“Bradshaw Brings Opp Rioters Here”

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Weekly Advertiser
Place of publication: Montgomery, Alabama
Date of publication: 12/13/1901 0:00

BRADSHAW BRINGS OPP RIOTERS HERE. Six Negroes Charged with Shooting Marshal’s Party Are Here. Sheriff Tells of Riot.
Nine of the twenty-five negroes arrested for killing J. W. Dorsey and seriously wounding Town Marshal Fate Atkinson of Opp, last Wednesday, were ordered to jail without ball at Andalusia yesterday after a preliminary hearing and six of them were brought to Montgomery last night and lodged in the county jail. Three others in jail at Geneva. Sixteen of the negroes were discharged: Sheriff J. T. Bradshaw of Covington county, who brought the negroes to Montgomery, reports that the situation at Andalusia and Opp is quiet and that Marshall Atkinson is still alive. The negroes were brought to Montgomery by Sheriff Bradshaw, W. S. Prestwood and G. W. Duncan, Deputy Sheriffs. One of the negroes, Frank Davis, is so badly wounded that he had to be brought to Montgomery on a stretcher and it is expected that he will die. He is said to have been one of the leaders of the party of negroes which attacked Marshal Atkinson and he was riddled with bullets by the arresting posse. The military company sent to Andalusia from Greenville remained there until the trial of the negroes yesterday morning and returned to Greenville on the same train which transported Sheriff Bradshaw, his deputies and their prisoners to Montgomery. This train left Andalusia at 12:30 o’clock yesterday. The military company and the officers and their prisoners remained at Georgiana until the arrival of the northbound Louisville and Nashville passenger train. The sheriff reached Montgomerywith the prisoners about 6 o’clock. The negroes in the Montgomery county jail are Dick Davis, Edwin Powell, Tom English, Jeff Taylor, Emanuel Casty and Frank Davis. The negroes in the Geneva county Jail are Bud McIntosh, Will Chatman and an unknown negro. These negroes will remain In jail until a special term of the Circuit court of Covington county can be convened to give them a trial. In an Interview with a representative of The Advertiser Sheriff Bradshaw, who stayed last night at Mabson’s hotel, gave a complete history of the Covington county trouble. “Wednesday evening five negroes, Dick Davis, Frank Davis, Sam Carter, Will Chatman and Dave Morrison, went to Opp.” said Sheriff Bradshaw. “The negroes had been drinking whiskey. They were employed at the turpentine still of Rozier and Williams about a half mile from Opp and they went up to the little town to make trouble. Remarking that they had come up there to ‘do the town up,’ they got into a difficulty with Joe Stanley, a young white man. The negroes presented pistols and raised a general disturbance, after which they returned to their shanties at the turpentine still. Stanley reported the matter to Fate Atkinson, the Town Marshal, who deputized Joe Stanley, J. Wilson Dorsey, John Fitzsimmons and Marcus Snow, prominent citizens of the town, to go with him to arrest the negroes. When the arresting party, led by Marshal Atkins, got near the shanty they discovered there was a big crowd of negroes there. About the time the Marshal’s posse got within fifteen or twenty feet of the shanty the negroes opened fire. Then the shooting began from both sides. Wilson Dorsey fell. He was killed almost instantly. Marshal Atkinson was the next to receive a fatal wound, but be was game and called to his men to go after the negroes. Fltzsimmons was badly wounded In two places In the right leg. Two negroes, Jim Hippens and an unknown, were killed. It was in this fight that Frank Davis, the negro whom we brought to Montgomery, was dangerously wounded. He may die. About 8 o’clock Wednesday night I received a telegram from Earl Boyett, a young merchant at Opp, which is fifteen miles south of Andalusia, advising me of the shooting and asking me to go there with deputies and to bring my bloodhounds. There was no train and I took my men and my dogs and went through the country reaching Opp about midnight. At daylight the next morning we went to the negro shanty and captured several of the negroes. A number of them had left for the woods and I put my dogs and men on their trail. It was nip and tuck all day between the deputies and men who wanted to lynch the negroes. We ran three of the negroes with the dogs sixteen miles through swamps and pine forests and captured them within three miles of Elba in Coffee County. Another negro, Dick Davis, believed to have been.one of the leaders of the party which assaulted the town marshal, was chased by the dogs several miles into the swamp. They lost his trail and he made a complete circuit of more than