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Crime Doesn't Pay

Two stories from two different eras about crimes involving banks


The New York Times - April 13, 1891
They Threatened to Shoot him, Experiences of a North Carolina Man with Blackmailers

Henderson, N.C., April 12

Col. W. H. S. Burgwyn runs a private bank at this place. In the course of business he advanced the Henderson Tobacco Company $16,000. This firm was composed of Herbert Jenkins and John M. Shelby. Without the knowledge of Burgwyn, Jenkins and Shelby made away with all of the property of the firm and fled to Georgia. After they had been gone for some time they wrote Burgywyn to come to Atlanta and they would pay him the money they owed him. Burgwyn went to Atlanta and thence to Dalton, where it was said that Mrs. Shelby lived, who had money and would pay the claim. At Dalton, Burgwyn was introduced to a very handsome woman, who was said to be Mrs. Shelby. He was left alone with this woman for a minute or two, and then Jenkins, Shelby and a man named Hall burst into the room, drew revolvers and threatened to kill Burgwyn because as they said he had insulted Mrs. Shelby. Finally the determination to kill was absolutely announced, but as a compromise it was proposed to let him sign a check for $5000, and Burgwyn told the men to shoot. Finding that they could not get the check signed, Jenkins and Shelby had Hall, who declared himself a detective, arrest Burgwyn. Burgwyn demanded to be carried to Atlanta. He was taken there and them promptly released and came home. Soon after, Jenkins and Shelby came here, and Burgwyn had them arrested for false imprisonment, and these two worthies now are in jail in this place to answer the suit of Burgwyn at the next term of the Superior Court for Vance County.



The Afro American- May 15, 1943
Kittrell College head and Trustees Deny illegal use of Funds


Bishop Monroe H. Davis, trustees and former trustees of Kittrell College are scheduled to be brought to trial during the June term of Vance County Superior Civil Court on charges growing out of alleged illegal use of funds of the institution. They are charged by the State of North Carolina of illegally disposing of 1000 shares of common stock valued at $61,200 of the Duke Power Company, given to the institution by the late John Duke, white. The case was scheduled for trial in March but the defendants attorney requested a postponement in order to employ an accountant to audit accounts involved. This audit, they say, will prove that there are no grounds for the suit.

The State charges the stock was donated as a permanent endowment issued in the name of the trustees, and the income received from it should go to operate Kittrell. It further alleges the management of the stock was vested in the trustees and they failed to give an accounting each February to the clerk of court of Vance County as required by State statutes. The stock, it is said, was sold by the late John R. Hawkins, fiscal agent of the institution from 1912 to 1940, to liquidate debts of the school. Contention of the defendants is that the stock was a gift and that certificate was issued to the late Mr. Hawkins, to use as he saw fit in the best interest of Kittrell. They also deny that they were required, as charged by plaintiff, to make reports each year to the clerk of Vance County Court. Furthermore, they aver that they have never been ordered to do so.

It is charged by the State that 388 shares of the stock were sold through the Fidelity Bank, Durham, for $71,004 and that 688 were put as collateral for a loan of $9500 for the Munsey Bank of Washington.

In 1935 the latter shares were disposed of by the Munsey Bank to satisfy the loan and the $33006.25 left over after repayment was turned over to the Kittrell authorities. The suit was originally brought by the State on relation of two of its citizens, Watson Laws and L. W. Stubbs, AME Church laymen. However in March 1942, Judge Henry E. Stevens Jr., ruled that the  attorney general could not delegate this authority to the citizens. The following May, the State reinstituted action with the solicitor of the third judicial district, R. E. Thor, as the only plaintiff.

A demurred to the complaint filed by defendants contending that there were insufficient grounds for the suit was overruled last October by Judge R. Hunt Larker. Through a motion of the plaintiff three of the men charged, the Reverends I. T. Walker, Suffolk, VA; C. C. Ferguson and H. E. Walden, Baltimore, were dismissed. Others included in the suit, all ministers, are: J. D. Conway, J. N. Millis, C. A. Strane, H. B. Barkley, W. C. Cleland, C. C. Scott, D. L. Grady, G. D. Carnes, Claude L. Stephens, V. C. Hodges, M. E. Davis, J. E. Harris, and J. A. Young. Two others, A. D. Avery and K. C. Holt, died in 1940.


*Note: A judgment was issued in July 1943 by Judge John J. Burney, in Vance County Superior Civil Court that the defendants had to replace $42,804 of the endowment fund, but that an additional $67,468 was not allowed, which was ruled that latter transaction was handled exclusively by the late John R. Hawkins, fiscal agent for Kittrell College.


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