Riot in Rockmart.

The Cartersville Express Newspaper
Cartersville, Georgia
February 3, 1881 Page 3:
Transcribed and submitted by: 

Riot in Rockmart.

A Pitched Battle in Which one man is killed and Several Wounded.

Saturday night, after the recent congressional election a young man named William Simpson, came into Rockmart, a small village, situated in Polk county, on the line of the Cherokee railroad. After imbibing copiously of the town’s hurrah juice he proceeded to cut a bacchanalian big six of sufficient dimensions to attract the attention of the marshal of the quiet little village. The marshal, Alex Bullock, arrested him, when L. B. York, a citizen of the place and uncle to the arrested man, drew near and demanded his release. Upon a refusal by Bullock, York sailed in for a fight and cut the marshal six times. Bullock made a return in the fight and knocked York down. Bystanding friends of York then began mingling in the fight, the marshal was overpowered and the prisoner was rescued. The marshal made his escape from the mob, which pursued him and occupied the remainder of the night in their search, breaking in doors and vowing the deadliest vengeance. Not being successful the mob dispersed and the affair was thought to have died out, York keeping out of town and avoiding arrest.

Thursday morning last York came into town and spent several hours in drinking, playing billiards, etc. The marshal, who had been occupied all the morning in attentions to a sick family, came down town about half past nine o’clock, and learning that York was in town, immediately started to arrest him. Before Bullock had neared him York, menacing and defiant, fired off his pistol. Although unarmed, Bullock continued to approach him, until he had gotten within about thirty yards of him when York presented his pistol and warned him (Bullock) to go back, saying: “I will blow your d—d head off if you don’t.” The marshal then turned back, being, as we have previously stated unarmed. York, his son and brother followed, the brother, however, making every effort to quiet the disturbance. The marshal retreated to where he had a shot gun, procuring which, he turned upon his pursuers, presented the gun at York and demanded a surrender. As the demand was made the son, Hurd York, fired two shots from his revolver at the marshal, who immediately changed his aim to the son and fired, the load of bird shot taking effect in his face and arm, completely blinding him and placing him hors du combat. During the time occupied to do this the elder York fired upon the marshal three times, neither of which shots did any harm. The marshal quickly turned loose, with his remaining charge, on the old man and put the load into his hand, shattering the arm and three fingers. Then Bullock closed in and easily arrested the two Yorks, disarmed them and carried them into Ferguson’s store, where they gave bond and were released.

The town then resumed its quiet and maintained it until nightfall. Jim Dean, a brother-in-law of York, had been in town during the morning’s trouble, and at about three o’clock had left his home in Yorktown, a village of Paulding county, about six miles distant. He returned at night and rallied about him a company numbering about thirty men. Dean, his son and Caleb Clark, armed with double-barreled shot guns, commenced patrolling the town, and gathering about Marshal Bullock, began making insinuating remarks about the bird-shot battle, etc., and insultingly endeavoring to get up a fuss with Bullock. The mayor of the town issued a warrant of arrest for intimidation and authorized the marshal to summon a posse for assistance. This was done and the marshal demanded a surrender of the whole gang. Jim Dean then stepped back and said: “I’ll be d—d if I don’t die first,” and with his remark fired a load of buckshot at the marshal, four of them entering his right side immediately under the arm. Then an indiscriminate firing commenced between the posse and the mob. The marshal tried to fire his gun but both barrels refused to fire.

After the smoke of carnage had passed away it was found that Jim Dean had been shot in the head, the load which must have come from a shot gun, blowing part of it entirely off.

Joseph Dean, a son of James Dean, was shot in the back and neck. His wound is considered mortal.

A man named Elep Parks was also shot in the back.

These wounded were of the forces of the rioters. Aside from the ugly wound received by the marshal none of the posse were hurt, though the marshal’s half-brother was shot in the clothing and a young man named Prince caught one bird-shot in the upper lip.

The dead man was taken into Whitehead’s store and laid out and the wounded were cared for.

Alex Bullock, the marshal, is now in Cartersville at the home of his relative, Mr. Kit Conyers, recuperating from his wound and keeping out of the reach of the mob. He says he will return as soon as he is well and resume the duties of his office.

This is a truthful history of the unfortunate affair at Rockmart, learned from an eye witness.


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