That was the last time Dad ever accepted an appointment as a Deputy Policeman

Posted by | July 17, 2009

“During the early days of Norton in Wise County [VA], most of the 4th of July Celebrations were either in Norton or Big Stone Gap. As a general thing when the celebration was in Norton, some of the higher up men and wives would come down, get high and take over.

“So the mayor and the council of Norton decided that they would appoint deputy town policemen to help the regular policemen keep things down. Dad was one of the deputy policemen appointed, and also Mr. Joe Dollyhide, and probably some more but I can’t remember who.

“As usual one of the Wise citizens, one of the higher up and up citizens at that, came to Norton and began to shoot up the town. I don’t know how many times, but I have been told by Dad that several times he and Mr. Dollyhide would take his gun away from him and place him in jail. Each time after staying in jail a while, the mayor Mr. John Dixon would turn him loose.

“Mr. Dixon ran the livery sable just across from where the Coca Cola plant is now. Just before dark, Dad and Mr. Joe Dollyhide was upon him again with a gun shooting, and they had a plan to take his gun away from him again. They did not quite get to him and he began to shoot at them. Dad and Mr. Dollyhide backed away from him to the sidewalk, which at that time were board sidewalks in Norton, and they had to step up at the end of each intersection.

“Dad told me that every time the Wise man would shoot he would shoot at the blaze of the pistol. Evidently they hit him several times because he was considered in serious condition. As soon as the shooting was over, Dad and Mr. Dollyhide knew that the Sheriff and his deputies from Wise would be down after both of them for shooting up one of their distinguished citizens.

“He and Mr. Dollyhide went to the mountains to hide until things could settle down. I can remember very distinctly the night of the shooting, the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriffs came to our home on the south side to get Dad, who was gone. They looked under the bed. I remember them pulling the covers from off me and looked in the bed and all around the house and anywhere they figured Dad would be, but failed to find him.

“After a few days or soon after the shooting, Uncle William (Bill) Jenkins, who at that time was an attorney, advised Dad and Mr. Dollyhide to come in and he would go with them to Wise and make bond, which they did.

“When the trial was set, Uncle Bill and Dad and Mr. Dollyhide had to hire–did hire–some extra help, a Wise attorney to defend them. They were both exonerated from on account of the shooting. However, Dad and Mr. Dollyhide were out a considerable expense as the Town Council refused to pay the attorney fee. I think that was the last time that Dad ever accepted an appointment as a Deputy Policeman in Norton.”

William Henry Jenkins
(1892-1988)
http://vagenweb.org/wise/WmJenkinsLetter.html

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