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Three Great Stories From Paul Froggett, 87

This article first appeared in issue 6, and was written by Geniece Leftwich Marcum.

1) When Dillinger stayed at Sulphur Well

Most of us are familiar with stories of the notorious James Gang, and of how they spent the night in a cabin located near Edmonton after their reported robbery of the Bank of Columbia.. But this little- known story is one remembered by Paul Froggett, 87, of Liletown in Green County, who says that back in 1933 another infamous bank robber, John Dillinger, also spent some time here as a guest at the Beula Villa Hotel at Sulphur Well.

Paul says in August of '33, his brother Luther went to Louisville to pick up a new car which he had purchased. Cars were scarce in those days and on his return trip home that afternoon Luther noticed that he was not the only motorist traveling in this direction on Highway 68.

He had been following the same car for some distance. As they neared the Green-Metcalfe County line, just short of the residence once occupied by the late Charlie Perry, the car ahead of him became stuck in the road.

Always a good neighbor, Luther stopped and helped get the car with it's two occupants out of the mud hole and on their way again. He later confided the incident to Paul.

Luther had recognized the driver as a fellow by the name of Mullins, an oil man active in the Crail Hope vicinity near the Froggett home. Mullins was also managing the Sulphur Well dance hall at that time. There wasn't a doubt in Luther's mind, he said, who the passenger traveling with Mullins was either. He'd seen too many pictures of him in the papers lately to be mistaken about his identity. It was John Dillinger, Luther told Paul, sure and certain.

Paul says for about a week after that, Dillinger stayed around the Beula Villa, moving unobtrusively among the other guest who were there. No one paid any special attention to the man, whom Paul described as being, " A tall fellow with a rough face." He says Dillinger didn't talk much to anyone during his stay there and whenever he walked around the hotel or it's grounds, he always carried a folded newspaper tucked under his arm.

"We shot pool with him several times while he was there." Paul added.

Now the news that a character like John Dillinger showed up at a summer resort as small as as Sulphur Well, isn't all that surprising. He was wanted by the law, for several bank robberies which he had successfully pulled off in the Chicago area. So the heat was on for Dillinger and he was hiding out. Or was the term, " on the lam "?

As the story went, Dillinger allegedly had a close friend living in a neighboring town and this friend was a brother to the man Luther saw Dillinger riding with, on the day he had arrived in Sulphur Well.

2-When Capone stayed at Glasgow

This experience wasn't the only brush Paul had with big time gangsters in his youth. A couple of years earlier, in '31, he says a basketball tournament was held at Glasgow in which Center High School and some other team were playing.

Paul and a group of other young men had rented a room at an old hotel on the Glasgow square. After the game they planned to spend the rest of the night there.

The boys discovered that one of two men lodged in the room just a couple of doors up the hall from theirs was none other than Scarface Al Capone, biggest of the Big Time Gangsters. Late that night Paul remembers that some kind of commotion took place at the hotel which brought Capone's bodyguard running out into the hall with a machine gun.

At that time it wasn't illegal to carry a machine gun. According to an excerpt from "Capone's Chicago," written in the thirties, this gun was standard equipment for Capone's men.

3-The end of the Lile-Wallace feud

Froggett remembers a long ago feud between the Wallace and Lile clans where he now lives. There was no real reason for the feud, Paul says, they just wanted to have a shootin' spree."

He recalls being at the store in Liletown one day with a couple of other youths when one of them said to him, "Let's go home and hunt Wallaces."

Paul told the boys that he couldn't take sides in the feud because he was related to both parties involved. He explained that the Liles were close cousins of his and William Wallace, head of the other side of the feud, was Paul's great grandfather.

"Early on in this feud the Lile family sent word to the Wallaces not to cut wheat that day," Paul says. But William Wallace sent part of his hands to the wheat field to start their work and the rest of them he hid to watch out for an attack.

According to Paul when all of this was taking place a local fellow known as "Little Sam " Houk, went along to the fields out of curiosity just to see what would happen.

When the shooting began "Little Sam " innocently stepped into the line of fire and was killed.

"That ended the feud." Paul says..



This story was posted on 1996-08-01 12:01:01
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