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John (Jack) Allen was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 31st January 1903. He joined Leeds United in 1923 but only played in two games before moving onto Brentford in August 1924. A centre-forward he scored 24 goals in 54 games over the next two seasons.
In March 1927 Allen signed for Sheffield Wednesday. He was a great success and he was the club's leading scorer for the next two seasons. He also helped the club win the First Division league title in 1928-29 and 1929-30 seasons. Allen scored 76 goals in 104 appearances for Wednesday.
Allen joined Newcastle United in June 1931. His first season was slightly disappointing and scored only 12 league goals in the 1931-32 season. Newcastle only finished in 11th place that year. However, they had a good FA Cup run and they beat Blackpool (1-0), Southport (9-0), Leicester City (3-1), Watford (5-0) and Chelsea (2-1) to reach the final against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium. Allen scored five goals on the way to the final.
Arsenal scored first, eleven minutes after the start, when Bob John headed in a centre by Joe Hulme. Just before half-time Jimmy Richardson chased what appeared to be a lost cause, when David Davidson sent a long ball up the right wing. When the ball appeared to bounce over the line, the Arsenal defence instinctively relaxed. Richardson managed to hook the ball into the middle and Allen was able to head home. Despite the protests, the referee W. P. Harper, awarded the goal. David Jack missed an easy chance midway through the second-half and soon afterwards Allen scored again to win the game for Newcastle 2-1.
In the 1932-33 season Newcastle United finished in 5th place. Allen scored 19 goals in 36 league games that season. The following year he moved to Bristol Rovers, but he only played in six games before being transferred to Gateshead.
Jack Allen became a publican at the Travellers Rest in Burnopfield, near Newcastle upon Tyne, until his death on 19th November 1957.
The Carroll County Historical Society and Museum
On the morning of March 14, 1912, Mr. Floyd Allen stood in the Carroll County courtroom to hear the verdict of his peers. Upon conviction of interfering with an officer of the law, Judge Thornton Massie oversaw the jury’s imposed sentence of one year imprisonment. Mr. Allen stood and declared, “Gentlemen, I ain’t a goin’.” Gunfire, chaos, death ensued… all in a moment. Five people died and seven were wounded in the gun battle that followed.
A nation-wide manhunt was called for by the Governor of Virginia which lasted six months. Two of the participants were executed and the others received lengthy prison sentences.
The Historical Society has gathered significant materials, published over the years, that attempt to interpret this event in our local history. The definitive history, Mr. Ron Hall’s “Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy” is still published and is available at the Museum bookstore. A large collection of portrait photos, newspaper accounts, and a marvelous diorama of the 1912 courtroom scene are on display in the historic courthouse, as is the collection of “folk marquetry” furniture made by J. Sidna Allen.
Did You Know…….
- Floyd Allen had a long history of serving the law in Carroll County as a deputy sheriff and was, in fact, a special policeman at the time of the tragedy.
- J. Sidna Allen, in addition to being a well-traveled and successful businessman, had been a newspaper editor and a schoolteacher.
- William McDonald Foster, Commonwealth’s Attorney in 1912, had been a Democrat but turned Republican when he ran for the post. He defeated the son of Jasper “Jack” Allen for the position.
- In 1912, the Carroll County courtroom was some 20 feet shorter than it is today.
- Carroll law officers did not cross into North Carolina to arrest the Edwards brothers as has long been claimed. They were arrested by Caleb Haynes and Oscar Monday of the Mount Airy police department and brought to the state line.
- Arresting officer Oscar Monday was the step-brother of the Edwards brothers.
- Floyd Allen was tried in 1903 for shooting his first cousin, Noah Combs, and was sentenced to spend 1 hour in jail and pay a fine. He refused them both.
- To illustrate the volatility of turn-of-the-century mountaineers, when Jeremiah Allen died in 1898, Floyd and Jack Allen got into a ruckus over a barrel of brandy when the estate was being divided. Floyd shot Jack in the head and then began to beat him in the head with a rock while he was out cold. Jack came to and shot Floyd which ended the affair. Neither died, but Jack had a silver plate in his head until he died. Neither was prosecuted.
- Old timers said that when Wesley kissed the McCraw girl at the cornshucking, it wasn’t out of affection for her, it was to irritate her boyfriend, John William Thomas. The animosity derived from a feud between Thomas’ father, George W. Thomas, and Floyd Allen. It was Thomas and his father who swore out warrants for the Edwards brothers as a result of the fight at the schoolhouse/church the next day.
- William Sidna Edwards, the nephew of Floyd Allen, was sentenced to 18 years in prison as a result of the Courthouse Tragedy, although he never fired a shot. His mother was afraid they’d find him guilty of 1st degree murder, which carried the death penalty, so she convinced him to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder, which did not.
- Sidna Edwards’ presence at Floyd Allen’s trial was requested by Floyd’s lawyers. Floyd called home to have his son, Victor, bring him to court on Wednesday, March 13th. Otherwise, neither Sidna Edwards nor Victor Allen would have been present.
- Claude Allen did not take a gun when he went to Hillsville To Floyd’s trial. He only picked up Victor’s gun when he left it in the hotel room on the morning of March 14th. Otherwise, he would not have been armed.
- Commonwealth’s Attorney, William McDonald Foster, was a brother-in-law to one of Floyd Allen’s defense attorneys Walter Scott Tipton. Foster married Katherine Tipton in 1894 and had 5 children by 1912. Katherine survived until 1960.
- William Foster’s daughter, Aline, married George Ellison “Bud” Edwards in 1917. Edwards was one of those involved in the fight at the church with the Edwards brothers and went on to be County Sheriff for numerous terms.
- Nancy Elizabeth “Betty” Ayers was shot in the back just about the beltline and just to the right of her spine. The bullet came up under the skin of her right breast. She was shot on Thursday morning and lived until early the next morning. Although some stories say she didn’t know she was shot and some say she said “I am killed,” no documentation exists to confirm either. Court testimony says she was outside throwing up on the lawn when Doctor Nuckolls came by. He asked her if she was “hurt or mashed” and her sister-in-law responded that she was just scared.
- Almost everyone in Carroll County is related to everyone else. For example, Betty Ayers, who was killed in the courthouse tragedy, was a 4th cousin to Dexter Goad (clerk of court), 4th cousin, twice removed, from Woodson Quesenberry (deputy clerk), 2nd cousin, twice removed, from Floyd Allen’s wife and a 3rd cousin to the Edwards brothers, Wesley and Sidna.
- Thomas Franklin “Pink” Samuel, the deputy from whom Floyd Allen released his nephews, moved to Amelia County and never testified at the trial. He only lived 7 years after the trial. He was called “Pink” because of a birthmark on his cheek.
- Lewis Franklin Webb, the County Sheriff killed in the Courthouse Tragedy, had just taken office in January of 1912, but had been a deputy numerous times. He never carried a gun as a matter of course, but on his way to court, the first day of Floyd Allen’s trial, his cousin, Allan Webb, advised him to borrow a pistol. He borrowed a .38 automatic from another cousin, Church Alderman.
- After his release from prison in 1922, Friel Allen came back to Hillsville and had Attorney John Alderman arrange a meeting with Dexter Goad. Mr. Alderman said Friel and Dexter met privately for about half an hour and shook hands at the end of their meeting. Mr. Alderman said he was not privy to what they discussed.
Friel settled in Inglewood, CA where he married twice, but never had any children. He worked for the Edison Lighting Company. He died there in 1953.
- Andrew Howlett, one of the spectators who was wounded during the Courthouse Tragedy, was a brother to Mack Howlett, who shot and killed Carr Allen in 1898. He was with his brother when the shooting occurred and was in jail with him when a vigilante mob took his brother into the jail yard and killed him. They didn’t find Andrew because the cell was dark and he had climbed up between the chimney and wall near the ceiling.
- After the shootout ended, people in Hillsville were afraid the Allen family would come back into town and kill everyone in sight. Floyd Allen jury member, John W. Farris, remarked that they wouldn’t be back until they were brought back. He proved to be right. He lived to be the last surviving member of the jury, dying in 1963.
- As a result of the deaths that occurred in the courtroom in 1912, the entire estates of Floyd and J. Sidna Allen were seized in settlement of wrongful death suits by the families of Massie, Foster and Webb. The law provided that everything could be seized with the exception of a few bare essentials necessary for existence, for example, 1 cow, 1 pig, etc. In the case of J. Sidna Allen, one of Massie’s relatives complained that the raw bacon that was seized needed to be sold before it spoiled.
The Hillsville Massacre
Nobody knows who fired the first shot that cold, gray day, but before it was over, four lay dead, one was dying, and Carroll County would never be the same again.
Perhaps the hardest thing for an outsider to understand is the frequently heard claim that the subject is dead. &ldquoThe Courthouse Massacre? Don&rsquot nobody talk about that much any more,&rdquo says the young workman in Druther&rsquos Restaurant on Main Street in Hillsville. Motioning with a French fry in the direction of the Carroll County Courthouse, he continues, &ldquoWhen I was a little boy there used to be groups to tour that old barn every week. But nowadays the whole thing is pretty much forgotten, I&rsquod say.&rdquo
That was disappointing news. The Allen Clan&rsquos blazing courtroom shootout that left five dead earned international headlines in 1912 and became the stuff of legend&mdashand violent controversy&mdashfor decades afterward. Only a few years ago State Senator Joseph Fitzpatrick was planning a motion picture based on the events that led to the electrocution of Floyd Allen and his son Claud. Could it be that the topic was now pretty even in Hillsville?
&ldquoBut as long as you&rsquore doing another story on it, you may as well get it right,&rdquo the young man says. Smoothing out a paper napkin, he proceeds to make a ballpoint diagram of the courtroom as it was on that cold and wet March day 70 years and seven months ago, complete with the positions of Judge Massie, Sheriff Webb, Common-wealth&rsquos Attorney Foster and Clerk of Court Goad. &ldquoNow if you&rsquoll just look at this, you&rsquoll see that there was no way Dexter Goad could have fired the first shot like the Allen s claimed . . .&rdquo
Folklorist Roddy Moore, director of the Blue Ridge Institute at Ferrum College, believes the issue of the Allen Clan&rsquos shootout is still alive and kicking in Hillsville. &ldquoWe are familiar with the story, but we decided not to get into it. There&rsquos just too much controversy about it even today. Besides,&rdquo Moore says, &ldquoit&rsquos too hard to get people to speak on the record.&rdquo
To those not born and raised in Carroll County, it may seem incredible that fundamental issues of fact can be raised about an event that was witnessed by over a hundred spectators.
Nevertheless, the issue of just who fired the first shot in the courtroom massacre is a live one yet. But if disagreement is still festering, is it possible&mdashseven decades later&mdashto discover the ultimate truth? Moore says, &ldquoAll you can do is record both sides.&rdquo
The most important thing to remember about the Allen family of Carroll County is that they were not your standard-issue outlaws. Jeremiah Allen , born in 1818 and a Civil War veteran, was a prominent landowner, farmer and local officeholder. He was also, many claim, a big-time maker of moonshine whiskey and brandy, or &ldquoblockade liquor,&rdquo as it was known in Carroll County. He had a big family of seven boys and three girls, most of whom did quite well by the standards of the day. Of Jeremiah&rsquos large brood, the most important to this story are Floyd, Jasper (or &ldquoJack&rdquo), Garland, Sidna (pronounced as &ldquoSidney&rdquo), and their sister Alvirtia, who married a man named Jasper Edwards.
Jeremiah Allen and his sons were of a type that is peculiarly American. Freed for generations from the social and legal conventions of European society, the Allens cherished an individuality that would have been inconceivable back in the British Isles. The pioneer families who settled Virginia&rsquos Blue Ridge grew or made nearly all of life&rsquos necessities. They learned to depend only on themselves and a few close neighbors, and grew up with a kind of freedom and self-confidence unknown to Europeans of the same class. Government, to the Blue Ridge mountaineers, was something to be tolerated grudgingly and suspiciously. The Federal Government in far off Washington, D.C., received their theoretical support, except when it made obviously ridiculous laws like those taxing whiskey and brandy, which the mountaineers believed themselves entirely justified in flouting.
The pioneer strain of radical independence seemed to persist longer in the Allens than most of their neighbors, side by side with a strong drive to get on in the world. Floyd Allen, a farmer, storekeeper and part time moonshiner, said on more than one occasion that he would &ldquodie and to go hell&rdquo before he spent a minute behind bars. Sidna was a successful storekeeper at Fancy Gap who had once gone adventuring in Alaska and Hawaii, been tried for counterfeiting, and later built the finest house in Carroll County. Garland was a respected farmer, schoolteacher, and Primitive Baptist preacher, and Jack Allen was a wealthy farmer and sawmill operator. Whatever else they were, the Allens clearly were not the band of ignorant hillbilly outlaws that some Northern newspaper accounts made them out to be.
On the other hand, they were not a race of mild country squires. One is struck, when reading accounts written by the Allens or their defenders, by the numerous unsavory incidents that have to be explained away. According to their claims Floyd&rsquos shooting of a black man in North Carolina was self-defense Sidna was unaware that his employee and close friend Preston Dickens was using the plating machine Sidna ordered to counterfeit coins it was self-defense when Floyd shot a man in the leg in 1904 Floyd got in a brawl with revenue officers because they got drunk and abused his hospitality Sidna&rsquos nephews, Wesley and Sidna Edwards were prosecuted for disturbing public worship because they were not &ldquomembers of a privileged clique.&rdquo All the Allens deny numerous contemporary accounts alleging that Jeremiah and at least some of his sons made blockade liquor. Some of the smoke may be slander, but it is difficult not to suspect at least a little fire.
The train of events, which culminated in the execution of Floyd and Claud Allen, began on a Saturday night in the spring of 1911. Alvirtia Edwards&rsquo 20-year-old son, Wesley, had an argument with a man named Thomas at the local school. The following day, when Wesley and his 22-year-old brother, Sidna, were attending services at their uncle Garland Allen&rsquos church, Wesley was supposedly called out of the service and attacked by Thomas and some friends. Sidna then rushed out of the church and came to his brother&rsquos aid. As a result of the fracas in the churchyard, Wesley and Sidna were indicted for disturbing a public worship service. When they heard of the indictments, the brothers left Carroll County and went to nearby Mount Airy, where they would technically be out of reach of Virginia law officers without extradition papers.
But the Edwards didn&rsquot count on the per-sentence of the commonwealth&rsquos attorney and the sheriff. Despite his lack of jurisdiction in North Carolina, Sheriff Webb dispatched deputies Pink Samuels and Peter Easter after Wesley and Sidna, who were arrested without a struggle in Mount Airy. The deputies evidently didn&rsquot trust the boys to stay put in the back of the wagon, so they were handcuffed and tied to the wagon posts as the party crossed Fancy Gap on the way back to Hillsville. The road passed by Sidna Allen&rsquos store and Floyd Allen&rsquos house, and when Floyd saw his nephews &ldquotrussed up like hogs,&rdquo his notorious temper flared.
Floyd was already angry because the other young men involved in the churchyard brawl escaped without punishment, a fact he attributed to his own previous fight with Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney Foster and Foster&rsquos resulting enmity. Sidna Allen summarized the Allens&rsquo side of it in his Memoirs: &ldquoWesley and Sidna had never been in trouble before, were neither dangerous nor desperate, and were charged only with committing a misdemeanor yet they were not only handcuffed but also tied to the buggy in which they rode with ropes, despite the fact that they were in the keeping of two strong and well-armed men.&rdquo
What happened next, like nearly every-thing else in the Allen saga, is disputed. Deputies Easter and Samuels claimed that Floyd, Sidna and Barnard Allen attacked and beat them and freed Wesley and Sidna Edwards. The Allens claimed that Floyd re-quested his nephews be untied, was threatened with a gun, and single-handedly disarmed the deputies without harming either one. Whatever happened, the following day Floyd took his nephews to Hillsville, where they served 60 and 30 day sentences? For his pains, Floyd was charged with &ldquoillegal rescue of prisoners,&rdquo as the Virginia law of the time put it. After several continuances, trial was set for March 12, 1912.
There were many in Carroll County who believed that trying Floyd Allen on any charge was asking for trouble. Floyd&rsquos biggest fault, said his brother Garland, was his &ldquouncontrollable temper.&rdquo Garland said that their mother had more than once been forced to tie Floyd up with rope when he was a child, and by the time he was a grown man his temper was legendary. It wasn&rsquot reserved just for outsiders, either. Floyd and his brother Jack got into a fight once over some barrels of brandy in their father&rsquos estate and shot each other. Jack recovered, but it began to appear as if Floyd had fought his last brawl, and he sent for his brother Jack, &ldquoto make his peace with him,&rdquo he said, &ldquobe-fore crossing the divide.&rdquo Jack heeded the pitiful request and sorrowfully approached his brother&rsquos deathbed.
He should have known better. When Floyd saw the grief-stricken Jack shuffling slowly to his bedside, he grabbed for a revolver he had concealed under his pillow and attempted to give his brother a ticket to cross the &ldquodivide&rdquo with him. Jack was saved by another brother who grabbed Floyd&rsquos arm before he could squeeze off a shot. Floyd recovered from his own wounds shortly thereafter. &ldquoHe was too damned mean to die,&rdquo said an acquaintance.
Then there was the Combs incident. In 1904 Floyd wanted to buy a farm owned by one of his brothers, but they could not agree on a price. A man named Combs wanted the land badly enough to pay the asking price and bought it despite Floyd&rsquos warnings not to &ldquobutt in.&rdquo Not long afterward Floyd shot Combs (who recovered), and was indicted and tried on charges of assault. Contemporary reports say that Floyd let it be known that if convicted of the charge, he woul4 kill the judge and jurors. It seems likely the court was influenced by such threats because, despite the gravity of the charge, Floyd was fined a mere $100 and sentenced to a symbolic one hour in jail.
But even an hour was too much for a man who had sworn he would &ldquodie and go to hell&rdquo before serving a minute in jail. Floyd&rsquos lawyers managed to have the 60-minute sentence dismissed, and Floyd reportedly forced Combs to pay the $100 fine. There were some in Carroll County who believed that Floyd Allen was a law unto himself, and the Combs decision reinforced that belief. G.M.N. Parker, who wrote about the incident in The Mountain Massacre, said Carroll County had &ldquotwo governments, one by the county and one by the (Allen) Clan.&rdquo
In 1912 Floyd Allen was again scheduled for trial. It was a perfect time, believed many county officials, to demonstrate just who really governed Carroll County.
According to a prominent Carroll County citizen who is a repository of local history, about three weeks before Floyd Allen&rsquos trial, Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney William Foster received a letter promising he would die if Floyd Allen was found guilty. Foster took the letter to Judge Thornton Massie, who was scheduled to try the case, and requested not only extra deputies but a search of all who entered the courtroom during the trial. Judge Massie denied the request: &ldquo1 think that would show cowardice on our part,&rdquo he is reported to have said. Judge Massie never changed his mind, and when his body was re-moved from the courtroom on March 14, Foster&rsquos letter and another similar one were found in his coat pocket.
The jury in Floyd Allen&rsquos case was unable to reach a verdict on March 13. Judge Massie, in his only concession to warnings of trouble had them sequestered in Thorn-ton&rsquos Hotel that night, and scheduled the next morning&rsquos proceedings for 8 a.m., an hour early. Floyd Allen, still free, rode home with his brother Sidna and spent Wednesday night at his house.
Thursday morning dawned cold, wet and foggy. A bone-chilling drizzle was falling from the slate-gray clouds, but it wasn&rsquot doing much to melt the snow that still lay on the ground. Despite the miserable weather, over a hundred spectators had crowded into the courtroom by 8 a.m. a lucky few were warming their hands over the wood stove in the rear of the room. The Allen family was well represented: Floyd his sons Victor and Claud Sidna Allen Jack Allen&rsquos son Friel Sidna and Wesley Edwards, and a sprinkling of other relatives.
At 8:30 the jury filed back into the courtroom with a verdict. Floyd Allen, his attorney W.D. Bolen, and assistant clerk of court S. Floyd Landreth were sitting in the small fenced dock facing the judge and jury. Sidna Allen and Claud Allen were in the northeast corner of the courtroom, standing on benches to see over the crowd. Friel Allen sat in the back of the room, and the Edwards boys stood on benches next to the north wall. The sheriff, commonwealth&rsquos attorney, clerk of court, and several deputies were standing at the south end of the courtroom. The room was hushed as the jury foreman announced the verdict: guilty as charged, with a recommended sentence of a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. A motion to set aside the verdict was denied, as was a request for bail. Judge Massie instructed Sheriff Webb to take charge of the prisoner, and Webb began to move toward the dock.
What happened next will never be known with absolute certainty. The issue of who fired the first shot has divided Carroll Countians for the past 70 years and, in the words of one Richmond researcher into the case, has caused the county to &ldquoshut itself off from the rest of the world.&rdquo
Most witnesses agree that Floyd Allen stood up and announced to the court some-thing like, &ldquoGentlemen, I just ain&rsquot a goin&rsquo.&rdquo A shot was fired, and for the next 90 seconds the courtroom became a shooting gallery as the Allens, Dexter Goad, William Foster and the law officers, all produced guns and began to exchange fire. A screaming, shouting mass of spectators tried to leave the courtroom at once as bullets whizzed over their heads and thumped into the courtroom walls. Attorney Bolen dropped to the floor and the wounded Floyd Allen fell on top of him. Bolen is said to have screamed at his client, &ldquoFloyd, they are going to kill me shooting at you!&rdquo The battle moved down the courthouse steps and out onto the streets of Hillsville, with some of the Allens hiding behind the statue of the Confederate soldier while reloading their pistols. The Allens headed for the livery stable. Back in the courtroom. Judge Massie, Sheriff Webb, Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney Foster and a juror named C.C. Fowler lay dead on the floor. A witness in another case, Betty Ayers, walked back to her home and died the following day. Dexter Goad had been shot in the mouth but recovered from his wounds.
Floyd Allen was wounded too badly to escape, and he and his son Victor, who had taken no part in the violence, spent the night at a local hotel and were arrested the next morning. Wesley Edwards, Friel Allen and Claud Allen escaped together, and were soon joined by Sidna Allen. Sidna Edwards hid out for a few days before surrendering himself to the authorities.
According to Virginia law in 1912, when a sheriff died all his deputies lost their legal powers. Carroll County, therefore, was now without law enforcement. Assistant clerk of court S. Floyd Landreth, realizing the imperative need for some sort of civil authority, rushed down the street to the telegraph office. Landreth sent the following telegram&mdashcollect&mdashto Governor William Hodges Mann:
Send troops to the County of Carroll at once. Mob violence, the court. Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney, Sheriff, some jurors and others shot on the conviction of Floyd Allen for a felony. Sheriff and Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney dead, court serious. Look after this now.
Governor Mann phoned the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency in Roanoke and asked them to hunt down the Allens who were still at large. A special train bound for Galax left Roanoke late Thursday night with Baldwin-Felts men aboard. Prevented by swollen creeks from making the last leg of the journey by wagon, the detectives trudged the last few miles in a chill, insistent rain.
The weather that greeted the Baldwin-Felts men was an omen of the way things were to be for the next five weeks. There was some initial good luck: Claud Allen was captured not long after Sidna Edwards surrendered. Friel Allen was reported to have surrendered also, but a local historian who has made a study of the case claims that Friel&rsquos father, Jack, turned him over to the detectives in exchange for their efforts to avoid his execution.
But unfortunately for the Baldwin-Felts men, Wesley Edwards and Sidna Allen were far more difficult to track down in the rugged mountain country surrounding Hillsville. Knowing the terrain well, the pair easily eluded the frustrated detectives, who spent a good deal of their time posing for dramatic horseback photographs. The fugitives frequently had hot meals and warm beds in the homes of friends and relatives while the Baldwin-Felts men slogged down mountain roads in weather that remained almost consistently bad.
After five weeks of hiding, Sidna Allen and his nephew decided to leave Carroll County for the west. Passing through Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain and Winston-Salem, which were plastered with wanted posters bearing their faces, they walked to Salisbury and bought train tickets for Asheville. From there they went to Des Moines, Iowa, where they found jobs as carpenters and lived together in a boarding house.
Six months to the day after the courthouse massacre Sidna and Wesley were arrested by the persistent Baldwin-Felts detectives. Sidna Allen maintained until the end of his life that he and his nephew were sold out by Wesley&rsquos sweetheart, Maude Iroller, who supposedly led the detectives to them in exchange for $500. But a local expert on the case says that Miss Iroller&rsquos father, who had never approved of his daughter&rsquos romance with Wesley Ed-wards, tipped off the detectives that Maude was going to Des Moines to marry him.
The wheels of justice turned far faster in 1912 than today. Floyd Allen went on trial in Wytheville on April 30, charged with the slaying of Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney Foster. On May 18 he was convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair. In July, after three trials, Claud, too, was sentenced to death for Foster&rsquos murder. Friel Allen was tried in August and confessed to shooting Foster he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Sidna Allen and Wesley Edwards were sentenced in November to 35 and 27 years respectively.
After three stays of execution, Floyd and his son Claud became the 47 th and 48 th victims of Virginia&rsquos relatively new electric chair. Floyd was electrocuted at 1:22 p.m. on March 28, 1913, and Claud died 11 minutes later. The execution was accomplished despite some last-minute technical delays related to Governor Mann&rsquos absence from the state, which were resolved when the governor returned from Pennsylvania for the express purpose of allowing the execution. In the final weeks prior to the execution date, petitions with thousands of signatures were delivered to the governor requesting commutation of Claud&rsquos sentence, who, it was said, had been shooting only in his father&rsquos defense. The petitions failed to convince Governor Mann.
The governor was also unmoved by a number of death threats mailed to him, at least one of which was in the same hand-writing as the original threat to Common-wealth&rsquos Attorney Foster. Baldwin-Felts detectives were never able to prove who wrote the threatening letters, and those mailed to Governor Mann are stored with his papers today in Richmond.
The deaths of Floyd and Claud had a morbidly bizarre aftermath. The bodies were taken to Biyle&rsquos Funeral Parlor where, over the bitter protests of Victor Allen, thousands of gawking spectators gathered to view the remains. Richmond newspapers reported that schoolchildren with books, mothers with babies in arms and young men and women out on the town filed past the bodies, laughing and talking. Victor Allen was not permitted custody of his kinsmen&rsquos bodies until 11 p.m., shortly before they were shipped by rail to Mount Airy.
Among the questions still debated in Carroll County on long nights before the wood stove, the most persistent is, &ldquoWho fired the first shot in the courtroom on March 14, 1912?&rdquo The Allens claimed it was Dexter Goad, who, along with William Foster, had supposedly engaged in a politically motivated vendetta against them. The most vociferous proponent of the vendetta theory today is Rufus Gardner, author of a book on the subject and the flamboyant owner of a flea market, package store and souvenir shop on Route 52 at the state line.
Gardner has a one-room museum devoted to the Courthouse Tragedy in the back of his souvenir shop, and he will expound to whoever is willing to listen his ideas on the massacre, which consist largely of praise for the Allens and bitter denunciations of their enemies. &ldquoHell yes it was Dexter Goad shot first at Floyd Allen. Everybody knows it,&rdquo says Gardner. &ldquoIt was politics, just politics&mdashthe Allens was good Democrats and the courthouse crowd was Republicans, and they had it in for the Allens &lsquocause they was so popular and well liked.&rdquo Gardner&rsquos book is a patchwork of newspaper accounts, legal documents (&ldquoI stole&rsquoem out of the Carroll County Courthouse and there&rsquos not a damned thing they can do about it.&rdquo), letters, and sections lifted whole from the books of others without attribution. Gardner is a Courthouse Massacre entrepreneur. In addition to his museum, his book and his souvenirs, he now publishes and sells the Memoirs of Sidna Allen, which read far more coherently than Gardner&rsquos own volume. &ldquoThe Allens have been a great family since 1476, the finest in Virginia,&rdquo crows Gardner. Around Hillsville it is commonly reported that Gardner is related to the Allens, a connection he denies.
In the back of Rufus Gardner&rsquos book is a copy of an affidavit he obtained in 1967, in which two men who were with Woodson Quesinberry when he died swear that Ques-inerry claimed responsibility for the first shot. But a local historian who has done much work on the case says that one of the deponents listed on the affidavit told him that swearing out the document &ldquowas the easiest 25 dollars 1 ever made.&rdquo About all Gardner&rsquos affidavit accomplished when it was made public 15 years ago was to fan old resentments. &ldquoThat document is worthless, let me assure you,&rdquo said a prominent local citizen.
The same local historian also says there is little doubt that Claud Allen fired the first shot in the courtroom that day: &ldquoThere&rsquos no question in the world, none whatever.&rdquo Not only is this theory backed up by the bulk of the trial testimony, but it is certainly less implausible than the Goad hypothesis. Why would a prominent local figure who had just seen his enemy put away for a year decide to open fire in full view of over a hundred witnesses? And if Goad indeed fired the first shot and the Allens were merely shooting in self-defense, why wouldn&rsquot Goad have been the first victim? Not only did Dexter Goad survive, but Commonwealth&rsquos Attorney Foster and Sheriff Webb, both of whom were standing near Goad, received many more wounds.
Yet another mystery surrounds the tombstone of Floyd and Claud Allen. The original stone supposedly read something like the following: &ldquoJudiciously Murdered by the State of Virginia Over the Protest of 40,000 of Its Citizens.&rdquo Most Carroll Countians will tell you that the stone was removed as one of the conditions for the pardon of Sidna Allen and Wesley Edwards in 1926. Although a local person of great credibility claims to have seen the stone, there are some doubts that it ever existed. Not only are several different versions of its inscription recorded, but&mdashamazingly&mdashno photograph of it has surfaced. There are hundreds of photos of every other item relating to the massacre, but apparently none of the apocryphal tombstone, despite a $500 reward Rufus Gardner offered for a photograph of it. Says courthouse custodian and massacre buff Bill White, &ldquoI have to doubt that it ever existed to begin with.&rdquo
Few people are now alive in Carroll County who can remember that fateful March day in 1912. One of the few is Mrs. Viola Harrison, a frail but alert woman in her 80&rsquos who is Jack Allen&rsquos daughter. She is accustomed to being asked about the tragedy, but has talked little about it to outsiders. &ldquoI just don&rsquot like to give out information because you don&rsquot know how you feel about it yourself,&rdquo she says. She has good memories of her uncle Sidna Allen: &ldquoI remember that people liked him very much. He was a good neighbor and kind to people everybody that worked for him liked him.&rdquo Mrs. Harrison contends that a political feud played a part in the events of March 14, 1912, and also believes that public opinion in Carroll County is swinging around in favor of the Allens. &ldquoBut whatever you do,&rdquo she says, &ldquoplease write only the truth. People here have never really known what hap-pened because of distortions in what they read.&rdquo
Truth is always a scarce commodity, and nowhere more so than in the interminable wrangles over the infamous Hillsville Court-house Massacre. But the story of the Allen Clan has taken on a life of its own these past seven decades and it may be that the ultimate truth has very little to do with the tale&rsquos fascination. It seems unlikely that the case will ever be settled to the satisfaction of everybody in Carroll County. What does seem certain is that they won&rsquot quit talking about it&mdashnot now, and not for some time to come.
Originally published in the November, 1982 issue of The Roanoker
Jack Allen - History
I think it would be fun to communicate with other radio talent who have experienced the 1960s, 70s & 80s from a one-on-one entertainment & personality perspective. If you're familiar with Golden West Broadcasters then you know what I mean (KMPC, LA - KSFO, SF - KEX Portland, Ore, KVI - Seattle). Names like Don Sherwood (KSFO), Barney Keep (KEX), Robert W. Morgan (KMPC), Robert E. Lee Hardwick (KVI). These stations, these people and this era provided the premium in radio entertainment on an individual and station basis. We made it fun to listen and music was secondary.
For example, a wonderful promotion occured on KVI, Seattle in about 1977. In a station promotion we proposed to plant alligators in Lake Washington. Our promotion guy Jack McDonald (bless his heart, what a genius) provided reams of info on alligators. We talked it up big time over two weeks and come the day before the event we announced the introduction of alligators to the water in a very exclusive neighborhood the following morning at 9:00 am.
That morning hundreds of listeners showed up to watch the event. No one else was there, just a bunch of people milling around with radios blasting on the station. Promptly at 9 am from a phone booth on the hillside above the event our morning man called in a "live report" from near the scene and reminded listeners that it was, if fact April Fools Day.
For a week the switchboad was lighted with phone calls from listeners who had been had and loved it. Now, stuff like that is fun. What happened to it.
Archie James Allen and his brother Lester, founded the Allen Brother Plumbing and Heating Company in 1932 . Archie and Lester did much of the original work on Camp Dodge, including the outdoor swimming pool which was then the world’s largest pool.
In the early 1940’s, Lester left the company and Archie changed the name to A.J. Allen Plumbing and Heating Company. Archie’s first large job was to build the Naval Air Station in Ottumwa, IA which was commissioned March 3, 1943.
“There’s really only one way to do a job and that’s to do it right. We’ve built a reputation in Iowa as a company that can do the job right every time. We offer all of our clients a professional staff, quality workmanship and experienced management.”
– Archie J. Allen
About that time, Archie’s sons Jack and Dick joined the company working in the field as apprentices. After the war, Archie’s youngest son, Bill, joined the company as an apprentice by the late 1940’s all three sons were working in the office. Archie retired from the company in 1946.
Other large facilities they built in the late 40’s and early 50’s were the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, Lucas State Office Building and Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The company office was located at 6th and Keo Way until 1962 when the building was razed for construction of the American Republic Insurance Co. The Allen brothers built their new facility at 25 Dunham Avenue where they remained until 2000 when the Indianola Avenue by-pass was constructed and forced them to move to their present offices at 320 SE 6th Street.
Jack Allen retired from the company in 1967. The company incorporated and officially became A.J. Allen Mechanical Contractors, Inc., choosing to retain the name and reputation built by Archie in the early part of the century.
Bill’s son Ed joined the company in 1971, followed by his other son Mark in 1975. Three years later Dick retired, leaving the company in the capable hands of Bill and his sons, Ed and Mark. Bill continued to work until his death in 2001.
Mark Allen is the company President and Ed Allen serves as Treasurer and Secretary. Three of Ed and Mark’s sons, the fourth generation of Allens, also work for the company.
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|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 1 in||296 lb||5.29 s||4.73 s||7.90 s||8 ft 5 in||23 rep|
New Orleans Saints
On April 30, 2016, Allen signed an undrafted free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints after going undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft. Γ] On September 3, 2016, he was waived by the Saints and was signed to the practice squad. Δ] He was promoted to the active roster on December 10, 2016. Ε]
On August 23, 2017, Allen was waived/injured by the Saints and placed on injured reserve. Ζ]
On July 28, 2018, Allen signed with the Chicago Bears. Η] He was waived on August 4, 2018. ⎖]
Kansas City Chiefs
On August 5, 2018, Allen was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs, but was waived two days later. ⎗] ⎘]
Former employee recalls long history of Farmer Jack property in Allen Park
The old Farmer Jack store on Southfield Road in Allen Park went through several changes during its long history, including a remodeling that offered a larger vestibule entrance with sliding doors. Photo courtesy of Thom Ouellette
This pile of rubble is all that remained after the demolition of the Farmer Jack building on Southfield Road in Allen Park. Photo courtesy of Thom Ouellette
Demolition of the former Allen Park Farmer Jack building started in mid-December. Photo courtesy of Thom Ouellette
Thom Ouellette, who grew up near the former Allen Park Farmer Jack store, keeps a few mementos that remind him of the many years he worked at the store. The building, which was closed in 2007 when the supermarket chain went out of business, was torn down in late December. Photo courtesy of Thom Ouellette
It’s funny how quickly local history can be forgotten.
The old Farmer Jack store on Southfield Road was demolished in late December, a remnant of a time when the supermarket chain dominated the local market.
Former loyal customers probably felt a tinge of sadness when they saw or heard about the Allen Park store’s demolition, but none more than Thom Ouellette, who grew up in the area and later worked there for many years.
Now retired and living in Taylor, as a child Ouellette lived on University Street, between Lawrence and Roger, in front of Quandt Elementary School. He lived seven or eight blocks from the back parking lot of the Sears Lincoln Park Shopping Center. The land itself holds special childhood memories, including walking and riding his bike down Roger Avenue to get there.
“Besides the stores, there was ‘Sears Hill,’ a mountain of dirt that was extracted when they dug the foundation for the Sears building” Ouellette recalls. “We’d ride our bikes, sleds and anything else that we could up and down it.”
In reality, Ouellette estimates the “mountain” was probably 30 to 40 feet high. He doesn’t recall when the hill was removed.
From bagger to department manager
He hired in at Farmer Jack in 1975. He said the building that was torn down in mid-December originally was Arlan’s department store.
“A smaller, original Farmer Jack store was connected to and in front (south side) of Arlan’s,” Ouellette said. “The entrance for Arlan’s was on the east side of the building, several feet from the Allen Park/Lincoln Park border.”
He doesn’t remember the exact date Arlan’s closed, but he does remember helping with the transfer of the old Farmer Jack into the Arlan’s building.
“When they were gutting Arlan’s, there was a big hole knotted through the walls connecting the two,” Ouellette said. “When I worked midnights in the late 70s, we took our lunch break and the night crew would crawl into the empty building and play soccer or football, all the while remembering shopping in there years ago with my mom. Once it was remodeled, they tore down the smaller, older Farmer Jack and then opened the new, remodeled Farmer Jack.”
Going by memory, he believes the new store opened in 1978 or 1979. Ouellette said the store was remodeled again in the early 90s, with a much larger vestibule entrance and large sliding doors.
Ouellette started out as a bagger and “buggie boy,” eventually moving up the ranks from stock boy. He worked midnights for a few years, then went into the dairy department. He served as dairy manager, and later became frozen food manager.
He was an assistant head cashier for awhile, then was transferred to a new Farmer Jack store, on Telegraph Road in Taylor, where he worked until the chain went out of business in July of 2007.
“I was able to get a job at the new Seaway Market Place, an independent grocery supermarket (that) opened a few weeks after that, and worked there till they closed three years later.”
A bustling shopping area
Ouellette says he’s fuzzy on dates, but he vividly recalls major changes and improvements at the Allen Park store.
“A new loading dock was put in on the east side of the building, where the old Arlan’s was,” he said.
He recalls that the store was sectioned, with about one-fourth of it (in the northeast corner) being used as a lady’s clothing store called NEA Fashions. Later, a typewriter/computer store operated there.
Although it’s hard to believe today, the Sears Shopping Center was once a mecca for Downriver shoppers.
“When the NEA had their grand opening, my boss and I went up on the roof of the building to get a look and walked to the back end to see a large line of people waiting to get into the new store,” Ouellette said. “The line was 10-foot wide and was as long as the parking lot and into the park/baseball field – well over 100 yards. What a sight.”
