a few selected articles and items of interest from Lamar County newspapers through the years.
Vernon Courier
November 27, 1890 Page 4


The court house and jail of the great county of Lamar are little more than a pile of ruins. The court house looks ready to fall at any moment. The roof has rotted away until the sheeting can be seen in places. The blinds look as if ready to drop off. And besides its dilapidated condition, it does not meet the requirements of the people.

The jail seems to be nothing more than a place to put criminals and feed them a few months, and then they are out seeking pastures new. How long will this state of affairs exist., Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
Vernon Courier
November 27, 1890 Page 4


"The prisoners are all getting out of the jail" was the cry that reached the ears of early arrivals in town Monday morning. Those who could answered the call, and gave pursuit, but of no avail, as the prisoner had reached the thicket before the alarm was spread.

Investigation showed that when Mr. WIMBERLY went to feed the prisoners at breakfast he notice nothing wrong, and opened the door of the corridor as usual, when to his very great surprise, ARTHUR MCKINZIE, the white man confined in the cell, tumbled out on him, telling him to get out of the way, that he didn’t want to hurt him, at the same time striking at Mr. WIMBERLY with a stove leg. Mr. WIMBERLY warded off the blows and took the stove leg from him and tried to hold him, securing a part of his shirt in the tussle. MCKINZIE tore loose and bounded over the fence like a cat. Just as he struck the top of the fence Mr. WIMBERLY let drive at him with the stove leg, and knocked loose a plank. After clearing the fence MCKENZIE was soon safe in Yellow Creek Swamp. He left barefooted, bareheaded, and coatless.

Investigation showed that he had torn up his hammock and made a rope and had passed the rope out through the stove pipe hole in the top of the cell, and had by some means fastened it around a piece of a window sill that was loose in its place, the window being about three feet from the cell. The negroes in the same cell says that he tied the rope around the piece of timber with a switch which was in the cell. The piece of timber was about two inches thick, five inches wide and three feet long. This he drew into the cell through the stove pipe hole, and with it and the aid of the other prisoners he broke the top hinge of the cell door and sprung it sufficiently to let him pass into the corridor, from which he escaped when the door was opened.

It seems that the two negroes confined in the same cell made no effort to escape, and when MCKENZIE got into the corridor he pushed the door back to almost its proper place, leaving the negroes still safely confined. Parties searched the swamp immediately after he escaped, but no trace of him was discovered. Sheriff METCALFE has offered a reward of $25 for his arrest and delivery to any sheriff in Alabama., Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
Vernon Courier
February 5, 1891

A KILLING AT SULLIGENT - A Dual Claim to a Lot of Brick Ends by JOHN OLDSHUE Emptying
the Contents of a Shotgun into T. J. BECK

Sulligent was the scene of a killing Monday.

The following facts were learned from an eye witness to the shooting. BECK in company with others went to Sulligent Monday to count out some brick from a kiln, which both BECK and OLDSHUE claimed. BECK got up on the kiln, and was working with one hand and holding a pistol in the other hand. OLDSHUE got his gun and walked up within close range of the kiln, and ordered BECK to get off the yard. BECK seeing OLDSHUE, meant to shoot, got down off the kiln and tired to protect himself by getting behind VIRGIL BICKERSTAFF. OLDSHUE was standing with his gun cocked telling BICKERSTAFF to get out of the way, that he was going to shoot. Young BICKERSTAFF'S father, who had come up in the meantime, told OLDSHUE not to shoot his boy, and OLDSHUE replied that he would not. BECK continued to cling to BICKERSTAFF, making no effort to use the pistol which he still had in his hand. OLDSHUE getting a chance fired while BECK was still holding to BICKERSTAFF, the load of shot striking him in the breast. The gun was loaded with buck shot, sixteen of which took effect, and the wound proved fatal. BECK lived for several hours but was told by his physician that there was no hope for him. He was brought to his father-in-law's, Mr. W. R. LANGLEY, near Vernon, where he died Tuesday morning about four o’clock. His remains were laid to rest in the Vernon cemetery Tuesday evening.

OLDSHUE was promptly arrested on a charge of assault with intent to murder. A preliminary investigation was conducted by Justices HOLLIS and GUYTON, who l released him under a $500 bond, without waiting to ascertain the result of BECK'S wound.

The cause that led to the killing was a dispute about a lot of brick. OLDSHUE claimed the brick and BECK claimed a half interest in the lot. A few days ago the crick Claimed by BECK were levied on and sold. BECK was proceeding to count out half of the brick when he was killed., Transcribed by Veneta McKinney