Whiskey and violence dot headlines in March 1922

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

March 1922 was a slow month in terms of local news for the Albany Herald.

Perhaps the top story of the month was the killing of Arlington Police Chief A.R. Wiggins, who was shot during a bank robbery March 8.

According to printed reports, Wiggins responded to suspicious activity at the Bank of Arlington and stumbled upon a bank robbery in progress at the location.

Four men were holding up the bank when Wiggins approached them. Four shots were fired, one of which struck Wiggins in his abdomen and lodged near his spine.

The four men jumped into their getaway car and sped out of town toward Albany. Wiggins walked about 100 feet in the general direction of the men before collapsing in the street.

He was taken to Phoebe Putney but died shortly after.

The men were never found.

In lighter news, the Herald published part of a letter from the prisoners at the Dougherty County Jail, thanking a group of local church women who had cooked them a meal at the jail.

As printed, the letter reads as follows:

"We wish the citizens of Albany and the ladies of Circle No. 6 of First Baptist Church in particular to know how grateful we are for the excellent dinner given us by the ladies of the said Circle on Friday, March 3.

"We only wish that there was some way in which we could show our appreciation of the fact that we are not forgotten by the outside world and that someone is taking a personal interest in our welfare and comfort but, as there seems no other other way, we ask you dear ladies of Circle No. 6 to accept our heartfelt thanks."

Signed "The Prisoners of the Dougherty County Jail."

Ironically, the next day, the Herald printed a story about how prisoners at the jail were caught with the materials to make moonshine.

Other stories making the news in March 1922:

-- on March 6, the body of a newborn child was found wrapped in fabric and crudely buried in a shoe box on the bank of the Flint River near Pine Avenue. The paper reported that "criminal motives were being examined."

-- on March 2, residents of East Albany complained to the Albany City Council to do something about the smoke coming from the stacks at the Brown Guano Company, which they said were unhealthy and toxic. The council tasked the city physician and the board of health to investigate.

-- on March 15, Mamie Bradd and Louise Fields were charged by Mayor A.H. Peacock with violating the prohibition laws after "8 or 9 quarts of whiskey" were found in their home.

-- on March 18, Lee County Sheriff's deputies raided several areas in the county's Chokee District suspected of "shining." Sheriff P.C. Coxwell arrested Charlie Wist, who had 50 gallons of beer, one gallon of whiskey and one small still, and Josiah Mathis, who had a 60 gallon copper still, 100 gallons of beer and two gallons of whiskey all buried in a concealed pit.

-- on March 24, Americus Jeweler Griff W. Eldridge was found shot to death in his store inside the historic Windsor Hotel. Eldridge was believed to have killed himself.

E-mail government reporter J.D. Sumner at j.d.sumner@albanyherald.com.