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January 4, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Buckingham Outlaws: PART XIII


Charles Newton Shot

Concurrent with the building excitement in Arvonia, on the evening of September 30th, reports circulated that a man named Charles Newton had been shot at Payne’s Station, Buckingham County.

According to Newport News’ Daily Press, Newton was shot by Benjamin Heinerman. The newspaper stated that there was a warrant out charging Newton with an attempted assault on Heinerman’s wife. No arrest was made and the conclusion was that Heinerman took matters into his own hands.

To readers who had been following the story of the Buckingham outlaws, however, it was clear that the gunman was probably Benjamin Zimmerman not Benjamin Heinerman and, in fact, it was Zimmerman who was guilty of assault on Newton’s wife. Charles Newton was the brother of one of Zimmerman’s wives.  Which wife is currently unknown.

The Alexandria Gazette and other papers reported that Benjamin Zimmerman had shot his brother-in-law, Charles Newton, at Payne’s Station. Unconfirmed rumors spread that Charles Newton was dead and that the shooting was the result of an old grudge. Newspapers nationwide printed the news from Richmond:

Some time ago Zimmerman is alleged to have attempted criminal assault on Newton’s wife, and after the warrant was sworn out for his arrest to have threatened his brother-in-law. In consequence of the threats, Newton and his wife removed from the home of the band to a place called Payne’s Station, near where the alleged shooting took place.

By October 2nd, the governor had received confirmation that Charles Newton was dead. According to The Mathews Journal, “The information was furnished by a man who attended Newton’s funeral.”

Was another man now dead as a result of Sheriff Williams’ apathetic approach to apprehending Benjamin Zimmerman? Years ago a warrant was issued to arrest Zimmerman for assault. Why had the sheriff never pressed for his capture?

Coming Next: Unrest in Buckingham

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




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