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JIM: 144 years ago today: the Bank of Columbia robbery

Ask not for whom the bells tolled: Judge H.C. Baker's take on the Bank of Columbia robbery


Today -- April 29, 2016 -- marks the 144th anniversary of the Bank of Columbia robbery. In 1872, Herschel Clay Baker practiced law in Columbia and resided on Burkesville Street, as did Mr. RAC Martin, the teller whose life-thread was snapped by the bandits during the encounter.

In April, 1898, Mr. (later Judge) Baker penned for the Adair County News a lengthy article about the bank robbery and Mr. Martin's death. The closing paragraphs shows with equal adroitness Judge Baker's heartfelt compassion for the Martins and his utter disdain both for the outlaws and for those who would make heroes of them:

"Without warning and at his post of duty he was suddenly shot down, and his home was made desolate. At noon on the 29th of April, 1872, he was seated at his mid-day meal with his wife - happy in her love and in the prospects of a prosperous future which seemed to await him. An hour later the assassins had done their bloody work and his faithful wife, crushed and brokenhearted, was weeping over his lifeless body. That night, with the tolling of the bells and with the sincere sorrow of the community, the hearse drove out of town carrying his remains for interment at his old home in Shelby county. "Looking back to-day through the long years that have intervened, the deed of that bloody afternoon has lost none of its enormity. Time has not softened any of its features, and the fact that it was done in open day makes it none the less a crime. It was a cruel, cold-blooded murder, committed for gain. We have no patience with the false and sickly sentiment which would make heroes of its authors."
Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2016-04-29 06:06:53
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