a mile, hiding within a few hundred feet of the shanty where his brother, Frank Davis, was lying seriously wounded. The dogs got so close on his trail that he raised up out of a big bunch of grass and surrendered to the deputies. The dogs and deputies chased Bud McIntosh, Will Chatman and another negro southward in the direction of Geneva and captured them. The mob was between them and Opp and had them cut off from the rest of my party and the deputies exercised excellent discretion by taking the three negroes to the Geneva jail, where they are now confined. Geneva is thirty-five miles south of Opp. We put the negroes in the calaboose at Opp as fast as we rounded them up and kept the calaboose heavily guarded to prevent an outbreak or other trouble. When we had caught twenty-two of the negroes we took them to the jail in Andalusia. Only two of those who had been active in the assault upon the marshal escaped. They are Sam Carter and Dave Morrison. They are still at large. Citizens of Opp are looking for them and I fear there will be trouble if they are caught. It will require good work on our part to prevent them from being lynched. When I got the prisoners in the jail at Andalusia I put on extra deputies ‘and took extraordinary precautions to protect the negroes. The jail is secure, but there is no jail yard and the building is easy of approach. There was no semblance of trouble Thursday night, although we carefully guarded the jail throughout the night. Friday morning, I telegraphed the Governor that everything was quiet. Soon after sending this telegram, I received information through one of the most reliable citizens of Opp that a mob of one hundred determined men was organized, that they would be heavily armed and that they would attack the Andalusia jail Friday night. I felt that we should not take chances and as the information was so direct and reliable I wired the Governor asking for soldiers. I believe now that their arrival alone saved Covington County from a great tragedy. Please let me say right here that I never saw a more capable, more deter-mined nor a more accommodating officer, than Captain Arthur Gamble of the Greenville military company. He brought fifty-two men to Andalusia. They were well disciplined and they were of the greatest service to us. Captain Gamble personally supervised the guarding of the jail, and the men seemed to go about their work with enthusiasm. There was no shirking and the young men of Greenville who form this company, won the admiration of our best citizens. We expected the mob Friday night and were prepared for it. There were several stragglers about the town and some few persons In Andalusia from Opp, but there was not the slightest suggestion of trouble. Again Saturday night it looked gloomy for a while and there were startling reports but we had ourselves fixed for any one or any party which attempted to violate the law. Solicitor R. H. Park of Troy reached Andalusia Friday night, coming there upon my request through the Governor, and we decided to have the preliminary trials of the negroes Monday morning. This was agreeable to the Solicitor and the trials took place this morning, before L. J. Salter and J. M. Snead, Justices of the Peace. In his speech Solicitor Parks said that he would ask the Governor to call a special term of the Circuit Court so that the negroes might have a speedy trial. Sixteen of the negroes were released and were taken in charge by their employers, Rozier and Williams. I understand they were to leave Andalusia for Opp last night.” “Do you fear any further trouble on account of these negroes being released?” Sheriff Bradshaw was asked. “Candidly, I do,” the Sheriff replied. “Feeling is running high against the negroes at Opp and if they return there tonight there is no telling what may happen. I arranged for deputies to go there in a hurry before I left home today.” Sheriff Bradshaw is a big man of intelligence. He has keen piercing eyes and a direct and convincing manner of speech. He does not hesitate when he tells that he meant to protect his prisoners at all hazards, and the Covington county mob probably knew that he was a man of his word when the question of storming the jail was under consideration. “The Governor expressed himself as well satisfied with the manner in which you handled the case,” the Sheriff was told. “I’m glad to hear that,” replied Sheriff Bradshaw. “We had to exercise considerable skill and activity to escape trouble before leaving Opp but after we got the negroes In the jail I mean to keep them there, and I did.” Sheriff Bradshaw and his deputies will call this morning at the Capitol to report personally to Governor Jelks the result of their work. They will return to Andalusia at 3:45 o’clock this afternoon.