News - from the past & the present

Train robbers captured in a shoot-out on April 30th




A Gang of Robbers Who Have Been Gutting Depots and Wrecking Trains are Cornered

Most of the Gang in Gadsden Jail Talk of Lynching

A desperate encounter took place near Attalla about 2 o’clock Saturday morning between a gang of desperadoes and robbers on one side and a posse of citizens and officers on the other, which resulted in the fatal wounding of two men.

An Organized Band of Desperadoes

supposed to be composed of Robert Bentley, William Bentley, Kagle Lethrow, and two parties from Birmingham, whose names have not yet been ascertained, have for some time past been suspected of committing wholesale robberies in and around Attalla.

The first three named reside in the mountains near that place, and all are white men.

A special detective from Birmingham, named Johnston, was employed and placed on their track. Special Agent Matthews, of the Alabama Great Southern Railroad, has also been after them.

Saturday night the gang robbed McLester’s store near Attalla, and

Terrorized the Community

By shooting everywhere and, it is said, pilfered several other stores.

A posses of officers and citizens was soon organized and pursued them down the Alabama Great Southern Railroad track to a trestle about half a mile from town about 2 o’clock Sunday morning.

When they reached the trestle the desperadoes, all of whom were armed with shot guns and revolvers, stopped and defied the officers to arrest them.

The gang was surrounded and ordered to surrender. The result was

A Deadly Encounter

Between the two factions. Fifty or a hundred shots were fired, during which J. T. Wilson, an Alderman of the town of Attalla, was mortally wounded and William Bentley, one of the gang, fatally shot.

The robbers then sought safety in flight, taking their wounded men with them. Bentley, the wounded man, was afterward found in his bed in a dying condition, and all the members of the gang were arrested except two.

Wilson and Bentley Dying

Bentley is now making his ante-mortem statement, He is thought to be dying.

Mr. Wilson is one of the best citizens of this county and is the car inspector of the Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company.

His death is momentarily expected. He is shot through the liver, the stomach and groin.

The Community is Much Excited

over the matter and talk of lynching is indulged in.

This gang is believed to be the parties who wrecked the passenger train near Springville recently. Our people are determined to break up all this lawlessness and to use the most certain and speedy means for so doing.

The Alabama Great Southern depot at Keeper, twelve miles from Attalla, was broken open two nights ago and robbed of nearly everything in it.

Tickets, money and a greater part of the freight was taken. It was ascertained that there were five men in the gang that did that work, and it is believed it was the same crowd that was encountered at Attalla last night.

A later report says the men under arrest have been taken to Gadsden jail for safe keeping. It is rumored that Busby has confessed. Dogs have been secured from Gadsden to chase the robbers still at large. Busby and Watson have rallied and may recover.

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Volume I – IV: Four Volumes in One

BUY ONE GET ONE FREE! The first four Alabama Footprints books have been combined into one book,





ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS - Volume I - IV: Four Volumes in One (Volume 1-4) (Paperback)
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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Volume I – IV: Four Volumes in One (Volume 1-4) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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