bringing the total dead list up to thirty-six.

The following is the complete list up to this morning:

Jim Smith, Charles Little, Wylie Little, unknown Russian, Jim Lockhart, Henry Lockhart, Richard Lockhart, Cleve Alexander, Pleas Kennedy, John Miller, Kemp Sanders, John Brown, Greek; Sam Beatty, Jim Roane, Tobe Webber, Matthew Webber, Reed Anderson, two unknown Italians, Peter Coles, Dominick Rose, Tony Alanava, George Meekert, Dave Bolton, Mike Buschuke, Young Johnson, George Barzollett, four Russians known only by numbers, A.J. Holland, Albert Holland, Zeff Estes.

Explorers are still at work in the ill-fated mine, men vieing with each others in staying on rescuing squads as long as bearable. One hundred experienced men are there waiting and willing to be called upon for service.

Mine officials believe there are still twenty-one victims yet to be located.

The Marion Weekly Star (Marion, Ohio) Jan 2, 1909



Second Explosion in Lick Branch Colliery.


Explosion Occurs Just After Men Go to Work.

The Full Quota of the Day Shift Is On When the Gasses Let Go — A Special Train with Physicians and Mine Officials Is Sent to the Scene of the Explosion from Bluefield.

Facts Come Slowly.

Welch, W. Va., Jan. 12. — Death again wrought horrible vengeance to 250 men imprisoned in the earth here today. One hundred torn and bleeding miners are believed to be beyond rescue, and the safety of the others is in doubt, as the result of an explosion at the Lick Branch mine at Switchback, West Virginia, at 8 o’clock this morning.

It is the second explosion at the mine within the past three weeks. In the first explosion, fifty lives were snuffed out. The Lick Branch is West Virginia’s model mine, according to the inspectors, who visited it shortly before the tragedy of three weeks ago.

The couldn’t understand it, but believed it safe again. Two hundred and fifty men went to work there this morning. How many will return to their homes this evening must be determined by the rescuers.

Orphans and widows have been stunned since the last explosions, and in some places crepe had not been removed from the doors. The pall of death hung heavily over the little hamlet, which nestles in the center of the giant Flat Top coal fields. When they saw the smoke issuing from the mine today following the noise like the booming of a cannon, they knew that it was the warning of death.

Hearts Wrung Dry.

Yet grief had wrung their hearts dry. The fountain of tears had wasted away. Dry-eyed and pale lipped, they made their way to the mines, where they knew that relatives, husbands or sons, were either crushed or fighting for their lives in a veritable sepulcher of death.

Tears were driving back by the paralysis of fear. They merely shook their heads. Even their tongues failed them. Disaster has come too swiftly for them to comprehend.

No explanation is given for the disaster this morning. The only solution that has been offered is that another pocket of gas, sealed by the last explosion and falling debris, let go.

A coroner’s jury which investigated the previous great loss of life failed to find any cause for the first explosion, but added a clause to its report, exonerating the mine owners and officials of all blame in the matter.

Hundreds Are Caught.

Welch. W. Va., Jan. 12. — One hundred miners have been caught in a second explosion at the Lick Branch colliery. Hardly had the crepe been taken from the doors of many an humble little home on the banks of the Elkhorn, near the Lick Branch colliery, than an explosion which now promises to be more direful than the one of two weeks ago in which half a hundred lives were lost, occurred, and has brought additional sorrow.

Fathers and brothers of some of those killed in the last explosion are known to have been in the ill-fated mine at 8:30 this morning when the second explosion occurred, and soon their bodies will be laid to rest in the hills nearby which goes to swell the list of miners killed in this state in the past year to something near the 1,000 mark.

State Mine Inspector John Laing, of New River, and four of his leading assistants had just made an inspection of the Lick Branch colliery prior to the first explosion, and it was pronounced one of the safest and best ventilated mines in the Flat Top field.

No Known Cause.

Another inspection was made just after the explosion, and no cause could be assigned for the catastrophe. A coroner’s jury which also investigated the great loss of life failed to find any cause, bu added a clause to the report exonerating the mine owners and officials of all blame in the matter.

Swithchback, the scene of the explosion, is a small village in McDowell county, in the center of the great Flat Top Coal field.

