Bloody Beat 22

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Bloody Beat 22 was a pejorative nickname for Lewisburg community, which had become notorious for lawlessness in the early 1910s. Mining activity at Lewisburg and nearby Newcastle gave rise to a row of saloons and whisky houses at the intersection of Stouts Road and Walker's Chapel Road. They, in turn, gave rise to any number of fights and feuds that made the stretch resemble a "Wild West" town.

A gang led by brothers Arthur and Walter Jones, along with Will Watson, Teck Duncan and Henry Cole, were blamed for most of the murders that beset the community.

In 1914 Judge Harrington Heflin, serving as Jefferson County Solicitor, organized a clean-up of the district. Governor Emmet O'Neal contracted with special counsel to help prepare cases for trial. Arthur Jones and Watson were convicted, in a notable prosecution, of the murder of John Holland, an African American, and were sentenced to hang.

Those prosecutions, along with the closure of the saloons during prohibition, helped the district to reinvent itself as the suburb of Fultondale.

References

  • "Birmingham Third in Murder List: 112 Slain in 1925, Only Two Hanged." (April 2, 1926) Birmingham Post