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CYRUS: Today is 134th anniversary of Bank of Columbia robbery

Judge Baker saw the brutal slaying of a good and valued citizen, R.A.C. Martin, as a crime so heinous no one should ever think of abolishing the death penalty; Judge Baker recalls the sadness the night the bells tolled in Columbia as the hearse bearing the remains of R.A.C. Martin left this city for the burial in Shelbyville
One hundred and thirty-four years ago, on a sunny Monday afternoon, April 29, 1872, the peace and tranquility of Columbia was shattered as never before when armed bandits brutally gunned Mr. R.A.C. Martin during the now-infamous Bank of Columbia robbery.

In words penned nearly half a century later, Judge H.C. Baker paid touching tribute to Mr. Martin, and, with a few strokes of his pen, laid low the ruthless perpetrators of the crime.
CYRUS

Judge Baker's tribute to R.A.C. Martin,
Bank of Columbia teller brutally slain in robbery

Mr. Martin came to this place from Shelbyville atthe organization of the Bank of Columbia, andwas placed in charge of its business as its cashier.He very soon won the esteem of all who hadbusiness with the bank. He was an excellentbusiness man; kind and gentlemanly in his bearingwith all whom he came in contact.

Only two orthree years before his death he married one of thefair daughters of his old county and brought herinto our midst, and had established a happy home.Without warning and at his post of duty he wassuddenly shot down, and his home was madedesolate. At noon on the 29th of April 1872, hewas seated at his midday meal with his wife --happy in her love and in the prospects of aprosperous future which seemed to await him. Anhour later the assassins had done their bloodywork and his faithful wife, crushed andbrokenhearted, was weeping over his lifeless body.

That night, with the tolling of the bells and withthe sincere sorrow of the community, the hearsedrove out of town carrying his remains forinterment at his old home in Shelby county.

Looking back to-day through the long years thathave intervened, the deed of that bloody afternoonhas lost none of its enormity. Time has notsoftened any of its features, and the fact that itwas done in open day makes it none the less acrime. It was a cruel, cold blooded murder,committed for gain. We have no patience with thefalse and sickly sentiment which would makeheroes of its authors.

It has always seemed to us a misfortune to justicethat their crime here escaped punishment. Wehave always felt, since we saw the lifeless body ofR.A.C. Martin carried out of the bank, that somecrimes deserve the severest punishment, and thatno sentimentality or false sympathy should everlead a government to abolish the death penalty.Men who invade a peaceful community andruthlessly destroy a happy home, as was done inthis instance, should receive at the hands of thelaw death.

Reverently submitted by CYRUS.


This story was posted on 2006-04-29 16:34:50
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