The explosion occurred at half past 8 o’clock this morning just an hour after the full quota of men for the day shift had gone to work.

The mine usually works from one to two hundred men. A special train with physicians and mine officials has been sent to the scene from Bluefield. Definite information as to the exact number of killed is hard to secure as those in authority about the mine are reticent when it comes to giving out the facts in the case.

May Reach Hundred.

The list of those killed in the Lick Branch mine explosion this morning, it is now believed, may reach 100, although this number may be greatly lessened or increased. It is known that 250 miners were on duty at the time.

At noon today the heat was so intense in the Lick Branch mine that no attempt has been made by the rescuing party to enter. It is now believed that the death list may reach 150, possibly 200. Mine officials from all parts of Pocahontas and Elkhorn fields are pouring in here on special trains.

The Marion Daily Star (Marion, Ohio) Jan 12, 1909



Rescuers Report Most Horribble Sights in Fireswept Colliery.


Hard to Distinguish Between the Black and White.

Bluefield, W. Va., Jan. 14. — Fifty one bodies have been taken from Lick Branch mine at Switchback, W. Va., where a fatal explosion occurred Tuesday. An official statement issued by the colliery company estimates the total number of dead at 57 and says the number will not exceed 59.

Three rescue crews of 40 men each led by State Mine Inspectors Grady Nicholson and Warner, are at work. The men in these crews report the most ghastly sights within the torn and fire-swept corridors and working of the mine where bodies are found mangled and mutilated beyond identification.

It is difficult to distinguish, they declare, between black and white, because they are so frightfully burned. Some bodies taken from the mines resemble charred masses of flesh more than human beings. From some bodies the legs are gone, from others the arms. One was completely headless.

Nine unidentified dead and two others were brought out, but have not yet been placed in the morgue. Experienced mine men are authority for the statement that this is the first case on the record where two explosions took place in the same mine in such a short space of time, and are unable to explain its cause. Some of them point to the fact that the thermometer fell 19 degrees within several hours on the morning of the catastrophe and hold that such rapid changes in the weather have considerable influence on the conditions that produce mine disasters.

Evening Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) Jan 14, 1909



So President of Mine Workers Refers to Lick Branch Mine.

Charleston, W. Va., Jan. 16. — Ben Davis, president of the United Mine Workers of West Virginia, has given out a statement in which he openly charges that the ill-fated Lick Branch mine, in which two explosions have occurred recently, was operated in violation of the mining laws. He demands that the legislature now in session begin an immediate investigation of the disasters.

Davis charges that the mine was reopened after the first explosion, which occurred in December, before state inspectors had finished their examination. He also declares there are places in the mine from 150 to 272 feet “ahead of the air.”

The Marion Daily Star (Marion, Ohio) Jan 16, 1909


Overcharge Caused Mine Disaster.

Bluefield, W. Va., Jan. 18. — The coroner’s jury investigating the Lick Branch mine explosion last Tuesday decided that the explosion was caused by an overcharged shot of gunpowder and that sixty-five men came to their death through no fault of the mining companies.

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jan 18, 1909

White Slavery: A Rush for Liberty

January 14, 2009
Norfolk Railway Workers 1896

Norfolk Railway Workers 1896

Horrible Treatment of Foreign Laborers in West Virginia.

To Prevent Escape From Their Prison in the Mountains.

Made by a Few of the Men Results in Frightful Punishment.

POCAHONTAS, W. Va., March 17. — Seventy-five friendless foreigners, bound in virtual slavery in the wild and desolate mountains of West Virginia, are suffering the most shocking privations and hardships. They are sixty miles from the nearest town. The streams are swollen, the mountains are covered with snow and escape seems almost impossible to them. These men were brought here by a New York employment agent. They were engaged in December last to work on the Ohio extension of the Norfolk & Western railroad. They signed contracts which virtually made them prisoners in the hands of the contractors and to-day they are watched by men to see that they do not escape. The man who brought these creatures into this wild region is a Russian named Rosenthal.

Norfolk Railway

Norfolk Railway

Despite the vigilance of the bosses and the guards several made their escape during January and February. No one knows whether they ever got out of the country alive or whether they perished in the mountain gorges and unbroken forests. Two of the men, a Russian and a Bohemian, seized a flat boat one day and made off across the river. They were soon recaptured. Their captors compelled them to wade back across the river, drawing the boat after them. Upon returning to camp their coats were stripped off and they were whipped. The contractors’ bosses remarked that this was the rule when working on railroad construction. Whipping must be the punishment for making off with the boat. This example had a wholesome effect for a time upon those contemplating an attempt to escape.

