Skip to content
January 18, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Buckingham Outlaws: PART XVII



An Appeal for Help

In an early 20th century equivalent to an “all-points bulletin,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Edmund W. Hubard sent the following letter to Chief of Police Dyer in Roanoke. The description of the leaders of the Buckingham outlaws differs significantly from the one printed in The Farmville Herald, especially the details concerning Benjamin Zimmerman’s appearance. Likely, the same letter circulated to other sheriffs and police officers. On October 9th, it was printed in The Evening News, keeping all of Roanoke alert to the flight of the Buckingham outlaws.

                                                                Arvonia, Va. Oct. 8. 1908.

To the Chief of Police.

Dear Sir: Four desperate outlaws who have been committing many crimes in and about this place for some time, are at large. They have been in hiding near this place since their escape from jail – from the best evidence obtainable – but it is feared now that they may have escaped or that they will make an attempt to escape when renewed efforts are made to capture them.

You are urged to look out for four men, all white, bearing the following names: Benjamin Zimmerman, Arthur Zimmerman, Charles Thomas and William Thomas.

They are typical backwoodsmen in appearance, unkempt and poorly dressed, and with an unprepossessing appearance.

Benjamin Zimmerman, aged between 35 and 40, black hair, generally long and uneven and a black mustache. About six feet tall, very straight, weight 160 pounds; right eye almost closed or deformed; several missing fingers on one hand.

Arthur Zimmerman, aged 25, brown hair, long and shaggy, generally without mustache or whiskers; hair hangs over forehead and curls; weight 140 or 145; height about 5 feet 8 inches.

Charles Thomas, aged about 30, very tall and thin, with short shaggy sandy whiskers and sandy hair. Weight about 175, height about 6 feet 3 inches.

William Thomas, rather stout and with large frame, aged about 40, height about 6 feet, usually wears long sweeping mustache sandy like hair though hair may be darker than mustache; weight about 185 pounds.

Look for these men along the railway lines and remember that a reward of $450 is offered for the former three.

Coming Next: A False Trail

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: