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Police Blotter: Rape, Violence, Murder, Mayhem

Think Charlotte is rough today? Let's go back in time, to the early 1900s, when crime in the Queen City was a daily sport


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• Levy Dawkins was arrested in April 1912 for "assaulting and cutting" Rosie Springs with a razor. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, during which time he would work the county roads.

• Sam Broom was arrested in July 1911 for "assaulting and cruelly whipping" Viola Connell with a whip.

• In August 1902, Chas Johnson was arrested for "assaulting and cutting" Anna Torrence with a butcher knife.

• On the warrant for the arrest of Lee Gabriel, the charge of "assault" is crossed out and the word "homicide" written below it. In May 1902, he hacked his wife Pauline Gabriel to death with an ax.

Thomas B. Hoover in the early 1900s on a carriage outside his livery stable at 21 North College Street.
  • Thomas B. Hoover in the early 1900s on a carriage outside his livery stable at 21 North College Street.

• In October 1913, Will Morris shot and killed his wife, Minnie Morris, after she hit him over the head with a chair.

HIGHWAY ROBBERY: Charlotte's current vehicle theft problems may go back further than anyone realizes. In February 1912, R.C. Bowden and Ed C. Boswell stole a horse, buggy and lap robe from J.E. Little. The two were arrested shortly after Boswell resold the horse and buggy, valued at $225, to W.G. Ross for $125. Ross paid Boswell with a check from his account at Charlotte National Bank, which was later used as evidence against the two men. Both were charged with larceny.

ALIMONY FROM HELL: In April 1910, Frank Pendelton was arrested on abandonment charges for failing to support his wife, Mady Pendelton. He was sentenced to four months of labor on the county roads.

• Leroy Robinson sent his wife, Maybelle Robinson, money and food from time to time after he left her, but it wasn't enough. In March 1912, he was arrested for failing to adequately support his wife and sentenced to six months in jail.

BREAKING AND ENTERING: Today's burglars carry away televisions, computers and DVD players. A century ago, crooks were less ambitious. Mostly they stole things they could eat or wear.

• In June 1912, John Slutz was arrested for breaking into the home of Lon Severs and stealing two bushels of corn valued at $2.50.

• Crouse Friday was arrested for stealing watermelons from the watermelon patch on L.E. Baker's farm in August 1911. Baker later agreed to drop the larceny charge and change it to a trespassing charge in exchange for Friday repaying him for the watermelons.

WEAPON OF CHOICE: In September 1900, Charlie Burton was arrested for beating John Moore with a three-foot-long buggy shaft after a disagreement over the price of a buggy. Burton was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

DOUBLE LIFE: After his marriage to Hattie Hollingsworth, it was discovered that Cliff Watts had a second wife in Atlanta. Watts was charged with bigamy in November 1911.

BULLETS FOR BRUNCH: Cy Spiers was arrested in July 1900 on murder charges after he shot and killed Mary Hilton on her way home from church because she chose to walk home with another man. Spiers suffered a "fit of jealousy," the Charlotte News reported, because Hilton usually walked home with Spiers.

• A similar shooting took place a week later, when William Kell, 18, gunned down Anna Ardrey, 16, in front of the African American church in Providence Township after she decided to walk home with another boy.

OUCH: In November 1910, Will Leecraft was sentenced to 90 days of labor on the county roads for embezzling $1 from Sam Alexander.

• Will Edwards broke into the home of Sam Neely in January 1910 and stole some clothing and a bunch of keys. He was sentenced to two years of labor on the county roads. In modern-day Charlotte, Neely would be lucky if the cops even showed up to take a police report.

SEX FOR SALE: The police appear to have cracked down on brothels in 1901, shutting down three in two months. The services Kitty West provided to early Charlotteans must have been pretty popular, because in May 1901 she got off with a slap on the wrist for running two brothels, or "bawdy houses," as the court agreement she signed calls them. In the agreement, West pledged she and her "employees" would not reoccupy a house she was renting on the corner of Third and C streets. In addition, a house she owned in Second Ward would not be used as a bawdy house or be rented to Viola McRea and "other tenants," who were given 30 days to vacate.

In exchange, West was given a prayer for judgment that subjected her to arrest if she violated the agreement. Interestingly enough, the prayer for judgment did not ban her from opening bawdy houses in other locations, and it expired after a year.

• West wasn't the only madam who got off easy. The courts cut Florence Long a similar deal in November 2001 -- a prayer for judgment in return for not reopening her bawdy house. The deal didn't appear to make much of an impression on Long. She was arrested a year later for running another brothel, the first of three more arrests before 1910. No record of Long doing any jail time could be found.

The bar at Gem Restaurant in the Central Hotel at 7 South Tryon Street.
  • The bar at Gem Restaurant in the Central Hotel at 7 South Tryon Street.


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