Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thriller Thursday - The Murder of William B. Anderson

The following is from the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald, December 2, 1920.



Bandits Attempt to Enter Old Pepper Distillery - Escape After Battle


Volley Follows Agent's Refusal to Throw Up Hands.

William B. Anderson, Internal revenue service agent on duty at the Old Pepper Distillery, on the Old Frankfort pike, was shot and almost instantly killed Thursday morning at 1:30 o'clock in a battle with a band of whisky thieves.

Mr. Anderson, in company with William Nix, 449 Bourbon avenue, a distillery guard at the plant was making his regular round checking up with the night watchman's time clock. The two men reached a point in the rear of the last warehouses near the Town Branch. As they were about to hook up the time clock to check for this station several men rushed from the shelter of two small sheds and ordered the guards to throw up their hands.

Upon receiving this order Mr. Anderson drew his revolver and fired one shot. This action was the signal for a return volley from the members of the party of thieves, and Mr. Anderson dropped to the ground about a foot from the wall of the warehouses.

Nix immediately dashed around the warehouse in the direction of the office for the purpose of telephoning  to police headquarters for assistance. As he neared the end of the building another party of three or four men rounded the corner and fired a volley of revolver shots in his direction. Cut off from the office by this group of thieves, Nix ran to the corner of High and Pine street and called police headquarters.

Captain James Donlon, Assistant Chief Ernest Thompson, Jack McCarty and Chauffeur Carl Woodard answered the call and were joined a few minutes later by Chief of Police Jere J. Reagan and Chief Prohibition Agent U. G. McFarland.

Investigation proved that the thieves had not been able to effect an entrance into the building and that no whisky had been removed. A search of the immediate premises also failed to disclose any preparations made by the thieves to remove the liquor.

At the time the shooting occurred, William S. Lyne, 179 Loudon Avenue, revenue officer alternating shifts with Mr. Anderson, and J. W. Thomas, distillery guard alternating shifts with Nix, were in the office.

George Bryan, 644 Elsmere Park revenue agent in charge of the keys to the building and the gauging of the whisky in storage in the warehouses of the plant, went to the office immediately on receipt of the news of the clash between the guards and the thieves. Mr. Bryan said that he was not at liberty to state how much whisky was stored at present in the Pepper warehouses, but that a considerable amount was in the buildings at this time.

Tracks left in the mud near the scene of the shooting were discovered by investigators and two bloodhounds were secured from the kennels of Captain V. G. Mulliken and taken to the spot within a short time after the clash occurred. Police officials also threw out a dragnet over the city for suspects and begun close watch of all outbound trains both passenger and freight as soon as the news of the attempted raid was received.


The bloodhounds were taken to the tracks found in the mud by the Town Branch. Picking up the trail of the thieves, the dogs followed it about three-quarters of a mile along the Old Frankfort Pike to an old shed formerly a part of a cattle barn used for the feeding of slop from the distillery. Here it became apparent that the dogs had back-trailed to the rendezvous of the thieves before the attempted raid. The dogs were taken back to the scene of the clash and placed on a new trail.

Coroner John Anglin was called to the scene of the clash and took charge of Mr. Anderson's body, which he removed to the John Milward Funeral home. Here he made a preliminary examination and state that death was caused by a wound from a revolver bullet which entered in the right shoulder just above the heart.

The coroner's inquest will be held in the office of Magistrate Charles P. Dodd in the court house Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, Coroner Anglin announced following the examination of the body.

Mr. Anderson was a veteran in the revenue service, having been engaged in this work for almost 25 years. He had been on duty at the Pepper plant for the last year.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mamie Anderson; two daughters, Dixie and Leila Anderson; one son, Claude Chinn Anderson, of Los Angeles; and one brother V. V. Anderson of New York City.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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