So many people lined up to get into the new store, Ouellette recalls the Allen Park fire marshal letting in only so many customers at a time.
His memories of the site are numerous, mostly pleasant ones, with a couple rare exceptions.
One of the landmarks near that property is the Sears water tower, which can be seen for miles from every direction. Ouellette recalls one night during the summer of 1985 when he and other stock boys got a bit adventurous.
He was working afternoons at that time and when their shift was completed, he said stock boys often congregated in the parking lot to “hang out” and socialize.
One night, they found that the door to the tower wasn’t locked, so they started to climb up the inside ladder.
“We got to, I assume, the top but there’s a hatch door that was locked and that’s as far as we could go, but it was cool and exciting getting that far,” he said. “A lot of great memories growing up.”
A couple years later was a less pleasant memory.
“In 1987, we had a strike that really divided the employees, with the meat cutters unions and truck drivers refusing to honor the strike and crossing the picket line,” Ouellette said. “It wasn’t pleasant and then, a few years later, (the) A&P merger happened.”
What comes next?
Even though he’s retired, Ouellette has found a way to hold a job that still has “Farmer” in its title. He serves as marketing manager for the Taylor Farmers Market.
He has three adult children and four granddaughters. He proudly states that his youngest grandchild, 2-year-old Tessa, was the Farmers Market Corn Roast Princess this past summer.
Ouellette is a volunteer at the Ford Senior Center in Taylor, and recently became a member of the city’s Rotary.
When he heard the old Farmer Jack store was going to be demolished, he returned to his old stomping grounds to witness it for himself.
Although there was some sadness in watching it come down, it was better than the alternative.
“Watching the old store being torn down by three steam shovels was tough to see, but less tough then driving by all the years before, when it was an empty shell with the old faded Farmer Jack words on its old and faded front,” he said. “I would say the city of Allen Park has a huge opportunity to develop this southeast corner of the city.”
Allen Park city officials said there currently are no plans for the property. It was demolished to make the property more marketable.
After the creation of two large shopping malls in Allen Park more than a decade ago – Fairlane Green and Independence Marketplace – Ouellette surmises that “all the merchants have gone to the ‘hill,'” so he hopes there will still be some interest in the former Farmer Jack property.
Ouellette is hopeful the building of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will be a second bridge crossing that joins Detroit and Windsor, could be beneficial for parts of the Downriver area.
“I think there will be a large inflow of people coming from all over the country and going to Canada,” he said. “Southfield Road being a major through way, maybe they could create or build a travel or tourist center with restaurants, shops and information for visitors and travelers. That might help the city financially and (be) better than an empty lot.”
But Ouellette said he’s also aware that the future of that property most likely is closely tied with whatever developments happen at the adjacent Sears Lincoln Park Shopping Center.
The 50th Anniversary of New York’s Most Sensational Jewel Heist
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They are old men now in their 70s, two robbers who were famous long ago and now sport white hair, Butch and Sundance in twilight. Five decades ago, Jack Murphy (a.k.a., “Murf the Surf”) and his partner Allan Kuhn were high-spirited beach boys who gave swimming lessons at Miami Beach hotels and had a lucrative second occupation—as jewel thieves. In 1964, bored with preying on wealthy divorcees and tourists, these athletic young men drove to Manhattan and pulled off the most audacious jewel heist of the last half-century. Climbing up the stone walls of the American Museum of Natural History on the evening of October 29, 1964, they broke in through a window and stole priceless gems from the J.P. Morgan jewel collection: the Star of India sapphire, the DeLong Star ruby, and fistfuls of diamonds and emeralds. Murphy, now garrulous and robust at age 77, explains, “Just like mountain climbers and skiers, as a jewel thief, you go for the challenge. It’s dangerous, it’s glamorous, there’s an adrenalin rush. We couldn’t just keep doing Palm Beach.”
Apprehended within 48 hours of the robbery, the two men, plus accomplice Roger Clark, became national folk heroes. With the jewels nowhere to be found, an ambitious 23-year-old Wellesley graduate, Nora Ephron, landed her first front-page story for the New York Post by sneaking into the hotel where the thieves had stayed. “These guys had committed the perfect victimless crime,” Ephron recalled in an interview in the fall of 2010. “It was delicious. No one had a clue what they had been up to, they just seemed like fabulous party boys.”
Jack Murphy, left, and Allan Kuhn, right, suspects in the jewel robbery at the American Museum of Natural History, at hearing., Both by Lynn Pelham/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Image.
Upon their arrest, the three beach boys taunted and outwitted the authorities. Federal and state prosecutors vied to retrieve the jewels, convening separate grand juries and stealing each other’s witnesses. Only after a bizarre series of events—including a Miami chase scene that included Kuhn jumping out a hotel window, double-dealing by a fence, and ransom money paid by one of America’s richest businessmen—were most of the jewels eventually recovered. The three beach boys, who pled guilty, spent more than two years at Rikers Island.
The second and third acts of Murphy and Kuhn’s story have equally dramatic arcs. Their sentence completed, the three jewel thieves walked out of prison free and famous—and then made choices that took each of them in radically different directions. The bonds of friendship have frayed, yet the men have been forever bound together by their night at the museum. Roger Clark, the amiable bumbler who served as the lookout, suffered from heart disease and died in 2007, at age 71. But Jack Murphy and Allan Kuhn, once high-living partners in crime, still talk about their good old (bad old) days.
Jack Murphy has made being Murf the Surf (his preferred spelling) into a career. A charismatic mile-a-minute talker, Murphy is based near Tampa and makes his living as a prison evangelist, traveling the country—Angola one week, Raiford the next—discussing his rap sheet and urging convicts to find God. In conversation, he is mesmerizingly manipulative—funny and ebullient, then abruptly exuding a hard-edged and menacing persona with a thousand-yard stare. He delights in keeping people off-kilter. “I wasn’t always the kindly white-haired grandfather that you see before you now,” he says. These days, he goes to comic extremes to convey that he is a law-abiding citizen the fear of even a parking ticket upsets the former second-story man. “I don’t want to get in trouble with the Miami cops,” he says. “I’ve had enough trouble here.”
While Murphy even has his own Web site touting his role in the museum robbery, Allan Kuhn, by contrast, has spent the intervening decades doing everything possible to be invisible. His phone is unlisted. He lives in a tiny mountain town in Northern California, a winding two-hour drive from a major airport that ends with a few turns down a rutted dirt road to a rustic rental house. Kuhn has not met with a reporter in 40-plus years, and insisted as a condition of our interview that I not reveal the name of his hometown. Photos of Kuhn as a young man highlight his chiseled build and daredevil grin even now, at age 76, he’s in wiry good health and bears a long white ponytail and laidback demeanor. A believer in New Age spirituality, his living room features a shrine with candles, offerings, and photos of U.F.O.s.
