Tough Times in Lincoln County – Part III

James McDowell was a despicable, ornery, mean, tough as nails man as you’ll ever meet.  Those are most likely his good traits.  He was also a thief and had been most of his 65 years of life in Lincoln County.  Jacob Dinkins knew taking out James McDowell was not going to be an easy feat.  Most of the town wanted to go to his homestead and take out his entire family.  That would have most likely brought in federal agents.  As much as they hated that whole McDowell family, their hatred for the feds was infinitely more.  Most of those farmers supplemented their income with illegal stills for making moonshine whiskey. Those feds would have found those stills and destroyed them.  Those stills were the only thing that put food on the table for most.

For the most part, local and state law enforcement looked the other way with times being what they were.  James McDowell was said to have as many as 25 stills spread throughout the county.  Thanks to him, there was always a shortage of  sugar, cornmeal and other ingredients best not said.  The McDowells were basically starving Lincoln County into submission.  So, the only choice left to Jacob Dinkins and the rest of the disgruntled farmers was to do something about the head man, James McDowell.  But, what that would entail was a matter of disagreement among the men.  One man, Jeremy Gathers, said the best thing to do is to shoot James when he would take the Missus out for her Sunday drive down hwy 32.  That idea was quickly dismissed when the mere logistics of having someone stationed off the highway was discussed.  They might shoot his wife, Carla.  Nobody wanted that, although Carla was cut from the same cloth as her husband James.  No one could come up with a clear cut plan on how to get rid of McDowell.  They could only agree that something had to be done with him and done quick.  But, what would that be? Jacob Dinkins called for a meeting at his barn on Tuesday night.  Those participating would crawl in one or two cars so as not to raise suspicion.

Tuesday night came and all the men who would take part in this nefarious endeavor showed up in a sour mood.  Lester Green, who had all his pigs stolen by the McDowell family, brought his brother, Luther, with him.  These two were fit to be tied.  And who could blame them?  Losing all your pigs during this time was like a death sentence to a family.  Pigs were gold on four legs then and with most farmers to this day.  “I say, let’s go over there and have a shoot out with them and set their damn house on fire.  Be done with all them bastards!!! said an angry Lester Green.  “We might as well take out the bastard kids as well.  They going to be the same problem we facing now with the adults in the damned family!” shouted Luther.  Everyone got quiet in the room with Luther’s demand. “I ain’t killing no kids” said one man in the group.  Many more murmurs in agreement in the barn among the men.  “Nobody’s killing no kids” said Jacob Dinkins.  “But, we have to agree on a way to take out James McDowell.  He’s the head.  The rest will fall in place.  James is the brains and the boss.  He has to be taken out without question.  And I have an idea how we going to do it so as not to raise any suspicions,” said Jacob.  “What you got in mind, Jacob?” asked Lester Green.  Jacob looked at Lester and then panned the room with a grim look.
“Robert Compton.”

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