Transcribed From the Florence Times October 6, 1905 – Lauderdale County, Alabama
Doctor Pitt Will Take An Appeal
Florence Postmaster Tried and Fined Fifty Dollars
The trial of Dr. J. T. Pitt, postmaster, charged with threatening John T. Sego, a substitute mail carrier with a deadly weapon was held before Justice Henry D. Smith, Justice C. W. Lemay sitting as associate.
There were no eye-witnesses to the transaction which occurred at Dr. Pitt’s residence, and the only direct evidence was the statement of Dr. Pitt and young Sego, the decision being rendered on their statements and circumstantial evidence.
U.S. Post Office – Florence, Ala, ca. 1930 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
Sego’s testimony was to the effect there was due him $7.66 for substitute services performed for regular carriers. Pamplin and Sims, which he had asked for several times, but being put off with various excuses he wrote the Department in Washington and the letter was referred to postmaster Pitt, who told him he would settle the matter as soon as he could get the carriers together; but the matter dragged along, and Sego wrote the Department the second letter of complaint, whereupon Dr. Pitt called to him as he was driving a delivery wagon by the Doctor’s residence, and invited him into the house, telling Sego he could see him there without going to the office.
Sign the Document
Sego entered the house, where the Doctor showed him a paper with a request to sign it, but, reading it, Sego refused, saying it was not true. The paper was a contradiction of his statements written to the Department in Washington. Upon his refusal to sign it the Doctor picked up a Winchester rifle and placing it to his shoulder, said,
“Sign it, or receive what all character thieves get!” Sego signed the document. He further testified that the Doctor said, with a harsh oath, after he signed the paper, ” —– —– you, I have a mind to kill you anyhow.”
Doctor gave his version
The Doctor in giving his version of the affair, stated that the service was not due Sego anything and if there was anything due him for service rendered the carriers, Sims and Pamplin, were individually responsible to Sego for it. That he did request Sego to sign the document, that he signed it voluntarily and without the duress of intimidation, and that he did use some emphatic language in his indignation. The Doctor admitted coming downtown carrying a Winchester rifle, saying he had been warned to do so by a city officer. In explanation of carrying the gun, Dr. Pitt stated the warning was given after trouble with another man and previous to this difficulty
Appeal to Circuit Court
The trouble has aroused a great deal of interests among our people, and quite a large crowd attended the trial in the court room of the court house.
Mr. Sego is a young man who bears an excellent reputation among his acquaintances.
Dr. Pit has been active in efforts to improve the postal service and facilities here, and his friends regret the trouble.
Justices Smith and Lemay rendered their decision in the case at 4:30 p. m., assessing a fine of $50 against Dr. Pitt, from which decision he took an appeal to the circuit court.
ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)is a collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.
Some stories include:
- The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
- The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
- Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
- Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
- Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement