Sheriff Lee S. Metcalfe with wife, Jala Guin Metcalfe about 1889.
THEY ARE GONE – But Not to the Penitentiary
The two prisoners, WILL COX, white and LUTHER METCALFE, col. who were sentenced to the penitentiary at the last term of the circuit court and were confined in jail here waiting for the penitentiary authorities to send for them, escaped jail Sunday evening about dark. When Mr. WIMBERLY, the jailor, carried their supper to the jail he placed it inside and closed the door of the cell and pushed the bolt in place, then he closed the outside door, or the door of the corridor and pushed one of the bolts in place, but did not secure either – not thinking there was any possibility of the prisoners being able to reach the bolts – and went into an adjoining yard for a bucket of water, during his absence they succeeded in prizing back the bolt to the inner door with a stick of stove wood, and COX slipped his hand between the bars of the cage and reached the bolt of the outer door and slipped it back., and they were free, as the doors to the building are never fastened. It was getting dark and no one was near the jail, so they had no difficulty in making their escape. Mr. WIMBERLY gave the alarm, but it being dark and no dogs to trail them nothing could be done towards capturing them.
One prisoner, BOB LAMPKINS, who was committed to jail late Friday did not try to escape, and was very sensible for not leaving as he was bailed out last Monday.
Since the above was written LUTHER METCALFE has been brought back. Mr. C. W. HALL brought him in and received the reward of $25.00 which was offered for his apprehension.
COX was brought in by Sheriff METCALFE Wednesday evening. He was caught on the platform at Guin waiting for a train. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 12, 1888.
Mr. HALEY, traveling agent for the T. C. L. & Railroad Co. was in town Wednesday after the two prisoners, COX and METCALFE, and left for Pratt Mines with them to charge. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888. The jail is now empty. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 26, 1888.
A DASTARDLY ASSAULT – Unknown Parties Shoot at Sheriff L. S. METALFE in the Dark
On last Friday night, about 11 o’clock Sheriff METCALFE walked up to his stable in town to see about his horse, which had been sick that evening, and as he was returning to the hotel when passing the north-east corner of the court-house yard, he saw two men standing out in the street about ten yards away, and supposing them to be some of the town boys spoke to them and asked “Who is there?” at the same time taking a couple of steps toward them. When he did this one of the parties threw up a pistol and fired, the ball passing through Sheriff METCALKE’S hat brim about one and a half inches from his head. Sheriff METCALFE returned the fire instantly with two shots at the then fleeing parties, who, when they saw he was going to return the fire unceremoniously took to their heels, running down in the direction of the jail. It is not known whether either of his shots took effect, as the parties made good their escape. No cause for such an assault can be given, as Sheriff METCALFE has no enemies who would attempt to take his in the dark. The night was so dark that he could not see the parties well enough to give any description of them A telegram was sent to Pratt Mines for blood hounds to be brought down to tail up the parties but none could be got all of them being in use at Pratt Mines. June 27, 1889 Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama.
SHERIFF METCALFE SON OF WILEY SAINT CLAIR METCALFE EARLY SETTLER OF SULLIGENT
Wiley Saint Clair Metcalfe born in 1837, married Virginia Ellen Bradley in 1858. Wiley and Virginia were early settlers of what is now Sulligent and Lamar County.
Mrs. Virginia Metcalfe was known in Sulligent as “grandma Metcalfe”. The Metcalfe’s reared nine children and had 36 grandchildren. The Metcalfe’s children were: Martha Elvira, who married Perry Evans; Leander Saint Clair “Lee”, married Jala Guin Lee served as Lamar County Sheriff; Henry Franklin married Melinda Shaw. Henry worked for the Frisco railroad; Sarah Anna Elizabeth, married John Bannister. John was Sulligent Marshall; James W. “Jim Buck” married Amanda May; Rosa Ellen, married first William Cobb, second Cannon Richard Weaver, after Mr. Cobb’s death; John Edward “Ed” married Lou Ella Brown. Ed founded the Metcalf Grocery and Market that was in business in Sulligent for 70 years; Hattie Stella married Rudolphus Brown, a brother to Lou Ella Brown; George Tollivar Carrington “Toll”, married Bessie Lee Stanford. Toll worked as stock broker in Kentucky.
Historical newspapers are transcribed by Veneta McKinney from microfilm. Metcalfe picture is from Rose Marie Smith Collection housed in Mary Wallace Cobb Memorial Library Vernon, Alabama.