Connected successfully  The Okie Legacy: Vol 18, Iss 31 23 January 1884 Bourbon Ways

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23 January 1884 Bourbon Ways

It was in The Inter Ocean, out of Chicago, Illinois, dated 23 January 1884, Wednesday, on page 9, that this interesting articled appeared concerning more of "Bourbon Ways." Another Republican murdered in Virginia, as written by a special correspondence of The Inter Ocean.

Found on

Clifton, Va, Jan. 16 (1884) -- A peculiarly brutal and desperate crime was committed by a drunken mob at Monterey, in Highland county, on the friday before last, but owing to the blockaded roads, occasioned by the heavy fall of snow on the preceding Monday, particulars did not reach here until last night.

On Christmas Day Sidney Buckman, a prominent Readjuster, and E. D. Atchison were drinking together; both were considerably under the influence of liquor. A slight misunderstanding arose between them, some sharp words were followed by blows, when Atchison stabbed Buckman, inflicting a serious, but not fatal wound. Atchison was arrested and lodged in jail. Buckman was taken charge of by his friends, but insisted that Atchison should not be molested. Atchison at the time of his arrest made threats that he would bring suit against the parties most active in securing his arrest so soon as he could obtain his release. Buckman had been for several years past a prominent Readjuster, and had labored at all times for the overthrow of Bourbonism.

Atchison was a Vermont man; came into the State a year or two before, as an outspoken Republican, and had made himself very obnoxious to the best people by the bold manner in which he had denounced Bourbon ways.

Buckman, who had about recovered from the cutting, made it known a few days before the outrage of Friday last that he would not appear against Atchison, and the authorities had as well release him.

On Friday night last, about 11 o'clock, ten masked men, rough looking and otherwise disguised, approached the jail, which stood in the village, and demanded the keys. A man by the name of Styner (sic, could have been Hiner) was in charge, and he protested he did not have the keys in his possession, being only requested to watch the jail until the jailer's return. The mob then proceeded to batter the jail door and windows; in the meanwhile, several of them commenced firing with guns and pistols through the breaches made at the prisoner. Atchison fought bravely for his life, several times. Kicking pistols from the hands of the men who posted them through the breaks in the door, and once nearly wrested from one of them a loaded double-barreled gun. At length he fell from wounds and exhaustion, being shot in four places.

The desperadoes were over two hours in forcing the jail and getting into the cell of the doomed man, during which time the masks of four of them fell from their faces and they were recognized by Styner (sic) and some others who had gathered around to see the fun. Atchison was finally secured, bleeding from four wounds, either of which was fatal, and being almost dead and unable to walk, the wretches tied a rope around his neck and dragged him away through the snow.

About 3 o'clock in the morning, several of the lynchers returned into town after more whisky, informed the guard and some citizens where they could find Atchison. At daylight the track where the unfortunate man had been dragged through the snow was followed,a nd about a mile from the town his body was found suspended on a tree, pierced with bullets and frozen stiff.

The community of Highland were said to be very indignant over the outrage, and had determined that the guilty parties should be brought to justice.

This last is the joke. For although at least six of them were well known, no arrests had yet been made and none would be. There was not a Highland County a man who dared swear out a warrant, nor was there a justice who would venture to issue one.

If an investigation was to be had it would simply develop what every one there already knows. Atchison as a Republican who had made himself obnoxious by freely expressing himself, particularly when drinking. It was hoped Buckman would die from his injuries and Atchison go the penitentiary. Buckman was recovering and acquits Atchison of blame. The Bourbons had resolved to get rid of Atchison, as they hoped through process of law; this failing, they proceeded to lynch him for a misdemeanor at common law. His death by no law known to civilized nations could have been encompassed even had Buckman died from the cutting, but to deliberately organize a mob, fill it with mean whisky, and send it out on a mission of murder. Bourbonism could, and did do. All the men recognized in the mob were Bourbons of the ultra type. Although Buckman was a Readjuster, no one of his personal or political friends had anything to do with the lynching, and if the perpetrators were ever bought to justice it would be through the instrumentality of these men. The late success of Bourbonism and the means which led to it, seemed to have aroused all the dormant passions of hate, which for four years the Bourbon Democrats had been nursing, and every occasion was taken to vent it. Almost every Bourbon goes armed, and their threats against human life could hourly be heard. Had Atchison not been a Republican he would never have been arrested. Buckman's appeal would have been sufficient to have secured his safety. He died, one more victim, not for having cut Buckman, but for daring to come into Virginia and openly express Republican sentiments.

In extenuation of the crime committed, some of the Bourbons were circulating the report that the dead man was a very desperate and dangerous character. Strange this was not discovered until after his death, nothing of the sort ever being alleged during his life.
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