A childless widower, Kuhn stumbled into a new line of work in 2007. After complaining about insomnia to a local doctor, Kuhn was given a prescription to grow medical marijuana, which was surprising to a man who had done jail time in the late 1960s for possession of a joint. His backyard crop now provides a lucrative livelihood. When I visited, Kuhn had just returned from delivering a batch to Los Angeles clinics, and the house reeked of weed.
Out of touch for many years, Kuhn and Murphy now frequently reminisce with each other, yet memories have a way of shape-shifting. “Allan can’t remember anything,” complains Murphy, noting that Kuhn has smoked a lot of marijuana. Kuhn shakes his head, saying, “Jack has a need to make every story just a little better.”
A kaleidoscope of other recollections fills in the fractured gaps. Maurice Nadjari, now 90, the Manhattan prosecutor who pursued the thieves with Javert–like determination, still vividly remembers the case that made his career. Detective Richard Maline dictated his memories in a 50-page oral history, which his widow Barbara passed along to me. Roger Clark, before his death, confided tidbits to family members and friends. Freedom of Information requests produced a trove of yellowing documents from police, prison, and court archives.
The Miami beach boys were clean-cut and photogenic, unlikely types to turn up in a police lineup. Kuhn and Clark had spent several years in the Navy. Murphy, a college dropout from a middle-class family, was a surfer. Their spree began as a game, a way to rebel against society. “It was never about the money,” insists Kuhn. “It was always the thrill of the chase.”
Kuhn had a gritty childhood in West Grove, Missouri. His father abandoned the family when he was a toddler, and his mother worked menial jobs to support Kuhn and his baby sister. “We were always poor,” he says. As a 15-year-old, he was arrested for breaking into neighbors’ homes and sentenced to probation. After a semester at Southern Illinois University, Kuhn enlisted and saw the world via submarine. When his tour of duty ended in 1962, he left the Key West Naval Air Station and headed to Miami Beach, landing a job as a swimming instructor at the Casablanca hotel, an art-deco classic on Collins Drive.
“How did I go from law-abiding citizen to a life of crime?” Kuhn says, grinning. One night a bartender took him into a backroom, where a local jewel thief was nursing a graze from a bullet. The man told Kuhn that he had just been shot by a police officer while trying to rob a coin store he dared Kuhn to finish the job. “I climbed up the building and found the hole in the roof that Johnny had cut,” Kuhn recalls. “I went down a rope and I cleaned the place out. It was just truly a thrill.” He had been earning $100 a day with tips at the Casablanca a few days later he claims he was handed an envelope containing $180,000. “I’ve always been adventurous,” he says.
Murphy, the only child of a telephone-company lineman and a housewife, grew up in Oceanside, California, with two strangely contrasting passions—the violin and surfing. “Our home was always decent, clean, moral, no drinking, honesty in all things,” his mother Ruth wrote in a letter attesting to her son’s character. The family moved to Pittsburgh when Jack was in high school. He brags that as a 15-year-old he played violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and won a tennis scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. On a snowy day his freshman year, wanderlust hit. “I’m standing in the slush, you could see the junk in the air floating from the steel mills,” he recalls. “I thought, I’m going to die here.” A train came by and he hopped on, eventually arriving in Miami, in the winter of 1955.
He stacked hotel pool chairs, raked beaches, painted cabanas, and was hired to perform diving stunts in hotel aquatic shows. He claims that Barbara Walters’s father, the showman Lou Walters, who owned the Miami Beach nightclub Latin Quarter, booked him for gigs. After a nine-day acquaintance, Murphy married Gloria Sostoc, a well-to-do hotel guest, in 1957, but five years and two sons later, the couple divorced. He quickly remarried. Seeking to capitalize on his fame as a championship surfer, he moved with his second wife to Cocoa Beach and opened a surfboard store. But after a financial dispute with partners, Murphy lost the shop. With his second marriage unraveling, Murphy returned to Miami Beach.
One night he joined friends on a boat ride to rob a mansion, earning a quick $15,000 as his share of the proceeds. The easy money was irresistible. Murphy and Kuhn, who had mutual friends, soon began working together to plunder the city. A bellman or a manicurist might tip them off that a tourist had left her room a crooked insurance agent might know which rich locals had upped jewelry riders. “We accumulated master keys at most of the hotels,” Murphy claims. Kuhn insists that he never used weapons. “I just didn’t think it was necessary to take something forcibly from someone else.” Murphy had no such qualms. “I had some connections with bad guys. I did some enforcing,” he says. “I had already been further down the dark road than Allan.”
As jewel thieves, they were not subtle. “You do a job, and you go back to the bar that night,” Murphy says. “It’s in the newspapers and it’s not long before everyone knows.” Kuhn says he initially kept a low profile and blames Murphy for initiating him into the good life. “Jack talked me into spending money,” he says. Kuhn upgraded to a tony building and a white Cadillac, speedboat, and sailboat. As Kuhn says wistfully, “That money came and went.” His current abstemious lifestyle includes a $550-per-month rental home, modest furnishings, and a 2002 Subaru.
The thieves recruited house painter Roger Clark to join the crew. A native of Meriden, Connecticut, Clark had been a high-school lifeguard before joining the Navy. After finishing his service, he briefly tried the nine-to-five life at a Connecticut chemical factory, and then headed for Miami, where he took on gigs as a jack of all trades. “Roger was a sweet guy and he just got in over his head,” says his sister-in-law, Myrta Clark. “The other two were professionals Roger got caught up in it.” Clark played the extra man, watching out for the police or driving the getaway car. As Murphy recalls, “Roger was a backup guy. Roger was real quiet, real cool, very calm.”
Jack Allen - History
Allen County ( More Allen Co ) is situated in the south central section of Kentucky on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. The Barren River forms the county line on the north and east, separating it from Barren Co., KY and Warren Co.,KY . . ( More Warren Co ). Simpson Co., KY , was formed from part of the western section of Allen County in 1819. Allen County is bounded on the east by Monroe Co , KY , and on the south by Sumner Co.,TN ( More Sumner Co ) . Smith Co , TN became a border county when it was taken from Sumner in 1799, until 1846 when Macon Co.,TN was formed. When searching for your early ancestors, looking in neighboring counties can shed light on many puzzles.
It is important to know something about the KY/TN boundary dispute when researching Allen County and her TN neighbors. This 15 mile disputed land area is called Walker's Line