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February 13, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

1899: George R. Davis Arrested

Concord Baptist Church. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In August 1899, Buckingham County resident George R. Davis was arrested in Washington D.C. charged with theft and with attempted murder of Arthur Baumgarten. According to the report in the Appomattox and Buckingham Times, Davis was an messenger for the Southern Express Company whose routes ran between Washington and Atlanta. The news article went on to explain Davis’ impulsive behavior:

For some time valuable packages have been rifled while en route from Washington to the south, and the Pinkerton Detective arrested Davis. The latter was taken into the superintendent’s office and was identified by Baumgarten as the “Mr. Smith” who had bought from him a seal of the express company. When confronted and accused, Davis said that he valued his character more than any man’s life, and, pulling his pistol, he fired four shots in rapid succession, one of which vary slightly wounded Baumgarten in the finger. As his route lay in the District of Columbia and in four states, it is not known where Davis will be tried on the charges of theft, as no one except the thief — whether the accused or someone else — knows just where the robbery occurred.

A dispatch from Farmville says: George Robert Davis, who was under arrest in Washington, was born in Prince Edward county, and raised in Buckingham county, where his widowed mother, whose sole support he is, now resides.

He is descended from and closely related to one of the best families of Virginia and has ever been regarded a young man of exceptional qualities, modest and bearing, and sober, moral habits.

He is a member of Concorde (sic) Baptist church, Buckingham county.

His host of friends and relatives here refuse to believe that he is guilty as charged.

I have seen a letter written to his uncle here, in which he firmly states that he is innocent of the charges against him, other than attempting to shoot his accuser, which he did under the impulse of the moment.


Does a Slate River Ramblings reader know what became of George R. Davis and to which Buckingham County Davis family he belongs? If so please comment below.

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