Norfolk and Western Railway Map

Norfolk and Western Railway Map

A little band of twelve Hungarians, Polanders and Swedes marched into Pocahontas Sunday. They had walked seventy miles through the wild country from camp. These twelve managed to satisfy their taskmasters and were allowed to depart. As they marched out of camp several of their less fortunate comrades who were detained made a desperate break for liberty and dashed off into the mountains. They were immediately pursued by armed men, mounted on mules and accompanied by dogs. What the fate of these poor fellows was can not yet be ascertained.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Mar 25, 1891

Violence at the Old Watering Hole..times 2

December 19, 2008
Last Night to Liquor Up

Last Night to Liquor Up


(By United Press)
EAST LIVERPOOL, O., July 23.– Residents of the city, one of the largest in Ohio to vote “dry,” are ????y provisioned for a thirst siege. Yesterday was the last day for two years in which liquor could be sold. So the saloonkeepers had bargain sales and men and women crowded in to get the stuff.

The saloon finish was also marked by a shooting a??ray in which Charles Hineman, a saloonkeeper, was fatally wounded. A.L. [or I] Mercer, a photographer, is alleged to have done the shooting and is held with a companion without charge pending the result of Hineman’s injuries. Hineman is said to have tried to stop a fight. Mercer and his companion escaped down the river on a ????ch [maybe launch] but were captured by detectives.

New Castle News (PA) 24 Jul 1907

On the upside, with the booze ban, he was gonna be out of work anyway, so Mr. Photographer may have done him a favor.

UPDATE: Here is an update (2 separate articles) on the saloon shooting, with some interesting information about the dead man’s wife in the second one:

Free-for-All Fight Takes Place in East Liverpool Saloon

East Liverpool, O., July 23.–A shooting which is likely to result in a charge of murder, marked the closing tonight of the saloons for their long dry season under the result of the recent election. Clark Hineman, a saloonkeeper, is in the hospital with a bad bullet wound, and the surgeons say he cannot live until morning.

Azel Mercer and George Heckatholm are in Jail. Mercer to be charged with murder if  Hineman dies, and Heckatholm to be charged with being an accomplice.

The shooting occurred during a free fight in front of Hineman’s saloon just at closing hour. Hineman attempted to play peacemaker, whereupon, it is charged, Mercer drew his revolver and shot him through the abdomen. Mercer threw the gun away, and he and Heckatholm made for the river, where they boarded their steam launch. The landed between East Liverpool and Wellsville, and were at once arrested by Policeman Dawson and McDermott of this city.

The Elyria Chronicle (Elyria, Ohio) 23 Jul 1907

Awaits the Slain Man’s Young Widow if She is Cured of Drug Habit.
East Liverpool, O., Aug. 3.–The bulk of $15,000 in cash in a Pittsburg bank and considerable real estate in this city and Chester, W. Va., are to become the property of Maude Smith, whose name before her marriage to Clark [D or L] Hineman of Moundsville, W. Va., was Marie Bertrand, of Wheeling W. Va., if she is cured of a drug habit she is alleged to possess.

The will of her late husband, which has just been filed for probate in the Columbiana county courts makes such provision for the young widow.

Hineman was fatally shot here the night of July 22. The fact that he was married did not become known until after he was taken to the

The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) 03 Aug 1907

Saloon Shoot-Out

Saloon Shoot-Out

A Texas saloon shoot ‘em up story. I had ancestors  living in this area back in the 1890’s.

Held Up Seven Men

SHERMAN, Tex., Jan. 17,–At Bell’s, twelve miles east of here, George Smith, a farmer, entered a saloon Wednesday night and compelled seven men at the point of a revolver to hand over their money and valuables. As he was leaving the saloon Jim Sibet, the town marshal, fired, but missed him, and Smith returned the shot and the bullet entered Sibet’s head. He will die.  Smith was afterward captured, brought here and placed in jail in spite of the efforts of the mob to lynch him.

New Castle News (PA) 21 Jan 1891