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December 31, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The Buckingham Outlaws: PART XII

Post_12_Newpaper Men

An Eyewitness

On October 1, 1908, the Baltimore American printed news from an anonymous eyewitness concerning conditions in Arvonia:

There was in this city [Richmond] today a man fresh from the scene of the trouble who talked interestingly of the conditions in Buckingham, but begged that his identity be concealed through fear that harm might come to his relatives who are still there. He said that the conditions there have not been exaggerated. He declared there is a warrant of three years standing against one of the gang for criminal assault and that he has never been arrested. This man furthermore claimed that these men deal in illicit whiskey, which for years they have openly sold in Arvonia, there being no attempt made to arrest them.

Other reports stated that the outlaws had strongly fortified their position in their territory “as wild as any jungle.” A man could hide, unseen, just ten feet from the county road.

Responding to orders from Governor Swanson, Commonwealth’s Attorney Edmund Hubard and Sheriff Lewis Williams, who was being strongly criticized for his negligence towards the criminals, returned to Arvonia on the evening of the 30th, deputized the vigilantes, and prepared them to move at sunrise on October 1st. One report said that eighty men divided into four posses. Fewer may actually have gone out.

At last, a warrant was issued for the arrest of William Thomas, charging him with the shooting of N. M. Gregory.

It was rumored that newspaper correspondents were ordered out of Arvonia and that they would be shot on sight if they remained. Supposedly, they were silenced for printing plans of both the officials and of the outlaws, interfering with county business. The Alexandria Gazette also noted that “the temerity of the reporters in plunging into the fastnesses of the outlaws” was dangerous business. On October 2nd, however, it was reported that the editor-in-chief of the Richmond News Leader traveled to Buckingham County and sent word back to Richmond that correspondents had not been ordered out of Arvonia.

So much for excuses from timid reporters!

Coming Next: Charles Newton Shot

Need to catch up? Click here: The Buckingham Outlaws: Part I


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Dec 31 2015 9:43 am

    Patrick, The outlaws are first on July 31, 1908. Thanks for asking. I’ll sprinkle the year throughout the posts. Joanne

  2. Pat murray / Dec 31 2015 9:30 am

    Enjoy the listings. But did I miss what years all this took place? Patrick Murray

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